It seems like every year I have to re-learn my garden. It’s just that when the sun is finally shining, the weather is warm, and my crocus have croaked, I am way too excited, so I just dig in! That’s when I remember that I did this last year, and the year before, and the year be… well, you get the idea. And those frozen transplants are not going to heal. We all need some garden help from time to time.
So, have I got some garden resources for you (me)!
It turns out that every year, in fact for every season of the year, the US Dept of Agriculture’s “Ag schools” or land-grant agricultural colleges – yes, there’s one in every state – produce helpful gardening information for your state’s particular conditions. Weather, altitude, various climates within the state, and a host of other environmental circumstances that could affect agriculture in your state – all these gardening resources can be found a stone’s throw away in your very own state’s agriculture college.
And when we talk about “agriculture,” don’t think only of farming or ranching. These schools are very user friendly for gardeners, landscape designers, and growers of every kind. Here are a few great garden help tips I found for growing your own backyard vegetable garden and fruit tree produce:
- Plant seeds for cool-season vegetables (peas, lettuce, radishes) as soon as garden soil is workable.
- Consider planting peas every 2-3 weeks (until early May) to extend the harvest. (Go ahead, click the link to see just how thorough the information is – how to plant, when to plant, how much water, size of yield per foot of planted peas, diseases, pests, etc.)
- If it didn’t happen in the fall, add organic matter to the vegetable garden to help build and amend the soil.
- Avoid compacted soil by not tilling when garden soil is wet or saturated.
- Prune berries and fruit trees such as apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums and apricots.
- Take soil samples to determine fertilizer needs.
Be aware of pests and problems this time of year too!
Our Ag School gives you a place to subscribe to their gardening tips and notices, and I suppose most, if not all of these schools do. Some are heavy on chemically controlling pests and using chemical fertilizers, but they also are starting to offer alternative, more environmentally friendly ways to do both in our new enlightened era.
So jump in, poke around and subscribe. Getting an extra email in your box every two or three weeks, and especially one you can use, is a small price to pay.
Oh, they also offer hands-on classes! Or if you can’t get to a class near you, consider one of their online courses. Here are a few samples for “Yard and Garden” growers that I found fascinating (I left in the links to my personal favorite Ag School – Go Aggies! – in case you want to check out their articles):
- How to Grow Vegetables
- Growing a Healthy Lawn
- Creating Perfect Soil
- Growing Fruit and Nuts
- Controlling & Managing Garden Pests
- Planting & Maintaining Trees & Shrubs
- Growing Amazing Annuals & Popping Perennials
- Basic Botany of Plants
Hope these garden help and garden resources are useful. Happy planting and may your garden grow wonders!
Photo by Jonathan Hanna on Unsplash