The Six Packs I Started With Miracle-Gro

The six packs I started with Miracle-Gro look much more healthy than if I had used fish emulsion. Not only are they dark green, bushy and sturdy, but the second set of leaves are serrated as if the plants were twice as old. They look like they are ready for transplanting already. I can see how Miracle-Gro got it’s name, but in checking the ingredients I only find nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Maybe they have a secret ingredient like the special sauce on McDonald’s Big Mac 🙂 I would feel like I was being phony if I used it in the garden. A misrepresentation, like using Round up. Gardening for show is fun when you’re younger, but tedious when you get old. We need to learn to ” let go gracefully the things of youth” so that we can appreciate the qualities of life that unfold in the passage of time.

I got to pick spinach by the handful again. I had a hoop tunnel covered with plastic, and noticed the birds were eating the spinach, so I put it over as much of the row as it would cover. That was several weeks ago, and when I peeked under the plastic yesterday the spinach had grown tall as if it were spring time. The spinach left on the outside of the hoop was chewed down to the ground. I put a wire tunnel over it and proceeded to cover all the Swiss chard plants that were beginning to be eaten. It’s a simple rule that I should have learned years ago that if you don’t cover your overwintered leaf crops the birds will decimate them. I regret recommending sowing spinach seeds like radishes and not thinning. It worked great in the spring when the plants grew rapidly, but the fall planting were too crowded when they went dormant. The density of the plants may have helped them overwinter but I will use a row cover next year.

I started cutting down the blackberry vines that were climbing up the fence on the west side of the garden. The shade they were throwing caused stunting of the peppers that were growing there. I’m constantly becoming aware of shade this year by looking at which plants are not doing well. The two artichoke plants closest to the south fence are in constant winter shade and look as if they are dying. The ones out in the middle of the garden are big, bushy and healthy looking. The whole zone along the south fence I now recognize as not fit for spring or fall planting. I even had stunted cauliflower plants that were planted too close to the north side of a tall tomato plant. Planting tall growing plants like pole beans and corn on the north side of your garden helps keep shade off your other veggies. Closely spaced double rows are best oriented in a north south direction so that both rows get an equal amount of sunlight.

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