2011 will soon be upon us. If your not preoccupied with new years party planning it is a good time to consider your 2011 garden size and layout. Most of us live where it is to cold or snow covered to do any ‘real’ outdoor gardening projects. Most of us can’t afford the cost of building and heating a green house larger than one need to start seedlings for next springs garden.
North and South or should my rows run East and West? As a general rule North – South rows will receive the most hours of full sun and is best for most garden vegetable crops. A few crops will benefit from a small amount of afternoon shading if you garden in the deep southern U.S. [zones 8 - 10]. Other wise full sun is best for almost all vegetables.
Climbing crops like cucumber vines seem to prefer a trellis located on the east side of their row to twine around and climb upon. For some reason they will climb on a trellis on their east side with little or no human intervention, where as a trellis on their west side will require a great deal of gardener intervention to get and keep them climbing a trellis. This rule is also true of vining flowering plants like honeysuckle and morning glories.
If your soil is not frozen, now is a good time to till in compost or even a ‘small’ amount of raw manure. Rabbit manure works well, if using raw chicken or cow manure use it ‘Very’ sparingly. Tilling in compost now helps a tight clay based soil as well as exposing weed and unwanted grass roots to killing cold drying weather. Don’t wait until the day you want to start planting your garden and realize you haven’t look at your garden plot sense you picked your last cucumber or tomato in September 2010.
Before planting, as a last resort, read package planting directions. Don’t over plant! Just because you have 30 tomato seeds does not mean you ‘must’ plant all 30 seeds when you only need 6 tomato vines. A good rule is plant 2 seeds about 1 inch apart for each plant needed. When the seedlings are about 3 or 4 inches tall select the healthiest plant and remove the unneeded/unwanted plant leaving only one healthy seedling.
Don’t over water your garden. Check the soil 1 or 2 inches deep, if it is still damp, ‘Do Not’ water. This will force your plants to put down deep root systems that will pay off big when the really hot dry summer weather arrives. Pay on attention to plants that appear wilted and water stressed at 5PM. Almost all plants will look water stressed at that time of day. Check them at 7 or 8AM, if they have recovered during the cool of the night they are not water stressed.
Using mulch around your garden plants will help keep the soil cool, retain moisture, control weeds and add nutrients to your garden soil. Old hay, tree leafs, well dried grass clipping all work well as a garden mulch. Don’t pile mulch up around the base of your garden plants. Keep mulch pulled 1 or 2 inches away from your garden plantings. Large areas of hay or grass mulch around vining plants like cucumbers and melons may also be very beneficial keeping vines and fruit from direct contact with the hot dry soil.
Garden plans should include starting a compost pile if your don’t have one. Using well composted manure to fertilize your garden and not using fertilizer manufactured from crude oil or one of it’s by-products. Think healthy Organic gardening, use natural insect repelling plants and organic based insecticides. Use a hoe or hand pull weeds. There really is not a real benefit from using roundup or other man made herbicides to kill and control weeds in your garden.
Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be Shy. Leave me your Comment(s)