I don’t really want to complain but I AM SORE. It’s a good sore, though. I spent all morning doing one of my favorite things – planting my garden! The rain held off all week (so Matt was able to get compost for me on Wed and till it in that same day) and today is mostly cloudy, which translates to, “Get out there and plant before it rains again and you have to wait another week or two or three or…” Well, you get the idea. It really hasn’t been warm enough to plant anyway, despite the rain, but some of my little seedlings were getting too big for their britches and were begging to be put in the ground.
Here are some photos of my tomatoes and butternut squash just before planting (here are earlier photos – newborn to about 2 weeks old)..they grow up so fast!
So as I was planting, I was trying to think of some tips to share with you all. Here’s what I came up with:
When you’re planting tomatoes, you want to dig a deep hole – put the base of the plant way down there even though your plant may be tallish. Another way to say this is to bury your plant with just its head showing. This will promote good roots. (always remember where you came from!)
Leave plenty of room between your plants. They’re small now and it may look like you’re wasting space, but just like people, your plants will grow. Hopefully, they will grow big and strong and you want to be sure you have some space to walk between plants come harvest time…and watering time. Also, having space between helps decrease the spread of yucky diseases and stuff because the leaves aren’t touching each other. It’s just like when your dear friend is sick and even though you love them, you really just want to stay away from them. You can look on the back of your seed packet for spacing, but I just measure out 2 feet between each plant. Sometimes it’s enough…and sometimes it isn’t.
For keeping your rows straight, you could make a grid with string like I used to do. Now I just eyeball it. I think I’m getting less particular as I get older. Well, about a few things, anyway. Oh yes, the grid. The plant goes where the lines intersect. I believe when I used to do this, I used my 2 foot guideline.
WATER! Be sure to water in your plants gently after you lovingly place them into the ground. Especially if it’s a hot day. They’ll wilt quickly if you don’t.
Also…a good tip is to slowly acclimate your indoor seedlings to the great outdoors. You can do this over the span of 2 or 3 weeks, putting them outside an hour or two at a time and then increasing their time outside each day. I confess, I don’t normally do this. However, I do open the sliding glass door that they’re sitting in front of on nice days so they do get a little taste of the outdoors before I plant them.
I do like to put mulch or straw in my garden. It helps keep moisture in there and also minimizes those pesky weeds.
If you have out-of-control, extremely irritating, likes-to-make-you-cry-because-they-dig-up-everything wildlife, you will definitely need fencing around your garden. Fencing may not be enough. But put some up so your garden does not become all-you-can-eat buffet.
I think that’s it for now, my friends. There are many joys of gardening and there are some challenges too. But believe you me, gardening is a very rewarding experience and when you eat your first whatever-it-may-be, you will smile and think, “I did this!” and when you share some of your harvest with a friend, you will be filled with pride and joy as you watch your “little ones” go off to make someone else happy too.