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Fences might stop critters but human hair ‘marks’ space

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Tips for starting your garden

By Cheryl Steenerson

I am lovin this weather! Anything in the 80’s is perfect for me and my garden.

I have been planting whenever I have a spare minute. I like to space out planting. That doesn’t mean that I just put my mind in another place. It’s officially called succession planting and it means I wait about 10 days to plant another row of beans or squash or cukes.

It works well for me and my customers at the stand.

Since my time is very tight, and the stand will only be open on Saturdays, I don’t want everything coming on at once.

I do most of my canning at the end of the season and this way I still have plenty of harvest left for me.

I do the tomatoes a little differently. I plant them all at the same time. Well, it does take me a few days to get all 350 of them in the ground by hand.

The difference is that I grow different varieties that have different harvest dates. Some are 55 days to harvest, others are 90 days to harvest and there are some that are in between.

Check out the days to harvest on the little label or check a catalog to find it. Remember my favorite saying, work smarter, not harder!

My long drive home each evening gives me the opportunity to watch everyone’s gardens spring to life. I watch rough ground go to a smooth plate and then green starts to pop up in neat little rows. It’s a sight to behold!

Those that are relatively new to vegetable gardening seem to be confused about whether to grow things from seeds or just to buy the plants. There is a big difference in price! Seeds are cheap! Corn, squash, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, young onions, radish and beans grow really fast, so buy the seeds.

Buy the plants of melons, peppers and tomatoes. Please wait until the first of July or so to plant fall crop seeds, such as pumpkins and cushaw.

You can even do a fall crop of broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage by planting plants in late August. They do better in cooler weather and you can harvest in October.

Be sure to find a way to protect your garden from the critters. A fence is a good way but there are others. You can “mark” your territory using human hair around the border and adding new every two weeks.

Any meat eater can also pee in a container and then pour it around the border of the garden. Refresh it every two weeks as well. If it rains, you’ll have to reapply.

A loud radio station set to an all talk station works, for a while.

Next week, I’ll give you lots of recipes for the tiny critters that crawl onto and eat our plants. In the meantime, try plain baby powder. Sprinkle it like you would Seven dust.

Now, get out there! It’s pure gorgeous! Let your mind wander and plan for the future garden.

If you’re like me, every year, my endurance goes down so that “smarter not harder” saying is just self-preservation. We’ll still want to eat.

Happy Growing!