As the new growing season approaches we can look forward to yet another year that will in many ways (or at least some ways) be different than previous years.
Nature will present us with an entirely different set of variables to work with. When you work with nature, you’ll come to expect that.
Gardeners who are not flexible and want to stick to a rigid routine will be disappointed if they don’t get nature’s full cooperation.
Make Plans to Adapt to Weather Conditions
Seed starting charts and charts telling when crops are suppose to be planted into the garden are fine to use as a guide, but just remember that nature doesn’t use them.
- Pay attention to the weather.
- Even more importantly – hedge your bets. (Another way of saying always have backup.)
The way do that is to succession plant when you start your seed. That way if one planting turns out to have been too early or is damaged by some unexpected cold, you’ve got younger plants to fall back on.
Balance your Garden
Organic matter is what balances your garden and gives it the ability to be flexible and “ok” with almost anything nature decides to dish out.
It not only conditions your soil for better drainage, but at the same time holds necessary water for plants to use when rain doesn’t come. (Of course, I am assuming that you’re covering your soil to help prevent that water loss.)
It’s the perfect food for your soil and thereby, for your plants. Nutrients are released exactly when the plants need them.
Sometimes your plants might be a bit slower in growing (to start with), but you’ll avoid all kinds of problems. (For example, aphids that come as result of too much nitrogen.)
Get Away from that Chemical Mindset
Try to get away from that chemical mindset that seems to be programed into most of us by marketing. You know what I mean: add a little of this and little of that and it will make things grow bigger, better, faster.
Bottom line on that is: don’t add anything other than organic materials to your garden (including organic fertilizers) unless you are know 100% what you are doing and why.
Conventional agriculture thinks it can add chemical fertilizers that adds 3 elements to the soil (NPK) and all will be well. Of course, all is not well. The soil is eventually depleted. Pests arrive because they love the poorly nourished plants that grow on the poorly nourished soil.
Nature has all kinds of elements that are needed in soil in order to produce healthy plants and nutrient dense food. About all you have to do is add the organic materials (like leaves, kitchen scraps, etc.) that nature provides. Nature will turn that into the perfect fertilizer.
She has the detailed information required. And if we let her she’ll do all the complicated stuff for us and do it perfectly.
One More Example before Closing
One of the things you see recommended for growing onions is the addition of nitrogen. That’s promoted almost everywhere and one would think from reading that you absolutely could not grow onions successfully without the addition of nitrogen.
I’ve NEVER in 36 years added nitrogen to an onion bed. And I grow 1,500 to 2,000 onions a year. When I grew for market the number was 3,000 a year.
Dixondale Farms – probably the worlds largest onion grower – is a source that recommends fertilizing onions with nitrogen when planted. (They’re conventional growers.)
Oddly enough the following piece of information comes from Dixondale as a tip to help keep onions from sprouting in storage:
- Grow your onion plants with a low Nitrogen supply, which will postpone the harvest date. You will get smaller onions, but they will not be prone to sprouting.
I’ll have to take their word for the part about “smaller” onions. I guess it depends on what you consider small. I’ve never had a problem.
With seed starting, keep an eye on the forecast, but hedge your bets by having backup.
To get ready for whatever else may come, your best bet in the garden is soil that has lots of organic matter.
All content including photos is copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com. All rights reserved.