I’ve been asked by several of you if I would share more about what I know about gardening. As my friend Serenity put it, sort of a “Gardening for Dummies” series.
I’m happy to agree to this…as long as you realize that this series is also written by a Dummy. (that wood be me.)
I PROMISE you that my garden grows completely IN SPITE OF ME.
Here are a few things I’ll share with you to start of this series:
- Some years are good years for some crops and some years are not. Whenever I have a poor crop of something, most everyone around me has had a poor year too. If you have a bad crop of something, you don’t need to feel like you failed. (And by all means, don’t give up entirely!) Some years you’ll have so many green beans you’ll be paying others to take them off your hands…some years you’ll barely get enough for everyone in your family to have one bean on their plate at dinner. That’s normal. (Unless I’m the one whose not normal?)
- Worms are good. You want worms in your garden. I have been known to chatter excitedly to the worms I see when I’m digging around in my soil, wishing them a prosperous life of going forth and doing whatever good things God made them to do in my garden. Sometimes I’m tempted to lay my hands pinky on them and pray over them. Worms are good.
- Bugs are bad. I do a different kind of “laying on of the hands” (and feet) when I see them. (I also talk to them, like I talk to the worms, but my words aren’t nearly the same.)
- To help control bugs, if you want to try to have a chemical free garden, like I do….you can try to plant some merigolds here and there when you plant your seeds. Bugs don’t like merigolds…
- Compost is great for your garden (and a great way to use produce waste from your kitchen)…the Happy Housewife has a wonderful tutorial here if you want to learn to start composting.
- Plant your seeds like it says on the package. If it says to plant the seed after the last frost…don’t plant them before the last frost. If it says to plant them four feet apart, plant them four feet apart. You don’t want squash vines working their way into your green beans. Trust me (the dummeee), I should know.
- If you can get your hands of them, heirloom seeds are best. They may not produce as well as hybrid (because hybrids have been genetically modified to produce like crazy), but they are better seeds. I usually have a mix of both in my garden. I’m hoping to work my way toward more heirlooms through the years.
- Don’t plant potatoes beside tomatoes. They are both night shade vegetables (except a tomato is a fruit, but whatever) and for some reason they don’t do well together. As far as I know with the searching I’ve done, there are not others you need to be so careful about.
- You can try starting seeds in the house (for tomatoes, broccoli, etc.), but if you don’t have a good source of light for them they usually get long and spindly very quickly (and non-transplantable). Starting seeds has never worked very well for me so I buy what I can from my 10 year old friend, Hannah, who has started a little “seed starts” business. Her mom has a good set up for her in their house, so Hannah’s already got tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli and other starts going. Yay Hannah…and yay me!
- If you have enough garden space, it’s best to rotate your crops each year since each plant takes something different out of the soil.
This year we’re planting potatoes, peas, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, green beans, corn, spaghetti squash, tomatoes, bell peppers, chili peppers…and maybe another fun thing here or there. Here’s a (lovely) drawing of our garden plans for the year.
I’ll plan to show you all of our seeds and plants as they go into the soil. I’d love to hear any questions you might have that you’d like me to address in this series. Plus share with us here any great gardening tips you know of to get us started on the right foot!