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Kyle’s News and Reviews

Proper Gardening Starts With Planning


The weather over the last week has been really nice and has me beginning to think of gardening already.  I have started to plan for the year – what I will be planting and where in the garden it will be planted.  Planning is one step of gardening that often gets overlooked by a lot of people and the result is usually out of control weeds and a lot of waste at harvest time.  When we talk about planning in the garden there are many things to consider like varieties, spacing, fertilization, water, weed control and insect control. 

I always start my planning by deciding what seeds and varieties that I would like to grow and laying out on paper where in the garden I want them to go.  A good idea is to sketch out on paper the layout of your garden spot this can be as simple or as fancy as you would like it. Once you have a layout of your garden, you can decide which plants will grow best where and make sure you have enough spacing for them. 

Probably the most important step of this whole process is to get your soil tested to check pH and nutrient levels in your soil.  If the soil sample calls for liming the sooner is the better for applying lime.  I like to apply half of the required fertilizer pre-plant incorporated into my garden, but my garden is different from most because I use drip irrigation to water and also inject fertilize through my drip system.

Another consideration is using direct seeding, growing your own seedlings and transplanting, or buying seedlings from local seed stores.  All of these options will work and I am sure most of you know what can be seeded easily or what is better to buy as a seedling.  Just keep in mind that transplants will require water from day one.   

For those of you that water your gardens with overhead water or sprinklers, I would encourage you to look into drip or soaker hoses for your irrigation needs.  This method is much better for the plants and also conserves water.  In my mind drip irrigation on tomatoes is the only way to do it. When operating properly drip delivers even water over the entire plant bed.  I use drip tape in my garden, which is generally not re-useable but there are some drip options that are re-useable from year to year. 

I am a big supporter of less chemical usage on edible crops but I also realize that as busy as I am and as little time as I have to work in the garden, I need all of the help that I can get.  I generally will get my ground worked up and depending on the crop, will apply a pre-emerge herbicide to help with weed control.  Another option that some people use is to get the garden ready as soon as possible and then let the weeds begin to start growing then spray everything with roundup.  Of course the alternative to chemical weed control is constant tilling and hoeing.  Also some people just ignore weeds altogether which expose the vegetable plants to more insect pressure generally. 

I use insecticides and fungicides in my garden as a last resort.  I scout my crops every day and watch for signs of insects.  I generally use pyrethroids for insect control but will alternate if I have to spray on consecutive weeks.  For those of you that wonder why rotation of chemicals is important the answer is to limit the insects ability to become resistant to chemicals.  

The Yalobusha County Forestry Association will host a meeting on Thursday February 23 at 6 p.m. at the Multi-Purpose Building in Coffeeville. The program will be given by attorney Daniel Martin from Water Valley on estate planning.  There will be a meal provided for this event and non-members will be asked to pay $10 for the meal.    

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