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Sunday, May 19, 2013
One of the first gardening decisions of the year.Posted Thursday, January 3, 2013, at 8:20 AM
I was planning some programs for our upcoming season of garden club meetings when I realized there were some key decisions one has to make before the seeds are ever planted and the garden prepared. (if you did not do it this fall)
The first one is pretty simple, are you going to grow a garden this year? That may not be as simple as you might think. The will might be there, but the time, energy and physical ability might not.
If you love working with your plants, but are short on time, energy, space or the physical ability to work a standard garden, consider container gardening. Get creative and you will find that containers can be a wide variety of things.
I am using an old wringer washing machine and a claw foot tub. Old tires can make some good raised beds but they can really get hot and dry if you do not paint them, or shade them in some fashion.
Someone mentioned old watering troughs, bowls, tubs, jugs, blocks, ..... you name it. If it can hold soil, you have yourself a container garden.
Of course, the container will often dictate the plants you grow in it. Unless it will be a water garden, you will probably need drainage and the depth of soil will give you an idea what type of plants will do well in them. Corn won't do well in 4" of soil, but a bonsai plant might or miniature cactus, African violets, some herbs, etc.
So the second question is what type of gardening will you be able to do and that leads you to the third big question. Based on the way I am going to garden, the available sunlight and size of the garden, what am I going to grow?
Well, what do you like? Flowers, herbs, vegetables, greenery, and will they be for one year (annuals, two years (biennial) or many years (perennial)?
If you have been gardening for years, many of these questions will have been answered long ago so you might be deciding what different plants will you grow this year? A new tomato, flowers, heirloom plants that you intend to save seed, ....what?
Seed catalogs are flowing in so now is a great time to dream, plan and order. Anyone care to share what they are thinking about?
I have to restock my edamame (soybeans) and am looking at some new herbs. New wildflower selections are in my future too since I plowed in most of them this past fall.
Some volunteers will hang in there (I'm counting on it) but I want to try some prairie selections that can handle hot and dry summers, 'cause I am planning on that as well.
Blueberries and figs have expanded into one area of garden and I am contemplating trying my hand at raspberries and maybe boysenberries. Anyone have experience with them in this area? What do you suggest?
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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter and live on a farm outside of Bell Buckle. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.
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