If you want to have a garden, no matter how big, this show is for you!!
Emily, an experienced Gardener from Mississippi, gives a fabulous lesson on starting, maintaining, and harvesting from your garden.
I have very little experience with all of this, but after doing this interview with her I feel SO confident that I can do it. Well, atleast try….who knows how much will grow?
Below are some of Emily and Mark’s notes for you to review when the time comes to plant your own garden: Basic Tools Needed, Tilling, Making Rows, Planting, Harvesting, Weed Control, and Bugs!
Basic Tools Needed: For a teeny little garden, a hoe will go a long way, but if you’re going that route, don’t forget a sunhat & gloves, b/c you’ll be spending LOTS of time out in the garden! For a good sized garden (Mark says really for ANY garden), a tiller is almost a must-have item. Walk-behind tillers come in a big variety of sizes & prices. Lehman’s even has a manual one that my husband thinks is so neat! Aside from the hoe and/or tiller, it’s also great to have a hand-held pump sprayer, and a hand spreader, for fertilizer. My personal favorite “tool” is my husband and his Case tractor and disc! Amazing time saver!
Till: Till plot of land using walk-behind tiller, tractor w/ disc, or for very small plots, a hoe.
Fertilize the Soil: After garden plot is tilled, spread fertilizer. Other optional additions are lime (helps activate fertilizer) and a granulated herbicide for grass control. We use 8-8-8 for fertilizer. All these can be found at your local co-op, feed store, or nursery. You’ll now re-till the plot, to “mix” the fertilizer. For organic gardening, use a compost that you have made up yourself.
Making Rows: There are several ways to make your rows. The first is to just let the second tilling make the rows for you. Or, there is a plow attachment that fits on the tiller that you can use. This will make a taller bed, which will hold more moisture. And the third is to hoe. For a large plot, this is a huge amount of work. For a decent size garden, a tiller is really a must. (Check out Lehman’s).
Planting: There are a few different ways you’ll plant your garden. Some vegetables come in seeds, while others are already in plants. These can all be purchased at co-ops, feed stores, nursery’s or even Wal-Mart.
Trench: Using the pointed tip of a hoe, make a 1-11/2” deep trench down the middle of entire row. Sprinkle seeds by hand into the trench. Cover seeds lightly. This method is used for: Carrots, corn, peas, butter beans, and okra…
Holes for plants: For plants, such as tomatoes, bell & other peppers, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, & brussel sprouts, you’ll need to dig a hole deep enough to cover the root system of the plant. Then cover it, with leaves remaining above ground. *We fill our holes w/ water before dropping the plant in. The plants will need to be about 3 feet apart. (Bulbs will be done generally the same, but will need less spacing).
Three-seed holes: Some seeds, such as squash, zucchini, cucumbers & melons, need to be planted individually, in much the same way as the plants. This is actually fun, and is great for the kids: You make a small hole 1- 1 ½” deep and simply drop three seeds into each hole, then cover lightly (don’t pack). Like the plants, these will be done about 3 feet apart.
Pray for Rain & Watch it Grow!
Harvesting: Basically, you pick it when it looks done! For underground veggies, like carrots, you’ll one up here & there to test. The main thing is not to let your veggies be too long on the vine, and get too big. You’ll know by looking when things are ripe & ready to be picked.
Weed Control: There are several different things you can do for weed control, depending on your abilities & preferences: One is a spray herbicide, sprayed with a hand-held pump sprayer. Another is to till the rows until there is no room (plants get too big), and then use the hoe. Lastly, you can always remove weeds & grass with a hoe & your hands.
What about Bugs? We use a bug spray periodically as the garden grows. Obviously, we won’t be classified as Organic! You can study up on what plants and/or flowers to plant with your garden to help control bugs if you’re set on organic…or as Mark says, you can stand out there & swat! He sprays!
After the Harvest: After your garden is done, just till it and leave it for next year. There are a few options here. One is to just till it. Another is to till it with the lime on it. If this is done, there will be no need to add lime next spring. Lastly, you can plant a winter grass. When spring comes, just turn the grass over (till) for a rich soil.
Other Need-to-Know Facts:
Most people start their gardens shortly after Good Friday. This is not a hard & fast rule, mostly just tradition.
Some vegetables are planted a bit earlier than the rest, as they tend to not need or want such extreme heat: broccoli, cabbage, onions, cauliflower, green (sweet) peas. We also plant our corn earlier, to give it ample growing time before the extreme heat sets in.
You can plant in intervals if you wish to stagger and/or prolong your harvest. For example: We plant 24 rows of purple hull peas. But, we only plant 8 rows at a time, waiting 10-14 days before planting the next 8 rows. You can do this with most veggies, but you do run a risk later in the season of the weather (and thus your harvest) being less than optimal.
Don’t forget that tomatoes need to be staked up as they grow.
Go Have Fun!!!!
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