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Garden Talk

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"GardenTalk", a regular feature for The Gazette, brings to you the combined experience and expertise of Holly Lake's dedicated gardeners and others. A continuing focus will be subjects of interest to anyone who has ever bought a packet of seeds or dug a hole in the ground for a plant, as well as the dedicated and sharp-eyed observers of nature. "GardenTalk" will not only inform you each issue but solicits your ideas and personal gardening experiences which you may wish to pass on to others. The hope is that "GardenTalk" will enrich us all as well as help make Holly Lake even more beautiful.It's fall garden seed planting time.
By Lucy Germany Wood Co. Master Gardener
Winter vegetables, anyone? Maybe it's not quite time yet but it is not too early to begin thinking of where your garden will be and what you will plant, If your plot is small enough you may want to fence it, using plastic fencing. This is easy to handle, to cut and to attach to the posts with garden wire. If your garden is in direct sunlight, put in seeds of beans, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, eggplant, okra, onions, peas, peppers, potatoes, squash, tomatoes and watermelons. These are the full sun lovers. Partial shade plants include beets, Brussels sprouts, squash, cabbage, carrots, collards, lettuce, mustard, parsley, radishes, spinach and turnips
Plant long term crops and short term crops separately. Plant tall growing crops where they won't shade or interfere with the progress of smaller varieties. For a fall garden it is necessary to ascertain the approximate date for the first freeze. Check the data on the back of your seed packet. For the following vegetables, seeds should be in the ground 8 to 10 weeks before the first freeze: bush beans, beets, collards, onions and radishes.Plant twelve to fourteen weeks before first freeze for Chinese cabbage, carrots, corn and eggplant, okra, peppers and spinach. Tomatoes, squash, watermelon and cantaloupe should not be planted any closer to the first freeze than fourteen weeks.
Cover the seeds a thickness of two to three times the seed's widest measurement. For plants with smaller seeds-unmeasurable-cover ½ to ¼ inch with soil. Water carefully-not too much. If using sprinklers, water in the morning to allow foliage to dry out before night. Set the plants out fairly thickly as you will want to thin them at some point. Most gardens require watering to provide the equivalent of one inch of rain per week. Under favorable growing conditions most plants will have emerged in approximately five to ten days after planting the seed.
The easiest plants to transplant are beets, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onions, chard, tomatoes and lettuce. Carrots, celery, eggplant, okra, pepper and spinach can be transplanted if care is taken. Extremely difficult to transplant are peas, squash, turnips, watermelon, beans, cantaloupe and corn.
To determine nutrients that may be needed, it is good to have soil tested for nitrogen, potassium, phosphate and other trace elements. One to two inches of organic mulch around plants is adequate for moisture conservation, prevention of weed growth and regulation of soil temperature.
-Information based on material from the Texas Home Gardening Guide , Texas A and M ,/Texas Agricultural Extension Service