The Best Laid Plans  

“Got no checkbooks, got no banks, still I’d like to express my thanks…

I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night….”

~Irving Berlin, “I got the sun in the morning,” 1946

 The sun in the morning, the moon at night and, if we’re lucky, some occasional rain. You don’t need a checkbook or a bank for these things but they are the most positive things we can have to grow a successful garden. The rest is all pure fun, good exercise and the end result of providing tasty and healthy food for your family table.

Choose a good location for your- lil’ acre- of land. One that has good drainage, and tillable soil. Be aware of where your sun falls in the morning and your moon at night and give your plants the benefit of the right exposure. Pick your vegetables with care. Tomatoes, peppers and most squashes like lots of sunlight but can’t withstand a heavy frost so place them where you can protect them from frost if you know it’s coming.

Your personal tastes count for the content of your garden. Plant the things you like to eat. If you don’t like onions or broccoli or turnips don’t grow them.  It’s your garden grow what you and your family like to eat. However, the climate and the quality of your soil will have the final word to say regarding the success of your labors. Not one or more of your children who hate spinach.

Another thing you may want to consider is whether or not to grow your garden using strictly organic methods or rely on modern aids using some safe herbicides. Heretofore, strict organic methods shunned the use of anything that was deemed un-natural, but nowadays most growers using these methods have become knowledgeable about modern science and now see the wisdom of merging natural compounds and processes in order to produce a safe ecological result.

Should you fertilize? Absolutely. But, make sure that you follow the directions very carefully. Do it before you plant and again while your plants are growing. Choose from a wide variety of fertilizers depending on the type of plants, the soil type and other biological factors. Too much fertilizer will burn the roots. Your plants can be killed by using the wrong type of fertilizer more often than using none at all.

Water your garden in moderation but not to excess. As I’ve stated above, drainage is important and species vary in the amount of water they need to grow to maturity. Soaker hoses that drip water down to the roots is one of the best methods. They help to keep the leaves dry and lessen the chance of burning and fungus growth. Whatever else you do, have fun and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

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