Do you think if we did a rain dance, it might help? It is desperately dry here in the Midwest and those new grasses and plantings are suffering unless we help them out! I hate to get the hose back out but it can’t be helped. Our landscape just needs some water! Keep the hose handy and on warmer days, apply 1” of water every two weeks if it continues to be this dry. If you don’t have a rain gauge, set out a tin can to assess the amount of water applied. In spring you’ll be so glad you did!
In terms of winterizing the vegetable garden, there are still two opportunities for improvement. First, until the ground is frozen, we can still add organic matter. Spread it out and till it in. Another method I’ve heard about is for those who don’t want to develop a compost pile: Dig trenches and slowly fill them, one at a time, with kitchen scraps(vegetative only of course), shredded leaves and so forth. Covering it up when the trench is filled. The second opportunity this winter is to solarize the ground with a black plastic tarp. This will get rid of unwanted pests, bacteria, and fungus contamination. It’s an excellent solution to reoccurring garden problems!
To solarize the ground, first, rake and smooth the soil, removing all debris, plant materials, and stones etc. Follow this with some deep watering. You will need to water to about 12” deep. After you’ve accomplished this, lay the black (dark) plastic tarp directly on the ground, smoothing it firmly to the surface. Use landscaping staples or something else that will fasten it in place. Let this stay all winter. In springtime, your garden woes should be over: Clean soil, sanitized by Mother Nature!
If you are uncertain about the overall health of the soil, the Missouri Extension Service has a soil testing kit. The number for soil sample questions is 816-252-5051. You can call them and for a nominal fee, they will provide you with the kit and an evaluation of the soil after you send it back to them.
Do come by to Farrand Farms this Christmas! We are closed in January but there is usually someone around to help with the spring planning, so stop by! Next year will be our best gardening year ever! Keep watering and we can look forward to a healthy start.
Happy Holidays from all of us here at Farrand Farms!