Happy 2020, Time For Garden Resolutions

By Jannie Vaught

Here are a few of mine:

1. More compost and carbon in the soil.

2. Learn more about starting trees and plants from cuttings.

3. Plant thornless blackberries along fences lines for support.

4. Grow more peppers and okra!

What’s on your garden list?

Incorporating these as the new design unfolds. It is clear to see that my cover crop seeding has taken root and is growing tall. I did mix in mustard as a plant that reduces root-knot nematodes, it is getting along very well. We have had some in our salads and saute greens, with abundance to spare. The time is almost here to do a chop and drop and shallow till to get the mustard and rye under the soil. Here is what I’ve found. That wet green material, once it is cut from the root system, begins its drying and off-gassing immediately. The just cut cover crop needs to go into the soil within 15 minutes. That’s why bigger farms cut and till all at once. Since this is an all at once or 2 fast step operation, have all your tools ready to go. Scythe, or use a mower or weed eater, however you cut it down all clean and sharp. with a tiller or broad fork ready to go. I am a small gardener and find this easier to do a few rows or areas at a time. Then go to the next area. It also makes it easier to pull old plants or weeds as I go. I also amend with finished compost, blood and bone meal, garden sulfur and if there was blossom end rot in the tomatoes, peppers or melons a good dusting of lime will go in to “sweeten” the soil. That’s where a garden journal comes in handy.

If you did not have a soil analysis done consider that every few years addition to good soil practices. The tests you can buy online are good but are a larger general soil and not specific as to when you take samples from various locations on the property. These can be done through your local Agriculture Extension office and sent in. Now onto what the lessons, a few garden years have taught me, expect less rain! And control weeds so the rain or irrigation is on my garden plants. Last year, with help, I brought water lines into the garden with chlorine filters, added some rain barrels with hoses and use Drip Tape and timers, These have made a huge improvement with water going where I want it to go. This year ground row covers are going in. These are placed between the rows held down with wire pins to keep the weeds choked out. They are reusable if you are careful with rolling them out and rolling them up if you move them. For the rows, I going wider with the hills. For better stability for the plants, tall wooden or metal stakes will be placed at 6ft intervals. With cattle panels or Florida weave are going to be used to hold beans, peas and tomatoes up and off the ground where soil fungus can really hurt the plants if water splashes onto the bottom leave. Research Florida weave, it is woven heavy string interwoven through the stakes and the tomatoes, or placed at the bottom of the stake and travel up as the peas and beans grow, capturing the plants as they grow, consider tall posts as these plants will get tall and you don’t want to injure the tips of the plants due to this is where their growth hormone resides. It is the same with sprawling melon or cucumber vines, “Don’t step in the tip”.

Here is gratitude to my last year’s garden, it was abundant and still is.

For 2020, keep learning, keep growing.

Growing Green With Jannie