Thursday, April 2, 2009

Garden Progress

Okay, it's high time to get that nasty post away from the top of my blog, and replace it with some much cuterYesterday the weather was reasonably nice (meaning the wind was "only" 24 miles/hour), so I went to a fun nursery in Greenville. I find the vegetable plants at places like Walmart and Lowes are way too expensive. Especially Bonnie plants. I mean, why should I have to pay for Bonnie to ship their plants all over the country, and pay for fancy containers?

The vegetable plants that I bought are: 4 kinds of tomatoes (including yummy cherry), Bell pepper, Yellow Squash, Zucchini, Cucumber, and Watermelon. I also bought some Green Bean seeds and Sugar Pod Peas (which, after I got home I realized, it's much too later for) I was bummed that they didn't have Broccoli plants, but I guess they are also kind of a cold weather plant.

My approach to my garden layout is a lot different than last year. Last year, I tilled a large portion of my fenced-in garden area, and started just planted everything very spread out. That totally flopped! The weeds quickly too over, and I got discouraged. So this year, I planted everything as close as the instructions allow. The other difference is that last year, I planted all the plants I bought. Problem being: zucchini and squash plants are sold in 9-plant flats. Who needs 9 zucchini plants? Not my family of 5! So I just had to keep telling myself that more isn't always better (when it comes to veggie plants). I ended up with 2 cucumber plants, 3 zucchini plants, and 4 squash plants. If all of those survive, I'll have those coming out my ears.

The next step in my new garden plan, is weed prevention. Thanks Kezia for giving me the idea to use goat soiled hay for the areas between the plants. We have plenty of that! We actually probably have enough of that to cover the whole fenced in area -- I might just do that, so I won't have to mow around the garden. Joe drove his truck to the goat pens and filled up the back. Then, we drove it down to the garden area, and shoveled it into a wheelbarrow. From there, I spread it around, about 3"-4" thick. Try to grow through that! weeds!

Oh, another new thing I tried, is something that the lady from the nursery recommended. I explained to her that I was tired of all my plants dying as soon as I plant them in the ground. She told me that wind can be very damaging to little plants. She told me to get some milk jugs, cut the top and bottom off, and then put them around each individual plant. Pepper and Tomato plants have an especially hard time at first, with the wind. How lucky am I, to have a husband that collects random things like milk jugs???? So lucky! I found several jugs around the shop, and also used some metal cans (that I just took the bottom out of). I only had enough for my tomatoes and peppers, but I wish I could have had enough for my squash too. This morning, the squash plants looked a little wilted. I gave them some more water, but I might just go on a jug-hunt, and see if I can't protect those as well.

I still need to plant the watermelon, and decide how I am going to plant my larger tomatoes. I have wanted to try doing "hanging tomatoes", where you plant the tomato plant upside-down in a buck (with a whole in the bottom of the bucket) and hang it from some kind of stand. There wouldn't be as many weeds, ant infestations, or the need to stake up the plant. The only reservations I have about doing that, is that I would have to water them much more frequently, because the water would evaporate much quicker. Also, the lady at the nursery told me that they don't taste as good, as tomatoes that are just planted in the ground.

This is my garden right now. Still needs some work, but I am extremely pleased with the result so far.


Kaitlyn said...

I find all of this so interesting. I love gardens and the like, I've just never even TRIED my hand at anything this green-thumb oriented. Good luck!

Also, incredibly cute picture above. Much improved :)

Nancy Sabina said...

You're garden looks great! I hope it does well for you. I've been testing my gardening skills lately with just flowers. I transplanted some into an ornamental pot and put it in my yard near the sidewalk. They were doing really well until today when it looks like some dog had a sniff or something and totally trampled them! I'm so ticked! At least you don't have to worry about other people's dog's in your garden! (just pigs or goats or cows I guess)

Farmer Joe said...

That pic is classic Ginger. PJs, a princess dress and poop kickin' boots. The pig seems to be a big fan.

wannabee free said...

Hooray Good Work

Will of the hill said...

AWESOME LADY--How exciting--we got another inch of snow this morning--makes me jealous to see your happy soil with little green plants--

You should plant your tomatoes with those tires around them--Radiant heat makes them grow faster ---and reduces weeds--and you are recycling old tires--

Also if you put a liberal amount of FLOUR-(or I have heard corn meal) at the base of the tire--It will keep the ants away from the plants--It works until it gets soaked--but they can't crawl through it cause they sink --

This year I am thinking of building a chicken tractor--as wide as a garden row and maybe 4 feet long--move it once a day and let the "FAT GIRLS" our chickens do the row hoeing for us--we will see --it's just a dream right now--

Have fun --

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