Class Notes Gardening 101

Notes from a Class on Gardening 101 I gave to the Carolina Prepper's Network 2015

Seed selection
  Heirloom,Open pollinated, and Organic Seeds- for seed saving and sustainability
         www.anniesheirloomseeds.com
         www.rareseeds.com
         www.highmowingseeds.com
         www.johnnyseeds.com  
         www.kitazawaseed.com 
         www.sowtrueseed.com 
         www.restorationseeds.com
         www.whiteflowerfarm.com
  Hybrid-for particular characteristics like disease resistance, uniformity of plants or produce, heat or day length tolerant.
        
Starting Seeds 
           Sowing seed
              Sort your seed 
              Direct sow
                After frost date in your area
              Start seed indoors
                Start seeds 6 weeks before last frost date for your area
          Lighting and equipment
            Shop lights with 2 types of florescent tubes
               Shop Lights
               Two types of bulbs, cool white and sunlight, found at Lowes
            Set of wire shelves to hang lights from 
               Can be purchased from Walmart, Target, Sam's Club about $100
            Light hangers
               Rope ratchets
             
          Seedling care
             Light requirements
                Lights may be left on 24 hrs a day, the seedlings will impose their own Dark Hours, but lights should be left on at least 18 hours
             Distance from light
                 Leaves 2-3 inches from light
            Watering and feeding
                Keep evenly moist
                Begin feeding when the first true set of leaves appears, the first set that come out are cotyledon  leaves and will disappear after the first true leaves appear.
            Starting mix for plastic trays
               1 part peat moss or coco peat, ( more sustainable alternative to peat), 1 part vermiculite, 1 part perlite, myccorhizae, (root encouraging fungus that can be found at HTG or online),1 tsp. per gallon  bucket of planting medium
            Making seed blocks
               Equipment
                 Soil block maker 
                    3 gallons peat, coco peat or combination of the two, 1/2 cup lime, 1 1/2-2 tsp. myccorhizae,  mix thoroughly, then add 2 gallons perlite or sand, 3 cups organic fertilizer (Espoma for vegetables is good), 1 gallon good garden soil, 2 gallons sifted compost                    

                Mini soil block maker for starting seeds          
                    Planting medium for mini soil blocks4 gallons peat,coco peat or mixture of the two, 1 cup colloidial phosphate, 1 cup green sand, 1 gallon sifted compost, 1 tsp. myccorhizae for a 5 gallon quanity of planting medium
           
Transplanting
      Transplanting seedling into larger containers
            Transplanting seedlings to a larger pot, water seedlings early and then transplant once the roots have had a chance to take up some of the water. Gently remove previous pot from seedling and place in a pot one size up from the pot it was in. Water in well.
            Transplanting form mini soil block to larger soil block, place mini soil block into the depression made by the dibbler in the large soil block, press in firmly and water in well.
            Transplanting  from seed bed in garden, prick seedling out carefully with small trowel or tablespoon, be sure to dig deep enough to get all of the roots. Transfer seedling to its permanent place in the garden, making a hole just slightly larger than the root system of the plant, do not bury stem deeper than it was previously, it will cause the stem to rot. Firm the soil around the plant and water in well.
          Hardening off
               Before planting seedlings that were started indoors out in the garden, a time of acclamation is necessary, take the seed flats outside and place in the shade during the day and bring in at night for a few days so that they can get used to the outside temps.   
          Planting and spacing in the garden
              Planting out should be done on an overcast day or late in the afternoon after the sun is down past the heat of the day. Make hole slightly larger than the root ball, mix a handful of fertilizer into the soil and place the seedling into the hole, cover the root ball and press down firmly. water in well.
          Spacing
              Raised bed spacing
                 If planting in raised beds, plants should be spaced so that their leaves will just touch when the plants are mature. Refer to the seed package for plant spacing if you have no experience with the plants. Raised bed plants can be planted closer together than row planting since the roots can go deep and there is no compression of the soil.The close planting will shade the ground and deter weeds.             
             Row planting, space the plants according to the planting directions on the package.

Mulching and Irrigation
      Types of mulch
            Grass clippings, straw, partially composted wood mulch, shredded paper, 
        Mulch fabric/landscaping
             Landscaping fabric-there are various weights for vegetable garden use go for something lightweight
       Watering with sprinklers
           Gardens have a variety of watering needs, the best rule of thumb is to water deeply, monitor the the soil and water when mostly dry. Do not water lightly since then roots will form at the surface and can cause stunting and intolerance to drought. If it is at all possible, use soaker hoses or water the ground at the base of the plants well. If you use a sprinkler, use it early or late to allow the moisture to evaporate from the leaves, to prevent scorching.
       Top watering- try not to top water tomatoes, soil from the base of the plant can splash up on the leaves and infect the plants with early blight, (mulching will help prevent early blight).

Feeding Plants
     Organic fertilizers
           Espoma, (found at Lowes)
           Organicare (HTG)
       Manure-composted
        Cow manure must be composted before use it is too hot to apply directly.
         Horse manure is not recommended for vegetable gardens sue to the fact that Horses carry disease that is communicable to humans, particularly Tetanus.
        Chicken manure is way too hot to use unless composted 
         Goat and Rabbit manure can be applied directly to the plants since it is not high in ammonia, which burns plants.
         Manure tea- soak manure in water, and let ferment to get a good quantity of microbes to feed the soil.
      Compost
        Top application
         Finished compost can be used as an additive before planting or for top dressing
         Compost Tea- soaking compost in water but it must have aeration, so if you are making compost tea get a fish tank bubbler to keep air moving in the compost tea. 
    Pelletized Fertilizer- for container plants and planting bags
      Epsom Salts
          Particularly good for Tomatoes and peppers.
             Tomatoes- Add one tblsp. per hole  at planting, 1 -2 Tblsp.per foot of plant, worked into the soil around plant or spray in a tank sprayer every two weeks.
             Peppers- Same as tomatoes but add to the soil or spray twice a week once plants are mature.            
          Foliar feeding
             Feeding plants through their leaves can be done with manure tea, compost tea, or Epsom salts.
         Urine
             To heat up compost
             Applied to ground around plants dilute 1-20
             More info-http://www.nwedible.com/how-to-use-pee-in-your-garden/

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