Let no one think that real gardening is a bucolic and meditative occupation. It is an insatiable passion, like everything else to which a man gives his heart.
~Karel Čapek, The Gardener's Year, translated by M. and R. Weatherall, 1931
You sow them, you feed them, you entertain them, and you nurture and encourage them and you cry when they fall. However, it is time to prepare the younglings to leave the safety and security of your home. To whom am I referring to? You guessed it, your new seedlings or as I call them, “the newbie’s”.
Hello gardening friends. The weather is changing for the better here so I have begun the process of preparing the garden for planting. In the past, I have used many methods for planting, but I would like to share the techniques I have been utilizing the past several years.
I have a very small section of the yard my hubby has permitted me for gardening in the backyard. He refuses to let me dig up any more of his “perfect lawn”. I typically use my area for the Native American Three Sisters method (an explanation). I create my mounds in the fall by placing fish at the base so it can fertilize my soil over the winter (the fish is donated to me by my neighbor). To warm up my mounds, I will place a sturdy lawn bag on top for a week. At the end of the week, I will remove the plastic and plant my seedlings (corn, squash and beans). This method is my favorite and is extremely productive. If you have the space, I highly recommend it.
I have used small row gardening as well for my cowpea crops (purple hull and black eyed peas) and okra. I generally work in soil amendments and to get the soil warm for these heat lovers I placed black plastic (lawn bags) on top of the planting area for several weeks and after the duration, I burn holes in the plastic for the seeds. I do not remove the plastic because it acts as a weed barrier and continues to provide warmth to the plants. I am pleased with this method and my plants are generally very productive.
Right now, the majority of my plants are grown in containers. I have a large concreted area (formally a garage) where I place the containers and the area receives about 90 % of sunlight. I use all sorts of containers beginning with your basic terra cotta to unique items found in my home or a thrift store-if I can drill holes in the item, it will become a most welcomed addition to my garden. Most of my newfound items I live natural but I also paint my containers with bright and beautiful pastels. For the plants which need enormous amount of heat such as eggplants, I paint the containers black to preserve heat. All vining plants I use various items for vertical trellising such as old branches, bamboo and untreated wooden stakes given to me as leftovers from a co worker. I received a gift of 10 five gallon grow bags from a friend recently, so I am going to try my hand at growing various potatoes this year such as: Adirondack Red, sweet and fingerling potatoes. Please wish me luck with this and if you have any advice, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading my posting.
P.S. I have listed below a few helpful links regarding the Native American Three Sister Garden method and history.