The Garden Patch: How does it grow? Fertilizing, transplanting, watering, weeding … – Osage County Online | Osage County News

The Garden Patch: How does it grow? Fertilizing, transplanting, watering, weeding …

SEEDS-&-TOMATOES-01How do I know if I’m getting what I need in the garden from my fertilizer and other efforts? Well, here’s what K-State sez …

Getting the most from your fertilizer

Select sites with soil well adapted to crop growth because fertilizer will prove more profitable on good soil than on poor soil. Well-adapted soil is well drained, deep and free from rocks and other debris. It should be fairly level – especially for vegetables.

Get a soil test. Don’t guess about soil fertility or other deficiencies. Find out exactly what your soil needs.

Add organic matter where practical. It can provide benefits besides soil nutrients.

Control weeds and use sound cultural practices.

Select only the best plants and seeds!


Seeds should be obtained early in the year so you can get the varieties you want. Packaged seeds will guide you on how much you need to buy. Seeds can be obtained from local dealers and seed catalogs.

AVOID using seeds from your previous crops unless you have a special interest such as the continued propagation of an unusual variety. Commercially available seeds are treated for disease and insect resistance and are stored under conditions that ensure health and vigor. It is possible to get atypical (the kind you don’t want) when you save your own seeds and when the plants are cross-pollinated or hybrid varieties.

Now, let’s plant! Use a string to mark straight rows through the garden. If you have a mechanical tiller or cultivator, be sure to allow adequate space between rows for cultivating. After seeding at the proper rate and depth, cover gently and water if the seedbed is very dry. If your garden soil tends to crust or the surface becomes hard after a heavy rain, apply a light layer of sand over the seeds.


Transplanting anyone? Before transplanting to the garden, plants should be “hardened”, or conditioned to outside temperatures. About 10 days before the transplanting date:

  • Gradually withhold watering so the plants are not wilting but are getting less water than normal.
  • Gradually expose plants to the outside temperature by placing them in a protected location outside.
  • Avoid fertilizing, especially with nitrogen.

If this hardening procedure is followed the plants will begin to grow soon after transplanting rather than suffer “transplant shock”.

Immediately before transplanting, water plants well.

  • Allow as much soil as possible to adhere to the roots when transplanting.
  • Water well after transplanting using a starter solution.
  • After the water has soaked in, sprinkle some dry soil over the moist soil around the plant.
  • Protect the young transplants for the first few days.

When peat pots are used for transplanting, the pot and all can be planted to lessen the transplanting shock. Make sure the pot is well covered, however, because the exposed peat pot acts as a wick to draw moisture from the soil around the transplant.

A lot of effort goes into producing a successful garden. There are many things to do between planting time and harvest. Each of the following cultural practices should be considered: thinning, weeding and cultivating, flower removal, pruning, staking and tying and watering.


Please note this: Reducing home water use has become a major concern. Outdoor water use often comprises more than 1/2 of the water consumed by the average household and is an area where many significant improvements can be made. Careful planning, proper soil preparation, efficient watering and use of mulches combine to make the most of every drop of water for your garden. If you’re not using soaker hoses, you might give them some consideration. Almost 100 percent of the water you apply goes directly to the roots. Watering the leaves is an unnecessary waste, PLUS, spraying water into the air is a BIG waste! Did someone say “evaporation”?

Two factors influence the general practice of watering: the water available in the soil environment and the rate the plant is using the water. The first depends primarily on the soil’s water-holding capacity as well as the root mass. The second depends on some special characteristics of plants that allow them to retard water use, and, more important, the weather conditions such as temperature, wind and humidity.

The type of soil you have influences its capacity for holding water. Soil is composed of small particles, the largest particles being classified as sand; medium sized particles as silt; and fine particles as clay. Varying amounts of each size particles in any soil determine its texture.

Some soils may have different textures at different depths. A layer of clay or hardpan beneath a loamy soil can restrict drainage. The soil texture in many garden areas has been altered by construction activity including the addition of fill soil.

Gotta give you a quote or two before I go: W. Earl Hall said “Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.” How true! And, “Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it.” So sez Tori Amos.

Here are some useful measures you may want to hang on to for future reference:

  • 1 acre = 43,560 square feet
  • 100 pounds/acre = approximately
  • 2 pounds/1000 square feet
  • 3 teaspoons (level) = 1 ounce
  • 8 ounces = 1 cup
  • 2 cups = 1 pint (equals 1 pound of most dried fertilizer materials)

That’s probably all you want to ingest for this week! Good gardening and thank you so very much for reading what we have to say! We sincerely appreciate our readers! Till next week!

stevehallerSteve Haller, of Osage City, a K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener, writes The Garden Patch, featuring gardening ideas and tips for gardeners in northeast Kansas. In his words: “I am not a horticulturist. By education I am an economist. By experience, I am a marketing guru from a local to an international scale. Gardening was taught to me by my grandfather and my Mom, and I’ve been doing it since World War II was going on.”

Steve can be contacted at [email protected], or leave questions or comments below.

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