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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reflecting on planting methods

Well here I am with probably too much time on my hands and plenty of time to think. I was thinking today about how our garden did and things I learned and things to do a lil different. Maybe for simplicity sake I will just list them.
First- We planted tomatoes with no intention of staking them. It turned out just as well. We used 19-19-19 fertilizer on them when they were transplanted. Most folks say too much nitrogen will make all plant and no fruit. But with dense foliage on the plants it did prevent sun scald on the tomatoes. Thas a plus. If you are to have fruit you must first have a sturdy healthy plant. We transplanted as soon as we could get the ground dry enough to get in and for most people it was early and the plants made good deep strong roots to withstand dry spells. So I will do the same with tomatoes next time. Again we don't mulch or stake our plants. Might be a lil tough picking them sometimes but I had plenty of tomatoes. In fall in our area most tomatoes will produce more bloom and fruit, albeit small, once the weather starts to cool at night. So if you have a light crop, don't pull the plants. You might still get a few more later in fall.
Second-Potatoes need well drained soil that is slightly acidic. So wont be liming the area where taters are to be planted. We also used the 19-19-19 fertilizer on the taters. One section of the tater rows this year had all rotten taters. As we were digging I did notice that the soil had a different feel to it. It was heavier and had more moisture, thus the taters rotted. The best method for controlling Colorado potato beetles is the mash them with your fingers every 3 or 4 days till the plants are big enough they wont suffer damage. When our tater plants were too big to effectively be able to find the tater bugs then I sprayed with a bug poison. Success, we had a great tater crop for a change.
Third- Weed control is a must in a damp season. We let the weeds get ahead of us this year and with the rain we did have and all the weeds held too much moisture around the peppers and blight got those. Garden plants need air circulation or it does create a breeding ground for nasty disease.
Fourth- If you plant pole beans, stick the dang things. We planted some running beans and for some reason we never got the stakes put in for them to climb on and they crawled on the ground. Then add the morning glory and weed problem and the beans were losty in the all the mess. I prefer bush beans anyway. Personally prefer the Ky Wonder bush bean, good tender bean that fills out nicely and no strings to deal with.
Fifth- Watermelons need heat and light to ripen well and be sweet. It wont happen if they get over grown with morning glories and weeds either. I will be saving my coffee cans this next year. When I plant melons and they bloom and start making melons, I intend to fruit prune the plants and also cut the ends off the vines so each vine has no more than 2 melons. Each melon then will be elevated up on one of the empty coffee cans so it can do its thing. Our plan for melons, cushaws, and pumpkins next year is to put down black plastic and make a hole where ya want a plant so weeds cant take over and the melons will have the heat they need. Although in the weeds the cantaloupes did really well. We have eaten the last of those and now wait on the watermelons. Once the vines die back the cushaws will be ready to harvest and store. That is when the skins are mature on them and they will keep all winter in the cellar.Same with butternut squash.
Sixth- Cukes and peas must be trellised or ya never find them to harvest. Peas are really hard to see on the vines on a good day and add to that them laying on the ground. May as well not plant them. This we have learned. Cukes are the same way. You always miss a few and they turn yellow and ripen on the plant so the plant stops producing because it has accomplished its mission of making seeds and reproducing. That is the goal of all plants to reproduce and make seed, once that is done the plant is pretty much done too. So it is best to harvest ripe fruits as they are ready to keep the plants producing.
Seventh- If you raise heirloom varieties in your garden, by all means save your own seed. They will do better as time goes on as they will be acclimated to your soil conditions. As I was growing up we saved a lot of our own seeds and found this to be true. We have saved a lot of seeds this year from our garden so we wont need to buy seeds next year.
Hope this lil bit of info helps someone along the way. Just like to share things I have learned here at the school of hard knocks. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.



doubletrouble said...

Thanks Stella, good info.
God Bless.

The Apple Pie Gal said...

Dagnabbit! My cuke had one lurking in the asparagus and it was yellow! I did not know that about them...I will be more careful from now on.