Tips and Tricks
By Farmer Jimmy Deaton
Tips and Tricks
I thought this month we would focus on some of the tips and tricks that I use around the garden to make life a little bit easier and also lend a hand on getting massive plants.
For a majority of vegetables I take 1 gallon nursery pots and cut the bottoms off. I usually cut them so they are about 6 inches tall and I insert them into the ground about 2 inches with the plant in the middle. This acts as a reservoir when watering your plants. I always keep about an inch of compost inside the pot so when I water, the plants get a small amount of feed as the water soaks its way through the compost down to the roots. The other nice thing about using these is the water gets down deep to the roots and not going everywhere else like when you normally water. If you don’t have access to the nursery containers you can use 2 liter soda bottles, milk jugs, basically anything that will hold water and allow both ends to be opened.
In the melon/squash/zucchini patch I also insert a stake/stick that is about 2 feet tall with a piece of cloth attached to the top end into the pot as well. This allows me to find the pot without having to search through a pile of vines and leaves which can be a pain.
Speaking of squash and zucchini, I’m sure everyone here who has ever grown it has been hit at one time or another with the
squash vine borer. They bore into the stem close to the ground. It will look like sawdust and the stem will appear chewed up. A perfect no mess, NO insecticide way of stopping them is to wrap aluminum foil around the stem from the ground up to the first set of leaves. They cannot chew threw the foil and will go to your neighbor’s yard to dine on their plants unless you gave them this tip as well……..Shhhhh…………some things just need to be kept under wraps. Save your zucchini’s not theirs 😉
Getting massive plants like we grow each year is not hard. I’m sure by now you’ve been following our sage advice (no pun intended) and are now ready to become a Jedi gardener. Well here’s how we get the results we get:
AMEND your soil with lots of compost/humus. Whether it’s grass clippings, leaf mold/compost, aged manure, you need to build that soil into being as healthy as can be. And remember the deeper the bed is the more room your roots have to roam. I add greensand to my beds as well. This brings in a boatload of micro nutrients, trace minerals, etc. that, more than likely, are missing from your garden,
When I plant my vegetables I try to add some rock phosphate to each hole with a shovel full of compost. If no rock phosphate is available then about 2 tablespoons of bone meal as a substitute. This is great for the roots and the plants will just take off in a dramatic way. I also plant my tomatoes deep. Strip off the bottom branches and bury the plant so you have maybe 3-4 inches sticking above the soil. Trust me on this, that plant will produce roots among the buried stem and you’ll have an even bigger root ball which means bigger plants and a bigger harvest.
I top dress all vegetable plants that fruit a.k.a. tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, etc. with tomato-tone the first of each month. Work about 2-3 tablespoons into the top inch or two around the plant or in my case into the plastic sleeve around each plant and give them a good soaking.
On day 7 and 21, I take 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and spray my pepper and tomato plants. This helps bring in the much needed magnesium the plants need when setting flowers and fruit and also helps the plants from dropping blossoms.
On day 14, I use unsulfured molasses at 1/4 cup to a gallon of water and use it to increase the microbiological activity of good bacteria in my soil. Make sure that you use unsulfured and not regular molasses. Regular molasses is to acidic and can harm your plants. Just mix and feed the soil around the plants. Your plants will be so healthy and green since the sugars are feeding the micro-herd which in turn feed your plants. It’s a win-win situation.
On day 14, I also foliar feed my plants with Neptunes Harvest fish and seaweed. It’s 2 tablespoons to a gallon of water. Spray your plants good-especially the underside of the leaves.
If you have berries/grapes and the birds are going after them, droop a lace curtain over your plants or pick up some bird netting from your independent garden center to use.
When watering plants/grass in the summer months ALWAYS run the hose for a minute or 2 away from the plants. You’d be surprised how hot the water is the first minute and you can severely damage a plant with it. I actually killed a Japanese maple about a month after I bought it by not paying attention and burned the roots up with the hot water that was in the hose.
I’m sure others have some tips and tricks. Go online to the article and leave some of them in the comments or send me an email to my attention at firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s help each other out folks
Have a good one!!