9 Steps To A Successful Garden


A quick list of how to have a successful garden.

  1. Location – all gardens need as much sun as possible. Gardens need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day. 12 hours of sunshine is better.
  2. Tools – you will need tools to prepare the soil and plant your vegetables. Standard items are hoe, garden rake, shovel, hand trowel. If you are more power tool oriented a tiller works well in preparing the soil, but there is not a lot you can’t accomplish in the garden with a hoe and a shovel.
  3. Compost or other organic soil amendments – adding these elements to your garden can help your plants be healthier, resist diseases better and produce larger yields.
  4. Add any fertilizer recommended on the How To Grow pages.
  5. Plants – the top vegetable garden plants are: Tomatoes, Peppers, Cucumbers, Squash and Okra. Watermelons and Cantaloupe are almost tied with Okra.
  6. Water your plants in well after you have planted them then water them as needed until they get established and start growing. After they are established, water them good once a week with a deep slow soaking.
  7. Be sure to follow up with additional fertilizing as recommended on the How To Grow pages and prune and stake your tomatoes.
  8. Pull weeds or hoe early and often.
  9. Harvest as recommended so that your plants will keep producing.
  10. Bonus: stagger your plantings so that you have ripe vegetables all season long.

Charley’s Garden Update

Have you ever had a great idea that just never seemed to pan out?  Well, that’s what happened this spring with my ideas for Charley’s garden.  We were going to plant a few plants of everything and I was going to video it to show everyone how to do it.

Alas, it was not meant to be.  It rained for 6 weeks straight so that we were unable to plow the garden properly.  We were also really busy with shipping plants at the greenhouses that we may not have had time anyway. 

Charley finally got his corn planted a couple of weeks ago and his purple hull peas planted earlier this week.  He also planted some watermelons today.  Unfortunately, my duties at the greenhouses prevented me from being able to get some video of the planting. 

Even though we didn’t get the garden I wanted planted, we should still be able to get some good content for you.  Several of my kin and neighbors did get their gardens planted so we will be visiting them and asking a lot of questions.

To introduce one of the neighbors, here’s a quick video of them planting some squash seed.  They used a plow to furrow up the garden and fertilized and planted by hand.

Lacey’s Garden – Garden Revival

Wow!  One full week of sunshine!   The garden is really taking off, but still not looking as good as I would like.  I was visiting a friend the other day and her tomatoes are huge and bushy on one end of her garden and on the end that was lower sitting in water longer, the tomatoes look like mine.  I guess I should be grateful that the plants are still there and alive.  I plan on fertilizing them real good with an organic fertilizer (my extra old manure washed away, too) today.  Hopefully, that will help them get going better. 

I re-mulched with the hay I salvaged from the flood.  It had all piled up next to the fence and I was waiting for it to dry out before I used it.  Mostly I put it in the walkways, so I do not have to spend a lot of time weeding the paths.

On another note, the community garden I am working on is approaching reality.  Right now, it is a concept in the planning stages.  We have a meeting June 2 with the city’s Planning Commission to change the zoning laws to exclude community gardens from the necessity of rezoning.  Once that ordinance is passed, we can break ground.  I also had a meeting with a grant writer who will be help write grants to fund this garden. It is a good thing so many people are interested in community gardens right now.  So close…..

Enjoy your weekend and stay safe.

Lacey’s Garden – The Joys of Gardening

Finally!!!  The ground is dry, the sun is out…Do you know what I did?   You’re right!  I planted everything!  It is all in the ground and looking real good (in my head, that is).  I always can envision how it will look all full and blooming.  Of course, it never actually comes out quite the way I envision, but it is always beautiful and it pleases me.  Isn’t that what counts?  The pleasure of planning the garden, seeing in your minds eye exactly what will go where, then digging the dirt and adding manure and compost, then the waiting, now digging the hole, planting the seeds and the plants, the sureness that you are doing something good. Nurturing the plants and babying them along as they grow fuller and bushier and the flowers bloom.  Harvesting, smelling, touching and tasting…the pleasures of gardening.  Be sure to take the time to just sit and enjoy the fruits of your labors.  It is not any fun if you do not stop and smell and look and see.  Enjoy the day!

Lacey’s Garden – Planting Tomatoes

YEAH!!!!  I finally got my tomatoes in the ground!  The pictures show the process…the tomato guru who lives down the block from me told me how he plants tomatoes and I did what he said.  Dig a deep hole, put a handful of old manure in the bottom and a banana peel, place a layer of dirt over that then put in the plant, removing the bottom 2 or 3 leaves and mound the dirt ¼ the way up the stalk. Finally, cover the mound with another handful of manure.  Water them well to set them, and  viola,  you have a pretty row of tomatoes.  It is so nice to finally get them done!  Hope it does not hail this weekend!

hole with manure hole with manure and banana peel

layer of dirt over additions tomato plant

row of newly planted tomatoes

Lacey’s Garden – When To Plant Tomatoes

Yeah!  Everything survived the snow!  Thankfully, the snow melted the next day and the water has drained fairly well.  Our backyard turns into a pond with 4 to 6 inches of standing water anytime it rains, so I have been a little worried about everything drowning.  But, the garden area seems to be draining much better this year.  Everything is looking good and coming up nice and strong.  I will start planting tomatoes and herbs as soon as it dries out.  Oh yeah, it is supposed to rain tonight too. 

It is time to plant tomatoes and such in most places from Oklahoma on south.  If you have dry ground, go ahead and start planting.  It might still frost one or two more times but just cover them with paper bags or cardboard boxes or hay or straw and they should be fine.  Dad always told me that most plants can survive a light freeze (30-35 degrees F) but the frost will always get them.  So make sure they are protected from the frost more than insulated from the cold.  As always, have fun!!

Lacey’s Garden – Watching and Waiting

March 19, 2009

I am still waiting for things to germinate before I plant anything else.  The carrots are just starting to cut through the dirt and the lettuce and chard are the same way.  I planted some mustard as a cover crop in places where I have not worked the dirt as well as I would like.  The spots are along my fence where I am planting beans later and the mustard is supposed to have long deep roots that help break up the soil. It has a lot of work to do for me!!!  The mustard is already coming up.  I think I planted the carrots too deep but they are trying so I hope I did not mess them up too much!  The peas and spinach are looking real good.  Just a few more weeks and I can start planting my other stuff like tomatoes, squash and eggplant.

I am going to add more manure to the dirt when I plant the later stuff.  I am also top dressing all the plants that I am planting with compost.  Top dressing is placing compost in top of the soil around the plants after transplanting.  Enjoy the spring in your neck of the woods!


Lacey’s Garden – Potatoes

March 11, 2009

Well, thanks to you (and you know who you are) I am now planting potatoes in one of my raised beds.  I still know nothing about potatoes, but after reading a book and talking to some folks I think it should be really easy.  The book called Growing Potatoes by Richard Bird and Alex Barker was very informative and helpful.  My friend suggested digging a 4 inch trench to plant the potatoes in, then covering them with hay or straw (not dirt) and watch them grow.  This method is nice because you can pull up the whole plant to check for readiness without having to dig up everything.  I am going to plant the potatoes all the way around one raised bed and put tomatoes in the center.  Again, supposed to be a good companion planting.  I cut the potatoes with an eye on each section and placed on a tray to sit overnight and will plant them tomorrow. 

UPDATE:  !!!!!!!!!! – Hey! An addendum to above – I was so wrong! Tomatoes and potatoes do not like each other.  I had it in my head wrong and reported it wrong to you.  Sorry.  I am not sure what I am going to put in the middle now.  Any suggestions from you all would be welcome!