Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vegetable Patch

Well hello there folks Me again and this post i will blog about my favourite subject vegetables. I like a lot of gardeners of my vintage have a veggie patch and can come from having to grow ones own in our early childhood days or at least our Parents . Mine was certainly from parental interest ,anyway that doesn,t matter ,because the motives are still the same ,saving money,having good fresh produce and healthy for us too and the enjoyment of growing our own. For me its always been vegetables didn,t really get into flowers and shrubs and things only as a way of earning an income. I never seen the sense in putting flowers in my gardens always had to be something you could eat ,that said of course you can eat a lot of flowers too. So where do we start.

 1. A good sunny spot and sheltered from winds is a good idea, vegetables need sun. As do most plants of course but because vegetables are in the main plants which we want to grow very well sunshine is needed. Along with good drainage and lots of humus in the soil,organic matter. We nurture our soils in the veggie patch and build them up over time ,so don,t be too stressed if your first attempts are scrawny veggies. Because time is on our side do things slowly methodicaly and you wil be rewarded

2. Ideally our soil should be free draining , friable with plenty of organic matter. If not we can amend soils to suit our ideal growing conditions by adding whats required. A ph near as Ph 7 would be perfect but not always acheiveable and i have dound a range of 5.5 to 6.5 good for most vegetables ,some exceptions like potatoes whom don,t mind a lower ph in fact it can be a good thing for disease protection. Most of what i just said you gardeners will have already worked out which works for you.

3. Wind can be a big factor i the veggie garden ,so reducing it is always a good idea. Wind can evapourate moisture from the ground very quickly and also bring in weeds and pests.You do need some airflow but gentle is preferred and reducing this is achievable easy. You could put up a hessian screen or shade cloth ,grow a living hedge although they can harbour pests especially over the winter months.So choose carefully there, fruit tres epsalired can be a good wind break if you havent a lot of room.

 4. So now we have our veggie area what to do first , Clear of all weeds mow ,burn if allowed remove by hand or just simply dig them in . Me i would dig them in as once you turn over the soil with your manual soil inverter ( ie spade, fork ) you will get lots more weeds anyway from the thousands of seed in the soil. Add your, manures and probaly some lime in fact if in the States right now i would let my ground get all the climatic conditions that mother nature can throw at this time of year.As i am in Thailland i not get any of that cold really cold conditions which is a pity because i believe it benefits the soil.And we are just coming out of what Thais call winter.

 5. Cultivate the soil to a depth of 12 inches by hand or machine lay out your beds into four feet by four feet plots and about six of these so u can practise crop rotation which is a good practise for plant hygiene,less diseases that way.Have paths between them enough for wheel barrows etc. The paths you can make by taking the soil from where you are having paths and throw back onto gardenbeds thereby raising them and better also for drainage. Give consideration to watering when laying out beds i like some drip type of irigation ,or a simple butterfly sprinkler is the way i do it. Once the tilth of the soil is a nice crumbly texture is time to plant ,when culitivating try and do when there is some moisture in the soil so as not to ruin soil structure.

 6. Plant out your favourite veggies and look after them well . Don,t plant out everything at once spread it out over a three week span and small manageable crops is the way to go. Otherwise you will be disappointed with the results.Feed them on a regular basis once a fortnight with a good liquid feriliser and you,ll have veggies you are proud of. Well there you have it some tips on the veggie patch and until next week i will say cheers.If you at any time have some questions about a specific subject please don,t hesitate to ask ,or leave a comment thanking you Steve Barratt

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hi there fellow gardeners Steve Barratt here with some tips and advice related to gardening.

Over the coming months and years i will endeavour to pass on my knowledge of gardening with weekly insights . To problems you may have ,current trends in gardening, hints on design processes for that Landscaping project. Educational  lessons in text format and short video clips. Where i will show you how to do Things like .

  1. Propagation from seed, cuttings , division , some simple methods for bulbs etc.
  2. Some budding techniques , some basic grafting , Fruit tree pruning.
  3. Mix up your own organic sprays , for those pesky pests and the right time do spray .
  4. Some good lawn tips for a healthy turf.
  5. Vegetable gardening my favourite , tips and companion planting to produce those rich organic crops.
  6. And some personal recommendations of products and some great books.as well,  tools and the care of the same.
From the list above you can get an idea of what i am about . So just to fill you in a bit more i will outline a brief history on myself.  I have been gardening since the age of nine or ten by first growing vegetables in the family back yard. Got the interest off my dad whom used to have a beautiful vegetable garden ,i can remember the vegies he grew and he,d feed them by having a 44 gallon drum filled with water and horse manure bag inside the drum. didn,t half stink but vegies didn,t mind. Its funny now when i look back as he my Dad doesn,t grow vegies now and didn,t grow them anymore once we moved from that house,make a note and ask him one day

Anyway i did and have kept it up all these years ,and i started  growing seedlings to sell when i was thirteen growing them in the back had a 1/4 acre of vegies back then all dug by hand too.When i left school i started work in a nursery a retail one . Which was run by two very good Nursery men and they taught me a good deal about propagation one of my favourite areas of gardening.Also plants mainly English types which is okay in Tasmania where i lived.Also spent some time in a wholesale seedling production nursery run by a Family which is still in operation Today.

So my interest in gardening as a whole has been shaped by some good people and i have taken it further by going to college and getting Qualified in Horticulture. Twenty years of Landscaping and General gardening  as a Contractor for myself . Also have worked in Local Government in the Parks and Garden area.

Have taught at Adult Education in the area of propagation ,and spoken at various garden clubs and been Past Vice President of Tasmanian Herb Growers Ass, a founding member.Have done a three year trail on growing Water chestnuts with some good results . Iv,e gardened in Tasmania ,Victoria , West Australia and now reside in Thailand where i have just under two acres of garden.

Well there you have it folks a little more information for you and some food for thought on the questions which you may have i will do my best to answer.
You can also join me on Google + and participate in my gardening circle or follow my other blog at www.gardening.dinstudio.com

I look forward to helping you gardeners in what ever way i can Thanking you Steve Barratt .