Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Excitement of a New Garden and the disappointment of WEEDS!!

This is the time of year that we all get very excited about raising our own food and our mind's eye sees bountiful produce both on the table and in the cupboard.  But as you know lots of good practices need to take place between now and then to make that dream a reality.  The first thing we need to start with is working the soil. Key to this step is not working the garden when it is too wet.  Check this by grabbing a hand full of soil, squeezing it together and then drop it from your waist.  If the ball breaks apart on impact with the ground then you are good to go with final tillage.  Fertilization should take place at this point to get the fertilize in the root zone where the plants need it most.  Assuming you have done all the planning this winter and you already know what you are planting and where; it is time to begin.  As you and I know the challenges of a good garden are about to begin.  This is the stage of gardening when mother nature wants to test our commitment to the project by throwing every weed she has at us in that initial flush.  The trick here is to not be a hero  but be proactive.  In other words work very hard in the beginning of the season to control weeds by hoeing daily versus weekly.  Use one of the many scuffle hoes on the market to shallow cultivate and remove the weeds.  Scuffle hoes work by moving across the soil surface to cut the germinating weed seeds.  Shallow cultivation is the key to a weedless garden for a longer period of time.  By not bringing more weed seeds to the surface to germinate we can limit their intimidation.  Water only the area that needs watering so that we don't contribute to rogue germination.  Stay vigilant my friends or the weeds will win.  For more information on Home Vegetable Gardening click this link.