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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gardening Season - Spring is Almost Here!

As Spring draws near I want to encourage your green thumb! This past weekend the Knoxville Botanical Garden (KBG) hosted a Gardening 101 class and it was quite informative. KBG hosts a number of classes each year and I think it is the coolest.

Things we learned:
  • Prepare your soil in the Fall
  • Your local Extension Office has a wealth of free information about gardening in your specific region - If you click on this link you can find information for Tennessee vegetable gardening
  • Tomatoes are typically best if you purchase a seedling...they are hard to grow from seed apparently (we have always started so late in the season we have to get a plant)
  • Beans are a plant that gives back to your soil...if you have been gardening for a while and have planted a lot of one thing in your bed maybe grow some beans there this season to give back to the soil
  • You can make your own greenhouse for about $10
  • Companion planting is the way to go -- some plants repel pests for veggies others provide things needed to other plants
  • No till gardening sounds easy but annoying for the gardener with aesthetics in mind

Your Spring garden starts with just a few steps. We completed the steps in just about an hour in our class and at home this weekend.

  1. Decide where you would like to plant -- in doing this be sure to take into account where the most sun hits your yard and plant there. 
  2. As seen below, take a hoe and remove the top layer of sod from the area you are going to plant in.
  3. If you have compost, put some (maybe a small shovel full per 2sq ft) on the top of your soil and use a hand tiller (this is what we like) or a garden pickaxe to break up the soil and mix in the compost. 
  4. You may either make little trough rows to place your seeds in or scatter them about if you aren't as anal as the hubs and I. The seed packages for the seeds of your choosing will best help in learning how deep or how far apart you need to plant.
  5. We learned this weekend that we can plant outside at the moment and not fear frost because of our homemade greenhouse. Our beds are maybe 5ft. wide/6ft. long and because of that we can get 2 10ft. long 1in. diameter PVC pipe and piece of 10x20 plastic drop cloth to create a greenhouse. Place each end of the pipe in the ground on opposite sides of the bed to create an arch; place the plastic over the top of the pipe and weigh the edges down. Tadaaa!! (Be sure to water your seeds in the morning or evening and do not keep it covered if the temperature outside reaches much above 75 degrees. Your little plants will roast.)     

The chatterbox down at the end of the table was at the garden with his family from Burundi...they are able to have their own garden thanks to the Knoxville Botanical Garden as they share garden plots with the community for families without access to land. 

Getting instruction for our hands-on project
One of the other kids who's family was working on their plot...showing us how it's done. 

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