Thursday, April 5, 2007

Are you a gardener?

Because it's spring - I decided to give you a few gardening tips - and we can relate it all to writing later.

by Billie A Williams © 2006

Sowing your rows, as my grandfather used to say, straight rows make an easy hoe, and the sight is definitely pleasing to the eye.

1. Start by putting a marker where your row will begin and another where it will end. Run a string between them as a visual aid to making nice straight rows.
2. Use a grub hoe, or the handle of your rake or regular hoe handle to draw a planting furrow between the stakes under the string. Adjust your depth to twice the thickness of the seed you are planting.
3. Sow the seed, by shaking it from a small cut across the corner of your seed packet. I usually plant thick and plan to thin because my grandfather always cautioned me to “plant one for the birds, one for me, and one for or against the chance of a dud seed.” (Jerry Baker, America’s Master Gardener, recommends using an old salt shaker to shake seeds from to aid in even distribution.)
4. A Hint from my neighbor in Bayfield, Colorado a Master Gardener herself—Bea Bartholomew used to draw the furrow and then drizzle water into it to soak the ground before placing her seeds in it. Cover the seed either by dragging the hoe corner across forcing soil into the furrow, or use your hands to push soil over the seed to the proper depth, being careful not to let stones, or clumps of soil cover the seeds. Her garden was always beyond fabulous.
She also watered each row as she finished planting it.
5. If your soil is heavy you may want to use a week tea to water the seeds [Weak Tea Recipe 1 twice used tea bag, I tsp liquid dish soap, to one gallon of water. Steep the tea bag in the soapy water mixture until the water is slightly colored. ] This weak tea solution will help the seeds germinate but will also keep the soil from becoming hard packed and crusty giving the seedlings a better chance to put down roots and push through the top soil layer.
6. Keep an eye on the new seedlings. Thin them as necessary to be sure they each have enough room to mature properly.

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