Sunday, July 22, 2012

Autumn Vegetable Garden - Seed Packet Holder

Been very busy the past two months first with a trip up north to visit with my mother-in-law who is now out of rehab after her fall and broken hip.  She is doing remarkably well at 87 she is almost completely healed and walks around steadier than I do.   I am so pleased she is better and back in her own home.  Came back down to Florida and started planning our autumn vegetable garden.  We have decided to grow a bigger plot this time.  We chose an area at the back of the house that really doesn't have anything but thin grass on it and staked it out and added weed killer to try to get as much of the grass gone as possible.  Neither of us like to use chemicals in the garden but we are too old to dig and pull our all that grass by hand.

 We have bought some well rotted organic compost to condition the soil with and made two raised beds in the hope that it will help with the nematodes down here.  Once we have tilled the whole plot we will solarize the soil .

Solarization is a process of using heat from the sun to kill nematodes and other pests.  The soil should be moist, but not wet. Cover the soil with a clear plastic tarp and bury the edges of the plastic. Leave the plastic on the soil for at least 4 to 6 weeks. Do not remove the plastic until you are ready to plant. Sunlight goes through the clear plastic and heats the soil underneath. The plastic then holds in the heat so it penetrates the soil. Long-term exposure to high temperature kills nematodes, as well as many weeds, fungi, and insect pests. The disinfested zone is usually 6 to 8 inches deep. Because it depends on sunlight and heat, solarization works best during the summer months. This fits well into the Florida growing season where main crop vegetables are grown in the cooler seasons.

I bought a metal windmill to add an element of fun to the garden and it is my intention to make a whirligig myself to put there too along with a couple of scarecrows.  Maybe they will help keep the birds away from the seedlings when they start growing.

We decided to grow only organic vegetables so we sent away for some wonderful seed catalogues from seed exchange co-operatives and have spent many hours deliberating on which crops to grow and which varieties.  I altered a small cardboard box to keep them all together.