My Secret Garden

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rules, Tips, Tricks Post 1

Rule #1
ONLY buy seeds or plants for vegetables and fruit you and your family will eat! This seemed like a no-brainer to me when I first read it, but now that I've caught the seed shopping bug, I really have to remind myself from time to time. When those seed catalogs start coming in with all those full color pictures of food you never even knew existed, let alone something you could grow.... Let's just say it can make your head spin and the next thing you know you have some kind of vegetable or fruit in your shopping cart and you know there's no way anyone in your family will touch it not even you, and then you realize even if a packet of seeds is only $2 that's $2 you could spend on something you will eat and besides your garden space is not endless.... You know 'cause I've heard this can happen to people...

which brings us to

Rule #2

Know how big your garden is and how much space that teeny tiny little seed will take up later on. when you're holding those tiny little seeds or the slightly bigger but still small by comparison transplants it's hard to imagine the 4 foot square plant it's going to be.  Planting too close together not only robs your plants of the nutrients they need to grow, but also can cause disease to wipe out your entire garden. Plants need room to grow and breathe. I use a site called Garden Planner it's perfect especially if you have no idea how far apart to plant your plants. Here's a picture of my garden from last year.

My original plan
My end result!

Rule #3 
Be aware of how much time you have to dedicate to your garden. Obviously, the larger the garden the more work involved. But it seems the work grows exponentially as the size grows. At the height of my gardening last summer, I was weeding 2-3 hours per day.

For heirloom seeds, I prefer Baker Creek Seed Co. they specialize in heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers. Heirloom seeds are open pollinated which means you can save them and plant seeds you harvest from the vegetables and flowers you grow. Open pollinated seeds are also generally cheaper.

If I'm looking for all types, organic, hybrids and heirlooms or fruit plants in the same order I prefer Burpee Seeds. Burpee are also sold in Lowe's and Home Depot.

For organic seeds I prefer, Seeds of Change which I was pleased to see offered in limited selection at my local Lowe's store. Seeds of Change Seeds are more expensive than either of the other two, but I've tried 3 types of corn and scarlet runner beans from them.  I've had 100% germination and beautiful prolithic plants.

Whenever I can I try to patronize my local Feed and Seed store. You should be able to Google "Feed and Seed" if buying locally is something you value.  Besides supporting your community, the knowledge at the three stores I patronize is invaluable. The store closest to my house has a guy who specializes in organic vegetable gardening and especially pest and disease control in the organic garden. He has been an invaluable resource.

I'm always looking for ways to re use in the garden.  This may be my favorite!

Milk jug greenhouse 

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