Pick Your Technique
Plan to use all the space in your garden. Through planting techniques like vertical cropping, succession planting and intercropping, you can make maximum use of the space you have.
Train veggies like pole beans, peas, cucumbers, squash and gourds to some type of support to save space in the garden. Existing fences, poles, wire cages, trellises can be used for support.
This technique involves growing a crop like lettuce in the spring and replacing it when the warm weather hits with a crop like beans. In the late summer, you can reverse the process and replace the beans with a cool season crop like lettuce or turnips.
Intercropping is the growing technique of planting fast growing vegetables among slow growing vegetables. An example of this technique would be planting radishes, lettuce or green onions among caged tomato plants.
Leftover seed is common for gardeners. Check old veggie seeds for viability by doing a germination test.
- Wet a paper towel and place the seeds in a row about an inch from the edge.
- Roll the paper towel up from the opposite side and put the towel in a warm area like the top of the refrigerator.
- Mist the towel to keep it moist.
- After 10 to 14 days, unroll the towel and check the number of seeds that have germinated.
- If less than half have germinated, either discard or seed more heavily this spring.
Clean your garden tools.
- Remove soil and use a wire brush to remove rust.
- Prepare a mixture of a bottle of motor oil and builder's sand in a five-gallon bucket.
- Dip the tools into the sand several times to clean and prevent rusting. This mixture can be used over and over again.
- Treat the handles with boiled linseed oil and paint the handles with a bright color to make them easier to find in the garden.
Avoid the disease damping off when starting seeds. Damping off is a major threat to young seedlings being grown indoors. Damping off thrives in cold, humid, wet, conditions with poor air circulation. Symptoms of damping off include curling, wilting and collapse of emerged seedlings.
Some preventative measures that will reduce the likelihood of damping off include:
- Use high-quality, treated seed
- Use sanitized soil and containers
- Keep soil on the dry side
- Provide plenty of light and air circulation to the seedlings
In the spring, never work your soil when it is wet. Tilling or digging when the soil is wet will cause it to dry into concrete-like clods. Pick up a handful of soil before digging and squeeze. If it crumbles easily, it is ready to be . If it doesn't crumble, it is too wet. Allow the soil to dry for a couple of more days and test again before digging.