Talking Dirt: The Dirt Divas Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening

Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva's Down-to-earth Guide To Organic Gardening
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Your local extension can tell you your area's final frost date. The temperature affects how well seeds and transplants will grow. Some seeds refuse to germinate in cold soil—they'll just lie there and rot, like that leftover sushi you forgot in your car. Extreme soil temperatures can destroy fine roots on young plants. Fresh transplants can be killed by "hot or cold surface soils," according to master gardener and university professor Dr. You can find soil thermometers at garden centers in a wide price range.

Soil in raised beds typically warms up earlier than ground soil, so you can plant sooner. You can warm the soil faster by laying sheets of plastic on the bed for a week or more. After planting cold-sensitive plants, cover them with "a cloche, fabric or cold frame," says Pokorny.

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Soil in raised beds typically warms up earlier than ground soil, so you can plant sooner. As posted on crowdedearthkitchen. This is one gardening book that you can read cover to cover. Every Thursday. Chard red. Photo by Mackenzie

A cold frame is "a shallow, unheated box with a transparent cover," Beth Berlin, an educator with the University of Minnesota Extension, explains. Plants in a cold frame can bask in the sun's heat and still be protected from cold. You can build a cold frame right over your bed. Allow a week to harden off plants. Greenhouse-grown plants need to be acclimated to wind and direct sun.

Toughen up those babies by gradually leaving them outside for longer and longer periods. Don't transplant during the hottest part of the day. Being transplanted is stressful enough. Your veggies will be adapt faster if you plant them on a cloudy day, in early morning, or late afternoon. You can also shade new transplants with a light cloth.

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Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva's Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening [Annie Spiegelman] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. A lively and . 1 result for Books: Crafts, Hobbies & Home: Gardening & Landscape Design: By Technique: Organic: "Talking Dirt The Dirt Divas Down To Earth Guide To.

Free the roots. If roots are matted on the bottom, break them apart. Nip the buds. Removing flowers lets the plant put all its energy into growing roots, which is "essential with transplanting," according to the MSU Extension. This will result in more flowering and a better harvest. Protect from frost. Can't it just stay warm for a minute?

If frost is predicted, cover your seedlings. Keep tall vegetables and trellises from shading shorter plants by locating them on the northern end of your bed, the Cornell Extension recommends. Position tall plants "just south of the trellis. When spacing plants, follow seed packet and plant labels. With a raised garden bed, you don't need to make room for a path, so you can space rows closer together. But no cramming! Air needs to circulate around plants. This helps prevent diseases and fungal spores from developing. Photo by Arnaldo Aldana on Unsplash. After your plants have settled in, mulch them to help conserve water, maintain soil temperature, reduce weeds, and keep dirt from washing away or compacting in heavy rains.

The best type of mulch for a vegetable garden is loose, fast-decomposing material such as grass clippings without herbicides , chopped leaves, compost, or straw without seeds , according to Linda Chalker-Scott. Add mulch gradually, building from 1 to 3 inches over a few weeks. Spread mulch in a large area around vining vegetables like cucumbers to keep the maturing fruit from touching soil, which can cause rot, pros at the Missouri Botanical Garden say.

If your garden bed has rich soil, you might not need fertilizer. Focus on keeping soil healthy by top-dressing with compost throughout the season. Photo by Marcus Spiske on Unsplash. Because soil in a raised bed gets warmer than the ground, it can dry out faster.

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During hot spells, your bed may need daily watering. For ultimate convenience, use soaker hoses easy or a drip irrigation system more complex with a timer. A soaker hose is laid on top of the soil around plant rows and connected to a regular hose.

A drip irrigation system has more components. Both systems conserve water use and apply water directly to plant roots, where it's needed. Save money and conserve water by capturing rainwater with a rain barrel.

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Remove detritus, weed seedlings, and diseased or dead plant matter. If a walnut tree's nearby, be sure to remove any fallen walnut leaves, hulls, and seedlings. Photo by Tony Fortunato on Unsplash. Friendly forest animals might be happy to help Snow White, but first they'll meet up for brunch at your garden. So take steps to encourage them to dine elsewhere.

The lazy way to protect your plants from critters is to use lightweight plastic netting. The netting comes in rolls and is usually black or dark green—practically invisible from even a small distance. You can cut it with scissors. Just toss it over plants in the early evening and remove it in the morning—it only takes a minute. And it's reusable for years. This effectively stopped deer from stripping my hydrangeas and daylilies.

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Are the neighborhood deer too bold and hangry? They're meant to repel deer via a terrible taste or smell. But effectiveness is iffy. Block them by placing hardware cloth on the bottom of your raised bed. Mothballs: nope. Some gardeners use mothballs to control squirrels and other rodents. Margaret Roach warns against this.

Mothballs are a pesticide. Using mothballs in a way not specified by the label is not only illegal, but can harm people, pets or the environment," Roach says. Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash. This infographic lists some of the good guys. Remember this about pesticides: They will destroy all the bugs—even the good ones. And what about birds that eat the poisoned bugs? To be on the safe side, don't put pesticides on your plants.

I find knocking the bad guys into a cup of soapy water very effective. But if you're absent minded, don't drop them into your coffee cup speaking from experience. If slugs are a problem, kill them kindly by setting shallow dishes of stale beer outside your raised bed.

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