The Garden Itch

Jannie Vaught

This is always the time of year when many gardeners have a serious case of “Garden Itch”. The waiting for official Spring is a waiting game. We are having high and low temps. One day is t-shirts and the next minute its layers and gloves. Still, the “Itch” to get planting is hard to ignore. It is almost Feb 14 potato planting time and I’m just a little hesitant to get them in until I have some serious warmer soil. I started seed grays yesterday and they are under lights on a seedling heat pad. Next is some garden planning and referring to my last year’s notes. Moving sections of specific vegetables around even in raised beds is vital to keeping insect pressure down. Even in a small garden crop rotation is important. Especially with the early cabbage moths showing up. A little diatomaceous earth sprinkled will help with that. But with the serious up and down temps, we could possibly have a problem with grasshoppers and beetles.

Some of the trees are beginning to pop with green, but thankfully my fruit trees are still dormant. We seem to get an early blossom then a sudden frost will kill the blossoms, so keep the frost cloth handy till mid or late March. These are the time’s experience will tell you to wait just a little longer. Having had to replant due to the garden itch I take time and remind myself. We are in zone 8a, it takes a little to get going but we have a long growing season. Time to turn the compost, dig grass that’s coming up in the beds. and get ready for potato planting. Potatoes will not grow until the soil reaches 45 degrees, the soil needs to be damp, not muddy and they can tolerate a light frost, cover if it is going to get freezing. they like some garden sulfur placed in the row or some hardwood ash. When I cut potatoes I cut them with 3 eyes per chunk then I drop them in sulfur or ash toss them around then lay them out on some paper and let the cut area scab over or become dry. Plant these is a trench 6 to 8 inches deep, cut side down eyes up and 12 to 15 inches space with the rows 3 feet apart. When the plants begin their serious growing pulling more soil up over the stems is a must as they grow “UP” hilling. Potatoes come in many varieties now, from fingerlings to purple.

You can even grow them in fabric grow pots and even buckets. But as someone who has tried every way to grow them, in the garden in the warm soil is where they grow best. Were in that in-between time but this too will pass and we will be rid of the garden itch and in full tilt gardening soon.

Growing Green With Jannie