October Gardening Tips, Part 2, Working with Nature.
Oct 09, 2019
Today we are going to discuss another part of the idea of how to improve your chances of having an even more successful garden than you have if you are a really good gardener. If you aren't in that group then this will help you in that effort. I have several ideas that I want to present during this month and I am not sure which one should come first, so I will just do each on a separate discussion and then you can piece together which ideas will best work for you.
We always try to look for ways the make the garden work more along with nature than to buck nature and end up defeated in the end. After all, when you fight nature, it makes for one tough opponent. So I figure I need all the help I can get, so if I work with nature, it at the very least will help me, I hope. As we look to implement these ideas we need to keep in mind that it won't be until the 2021 growing season before we are fully on track. So the time from now, fall of 2019 until the spring of 2021, will be a transitional period. However, this transitional period will be productive in its own right.
When we get to the spring of 2021 we will want to have a nice grass pad to work with. No, we are not going to have a nice clear cut, freshly plowed/tilled bare piece of ground to do our planting in. We will be starting with a nice grass pad. Even with this idea, you can take a nice large lawn area and have a jump start on this idea. A nice lawn will work, but we would like to have a few different frasses and even some clovers growing in what will be our garden area for more ideal growing conditions. So since we are a little late to be starting a new grass/clover plot, we will use this time to mull over the ideas and make some well thought out choices. We can then plant in the spring or during the late summer/fall of the 2020 growing season. In areas where grass is always growing, such as the mid-western US to the east coast and in many other countries where grass "just grows" this won't be as delicate as growing in the western deserts of the US, where growing season are shorter and a lot of applied water is required to grow anything. So please, just hang in there with me. Depending on where you live, you will have grasses that will do better in one area vers. another. You will need to check locally to make the determination as to which will best serve you. But it would be better if you could select a grass that tends to grow slowly and closer to the ground, as in not grow extremely tall. Also, select a variety of clover that does best in your area. A white or red clover would be best as they don't grow tall and will serve the purpose. I personally love Sweet Yellow Clover, but that variety grows tall and is largely stemmed. Not the best for some garden purposes, but good for pest control and to attract Honey Bees. Generally, you can visit an agricultural supply store and they will have various varieties of pasture type mixes for your area. Many of these premixed seed mixes will have all of the varieties that you will want, but you can also add to the mix from individual selections as well. You will buy enough seed to cover the proposed garden area at a rate of about 2/3 of the suggested rate as you would if you were planting a pasture or whatever they suggest as the rate of planting might be best. You will want a good stand but not a too heavy of a stand of this pasture/grass/clover mix. When you plant this mix, follow the instructions that you will receive from the seed vendor. You will want to supplement with fertilizer recommendations so as to establish a good healthy stand of this mix. OK, now we are ready to plant a new plot of a pasture type of mix where your future garden will be. So, for now, let's leave this idea and address some other important stuff and then we will come back and pick up the seed and plant it.
Now what we will be doing with the new plot that we planted with the pasture mix that we bought or if we were able to bypass this part because we already have a nice grass area where we will be planting into a garden, we will now move to the step that is necessary no matter the direct we just came from. Are you confused? Let's clear up that confusion. What we are going to be doing is planting our garden rows in stips in the grass plot. To do that we will want to kill out the grass within these strips. So we will want to mark out where we want the garden rows to be. I will explain the tool to be used to accomplish this task, later on. No, we will not be using herbicides. When you lay out a grid, so to speak, of where you want your rows of the garden to be, let's say you want that little is to be 6 inches wide. The 6-inch row will be wide enough to make a furrow to water the plants in the row, or if you use overhead watering, then you can do 2 rows of some plants, or narrow the stip to say 4 inches. In any note of how you do it, you will next mark off a space of say 24 inches or 36 inches. This largely depends on the plants being grown and how wide of a lawnmower you have. So what you are going to do is use your lawnmower to cut this grass between your rows of the garden being grown. The grass will choke out any weeds, at least eventually. You will end up mowing this grass 2 or 3 times is all, for most of the garden a least for the whole growing season. Just let the grass blow in between your garden plants, let the mowed grass cover the bare soil around the garden plants. This provides for a much to be applied and will help to seal the soil to better retain moisture. Also, helps to smother out any weeds growing as well. Among other advantages here is that it helps to promote walking only on the grass to avoid any compaction issues within that strip area where the desired garden plants are growing. Yes, compaction can become an issue, even on this level of production. Any of the applied fertilizers, mulches, composts, etc., will only have to be applied to the small strip of soil where the grass isn't growing. You will save a tremendous amount by not wasting these resources. Don't worry about the grass. The clovers you have in with the grasses will supply the needed nitrogen by the idea of nitrogen fixation. So the clovers will feed the grass. Other nutrients will spill over from the garden strip one way or the other. Plus the grass mat under the soil will help to lessen the effect of compaction as well. The microbes will pass from the grass are to the garden plant area as they see fit and in the end, it ends up being a win-win for everything above the surface soil level and everything below the surface level of the soil.
So wait a minute, what about plants like your melons, tomatoes, etc.? The strip thing will work for them, but not real well. The better method for these types of plants is to lay out a grid. Most of the time people will plant most of these plants on a grid of 2 or 3 feet apart and in rows that are 3 or 4 feet wide. If you have to water these by furrows, then you will need to make the little killed out grass strip on rows of where you plant these plants. If you are doing drip irrigation or overhead watering, then you won't need to do this little kill strip. But in either case, you will need to mark off a grid of the plant spacing. Then you will dig a hole where you plant these plants. If you have someone with a tractor powered post hole digger, then make friends with them. Then have them bring their tractor with the post hole digger and have them dig a "post hole" at each point where you will be placing one of these plants. Depending on the soil type and nutrient level of the soil, the hole will be from 1 foot to 2 feet deep. After you determine the combination of nutrients that you need for your particular setting, you will then mix that with the soil that comes out of the hole and stick it all back in that hole. You would then plant the plant into that medium. It will do much better than if you just grow in the normal type of planting setting. As a side note, I met a guy about 20 years ago that grew tomatoes and cucumbers in a huge greenhouse. He planted directly into the ground. But what he did was to dig a hole, a post hole, 2 feet deep, then in the fall he would dump a 5 gallon full of runny cow manure into the hole then fill it on up with soil. Then in the spring, he would plant in that hole spot. He grew fantastic tomatoes and cucumbers. I think he has since retired as I haven't seen any activity around his greenhouses for a few years now. Another side note; it is necessary for me, where I live, to make things move down the pH scale so that things will work. IE; we do not need calcium. But in other places, calcium needs to be added. You might extend this to any other plant nutrient because every single plot is different from the other. So each plot has to be evaluated on its own merits, ie; their individual needs. However, as a general rule, most of these soil supplements, such as soils, peat moss, etc., you have seen all of these pallets full of soil-related bads of "stuff" all over at the various stores in the spring, will all work to help you have a better garden. The big drawback to these is that most have absolutely no clay in them. Certain clays in the soil must be there. This is for the ability of the whole soil mix to be able to hold water, otherwise, the water will drain through and the soil will dry out in no time at all. Also, and this is most important, is that plant nutrients can only really attach to clay particles. The nutrients will attach to the clay particles and then as the soil moisture, ie; water, comes along, it will leach the nutrients from the clay particles and then make it available to the root system. If the clays of which I speak are not there, then when the water comes along, it will flush the nutrients from the soil and the plant then goes into a "feast and famine" situation. This is why you have to continue "feeding" the plants on a regular basis throughout the growing season. Yes, you need to feed the plants at times but that should only be at the different phases, not a number of times at each phase.
If you are doing container gardening, then you would use a modified version of the material contained in the previous paragraph. With a container system, you need to make sure there is a drain hole of some sort in the bottom of the container. A very small exit for the water hole is necessary. A small one, not a large one. If you don't have this drainage hole then the water will accumulate and then you have bad things happen, like mold, etc. Then it will move upward and end up wiping out your plant.
Another factor that I hear very little about in any of these discussions about growing anything is the concept of "Electrical Radio Frequency Transmission", or some various versions of these words and generalized meanings. In more simple terms, electrical frequency transmission has to be able to be performed in and through the soil or you will not have any real plant activity. The question of "Can the proper electrical transmission" take place in and through this soil? In order for this to take place, the proper mineral and by extension all nutrients have to be in proper ratios have to be there to be this electrical transmission to take place. IE; we need electrical transmission taking place in order for life to take place. This applies to both men, animals, and plants. This is also very critical for the microbes in the soil. In fact it is even more critical for the microbes than it is for us on the top of the soil. In simple terms, you can compare a "block" of soil to a battery. This block of soil can contain a "charge" or a reserve of this electricity that is needed for plant growth. In order for this "charge" to be there, the proper material has to be there to hold the "charge", just like with a battery. Once it runs down it is essentially dead. So the soil can become dead. This can become a real problem with container gardening. So sometimes it becomes necessary to dump out the material in the container and start with new soil. This soil is not bad per se, it just needs to be recharged. Once this takes place, then it is as good as new. To recharge this oil, it might be best to dig a hole to place the material in or simply scatter the material over your compost pile. See this is one of the reasons for doing the compost pile, it is an excellent place for this "recharge" to take place. This same concept takes place within our body, especially within the brain. The proper saline solution has to be in place for optimal brain function. If there is a shortfall of any nutrient then performance can only rise to that lowest limit. IE; the Law of Limiting Factor then begins to play out. The plant, no matter what plant, is subject to this law, ie; all biological entities are subject to this law, of which a plant and animal, including humans, are very sensitive to this law. This does not mean that any "shortfall" will cause a cease and desist to take place, but rather just a limiting of the performance. Everything is tied together.
Let's close this discussion out as I think it has become too long. So with the next discussion, we will cover another aspect of this gardening thing. In these discussions, I hope it will help you to understand the quality aspect of the essential oil discussion. It is easy to talk about the few "faces" of the surface of essential oil quality, but in these, I am hoping that it helps you to understand all of the backstage activities that actually make the show a "performance". Once you understand this material, you can think for yourself and make good rational evaluations.
Thank you for your time and interest.