EAT YOUR VEGGIES
Enjoy Perfectly Delicious Vegetables Right from Your Garden with These Tips
Article and Photography by Mary Chavoustie
Many of us only dream of a bounty of vegetables like the ones our Bleiblerville gardeners bring to the kitchen table. And while their garden flowers and vegetables are looking their best, the husband/wife team at K2 Farms reminds us a garden is always a work in progress, an ever-changing setting from season to season that is hugely dependent not only on human care but equally on weather, water and the nutrients that are added to or taken out of the soil. Here are our green-thumb gardeners’ top three “must dos” as first-timers begin the gardening process.
PLAN BEFORE YOU PLANT
Planning is everything! Consider what you want out of your garden, as well as what you want to put in it, both in time and results. Next, establish a solid resource that will help you determine what varieties are best for your soil and region. With Texas A&M AgriLife’s website (www.agrilife.org), how-to articles, research-based results and identifiable photos are placed at your fingertips. Neil Sperry’s “Lone Star Gardening” has been a benchmark for many gardeners — and a mainstay for our K2 Farms country gardeners, as well.
A soil sample gives you an insight as to what attributes or deficiencies your soil already contains. The soil testing labs at Texas A&M and Stephen F. Austin State universities utilize advanced, daily calibrated equipment to provide you with the most accurate results. Submittal forms are available at www.soiltesting.tamu.edu and www.ag.sfasu.edu for a basic $10 routine analysis. Results are usually returned within a few weeks.
A SHOVEL HERE, A PITCHFORK THERE
You can’t change the type of soil in your area, but you CAN improve it with a better understanding and incorporation of organic matter. “We add mushroom mulch every two to three years in both our vegetable and flower beds,” the gardeners say.
For new gardens, experts recommend a 2-inch-thick layer of compost for 1,000 square feet or six cubic yards of organic matter. And though aged manure, compost and decomposed organic matter are all beneficial, doing your homework is important, too, to determine the correct amount and the variety of organic matter that are best for the vegetables you are growing.
August temps present a perfect excuse to garden from inside your home, partnered with a laptop and spring seed catalogs. Just remind those that question your early musing, planning is everything!
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