It’s the first day of April and many of us are dreaming about abundant gardens and harvest! There are tasks we can do now to ensure success this garden season. Today, let’s create a gardening check list to keep us on track!
Abundant harvests are the result of great soil, sufficient watering, pest control and timely planting. I would add to make sure you purchase seeds from a reputable source with good germination rates.
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Task 1 – Build Great Soil
What defines great soil? Without getting too technical, living. Soil needs to be teeming with microorganisms which provide nutrients to plants. The easiest way to make sure your soil has what it needs is to mulch. Mulch decays and this decaying matter will build healthy soil.
Since it’s already April, some of the best mulch to add is straw or aged sawdust. The kicker is whatever you choose to mulch with needs to be free of chemicals and pesticides. Mulching holds moisture in the ground as it decays. Pull back straw after it’s been on the garden area a few weeks and you’ll most likely see earthworms right on top of the ground! Earthworms help build healthy soil.
If you find yourself with soil that is too depleted, buy organic topsoil. Mulching will still benefit your plants even if you have to bring in topsoil.
Task 2 – Sufficient Watering
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve had my fair share of plants bite the dust! In the dead heat of summer watering is vital and yet a chore that’s gotten the better of me. The easiest way to stay on top of watering the garden is to go ahead and place soaker hoses down your rows! Mulching will cut down on the need to water, but some summers are so dry there is still a need to water several days per week.
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Task 3 – Pest Control
This one can be a doosie! First, identify pests in your area by talking to local gardeners, ask at the plant nursery or check your state’s agriculture website.
For us, the battle has been long and hard with squash bugs. I finally threw up the white flag last year. Then, I heard from a local seed company that squash bugs are gone by July! Game changer. This year squash will be planted the first week of July. It pays to find gardening info from local folks.
Once you know the possible pests, take measures to stamp them out. There are several ways to approach pest control. One is by interplanting/companion planting. This really helps with pests. Another option is to spray with neem oil. A natural, safe alternative to chemicals.
Task 4 – Timely Planting
And finally, timely planting will help ensure you have an abundant harvest. Timely planting involves planting seeds or transplants at the right time in the season. Plant cool weather crops now. Plant frost sensitive crops after your last frost date. The suggested plantings are located on the back of the seed packets. Also, Clyde’s Garden Planner is an amazing planting slide chart that I’ve used for years. It also gives you companion planting information.
Another important part of gardening is praying. Ask God to bless the harvest and protect your garden.
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