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Search Results for: The Garden Patch

The Garden Patch: Make the most of your garden space

Sometimes we all wish we had more garden space. Well, we can have more space without increasing the area our garden currently demands. What are we talking about? Read on.

Interplanting: Making the best use of space

Using garden space wisely and efficiently produces better yields.

Get the most from your garden  by using space efficiently.

Interplanting, or combining two plants in the same space, allows you to fit more vegetables into your allotted space. The practice, also called intercropping, can be mutually beneficial to the plants involved. A classic example of intercropping is the Native American custom of planting corn, squash and pole beans together. This combination, called the Three Sisters of the Cornfield by the Indians, is ideal for nutrient exchange. As they grow, the beans release nitrogen into the soil for squash and corn. In addition, the three crops use a minimum of space – vining beans are supported by the tall cornstalks, while the squash spreads out along the ground.

The Garden Patch: What do you feed a hungry garden?

042415-FertbagThis time let’s talk about how much fertilizer your hungry garden wants and needs and let’s start with …

Calculating the amount of fertilizer needed for an area

Consider the recommendation for the particular nutrient needed and your soil analysis.

If you need to add 0.1 pound of N (nitrogen) per 100 square feet and you have 10 – 10 – 10 fertilizer, which contains 10 percent N, you will have to add one pound of this material per 100 square feet to achieve the needed amount of N.

The relationship of N, P (phosphorus) and K (potassium) to each other, sometimes referred to as the ratio, indicates the proportion of each element. For example 1-1-1 means there are equal proportions of N, P and K as does 10-10-10. However, a 2-1-1 ratio means there is twice as much N as P or K as is true with 10-5-5. The ratio does not indicate the weight of the elements in the fertilizer bag, but only their relationship to each other.

In addition to N, P and K, 10 other elements that plants require come from the soil. Generally, it is not necessary to add these elements as they are present in sufficient quantities in Kansas soils. However, an occasional addition of one or more of these micronutrients may be required.

The Garden Patch: Getting into the zone

With April 15 the average last frost date in Osage County, it’s time for gardeners to be taking inventory of seeds and getting cool crop seedlings ready.

I thought that this week I’d present some basics of gardening for not only the beginners, but also you “old hands” that may be leaving something out. Personally, I got a lot of good out of this the first time I read it, and it convinced me to change some of my gardening habits (for the better). So here goes …

We are in Zone 6a on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for and that means our AVERAGE last spring frost date is April 13-15 and our AVERAGE first fall frost is Oct. 17-21. Remember, those dates are not cast in stone, they are more like they say, AVERAGE! Different years may vary a little. Our average number of frost-free days is 188. See? You can grow a lot in that amount of time. We have more frost-free days than any other part of Kansas!

This and most of the following information comes from K-State via the Master Gardener training program and is taken directly from one of my textbooks.

The Garden Patch: Produce more in your patch

022415-veg-gardenSometimes we all wish we had more garden space. Well, we can have more space without increasing the area our garden currently demands. What are we talking about? Read on.

Interplanting: Making the best use of space

Interplanting, or combining two plants in the same space, allows you to fit more vegetables into your allotted space. The practice, also called intercropping, can be mutually beneficial to the plants involved. A classic example of intercropping is the Native American custom of planting corn, squash and pole beans together. This combination, called the Three Sisters of the Cornfield by the Indians, is ideal for nutrient exchange. As they grow, the beans release nitrogen into the soil for squash and corn. In addition, the three crops use a minimum of space: vining beans are supported by the tall cornstalks, while the squash spreads out along the ground.

The Garden Patch: Winter gives time to plan spring planting

We talk about a lot of things in this column, so today let’s talk about planning a new garden … and you say to me, “But Steve, I already have a garden space,” and my reply to you would have the overtones of, “Then let’s get creative – let’s do something different – something the neighbors don’t have – and probably haven’t even thought of – let’s plan a new garden!” So, here goes …

The symmetry of rows of colorful edibles is heaven to many gardeners. But if you find this traditional approach boring, consider other geometric possibilities, such as octagon or pie wedges just to name a couple. You can let your imagination run wild!

Once you’ve conjured the possibilities for your space, consider that in most climates, vegetables, fruits and herbs grow best in raised beds. Raised garden beds provide infinitely better drainage than traditional beds built flush with the ground. They also heat up faster in spring, adding days or even weeks to your growing season AND they allow for far easier soil amendment. I’m a believer; I’ve used raised beds for many, many years!

The Garden Patch: Arm yourself with knowledge to fight foes without fear

Well, we talk about a lot of things in this column, so this week let’s talk about something that affects all of us, but most of us know very little about … it’s called plant diseases. The gardener has to fight a never-ending battle against plant diseases or face serious plant losses. This is partly because diseases previously unknown in our area are introduced or new forms of the existing organisms develop.

The key to controlling garden plant diseases is the use of disease-resistant varieties of seeds and plants, crop rotation, or treatment with fungicides.

Your county agricultural agent will tell you about the more serious plant diseases in your area and how to control them. So, let’s highlight a few for your reference …

The Garden Patch: Not all bugs are bad

What’s buggin’ ya? In the garden, that’s sometimes a rough question! Just remember, all bugs are not bad! So let’s do some thinking about …

Beneficial Bugs

One of the easiest ways to control pests in your garden is to let nature take its course. As you know, within the food chain small creatures fall prey to large creatures. The same principle can be applied to your garden. Let the good bug eat the bad bugs and you won’t have to spend time picking and squashing the bad bugs. The following list describes beneficial – good – bugs that you can invite into your garden to help control insect damage:

The Garden Patch: Holidays arrive with longing for spring gardens

121214-tgp-sweet-potatoWell, today we’re going to tackle a couple of questions frequently asked relating to gardening and the “can I do this or that” thinking mode. Let’s start off with a frequently asked question about …

Sweet Potatoes

Can I grow ‘em? Yep! How? You can grow ‘em! This old gardener does almost every season! BUT – you gotta have lotsa room and a long, hot summer. Buy slips (young, rooted plants) from a reliable source to avoid transmission of diseases and set them out 18 inches apart and 4 feet between rows in the light soil they prefer.

The Garden Patch: Get ready for winter

031614-garden-toolsI know we talk about a lot of different stuff in this column, but let’s touch on winterizing tools this week. It’s not difficult and can save you a good deal of money and frustration later on! So, let’s get with it …

When it starts getting to be fall (or early winter) and we start to feel that cool air of the season, we often think of winterizing our lawn and garden equipment. BUT, we gotta do more than think about it! Rototillers, lawn mowers, string trimmers – all those things we put to so much hard work during the summer need a comfortable rest.

The Garden Patch: To prune or not to prune, and when and why and where

I have been asked (many times) why I studied horticulture in college. The answer is simple – I didn’t – at least not at first. I completed a Master’s Degree in Economics in 1971 (after I’d been out of college for 10 years) and got interested in the Master Gardener program 13 years ago – and it’s been a natural for me! I’ve always gardened, but now I get to help others – what a blessing! ‘Nuf of that! Let’s get on with the business at hand … growing trees and shrubs. Ready? Set. Go!

The Garden Patch: Gardening at the kitchen table – planning for next year’s harvest

101414-garden-patch-toolsI’ve decided to write about something I do every year, and I thought it might be helpful for some of you: advanced garden planning. So here goes …

We’re going to assume that you know where on your property your garden will be located, how much space you have and pretty much what you plan to plant and grow in the upcoming season. With that in mind, let’s talk about advanced garden planning.

The Garden Patch: Benefit the environment in your own back yard

Well, you regular readers have read about my tirades concerning composting before. I ain’t done!

This is from an advanced master gardener class I took at K-State in 2013. Chuck Marr wrote the paper I’m going to quote from and the class was based on this writing. The title, believe it or not, is … Making and Using Compost at Home. Here goes:

The Garden Patch: Eat your ‘fresh’ vegetables all winter long with proper storage

Proper storage can ensure ‘fresh’ vegetables all winter, such as these dried serrano peppers, and clean and dry onions and potatoes ready for storage.

Storage. Storage? I thought we were supposed to eat ‘em! But – there’s too many. We’ll store ‘em and we can eat ‘em all winter! Hey, this gardenin’ business is getting to be more fun all the time! Think … year round fresh food! Tasty, huh? Here we go…

The Garden Patch: Use your valuable commodity efficiently

082614--leaking-GARDEN-HOSEThis week we’ll continue from where we left off last week – with watering and how to conserve this commodity in our gardens. Let’s start with:

Watering the home landscape efficiently

There are two factors that influence the general practice off watering:

  1. The water supply available to the plant in the soil environment, and
  2.  The rate of water being used by the plant.

The Garden Patch: Save it for a rainy day

It’s that time of year – let’s talk about water conservation around home (in the lawn and garden). Here goes …

It has been estimated that nearly 50 percent of the water used by the average household goes for outside turf and landscape areas. Can you believe that? 50 percent? Any improvements that homeowners make to conserve water in the home landscape can result in significant savings.

The Garden Patch: Fall gardening begins in the heat of summer

Whew! It’s summer! Can I start vegetables in this heat? You bet! And it’s called FALL GARDENING! Let’s get to work …

Fall gardeners will find that establishing a garden during the summer when soil temperatures are extremely high is difficult. One way to avoid seeding in extremely adverse conditions is to establish plants in containers or pots for transplanting to the garden later in the season as the weather begins to cool. Crops such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage and collards can be grown in a cooler protected area or under lights in a basement growing area for two to four weeks prior to setting in the garden.

The Garden Patch: Consider raised beds to solve poor drainage problem

This column will be a short one – solving a drainage problem – not that solving the problem is short but there’s only so much that can be said about it. So let’s get after it! Incidentally, this information comes from a book that was given to me several years ago and it’s called “The Complete Garden Guide”. Very handy publication, all 992 pages of it! Here goes …

If the site you’ve chosen for a new garden is generally suitable but suffers from poor drainage, you can consider several remedies. One is to diligently double dig the selected spot, thoroughly loosening the heavy subsoil and then amending it until it drains nicely.

The Garden Patch: Gardening to good health, Part 3

052514-garden-excericiseWell, here we go on the last of three articles about gardening for your good health! Hope you’ve enjoyed the information and found something that was useful to you … that’s the reason we write! Thank you for reading and here we go …

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