Sunday, August 29, 2010

Planning a Fall Garden @ Urban Harvest

Last week I attended one of Urban Harvest’s classes called Planning a Fall Garden. The instructors were my neighbors, Gary Edmondson and Ray Sher. I think they have been on the Westbury Garden Tour just about every year. They have turned their entire yard into a fruit and vegetable garden with some flowers thrown in for good measure. Ray sells his city grown produce on Saturdays at the Urban Harvest Eastside Market. He is also the mastermind behind the new Westbury Community Garden.
I’ve actually already planted my fall garden, so why go to a class on planning a fall garden? Well, you never know what you might learn. This class was great for both novice and more experienced gardeners.
Here are the top ten things I learned:
  1. Do not use bark mulch as a mulch for your vegetable gardens, it may contain natural growth inhibitors and it can rob the soil of nitrogen. You should always use partially decomposed material as mulch. They recommended alfalfa hay or compost.
  2. Cottonseed meal is a good fertilizer for just about anything.
  3. You can use tree leaves as a mulch for fruit trees but not veggies.
  4. They recommended a digging knife, expensive, but worth it.
  5. Save your seeds in the refrigerator in a sealed container with a little rice or powdered milk to absorb any moisture.
  6. If you have old seed, a good way to test if it will germinate is to put it in a damp paper towel. Keep the paper towel damp, after a couple of days start checking daily if the seeds have germinated.
  7. Put soft phosphate or bone meal in the planting hole of onions and tomatoes.
  8. Plant leaks in a trench and slowly cover them as they grow.
  9. Put garlic in the refrigerator for 2 months before planting. For Houston, plant garlic in mid-October and harvest in May.
  10. There are two kinds of arugula. The one I am familiar with is spicy and has an oak leaf shape and is referred to as wild. The other (Astro is one variety) is less spicy, has a more rounded leaf, and has shorter time to harvest.
If you are new to fruit and vegetable gardening in Houston, I highly recommend Dr. Bob Randall’s book, Year Round Vegetables, Fruits, and Flowers for Metro Houston.

No comments:

Post a Comment