Well, it has been a blessed spring here in the Red River Valley of the North. Gardens have been planned, built, planted, tended, and now we are starting to see some of the fruits of our labor. I harvested radishes and salad greens last night and WOW does that taste good.
As the garden continues to grow and produce it is time for us to think about the other 3 W's of gardening: Weeds, Water, and Worries.
What image does the thought of weeds bring to mind? Work, sore fingers, sore back, and exasperating. Keep this in mind that the more proactive that you are with your weeding the easier it is, don't let the weeds get established in the first place. If you let them get a good foot or should I say root hold in your garden it will be much harder to convince them that they need to vacate and not return. Every day look for weeds and pull them as cleanly out as you can, remember many weeds have very long and extensive tap roots and if you just pull the tops off you will get a chance to pull them again (kind of like catch and release when fishing). I try not to leave the weeds I pull lay in the garden but I put them in a bucket and take them to a special compost pile that I have just for weeds and other undesirable things that I want to make sure I get good and hot to be sure to kill them. I don't recommend using chemicals to kill your weeds, especially if you have produce currently growing. I have been known to go after the weeds before or after the growing season with some chemical if they are really persistent.
I think we all know what plants look like if they are under-watered, but are you aware of how they look when over-watered?
1. Plants look well-watered but are wilting
2. The leaf tips are turning brown
3. Leaves start turning brown and wilting
4. General yellowing of the plant leaves
When you are watering try to use sun-warmed water...how would you like a spray of cold water from the hose on your back?
Just like for your gold fish bowl, if you have chlorinated water, leaving it sit for 24 hours will allow much of the chlorine gasses to escape and be less stressful to the plants.
Try to put the water where it does the most good...at the roots. Wetting the foliage is asking for problems with disease and also wastes water.
I think many times we over worry about some of the problems that we encounter in the garden. Remember that bugs and animals have to eat too. But, why do they have to eat so much? One sure way to control animal and bird pests is with screening. A fence or a netting will keep many of the problem critters at bay. Some deterrents are also effective, I use blood meal around my plants and have pretty fair success. There are a lot of home remedies that can be tried to help save our precious gardens.
Diseases, I think some of the best advice I have is to be sure to keep a healthy environment for your garden, don't over water, eliminate the use of non-selective control methods, and don't be a perfectionist. If you see a plant starting to show signs of diseased, it is probably best to remove it than try to cure it at the risk of allowing the problem to spread.
Remember that gardening is not a perfected science it is more a trial and error method of learning and experimenting.
Garden Well My Friends and Keep Those Fingers Dirty!