June's Gardening Tips

Jun 13, 2020

By now you should be well underway for the initial planting of your garden to be completed. So now it is set back and watch and water and enjoy your garden, well largely I guess. We will always have the little things to do and that is to thin and water and keep critters from enjoying the garden more than yourself. But you don't need a tip to do that stuff. Maybe to do it better perhaps, but there are many depends to be factored in on that one. You know like is using a nuclear bomb allowed in your neighborhood? Seems like at times it is a tempting thought when dealing with some critters.

Anyway, let's keep t real and in the reality arena. Tip #1. Start watching for sales on seeds at your hardware stores, seed supply places, etc. Normally the places that supply in bulk seed sales will have large amounts of some seeds still on hand, other seeds were sold out long ago. But they do not like to keep these seeds on hand over the winter and they will usually package them up and sell them at a discount. Most of your common type seeds will still be good for next year. Most of the time these will be discounted around 50% +/- and will have a germination rate almost as good as they had for this year. So over the next little while is a good time to load up on seed for next year at a discounted price. The same can be had for some of the soil amendments. So shop for what you might need for next year, this year at a discounted price. Then once you get them, store them properly and you will be well on your way to being prepared for next year.

In a number of past gardening tips, I have strongly urged you to create your own compost pile. This is very important and here is why. Last year I decided to go radical. I went with only a container garden. I only used purchased soil products and made my own, new soil. Well, that ended up being a disaster. The container part was ok. But the problem was the soil. Last year most of the plants did not thrive, most just hung in there while many just ended up kicking the bucket or in some cases no growing at all. I racked my mind as to what went wrong. The pH was OK, not great, but OK on the new soil. Watering was OK, but not good overall in growth and production. In some of the containers toward the end of planting, I lost some confidence in my new idea and added some of the high alkaline soil that we have. In those containers, the plant faired a lot better, but still not great. So along comes this year, so I mixed the soil from last year into some new soil amendments and then planted the seeds. At this point  didn't realize that it was the soil with the problem. Guess what happened? Same as last year and in some cases even worse. After 3 weeks, still, no seeds growing. So I got thinking again, the only explanation is what happens more commonly now days is that these soil amendments have been found to contain soil sterilants. The damn stinking soil had sterilized material in it. I had bought soil amendments from 3 different stores, so I don't know which product had the crap in it. So I didn't dump the containers with last year's soil in them, YET, I wanted to see if I could overcome the setback. I can't, so I am going to starting dumping those containers tomorrow. So I got a little ticked off, went to my son's farm, and got some soil that was known to be free of chemicals. Just plain old dirt. Then I mixed that with some composted turkey droppings, some magic dirt, some base minerals, filled the containers, planted he seeds, seeds from the same packets that I had planted earlier that didn't grow. Then what happened? The seeds are growing like weeds. So the moral of this story is to make as much of the stuff as you can make so you know what you have.

Sort of a funny note here. Leiann and I went to the local farm supply store to get a few things. While looking at the small bags of fertilizers and as I was explaining some fine points to Leiann, the one guy came by and asked if he could help us, he was very capable in what he was doing, but I said, well, I do need some Boron. He said, well, let's see what I have. In the end, he didn't have any bags of Boron, but a few bags that did contain Boron along with other substances. He then went into explaining some other options that might work. Then Leiann said to him, he does have a degree in this stuff, so... the poor guy just about died. He said, sorry man....ah...,, I didn't realize....., I don't know what to help you with...., but I will be right over there and if you need me for anything please let me know. I just smiled at him and said, it's ok man, no problem. In fact, I think he might very well be the new store manager for that store.

Anyway, this year I finally got my little greenhouse built. It s a portable one, with containers and even cut plastic barrels. I did it this way so that I could run experiments easier. I also did a straw bale type of modification using annual ryegrass. So far I think it is going well. I scraped up some ryegrass from my son's goat pens, where the goats had pooped and peed on the stuff. So the degrading went fast, within a few days vs. the 12-day breakdown/preparation normally indicated for the straw prep. So by next year, I will have huge amounts of well-composted straw material for the plants. In this situation, I had read about these hanging plants. SoI decided to try this, seems like a cool idea. In the sales pitch for these upside-down/hanging containers, the tomatoes were shown as growing downward. In mine, they started downward, but they have turned upward, but still, it is cool and it is easier to water and care fo. Once the plants get bigger and fruit, I will post pictures of them for you to see. I also planted 55 gal plastic barrels. This is an idea that I am loving big time. Plants are doing fantastic in these. Next year I will be doing these barrels big time. Of course, I will be able to give you much clearer information and show you some technical points on the upside-down containers and the barrels. Lastly, today we planted some potatoes. This is the latest that I have ever planted spuds. Hopefully, it works out. But since or target is to get small, roaster types of red potatoes, planting late might do the trick, nature wise anyway. But overall there is a reason why I chose to plant so late with the potatoes and not just because we were all so busy.

Anyway, again, there you have a few openly stated gardening tips and a number of subtle stated ideas for you to work with. I hope all is well for all of you and I wish you well in your gardening efforts. Until July's tips, hang in there.

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