All too often gardeners think the process of gardening is too complex or too difficult. They read or hear all about the different plants, their needs and get the opinion it is much too complicated.
The truth is you don’t need a college degree, high I.Q., fancy equipment to have a home garden. I’m always reminded of a friend who had everything and had the worst garden you ever saw. Money was no problem, and he thought he was smart enough to be very successful. But he was in such a rush to outdo other gardeners that he failed to do his “homework.” Over the past 31 years, I have preached the importance of homework in these columns. His problem was with the soil, which was totally ignored.
There are numerous little things of much importance in the world of gardening. For example, too much or little water, dryness, sun, shade, space, fertilizer and more.
A shade plant like a fern planted in full sun under dry conditions will not be happy. Muskmelon seeds purchased to plant in deep shade is a mistake. You don’t go into a woods to pick melons!
A little thing like planting depth may determine if a plant lives, dies or flowers. For a peony, planting depth determines flowering or not. If planted too deep it will not flower. The uppermost eye on a tuber must not be planted deeper than two inches for the plant to flower. A little thing of much importance if you want to see a peony flower in the garden.
Little things such as planting site selection, soil type and drainage conditions, plant spacing, degree of plant hardiness, stress tolerance, pest/disease problems and amount of maintenance are all important. Some of this simply involves common sense.
How these factors are managed will determine your success and the overall health of the plantings. The better the management, the more successful you become. Remember to not ignore the little things!
If you sowed seeds of beets and carrots in late June or early July, they should be ready to harvest by now and into October. Smaller roots can be pulled to make space for other roots in the row. Small carrots make a healthy raw shack.
Water these vegetables if the weather is dry. Apply one-inch of water to the row each week. A watering can works well for this limited watering.
Both vegetables store well or can be left in the row until frosty weather in November.
Beets can be cooked in 15 minutes in a pressure cooker. One of my favorite meals is fresh buttered beets with pork chops or roast and a side dish of coleslaw.
Double cropping is an ideal way to extend vegetable gardening into the fall. Nothing is better than fresh vegetables from the home garden.
As gardeners, we come across many terms or words that may or may not be familiar. Below are a few that you should know — and will use from time to time.
Bareroot: Roots on a plant without soil. A mail order rose is shipped as bareroot, as well as fruit trees and small fruits. Bareroot plants are sold only in the spring.
Blade: The flattened enlarged part of a leaf, like a blade of grass.
Compound leaf: Leaf with blade divided into two or more leaflets, like a buckeye tree.
Deadheading: Removal of the dead or spent bloom from a plant.
Dormancy: Resting period after a plant has flowered and fruited. For a deciduous tree, dormancy begins after leaves drop. It remains dormant until new leaves appear in spring.
Germplasm: The genetic material genes, chromosomes, DNA) that carry the inherited traits of an organism. A seed or egg is the carrier of germplasm.
Heavy soil: A soil difficult to work like clay, which drains poorly and yellow in color.
Herbaceous: A plant with soft, non-woody stem. Many of these grow for only one season.