Garden tips

   / Garden tips #1  


Apr 6, 2000
I'm tired of lousy tomatoes so I promised myself that next year I'll plant a vegetable garden come hell or high water. I've got a few basic questions that maybe someone will be willing to answer.

What all can I do this year to prepare the soil? I've tilled it once already. I'm going to take a page out of Bird's book and chip a bunch of branches and green compost into the plot. I've got a bunch of tree trunks that are too rotten for firewood, but they'll burn. Should I burn them on top of the garden plot and then till in the ashes? Any other tips?

The existing plot is about 20'x40'. Is this a good size for two people? I know this is a hard question, but any rules of thumb will be appreciated.

Is there any advantage to plowing furrows in a small garden?

Finally, if I keep the plot small like it is, I can buy hoops and polystyrene sheets to get a greenhouse thing going. This will let me get my tomatoes in early and hopefully keep the deer out. Anyone have any experience with this? How well did it work? Where did you buy the equipment?

Thanks in advance
   / Garden tips #2  
I don't have a green thumb,but maybe I can help you keeping the deer out of your garden.

Couple of tricks you can try.
1. Human hair,just go to your local hair salon get as much as you can than spread the hair around also in the mids of your graden.
2. Human urine, just do your thing in different locations often.
3. Bleach & Ajax powder & Human urine mixed up in a bottle,than pour little bit different spots in and round your garden.

I'm sure some of you are smiling and think I'm little nuts, but number 3 does work to keep the deer away plus those darn moose.....haven't found anything yet to keep the bears away.

Good luck with your garden.

   / Garden tips
  • Thread Starter

Thanks for the tip. Good thing you can't see my garden from the road. I can't imagine saying, "Good afternoon, ma'am. Don't mind me, I'm just applying a little deer repellent..." :).
   / Garden tips #4  
Look through some of the post in rural.

Any type of composte helps. With wood, you will need to add nitrogen fertilizer a little more than usual.

Don't need a green house in the summer in Texas.

Horse manure or cow manure worked in the soil in the fall sure helps the next years crop. It usually has weed seeds.

I have never tried to raise a garden 20 x 40 but you can do a lot in a small space by planting to utilize more of the usuable area rather than have big spaces between the rows.

I would normall figure that this would plant 6 40 foot rows of vegetables. I planted 6 120 ft rows of sweet corn this year. /w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif
   / Garden tips #5  
Since you have 9.5 acres, try tilling up about 1/4 acre 100 x 100 and experiment a little with what you like and what grows well. We found a cantalope that averages about 9 pounds and is far superior to any that I have EVER bought in the store. They take a lot of room, but are really worthwhile if you like them. /w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif
   / Garden tips #6  
Dfelger, as to whether ashes will help, that depends on the current ph of the soil. In Texas, our county agents will provide a special bag and instructions for taking soil samples, and you can send them in for analysis at a cost of $10 to $30 depending on how much analysis you want. In my case, I've never used any ashes, but have used the wood chips, leaves (both green and dry), old cow manure and rabbit manure, the vegetable trimmings, peels, etc., and some oat straw, and I don't think anyone could have a better vegetable garden (until the grasshoppers arrived). And those tomato slices I ate with supper tonight sure do beat what you can buy in the grocery store./w3tcompact/icons/smile.gif Of course, my current garden is a little over 9800 sq. ft., but for what two people can eat fresh, without a lot of canning, freezing, and giving produce away, a good 800 sq. ft. garden can produce a lot.

   / Garden tips
  • Thread Starter
I've been inspired by your success with the garden for some time now, Bird. Sorry to hear about the grasshoppers. If I were you I'd have a go at them with the shop vac, just to make myself feel better if nothing else. Black and Decker makes a $60 blower/vac that shreds and bags leaves into a collection bag... :)

I'll hold off on burning the tree trunks at least until I get that information from the county agent. Thanks for the suggestion.
   / Garden tips
  • Thread Starter
Thanks for the good thought, I guess there's not much to lose with planting a bigger garden. I was going to use a 20'x40' patch left over from the last owner.

I do love cantaloupes, honeydews, in fact pretty much any fruit or vegetable that's good and fresh. The exception that proves the rule here would be the persimmon. My wife loves 'em, they make me gag. What variety of cantaloupe grows so well for you down there?
   / Garden tips #9  
The biggest problem I see with cantaloupe in a small garden is that the vines spread so far and take up so much space. Of course, the same is true of the watermelon, pumpkins, and to a lesser extent cucumbers. I know you can have climbing cucumbers on a fence or something similar, but has anyone heard of doing that with the others?

   / Garden tips #10  
My shop vac is only a 10 gallon size; wouldn't make a dent in the grasshopper population./w3tcompact/icons/wink.gif This morning walking through some of the corn, the sounds of them jumping in there reminded me of the sound of being in a sleet storm.