#1 Garden Notes

Updated by Matt G.

Maybe you can scrape-thru my garden notes and learn something new. Enjoy these vegetable garden trips, tricks and hints for anyone.

green leafed plants on black soil at daytime

Just a personal collection of constantly being updated garden notes gathered from watching videos, reading posts and stuff I've learned from talking to people in real life.

Garden Must-haves:

  1. Composting Pile, split into halves OR thirds (grass clippings, biodegradable food and everything else). Consider “roofing” one from weather with wood.
  2. Mulch to boost growth, block weeds, sunlight and disease / pests
  3. Mason Bee Hive Tubes + Enclosure with Roof-overhang
  4. A disposal bin or trash can to throw random plastic, thistle roots, rocks and whatever other non-sense birds transport
  5. A chair to take a breath after shoveling, raking or farming
  6. 100% Cotton / butcher twine, because it biodegrades… maybe paracord.
  7. Sheltered area to plop tools, and Linseed oil to restore wood tools; always shop around for best value.
StorePrice Per Quart (32-fl oz)
Home Depot$14.75
Lowes$10
Walmart$8.75
Amazon$16.75
  1. Complimentary flowers to vegetables to help attract insects that pollinate. Marigolds, Zinnias, herbs that flower, mint and Sunflowers are good choices. BTW, it's very hard to grow melons and cukes without pollinators!
  2. Bird bath, bird house and bird feeder to attract beautiful birds that eat insects.
  3. Optional, or perhaps not…
    • * Long knife or old streak knife and rags
    • * Stirrup / Action Hoe could be an absolute must, maybe even combo hoe with cultivator… or even a Wheel Hoe
    • * Snips and Trimmer

Old sport, for your entertainment I'd like to very much share a joke and good music with you…enjoy.

What did the bee say to the flower?

Hello honey. 😂
“Christoffer Moe Ditlevsen – The Road Less Travelled”

Bees

  • Your hive should face towards the sun. If you look your address up on google map, there is a compass in the bottom right corner. The red point should face S or SE.
  • Mason Bee Hive can be custom fitted with straws / tubes and mounted anywhere in your yard with eye hooks and zip ties about 4 feet off the ground.
  • Most amazon and store purchased bee hives are junk material and not worth the money. Consider crafting your own using recycled wood from trash picked chairs, thick waxed coated cardboard from your old iPhone box or something else.
    • Mud is a must, and pollen is required or else they will move on.
    • Robins, crows, starlings and woodpeckers will hunt and eat these bees.

Marigolds

  • Complimentary to many vegetables, easy to grow and long lasting! You should even have good luck keeping them to bloom for next year too!

Mulch

  • Eggshells have calcium so it is good to mix that into your compost / mulch.
  • Avoid dyed mulch (the red, brown or black stuff).
  • Avoid adding non-native fruit and invasive weeds into your main pile. If bananas or citrus or w/e do not grow in your region, do not compost with your primary pile.
  • Cedar (known bug repellent) > Pine Nut Chips > Hay & Straw > Pine Needles & Grass Clippings > Compost > Sawdust > Manure > (shredded) Bark > Cardboard or Newspaper > Landscape / Geotextile fabric > Rock > Plastic Mulch
  • Remove existing mulch or replenish top layer with similar
  • The thicker the mulch is, the more effective it will be; thin layer prevents most issues. Do not drown your plants with rug-like application.
  • Prevents splash-up from soil, which helps in controlling fungal issues

Peppers

  • Coming Soon!

Tomatoes

  • Do not let overcomplicated take control, these are very simple plants to grow, they require ~16″ space (for good airflow), compost and warmth with maintenance.
  • Put small stick near seedling to trick worms from killing baby tomato
  • Always support your tomato plants, consider a clip, stake or vertical / trellis system – every two plants is a good rule of thumb (about 2 foot apart) because you can weave & wrap between plants and only tie knot at end stake posts
  • Growing vertical with rope trellis helps avoid fungal, pest and disease issues and it's easy to harvest because of better airflow.
    • Get a bare stem at the base, branches near the soil bring problems with early blight, fungal diseases and other stuff.
  • Indeterminate produce all year, and determinate are great for canning, pasta and getting yield all at once.
  • * Trench planting = Maximize root system and transplant tomato into soil sideways; bury them deep (about 1 inch from ground to stem).
  • Rotate your tomato between growing with something in the Nebraska family like corn, bean or cabbage to keep disease / bacteria out of the soil born
  • Calcium keep blossom and also rot-prevention and can easily inject in drip-fed irrigation. Calcium only moves one way, and that's up. You can add eggshells, sheetrock, tums or gypsum ($10 for 30lb).
  • Plant on small 3 inch hill, just like our roads, but also create a bowl / crater design for water to be funnel-collected and sink and seep into roots. Do not mulch inside the bowl.
  • Epsom salt is great for tomatoes because of its magnesium and sulfur content, particularly magnesium, which contributes to chlorophyll production. The chlorophyll raises photosynthesis rate, making more sugars and energy available for a tastier, healthier tomato.
  • If roots have a deeper healthier root system, they can better extract the minerals they need, in return, rewarding you with better taste.
  • Charge up the base of potting hole with water to encourage roots to grown down, instead of letting them be lazy and absorb top soil water moisture
  • A lot of energy goes into suckers, so prune them when once or twice a week when they are small to create big tomato's.
  • Rot Blossom and Cracking remedy is to have a consistent water schedule
  • Pounds per plant = 11 pounds per plant to 23 per tomato plant to goal of 30+ per plant
  • 500+ tomatoes in 4 x 10 feet area

Misc. Garden Notes

  • Earthworms are 80% water and create castings (poop) by breaking down organic b$ and also create air pockets as they move-thru the ground creating healthy soil. During rain and very sandy soil, worms travel to the surface to breath because the water clogs up the air tunnels and will drown them. Worms eat about 1/4 of their body weight each day.
    1. Surface worms live between mulch and surface soil
    2. Topsoil worms live 2 to 4 inches below surface
    3. Subsoil worms create vertical burrows 6 feet down
  • Nitrogen – Phosphorus – Potassium
    • Jobes houseplant fertilizer 13-4-5 is Nitrogen rich; great for green growth.
    • Phosphorus rich 6-18-6 is great for Tomato
  • Some big-box store vegetable plants are chemically raised with drugs and since they become dependent on the fertilizer, if they stop getting it, they die, have slow production and can demoralize you because if you transplant them and they do not grow well… it'll be sad for you to waste effort.
  • If growing sunflowers indoor, setup an oscillating fan to “toughen up” the stems by mimicking wind outside. Sunflower stalks chopped up is great organic matter for prepping plots to grow vegetables too!
  • Fermented plant juice, is activated by osmosis and the extracted mineral juice using brown sugar (shelf stable and odor controlling) and mish-mash plants yield liquid that you strain. This can be easily applied directly to plants instead of soil or water injection.
  • Use a $3 adjustable tension rod (24″ to 48″) to create a place for you to hang your basket from inside if you have a skylight or another good sun spot.
  • Potatoes
    • have UPTO an x8 yield
    • a 15 foot row of potatoes yields about 30 pounds harvested.
  • Drip tape irrigation could be the next step if your plot becomes 30′ or larger.
  • Best time to foliar spray is in the morning, 7 to 10 days after first leaf or two because there is already dew on the leaf. You want that spray to stay on the leaf as long as possible, but not too long because you don't want to attract fungus.

Follow principles and then constantly refine things to get closer to paradise.

So far I've been able to educate and learn mostly from watching YouTube videos and visiting my library to read books. There are beautiful content creators with really high video production that make it fun to consume, here are my favorite channels:

  1. Epic Gardening
  2. The Gardening Channel With James Prigioni
  3. Hoss Tools
  4. Huw Richards
  5. Garden Well Eat Well
  6. Boxlapse

Please try to remember that some plants and weeds have purpose. You should enjoy their beauty without getting caught up on picture perfection. Nobody wants to start spraying and killing everything that has symbiotic relations with the birds, bees and butterflies.

Leave a comment to teach me something new, share a joke or just say hi if you enjoyed my garden notes.

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