Too Early To Plant The Garden?
Hope not! I just did, and it's probably the second time ever that I got it done before June. I know, most of the seed packets say to wait til May or even June in Colorado. But look! I have a garden that's already bustling with salad that was planted last year!
I'm stubborn about this. This is the umpteenth year I have done this. Every year, it starts out great. By year's end, I have corn, watermelons, and other things that are too tiny to eat.
I've read about container gardening, but again, I'm stubborn, and I believe it should go into the ground.
Here's what I've been doing differently so as to have an actual harvest this year:
Last year, I skipped the tiller. I grabbed a spade and dug more than 2' into the ground anywhere I wanted to plant. Probably one of the best workouts I've had in my life. Filling the trenches back up, I mixed in horse manure, which you can get for free on Craigslist. (Goat, sheep, and chicken poop work at least as well.)
This year, I used the "garden weasel" where I want my food to grow... simply planted the seeds, then fertilized over it with Iron Rich (about $10 for a huge bag at garden supply stores,) which is simply chicken dung that's dried for a slow release of nitrogen.
In the past, I've set up a sprinkler and tried to remember to turn it on once or twice a day, with no real attention to how much water is actually getting to the roots of the plants. As you see in the large picture above, I have now opted to invest in a soaker hose kit ($25 at Home Depot for a 100' roll,) and a timer for it ($30, and attaches right to the hose bib on your house.) Now, we're using a fraction of the water as with a sprinkler, and we're getting it right to the roots.
Bath Landscape has advised that roughly 1/2 gallon of water every other day is sufficient, which usually equates to 30 minutes of watering for that half gallon. Once we're back to that blistering heat of 90 or so every day, I'm told to up that to a full gallon every other day (or maybe half but every day?)
To get the water to the garden, I simply buried a garden hose from the house to the garden, where it connects to the drip line. In the fall, I'll blow that out with my sprinklers so it's good to go next year, too!
After losing every strawberry and almost everything else to rabbits and squirrels, we learned to put plastic forks around those plants. Last year, we noticed a dramatic improvement!
What gardening techniques work super well for you? I'd love to know! I just won't give up on this, because it's too fun trying.
And, when it comes to the yard: