Spring will be upon us before we know it. Below are a few RAPID-FIRE GARDEN TIPS from Clyde as you get ready for the growing season:
- Get your garden tools and related items in advance, Gloves, Knee-Pads, Rake, Hoe, Hoses and Nozzles, Shovel, Hand Shovel, Seeder, Seed Starting Flats, Potting Soil, Fertilizer, Weasel Tool, Wheelbarrow and others….
- Pick a level spot for the garden, one which gets full sun. If not level, choose a spot which declines to the south for best sun exposure.
- Turn sod green side down by hand with a shovel, then grind up dirt with a tiller or Weasel which is a great tool to grind up soil manually.
- Make your rows run north to south to take best advantage of the arc of the sun with minimal shading.
- Use Weed Blocking plastic to minimize weed take-over. Preventing weeds is easier than pulling them.
- Rake soil into 8-10″ high raised rows 18″ wide. This allows for more intense planting & keeps seeds from rotting due to excessive water during those toad-stranglers. We also form dirt dams in between hilled-rows so that rain is captured in the garden, but not on top of the seeds or sprouts.
- Use a yellow twine to help get your rows straight. Tie the Twine to (2) wooden stakes then stretch across garden when preparing the row or when planting.
- We use orange construction flags to mark planting locations, so young plants don’t get stepped on.
- Purchase a drip-tape irrigation system. Drip tape is great!!!! It uses 50-70% less water, and keeps you from watering the weeds. Drip tape is extra helpful if you live in an area where drought is frequently a summer reality…can find online.
- Pole beans require an Upright Lattice, but generate (2.5) times more beans. Pick pole beans early to avoid strings. We make our pole bean lattice out of cattle panels and t-posts – works great. Run lattice north to south to avoid shading other crops.
- Get a soil test from Lowe’s or another hardware store, and test your dirt to see if it needs any nutrients. Cost = $5.00 roughly. Fertilize as needed. Your local state extension office can also help you with soil tests.
- Use straw to mulch around plants and between rows. It slows the weeds, and helps hold in the water during dry season.
- Learn how to compost. Composting turns your kitchen scraps into excellent fertilizer.
- Put aged (1 year or older) horse manure on your garden….work it into the soil…makes your garden explode with growth.
- If you decide to do starts from seeds in the house, be sure to keep them moist, every day. They can dry out and die very quickly. I have had great results with Miracle Grow plant starter potting soil.
- Cover seed flats with clear kitchen stretch wrap at first to help them germinate, then remove soon after germination.
- If you do starts in the house put a fan near-by seed flats so that your little seedlings do not die from damping-off, a moisture related problem.
- Try using a shop vacuum to suck up squash beetles if they attack your zucchini or yellow squash.
- Make and preserve your own Salsa….Onions, Green Peppers, Hot Peppers, Tomatoes, Garlic; all healthy and easy to grow. Walmart has Salsa Seasoning Packets, or let me know if you would you like our sweet salsa recipe.
- Teach your kids as you garden….it is a excellent way to spend a quantity of quality time with them!
Have a great garden this year!