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Monday, March 22, 2010


HELLO from your Garden Daddy here at the Garden Home! WHEW...What a busy week I had last week, what with doing a lot of "volunteer gardening", taking some neighbors to my "big box store" to get some good hardwood mulch we had on sale, planting trees at a neighborhood school, prepping my own vegetable garden and then I got myself 2-truckloads of THIS:
This was added to the veggie patch and my "finished side" of my compost bin. Just take a look at this wonderful product we have available here in Jackson through our sewage/water treatment plant! I have spoken repeatedly on this site about the great advantage and cheap price of this material. The cost is only $15.00/1-scoop (truck load) for the mulch and $20.00 for the leaf compost. It is the leaves, sticks, branches and other refuse that is picked up on the streets of my town, mixed with pasteurized and processed material from the sewage treatment plant, then it is mixed with a little sawdust I understand and then heated and conditioned then sold the following season as what you see here. These two loads are of the "leaf compost MULCH...there is also regular COMPOST, that product is a little different in that it is primarily leaf product mixed with sawdust, sand the "humanure" product then processed a little further than the regular mulch is from what I understand. I think I need to do an interview with someone out at the sewage treatment plant and get an actual fact sheet on this process for you and then you will not be so sceptical about this process and product and not worry about thinking your Garden Daddy has flipped what few hairs left on his head and using a product that might not be safe for human consumption. I guarantee you this is a SAFE product I know as I asked that over and over out there.
Anyway...the vegetable garden has been set in motion and I even planted 4-tomato plants and put heavy pine straw mulch around the roots and then "tented" the top with heavy plastic sheeting to make like a little greenhouse or hoop house type of situation inside. Even with heavy rain yesterday and cold last night, low this morning about 36-degrees, and even some snow early this morning before daylight while I was at work at 4:00 a.m., today these little things are looking real good today as you can see. I only put in 4 plants so far as I usually use several different varieties every year and this is the only variety I found available this past week that were already started plants.
You can see below that the veggie patch is sitting pretty now, pretty little "soldier-like rows", just waiting patiently for the seeds and plants to go in. I saved all my pine straw from my 6 very large pine trees in the back yard and you can see here I use it as mulch BETWEEN the rows. This not only acts as a marvelous weed deterrent but it serves as a good place to kneel and work the rows when needed and stay somewhat MUD-FREE even in the worst conditions like today. I already had composted all winter on the vegetable garden area with the last few grass clippings, leaves from the yard and all this pine straw, but I added 1-full truck load of the JEA compost mulch, some 13-13-13 fertilizer, some lime (for calcium, as this helps prevent blossom end rot on tomatoes and some other vegetables) and a large amount of ash I saved from my chimmenea from burning sticks, etc. all winter on my back deck. This was all worked in with a hoe and then made into rows as you see here and then the pine straw I moved off the top before making the rows was added back between rows for a nice clean look and useful as well again - for weed prevention. This mulching aids in moisture retention as well during those drought days of July and August!
The vegetable patch is really a little bigger than it appears but could not get it all into the frame. Also, I always put my cucumbers on the outside of that back chain link fence and have them grow up it into more "vertical gardening" to save room from the roaming vines but to keep them clean and off the ground and out of mud, etc. And the summer squash (yellow crook neck) goes to the side of this bed on the other outside of the drive I share with my neighbor. The did very well last year as you can see from some archived pics here in this site.
I did want to give you a small tutorial on commercial fertilizers: "All fertilizers have three numbers on the label which indicate the fertilizer analysis, or "percentage by weight" of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, in that order."
I have rambled enough on this dreary, rainy and cold day here in the last full week of March 2010 and I leave you today with these thoughts and great gardening anticipation from your Garden Daddy: "I think that no matter how old or tired or worn out I feel, I cannot imagine a spring when I will not plant something, hoping for a bloom, petal or leaf to bring my smiling heart into deep summer blush!"...Garden Daddy


  1. One of my neighbors who is 70 years old said that her father always planted his tomatoes on the first day of May! He said that the earlier toms would grow more slowly and his faster so that they would produce at the same time. Old wives tale or truth?

  2. FYI: I only planted these 4-plants to get a head start then I will follow with my usual 30 +/- plants like always later in the season after(!) April 14th sometime.