Friday, May 13, 2011

More Victory Garden Wisdom

Companion crops are a great way to save space and have more variety in your garden. The Victory Garden Manual from 1943 shares some tips on this along with some other great advice.

A mixture of radishes with the seeds of slow-germinating vegetables, such as parsnips, parsley, and carrots, is an excellent way to get enough yearly radishes to supply the average family without sowing a special row. Be sure to mix in very few radish seeds, not more than 5 or 10 per cent. The radishes will germinate and mature before the slower companions have begun to grow well.

A short season crop such as radishes or spinach can be sown between parsnips and chard to save space.

Here are a variety of tips I thought were interesting and helpful:

Carrots need not be thinned until they have reached an edible stage. When they are about a thick as a pencil they can be pulled and thinned at the same time.

Beets always grow in clusters because a beet seed is really many seeds together and they can be thinned when the young roots have just begun to thicken. Be sure to thin them or they will suffer from crowding.

Lettuce can be used from the time a leaf is 2 inches wide but growth is much faster if thinned earlier.

Reading through this helpful book I enjoyed these frugal ideas, which I summarized in my own words.

-If you don't have a seed spreader simply poke holes in the bottom of a coffee can and shake to spread seeds.

-Use a metal file to sharpen hoes and other garden tools and they will work much better than when they are dull. They should also be washed off and rubbed with an oily rag.

-Dried grass clippings can be used as mulch. After mowing, gather up clippings and allow them to dry before using around plants to avoid mold or mildew.

-Disease can be prevented at least most of the time by providing sunshine, plenty of air circulation and a clean garden. Never leave debris of any type (such as pulled weeds) in the garden. Keep it well maintained and watered on a regular basis. Always remove any plants or leaves that look like they could be diseased.

On OFL we have a nice article on growing peas this spring: