Garden Challenges

Now that I’m back on the farm, I’ve been experiencing first hand many of the garden challenges I’ve been writing about. As I was working in my flower garden one day I couldn’t find my small garden trowel. When I finally found it I realized it was camouflaged by the dirt as the wooden handle was the same color. I need to paint the handle a bright color as I suggested in an article.

The weather in the Thumb of Michigan has had some chilly nights in May, so I didn’t plant my garden until the first week of June. The garden plot didn’t get tilled under last fall, as I wasn’t home until the end of December. So I tilled it with my roto tiller three times this spring. We have heavy clay ground and there was plenty of moisture. My daughter and I planted several varieties of tomatoes and sweet peppers one evening and placed a cement drainage tile over each one to insulate them from cool nights and hot days. It also prevents my dog from knocking over a plant if he wanders through the garden. I will also place a tomato cage around each plant to keep the branches off the ground. The next day I planted a variety of vegetable seeds. Three days later we received a nice gentle rain so that will give the seeds a good start.

I purchased a soil test kit for a quick soil test this spring and it indicated the soil deficient in several areas of nutrients. This is only an inexpensive test and doesn’t tell the exact story of the soil, so I will send a soil sample to a soil test lab through my County Extension Office for more accurate results before applying any nutrients. They provide a soil test bag to prevent contamination.

Just a few reminders of helpful past articles: Container Gardens, Weed Control, Mulching, Insect Control. The archives are full of information; these are just a few that you might need for now.

I hope you have a bountiful vegetable garden this year and don’t get discouraged by weeds, insects or the weather. We can’t control the weather but we have a lot of defensive tools at our disposal for weeds and insects. Happy gardening and don’t forget to involve the children and grandchildren. They will learn to love more vegetables if they help plant and watch them grow.