Thursday, March 6, 2008

Gardening 101

I have put together a few things for those interested in having a home garden. It is by no means a set in stone article. It is just a farmer's daughter writing out some helpful tips for those not familiar in this area. Happy gardening!
  • Plant you garden at the correct time of the year. We always have a late freeze here in north central Alabama around the end of March or the first of April. Not all plants need to be set out at the same time. Some require longer germination periods than others.
  • Make sure your plot is exposed to full sun.
  • Test your soil for lime and fertilizer needs. usually this only needs to be done every 3 years. For most vegetables soil pH should be 6.0-6.5. Long season crops like tomatoes, peppers and okra require more fertilizer than short term crops like squash. Make sure to get the fertilizer under the plants, as it will burn your foliage up.
  • If you are planting seeds and transplanting, use only the healthy, stocky plants. Always water transplants to settle soil around the roots.
  • To control weeds we use an industrial grade plastic mulch. Chemical weedkillers (herbicides) are not recommended for home gardens. They more so than not will also kill what you have planted.
  • Water is essential for a top notch garden. Use light, frequent watering/irrigation early of a morning. Watering mid day will burn up your plants. Watering late evening will actually spread certain foliage diseases.
  • To maintain control of diseases rotate your garden area from year to year. Always use clean, fresh seeds (if planting them directly into the ground) or healthy plants. Plant early, this helps avoid many insects. Another key factor is to plow under old crop debris from last season. Chemical fungicides have proven to me to give more control over leaf diseases of tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and melons.
  • For a successful garden insects must be controlled also. We use insecticides for this purpose. Please keep in mind we farm on a large scale and these are the things that most efficient for us. We are under strict guidelines by the FDA and USDA. Such as, we are not permitted to use chemicals withing a two week harvest time. When using any chemicals always follow the directions on the label to the T!
  • When harvesting your bounty remember supply and demand. If you stop harvesting, your supply will be non existent. We prefer to harvest in early morning before the produce has the chance to absorb the full heat from the sun. Vegetables' shelf life are extended by doing this. Also, make sure your vegetables are mature before picking. You will get more bang for your buck so to speak. If you are going to be away for a few days get a neighbor to keep your garden picked. If you tire or just have surplus remember to can and freeze for those months that are long and cold and no gardens are to be found.

My goal in writing this is to help those out that are interested in gardening. This is by no means a have to do it any certain way plan.

May your gardening adventures be blessed!!!!!!! Blessings!!!!!


Mrs. Darling said...

Ah this makes me want to get the garden tilled. Im worried I wont be able to do as much this year because of my back! I cant wait until Peter is old enough to take over in the garden department!

Nico said...

Great tips Marva!!! How I wish we lived closer, and you could help me out with my garden.

Mimi said...

Great tips! thanks, Marva.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much Marva! All your tips are very welcome =) This is my second time planting tomatoes, I have a very small yard but it's so wonderful to witness the miracle of growing big plants and tomatoes from one tiny seed... I can't wait to do it again.

Marva said...

Hope you are feeling up to par soon Mrs. D! Peter will be a great helper!!!! blessings!

Marva said...

Me too nico. You could sew and I would garden. Great swap if you ask me!!!! ;)

Marva said...

Thanks Mimi! Blessings!!!

Marva said...

Blessings on your planting Elizabeth. I'm sure it will be great. Keep us posted! Blessings!!!