Thursday, February 24, 2011

A little about vegetable gardening... Part II seeds

What is in season?
Now that you've picked a nice sunny spot you need to go to your local AgExtension office, garden store or farm & ranch supply to get a local vegetable planting guide. This will tell you what to plant when. Many folks (I am not one of them) enjoy using the Farmer's Almanac to determine their planting times. 

What kind of seeds to use?
You can use any ole seeds and if you water them and fertilize them they will grow. However, as I understand it there are basically two kinds of seeds GMO and non-GMO. GMO seeds are genetically modified seeds and are often more hardy and may be easier to grow. Large commercial farmers use GMO seed to grow their crops and most of the veggies in the grocery store come from GMO seeds. A big negative for me is that you cannot however collect their seed and grow plants from them. Non-GMO seeds are not genetically modified. It is said by the proponents of non-GMO seeds that they produce healthier food. I like NON-GMO seeds because I can collect the seeds from them and use my own seeds the following year. Thus lowering my gardening costs! Non-GMO seeds are normally labeled as such; heritage seeds are normally Non GMO.

What and how much to plant?
Once you have your planting guide you need to make a list of what your family eats that you can grow during the current season. Then you can determine from that list what you want to grow. You will need to consider how much space you have to grow things. You will need to measure your garden and determine how much space you have. If you have a small amount of space then you are not going to want to grow things that take a lot of space and have a low yield. You need to look at how many inches apart you need to plant each plant and how much space you need between rows. If you have questions about how to do this please post a comment and I will try to answer it quickly and clearly.

Finally, a few things that it makes sense to me to plant in a smalls space are:
  1. Swiss Chard ...you use it like spinach and you just cut the leaves and the leaves grow back. It self pollinates so it comes back on its own and it freezes well. Additionally, it pretty much grows year around in Texas!
  2. Spinach ....does the same thing as Swiss Chard except you cannot grow it year around 
  3. Lettuce.......does the same thing as Swiss Chard except you cannot grow it year around
  4. Turnips you can eat the root and the greens.
  5. Garlic takes up very little space and you can store the extras easily.
  6. Okra...it takes up a lot of space but two or three well tended okra plants can yield an incredible bounty of okra.
So this weeks assignment is to get a planting guide for your area and to determine what you want plant. Also don't forget to think about the kind of seeds you want to use. Ready, set, go!

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