Gardening Planning & Mistakes

Gardening with Jannie Vaught

Garden planning and mistakes are all tools for learning and growing. Over the years we learn as gardeners. We work on getting our soil healthy with so many ways it becomes a full-time job learning what and how. Let’s get back to some basic garden principles. Where do you live and where are you planning on placing your garden or have already paced your garden plot? First, find your growing zone. USDA Plant hardiness zone map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into10-degree F zones. Go to USDA Plant Hardiness zone map. planthardeiness.ars.usda.gov/. Vegetable gardening growing charts, Garden planning guides, Are all abundant to have fee online. And your seed company will have the zones on the seed information. Use the back of the seed package for light needs, spacing and when to plant in the ground. Remember the magic number is 60 degrees soil temperature taken mid-morning 4 inches deep with a reasonably good thermometer, for at least a week. Or local Agriculture office has growing charts available. Many seed catalogs have growing charts and zones in their catalogs. I strongly recommend a garden journal to keep your notes and dates and drawing of your garden and trees from year to ear. I also have homemade chalkboards over my garden bench to be used for watering times and feeding. Be patient and observe the sun at all the seasons. Where and when it rises. You want to try and line your rows north to south for maximum sun and also shading. Plant the smaller or lower growing plants in the front or north side then medium tall plants then the tall plants like tomatoes in cages and peppers then bean trellises in the southern end. Keeping sun-loving plants in full sun and maybe those who like some shade in between the tall rows. I personally have tried every direction and have had some good and not so good results. It is always live and learn and try again.  The last frost date is another important date to add to the list. First and Last frost date for zone 8. The first frost is November 15, Last frost date is March 15 so the chart says. I write this in Big Bold letters in my garden journal. If you are wanting to start tomatoes inside and want them for planting after the last frost date. Start tomato, lettuce and pepper seeds 6 weeks before your last frost date. Start in mid-February. You can prepare your onion plot go in 4 to 6 weeks before your last estimated spring frost this makes it mid-February or at least 20-degree soil temperature. Using onion sets which are last years bulbs which come with no green top and are either white yellow or red, usually, no variety is given or with onion starts which are harvested now and will hold when kept cool and not placed in water or soil till ready to plant. They are available now in our LLano Feed and Supply store. I have started early and had some slow or loss so again use your thermometer and watch the frost. Also, potatoes are coming in soon. The three listed are the only ones I start inside. Remember we have a long hot growing season with plenty of time to get seeds in the ground. We have 238 frost free days. I prefer to start on the later side as I have lost so many starts by starting too early and they get too tall and leggy or I get anxious and setting out to soon and have slow or lost starts. It seems seasoned gardener all have their own most excellent way they grow. Remember these are basic guidelines. Not hard and fast rules. Because in gardening there is the one thing that a guide can’t tell you. It is your own intuition and good old common sense. And some really great neighbors who are more than willing to help with all the experience they too have acquired. I’m out prepping the soil again today. Hope your growing green too, Jannie

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