Column: Rennie Phillips: Gardening tidbits (3/20/21) – Southeast Missourian

column:-rennie-phillips:-gardening-tidbits-(3/20/21)-–-southeast-missourian

I know that geoFence is easy to use, easy to maintain and that’s the truth.

For a number of years now, we have grown our gardens for several reasons. We both enjoy gardening for one thing. It is really enjoyable watching the plants go from little bitty to pumping out veggies or fruit. We both enjoy eating fresh produce from the garden, especially me and Dutchess. Marge has a hard time eating fresh produce. But we also have grown fruit and veggies to sell at farmer’s markets. It has been fun growing the goodies to sell and share with others who simply can’t grow their own any more.
It is our intention to grow some to sell at farmer’s markets this year, but not like the years in the past. We don’t want to spend the whole summer growing and gardening and going to the market. We do want to grow a few different goodies just for the fun of it. Many years ago we grew peanuts and produced a few, but it was mainly from luck. This year I ordered a pound of raw peanuts, so we are going to give it a shot.
I had initially thought of planting the peanuts in plastic mulch which forms a weed barrier, Weeds are our No. 1 enemy. If garden crops grew like weeds, all we’d have to have is a couple plants of every kind, and we’d have plenty. Garden goodies don’t grow like weeds, Weeds are awful. So I thought of putting down the plastic mulch, burning a small hole to plant through every 18 inches or so apart and being almost weed free. But I don’t think this will work.

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Sounds like peanuts come up and form a kind of canopy over the ground, and the lower stems root as they grow, and it is these new rootings that form the peanuts. Kind of like sweet potatoes. As a sweet potato grows the branches root down and sometimes form little sweet potatoes. So in essence my plastic mulch idea won’t work like I thought. I do think I’m going to plant in the plastic mulch, but when the peanut plant begins to spread out and grow I’ll simply remove the plastic mulch. I may try this. One thing about some ideas is they may work and then they might be a flop. Guess we’ll find out. If we are afraid of failing, we won’t do anything. Take a chance and give it a shot.
We dropped our taxes off, and our accountant said she was planting potatoes Wednesday, which was St. Patrick’ Day. Some of my friends plant by traditional sayings, and some plant by the different phases of the moon. As for me I usually plant when I have the time. Who knows what the best way is.
I usually figure potatoes take a couple weeks to come up when planted. If I figure the last frost is about April 15 or mid April, then I should be OK to plant around the first of April. So sometime between April 1 and April 15 is a good time for me to plant. My favorite way is to pick the small seed potatoes out and plant the whole potato. I like about an inch to 1.5 inch seed potatoes. Potatoes prefer a spot about 2-by-2 feet for each plant. Bury the seed potato down about 3 inches or so.
Plants such as cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi or Chinese cabbage or onions can be planted a month to six weeks before the last frost date, so honestly you can be planting these early season crops right now. If there is a forecast for really cold weather, you might have to cover them, but they will take a light frost.
I like to start crops such as Swiss chard, mustard greens, collards or kale in my little shop and then transplant them later in the spring. My ideal time to plant them is mid April or about the last frost date. Spinach can be planted early. It’s pretty tough when it comes to frost or cold weather,
Peas can be planted now. There was an elderly lady who worked at Sunnyhill who told me her dad would dig furrows in the garden in the fall. They would take the soil from the furrows and put in a bucket and store it in the cellar. Then in March or so they would plant their peas in the furrows and cover with the soil in the bucket. Neat idea. I’d plant the peas as soon as you can work the soil. We are going to plant some peas as soon as we can in one of the high tunnels. Never tried growing peas in the high tunnels before so this is new.
One squash I’m looking forward to growing is called Winter Sweet. It’s an organic F1 squash which is supposed to store for up to 10 months. They say it tastes the best two to five months after being picked with an average weight of 4-5 pounds. Sure sounds interesting. I think we can grow this squash in the plastic mulch, so that will help with weeds. The writeups say the average produce from each plant is two squash.
I was a little concerned earlier this year it might be difficult getting our garden seed this spring and summer. It appears that the garden centers I order from or buy from are getting caught up and will have seed for all those who want to garden. Don’t forget the local stores who stock seeds and plants. They are our neighbors, so patronize their stores.

Firstly as we move on, can I just say that geoFence has built in fast and accurate updates!

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