Prairie Fox Survival

Gardening Tips

For the First Time and Experienced Gardner

Vegetable Gardening

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Getting Started
When preparing the garden a number of different things should be considered. How many planting seasons you have. How large your garden is going to be. What you intend to grow. What your soil condition is. Are you going to grow a patio garden using pots, buckets, trellises or planter boxes. Remember that melons, pumpkins, squash plants need a large growing area. You can check with local nurseries what and when to plant the crops that grow well in your zone.

This is one of the most important items to consider. We grow a 50 by 100 foot garden. At the beginning of the year we have access to cow manure from a dairy farm. We bring a dump truck load in, spread it and every 2 to 3 weeks up until planting time we till the manure in so we don't burn the plants.
This year I was fortunate enough to get 400 pounds of chicken manure. This must be used with caution, if put in too heavy it can burn the roots and your garden won't mature.
We use only natural fertilizers. Check with local gardeners in your area before using fertilizers.

When laying out your garden remember that different plants require different amounts of sunlight. A good example of this is where we live the temperature can reach the 100's for many days in the summer. Tomatoes do best when sheltered from the late afternoon and evening sun. On the other hand Okra and Corn love full sun. Be sure to take this into consideration when planting.

Plants require different amounts of water. Tomatoes, carrots, garlic, onions and turnips require little water, while beans, beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cucumber, eggplant, peas, peppers, pumpkin, spinach, squash and watermelon like lots of water. This makes a big difference in how successful your garden will be.

Natural pesticides such as boric acid, cayenne pepper, jalapeno peppers ground up, blended and  strained. One of the simplest pesticides we use goes as follows:         Take 6 jalapeno peppers, place in a blender with 1 qt. of water. Blend until peppers are pureed. Pour through a strainer or cheesecloth. Mix with 5 gallons of water and spray your plants. They will not take on the heat or taste from the jalapenos. More natural pesticide recipes will be coming soon under gardening tips


Starting your seeds indoors for transplanting can save you money. See Seed Propagation.

If you are a first time or novice gardener talk to some veterans for tips as to when you should plant in your area, problems they have encountered, in general, advice they give can produce a better garden.

Before planting we till in cornmeal to help fight the ants.

Soaking the seeds in hydrogen peroxide (food grade available in natural food stores) is beneficial to plant growth. Do not soak beans, it can cause them to sprout.

I always soak okra seed over night before planting this speeds up the growing process.

When planting tomatoes I also plant dill seed with them, to prevent tomato worms. This also gives me my fresh dill when the cucumbers are ready to pickle.

If you have trouble with worms getting into your corn place a few drops of castor oil on the silk when it appears. You can also us hydrogen peroxide.

Plant radishes with your squash plants to deter squash bugs. Radishes grow fast and need to be picked and replanted to be effective. This will NOT stop all squash bugs. Many times picking them by hand is the way to go.

Beans love to climb. Place strings on stakes at 4” intervals allowing beans to climb up to 16 inches in height. Some people use wire as a fence. Letting the beans climb makes it easier to pick the bottom of the plants.

Plant watermelons with corn. The best black diamond watermelons I ever grew were when the weeds took over and completely shaded them.

 Remember, as plants grow and spread out, to leave room to pick, many people forget this.

If you grow strawberries you will want to protect them from the birds. This can be done by placing rabbit wire over the plants, so the birds can’t get to them.

On larger gardens a row tiller, about 8" wide, is great to help control weeds.

If your soil is packed, making it hard to till mix mulch in with it. This builds your soil giving the roots more area to spread out.

Remember as years of planting go by crop rotation is very important.