Which Plant Varieties

Quire often people will ask questions like, "Which are the best varieties of potatoes or carrots to grow in my corner of the state?" These questions can only be answered by your local expert—the county extension agent. They are always up-to-date on all the new varieties and what grows best in their area. Keep in mind if you have a question about any of the vine crops, you will want to train them to a trellis, while most single-row gardens allow them to sprawl.

So))ie plants, such as vines, need a little helping hand. Constructing a trellis will do the trick.

Growing and Harvesting

Support Your Local Plants

Some plants, such as root crops and low-growing salad crops, need no support, so there is nothing to do For them. The taller crops might need a little help, however, depending on whether they are a leaf or head crop like Swiss chard or cabbage. If a heavy wind and rain or hailstorm knocks them over, simply straighten them up and push a little extra soil around the stem.

Too Top Heavy

The plants that usually need a little support are the summer crops like peppers, okra, eggplant, corn, and bush tomatoes. Those can easily be supported by using a U-shaped wire support cage or horizontal fencing or netting suspended across the entire 4x4 garden, held tight by four corner posts. (See Chapter 4 for construction details.) The same support technique will also work for tall flowers like gladiolus, giant marigolds, and tall dahlias. One of the reasons we provide plant support is the soil mix is so loose and friable that the tall plants need a little help.

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Plants need water just like people do. Everyone asks, "How do you water and how much?" My ideal way to water is ladling out a cup of sun-warmed water from a bucket that can be left in the sun next to your garden. Gently lift the bottom leaves of the plant and, with your other hand, ladle a cup of that water into the depression around the plant. With a saucer-shaped depression in the soil, the water will soak right down to the roots instead of rolling away from the plant into other parts of the garden.

We do get a few people who say, "Oh that would take too long." But they've failed to think about the fact that, first, their garden is only a fraction of the size that it used to be. That means 80 percent of the watering you used to do is no longer needed and was actually wasted. Next, youre not watering the tops of the plants or the leaves, so you're not promoting fungal diseases and other problems. You're keeping the water where it will do the most good—around the base of the plant where it can travel down to the root system.

Also keep in mind that the soil consistency of your SFG is composed 100 percent of materials that hold moisture. When you water, it goes right into the soil around the root system and stays there. The root system is going to be able to drink up the water when and in the amount needed. Is this a major advance in water conservation or what? Hello, conservationist, are you listening?

And why sun-warmed water? One answer is that it's for the same

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Growing Soilless

Growing Soilless

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