Thursday, September 10, 2009

Step by Step Fall Vegetable Garden Preparation and Planting

I have received a request to do a newspaper interview. I figured I better get my information together before the reporter calls me. I don't want to appear to be a fool, at least not to the readership of the newspaper. Y'all know I'm silly, but the rest of the world doesn't need to know, do they?

Here are the steps to creating a fall vegetable garden in north Texas.

1). If you have not gotten a soil test, have one done. Kits can be picked up at your County Extension agent’s office.
2). Amend the soil with organic matter = compost. Work in 2 to 4 inches.
3). Fertilize according to the recommendations from your soil test. Phosphorus is frequently over used. I use blood meal, bone meal and alfalfa.
4). Select plants. My short list is: Cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, garlic, onions, dill and collards. I also squeeze in one last planting of squash, beans and corn (three sisters) on Labor Day weekend and say a prayer they get to live long enough to make me some food.
5). Water transplants and seeds with liquid fertilizer. I use a fish product or rabbit manure tea.
6). Mulch heavily. I have been using the neighbor’s grass clippings with great results. Shredded leaves make nice mulch as well. I use bark mulch as a last result, because they tend to rob nitrogen while breaking down.
7). Water deeply and infrequently, but do keep the plants evenly moist.
8). Crucifer vegetables are heavy feeders. I foliar feed once a week with a liquid fertilizer.