Jan 7, 2013 | 5:32 PM PST
I bought a Farmer's Almanac. I've always wanted one, and they were on sale. After reading that book, cover-to-cover, I realize that I've been planting things waaay too late. I'm going to try following the planing guides in the Farmer's Almanac this year and see if things work better.
This year I'm going to try square foot gardening. I've heard so many wonderful things about it, I've wanted to give it a try for a while. My husband, by chance, came upon a documentary on square foot gardening on PBS. After seeing that, he volounteered to make some raised beds.
Hopefully I have enough compost in my bin for the raised beds, otherwise I do have a source for free organic bunny poop. I might try and do both, using the bunny poop on the bottom and the compost on the top.
I'm going to look into wood chips for mulch this year. It seems as though we don't create enough grass on our property to cover the ground and straw is hard to come by in the area, especially this year from the drought. I'm also going to go for a light colored wood chip, due to our hot summers. A month and a half of over 100 degrees was too much for the plants last year.
On a side note, I wish there was a way I could steer my husband into "finding" certain documentaries so this would happen more often. ;)
Jan 3, 2013 | 8:25 PM PST
I'm really nervous to garden this summer. Last year, my garden failed due to the drought, even with watering daily. I'm still going to give it a try, but it's been two tough gardening years in a row. Any ideas to get rid of my jitters?
Dec 21, 2011 | 2:36 PM PST
I went to all the seed companies I could think of and ordered seed catalogues. I want rutebagas in my garden this summer, but I can't find seeds locally. If I'm buying one thing from the seed companies, I might as well buy it all from there because of shipping and coupon codes and such.
It's only December and I'm ready for winter to be over. This is the first year that we'll be able to eat the asparagus! My tastebuds are tingling with the thought. I did better fall garden prep than usual this year, so I'm itching to see how black the soil is this spring.
I also got a hold of some really old gardening literature on Google Books and they have some spectacular advice that I'm going to implement this year, such as starting seeds indoors in stages - things that are planted in early spring vs things that are planted in late spring. Sometimes that old information gets lost.
I'm going to start my broccoli this year right after Christmas so it's ready to plant as soon as the snow melts. I'm also going to start as much as I can indoors this year so I don't have to worry about seedlings getting crowded out by weeds and wondering what's a weed and what's a seedling. Another problem that would solve is the seeds that I lose to the birds every year.
I have a 3-tined rake that I use every spring to break sod and make rows. I just found out that you're supposed to use it throughout the summer in the aisles to do rough weeding. That makes things so much easier! Now I think I might be able to keep up with the weeding!
I tried it the past week or two, and it does a great job of pulling up the weeds. I just need to get better at not snagging the good plants with it.
I got some beneficial nematodes from the local nursery this weekend. They were expensive, but the package says it'll get rid of ground-dwelling bad bugs for 2 years. Other research with various state extension offices says it's more like 10 years, but we'll see. If this works, there will be no more Japanese Beetles, Cucumber Beetles, Squash Bugs, Boring Beetles, or grubs. I'm really excited.
One thing I got for free this weekend was organic bunny manure. I got it off Freecycle and they have 100 rabbits. They gave me about a weeks' worth of manure, which was 8 - 40lb feed bags full (the size I get for dog food) It took three bags to spread over the garden, and I put the other five bags in the compost bin.
I got up early the next morning to see if the plants looked healthier. They did. I picked one cucumber and noted some babies that looked like baby pickles. I came back to take a look at the garden after work, and three of those baby pickles were now full-sized cucumbers! Color me impressedI
I took some advice from last year on the boring beetles and slit the stem of the zukes in half. Couldn't find the beetle's grub, but I buried the stem and the zukes are doing much better. Hopefully I can stay ahead of the boring beetles this year. Hope springs anew :)
I'm trying the stake-and-weave method this year for the tomatoes. So far so good. My first year I tried tomato cages, and they outgrew the cages and I ended up needing to stake them. Second year I just staked them, figuring that's what I ended up doing the year before, and they slid down the poles. Third year I tried letting them sprawl, being told they produce more. They may produce more, but I lost more than the extra to slugs, rabbits, and wilt. Hopefully I find my niche with the stake-and-weave method.
Jul 5, 2011 | 3:55 PM PST
That's it, I'm done growing any kind of squash for two years. The boring beetles got into my zukes. I slit the stem open but didn't see any grubs. I buried the stem so it'll re-grow. Next year I'm doing only pest-free veggies. So that leaves just hot peppers, right?
I saw a squash bug in the zucchini. I dropped an atom-bomb on the garden. There is no way that squash bug is going to have a chance to eat my zukes or make babies, now.
I have to admit, I used Sevin, but I finished off the bottle and will go back to organic gardening now. I felt I needed to get back down to a base-line after I did so many things wrong the past few years, which attracted the pests. I've been using Sevin about once a week, maybe a little less, but now I'm done. Garlic-Cayenne soap shield once a week, from now on. I truly hope I don't have to use any more atom bombs.
I read in Organic Gardening magazine to use clover as a ground cover because it fixes nitrogen in the soil. I would recommend using that tactic for transplants, but not seeds. It's been really nice for my transplants because I only have to weed a nightshade here and a thistle there, but I had to clear out the rows for my seeds because the clover is a little too tall.
Another nice thing is the clover is really easy to pull, so if I need to clear a spot, no biggie. The clover that grows wild around here is the lemon clover, so I'm "harvesting" it a little, too, for salads. : )
My husband HATES the fact that the garden doesn't "look" weeded. Oh, well.
I'm thankful for the rain. When it rains, I don't have to use the sprinkler on the vegetable garden while I tote water to the herb garden and the containers for a couple days. The only bad side to rain is weeds. When I use city water, the weeds don't germinate. When it rains, the weeds pop up like crazy!
I read in Organic Gardening Magazine that clover fixes nitrogen and acts as a good ground cover in gardens. This year I'll weed everything but the clover and see how it turns out.
May 19, 2011 | 1:10 PM PST
I accidentally killed my pepper and tomato seedlings when I was hardening them off, so I bought some seedlings. While the seedlings were waiting to be planted, some of the dead ones magically came back to life! Now, there's no way I'm going to waste good plants, so I went ahead and planted them. I don't know how I'm going to walk in the garden this year, but it'll be tasty!