Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Lessons from the Garden

Edited to add pics: The pink cornsilk I mention....

As opposed to the "dressed for daytime" cornsilk on most of the other plants...

The pink dandelion leaves next to some green ones. WEIRD HUH?

HI! A little teeny bit of gardening wisdom I'd like to impart...

The summer is over (yes, it's true, sorry to disappoint those who were not paying attention).

And I've pretty much pulled up the little garden except for the corn (still hoping we may get one edible ear off those plants) and the cabbage (which is doing fabulously well with no help from me, just waiting for the heads to get bigger and up they'll come).

So... while I was out there over the past few weeks, in my old flannel shirt and rippy jeans, I was thinking of all the things my garden has taught me this year. Keep in mind, it is only my second year of gardening, and I spent more time in it then reading or researching about it, so I did learn a lot of "practical knowledge" as I went. I also found the more time I spent online looking up gardening advice, the less I was actually gardening! So I just went out and winged it (wang it? wung it??) most of the time. It may not all be right or correct for every area, but it works for me.

Therefore, here, to the best of my swiss-cheese memory, is the best of the wisdom my little plot has shared with me this harvest year. I think of it as a little Gardening for Dummies guide that I'll refer back to next year!

Here goes:

<> Peas and beans and radishes grow faster than turnips, cabbage, carrots and corn... root vegetables and fall vegetables in other words... So next time I'll plant these summer things on one side of the garden, and keep the fall veggies over on the other side. Less stomping around and disturbing them that way.

<> Cucumbers need a LOT of room to climb and spread out. Next year, the fencing for them to crawl up needs to be a lot taller. Maybe even vertical.

<> Corn does better when planted in triangles (threes), and mine were planted all in one row. Only learned this after they were 5 feet tall. Oops.

<> Sometimes cornsilk is bright pink. Sometimes dandelions are bright pink. *Nope, I do not live near any nuclear power plants. *

<> I should have planted everything earlier. I waited until end of June. Next year, May 15 to June 1, definitely.... even though I'll be freezing my butt off up here.

<> EARWIGS LIKE CORNCOBS. A LOT. **shudder** Careful when you peel them down to check... and shake them all out BEFORE you go in the house.

<> I don't know what the little tiny gray globs in my cabbage outer leaves are, still need to look that up. I'm guessing caterpillar poop. Or alien poop.

<> Rows in general need to be wider next year... so I'm not turning sideways to shimmy between the corn and the cucumber patch, praying that an earwig doesn't fall on my sleeve.

<> Kids will help in the garden. They like it. It's fun. Don't mention anything about the earwigs.

<> If your tomato plants get a disease, you need to pull them right out and get them far away from the rest of the garden. That shit is airborne.

<> If you do like I did and mark all your rows in Sharpie Markers on plastic tabs, good luck to you. Mine washed away with the first rain, leaving me with "mystery crops". Someone let me know if you have a better way, please.

<> A few radishes, if left in the ground after the others are ripe and ready, will crack and look awful and grow pretty tall flowers... but they'll make more radishes deep, deep underground.

<> Keep your eyes open and your wits about you (aka don't be upside down for too long). I was bent over pulling weeds and jumped out of my skin at the gigantic brown animal directly behind me... saw him from the corner of my eye and thought I had a(nother) moose in my yard... but after my hysteria it just turned out the be the chocolate lab from next door.

<> If your hose is old and busts, don't panic. Cut the darn thing off and put your thumb over the end. It sprays just as well as an attachment.

<> And when all is done, and your plants have all withered, pull them up and lay them all down over your garden plot... then lay a bed of dried leaves from your yard over top of them. It puts the garden to bed for the winter and the leaves contain a lot of nutrients that melt into your soil for next year. Simple way to fertilize, compost, and recycle all at the same time. Turn it all over in the spring and work it in.

Happy Fall. It's my favorite season. I'm going to the neurologist later today for my test results. Will keep you posted, friends.




Walking on Sunshine... said...

That was fun! Any ideas to keeping the moles out of my garden that is completely fenced in!! I'm not talking the big ones. I thought these were mice at first. Awful little buggers. I wouldn't weed my garden at all.

Enjoy your day!

Jade said...

If you plant from seeds, and use all the seeds up... use the seed packet as your row or area marker for that plant (staple it or krazy glue it to one of those plastic garden markers) It'll break down over time, but last long enough for the plants to come up, generally speaking.

When I plant from nursery starts, I use the little plant marker that came with the plant.

For cucumbers... I highly recommend a vertical wall for them to climb. You've seen pics of mind - they look like volleyball nets... those worked great the year that I had enough heat to grown cukes (the vines reached all the way to the top of the wall... so 5 feet!)

Walking on Sunshine... when my Mother In Law had dogs, she used to take the dog droppings (to put it politely) and shove it in the mole holes to try and drive them out of her garden. Though... she had flower beds, not vegetables... I'm not sure she would have done the same thing if she were growing plants for the purpose of eating them. I'm not sure if steer manure would have the same effect or not.

PeppyPilotGirl said...

Earwigs do like corncobs. In fact, I'd go so far as to say they love them. Earwigs are also among the creepiest "everyday" bugs there are. SHUDDER!

What in heck is in your soil that produces bright pink corn silk and dandelions?? Secondly, do you have pictures? That, I'd love to see.

Good info on the mulching, thanks!, and ITA re: the hose. Been there, done that - works pretty damn well though one's thumb gets tired and cold after a while!

Keep us posted on the neurologist, please. ((((SMT))))

PEA said...

Well I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who wrote what kind of flowers I planted on a plastic stake with a sharpie and it all washed off with the first rain! lol

Gawwwwddddd I hate those earwigs with a passion. They're everywhere but to tell you the truth, I never found any in the veggie garden...I guess because we don't grow corn? We do battle with potato bugs, blight, etc., though, and it seems to be a never ending battle!

I pulled out my beets today so will be pickling them tomorrow. Only a few carrots left and that's it, the garden will them be completely empty. We didn't plant until the end of June and then the weather was so chitty, we didn't think we'd have anything growing but it actually produced pretty well!

Hope your week is going well:-) xoxo

~Macarena~ said...

Alien poop! Plant more corn so they can leave you a message. A different kind of message. "mystery crops": I bet your girls would love to draw you a treasure map you could keep indoors and put in a sandwich bag to protect it when outdoors. I love that you didn't buy a new hose. I got a catalogue that includes a contraption for growing tomatoes upside down, hanging on your porch. Weird!