Welcome back friends!
I hope you had a wonderful weekend. I can’t believe it’s the first day of April!
Saturday was gorgeous! Carolina blue skies and a sunny 75 degrees with light winds. It was the ideal day for digging in the dirt!
As you know from my last post, Garden Prep – Part 1, I pulled out all the weeds and dead plants from my raised garden beds. In this post, we’ll discuss which soil, plant food, bug killers and deterrents I use and how I care for and maintain my garden.
For the last four years, I’ve purchased my garden soil from Pike’s Nurseries. I accidentally purchased potting soil for indoor and outdoor plants and flowers. YES! It worked so well that I kept using it.
If you don’t want to buy potting soil and would like to make it yourself, I’d recommend using Mel Bartholomew’s simple formula: 1/3 Blended Compost, 1/3 Peat Moss, and 1/3 Coarse Vermiculite. Mix equal parts of each, measured by volume, not by weight. Use what you like, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
Every 4-6 weeks, I feed my garden Miracle Grow plant food – only if it needs it. Otherwise, I don’t use anything else but water. If you don’t want to use fertilizer, Mel’s simple formula (as suggested above) is highly suggested since it eliminates this process. It’s also all-organic and all-natural.
Bug Killers and Deterrents
As far as deterrents, I plant flowers and herbs as my defense system. I did buy ladybugs last year and added them to my garden to take out the aphids.
Marigolds for instance, are said to ward off nematodes when planted near asparagus, potatoes, strawberries, and tomatoes. I love marigolds for that reason and it makes my garden more vibrant with orange, yellow, burgundy red, or even white colors. They also attract bees, which are great pollinators for the garden.
Herbs such as rosemary deter weevils and deer. Mint, lavender, and thyme repel stink bugs due to their strong scent. But bees and bumblebees love them which is great for us gardeners.
For all other pests, I usually spray them off with water. Caterpillars on the other hand are the responsibility of my husband. He kills them with extreme prejudice. I am deathly afraid of them. They give me the heebie jeebies!
I visit my garden daily. In the morning, with coffee or tea in hand, I head out to see it’s progress. I weed the garden, prune the plants if needed, and harvest the vegetables. In the evening after the sun goes down, I’ll water my garden. In my opinion, it’s best to water at night. In the summertime, I will sometimes water my garden in the morning and in the evening, especially if the temperatures are really hot.
This month has been extremely busy. Needless to say, I didn’t get to sow seedlings. I did however stopped by my local nursery and purchased a variety of herbs: chives, cilantro, dill, mint, thyme, parsley, and lavender.
As promised, below is my garden grid for one of my 4′ x 4′ raised beds:
You’ve probably noticed that I have yet to plant my tomatoes, peppers, basil, or cucumbers. That’s because in the next few days, we’re expecting cold temperatures heading our way. I’ll plant the rest of the vegetables afterwards – maybe this weekend when the cold temperatures subsides.
Other crops to plant now are: beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, carrots, onions, kale, cauliflower, peas, peppers, spinach, and squash. Be sure to check the correct planting zone(s) or hardiness zones for gardening accurately. I’m in zone 7. Also, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage are great transplants. Additional plants to sow directly in the ground are salad greens, lettuce, radishes, beets, carrots, broccoli, peas, cabbage, kale, and spinach.
I grow just enough to feed my family of 4. If there is an abundance of veggies/herbs, 1) I’ll wash and store them in the freezer or 2) I give them away to friends and neighbors.
If you’re interested in square foot gardening, check out Mel Bartholomew’s book All New Square Foot Gardening.
That’s it you guys! Pretty simple, right?
What crops will you plant this Spring? Any new crops I should incorporate into my garden that’s not mentioned above? Let me know. I would love to hear from you!
P.S. While in the garden, I found a nest full of eggs in last year’s pots! Oh, the joys of gardening!