Let’s Get Growing with Quint Hodges

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Get your garden ready, because March 21-31t, you can plant collard greens, turnips and radishes. They are cool weather plants. I always plant these from seeds. When you open the package you will notice they are very tiny seeds.

Remove all the
grass clumps and rocks from where you are going to plant. Then take a rake and
build up a bed of soil about three inches deep and eighteen inches
wide. Using your hands sprinkle the seeds on top of your bed. Do this one
package at a time, placing a stick across the bed at the end of each
package. You don’t have to use the whole package, just plant what
you want. After you have sprinkled the seeds on the bed leave them
alone.

In April you can
plant cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, and peppers. This is also the time to plant
watermelons and cantaloupes. Watermelons and cantaloupes take up a lot of
garden space.

Put up a trellis where you want the cucumbers to be planted. Along the bottom of the trellis plant the seeds one inch deep and about seven inches apart. Cucumbers should be planted April 7-19. Once they start growing, and get long enough, you will have to weave the plant into the trellis. As the plants grow, keep weaving them up the trellis. Six cucumber plants will make a lot of cucumbers. You can plant twelve seeds in case some of them don’t come up. You can always pull up some of the young plants if you think you have too many.

To plant squash
seeds dig a hole eight to ten inches deep and eight inches in diameter. Place a
double handful of compost in the bottom of the hole and fill the hole half full
of soil. Using your hands mix the compost and soil together. Fill the rest of
the hole with soil. Place five seeds on top of the hole. I like to place them
like the dots on a dice. Push the seeds into the soil one inch deep (or to the
first joint of your finger). Fill that hole with soil. Now use the back of your
fingers and gently pat the soil where you planted the seeds. This makes sure
the soil is firmly against the seeds. The potting soil in the bottom of the
hole will help feed the plants, when the roots get to it.

We will have
some warm sunny days and you will want to plant your tomatoes and
peppers. You need to wait until after Easter Sunday, this is hard to do.
When you buy your plants, look for small healthy plants. Avoid large plants and
plants that have already bloomed.

Tomato plants
and pepper plants need to be hardened off. They are use to a warm greenhouse.
We want them to start getting use to cool night air. Do this by setting them
outside on nice warm days. Leave them outside a couple hours into the
night air then bring them back inside overnight. Do this for
about a week. This will prevent the plants from going into shock when you plant
them in your garden.

Dig your hole
just like you did with the squash, add potting soil and one tsp of Epson salt.
Make a small hole and plant your pepper plants. When you plant the tomato
plants pinch off the two lower limbs and plant them deep. The plant will make
more roots where the two lower limbs were pinched off. Water the tomato and
pepper plants till they look like they are planted in mud.

Make sure not to
plant hot peppers next to sweet peppers. Your peppers will cross and the sweet
peppers will also be hot.

Go ahead and
stake your tomato and peppers now so you don’t damage the root system later.

If you have a large garden with plenty of space you can plant watermelons and cantaloupes April 10t (the 100th day of the year). Be sure to keep the cantaloupes away from the cucumbers, they will cross. 

Watermelons and
cantaloupes should be planted just like the squash. 

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Tammy Teague

Tammy Teague

Mansfield native, with roots in Scott County. Daughter, sister, wife and Christian. Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; 20+ years experience in the news.

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