Senior Gardening

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The Old Guy's Garden Record

The idea for Senior Gardening came about from frequent postings I made about our garden on another web site I maintain. The idea was to create a place where folks could share garden lore via blogs and forums. While I'm still struggling a bit with the software that will eventually make that possible on senior-gardening.com, I thought I'd at least put up a record of our 2008 garden in part from those postings, loosely edited, from the other site.

November 19, 2007 - Soil Preparation and Seed Catalogs

The first snow hasn't arrived here yet in southwest central Indiana, but it's time to get started on our 2008 garden! We keep a fairly large and diverse garden, so getting an early start on soil preparation and plant starts is essential.

Garden 2005

Merom StationOne of the most important fall chores in our region is applying lime to the garden. Lime "sweetens" the soil up to an ideal pH of around 6.8-7.0. In our neighborhood, liming is critical, as one of our neighbors is the Hoosier Energy Merom Generating Station, which seems to push the soil to the acid side at a rather accelerated rate. I generally use ground dolomitic limestone from our local TSC store, as the powdered version seems to work faster than the somewhat safer, pelletized kind.

GarlicI'm running a bit late on the garden already, as I usually get my garlic sets into the ground in October. But with the warm fall, I'm still okay on doing so. I get my garlic sets from Johnny's Selected Seeds, both regular or german garlic and elephant garlic, which is really part of the leek family. I've ordered from Johnny's for years and have found them to be a reputable provider of quality seeds, plants, and sets.

Once the liming is done and garlic sets are in, gardening chores move inside. Inventorying seed on hand and deciding what to keep and what to pitch is one of the more onerous jobs to be done, as I keep my extra seed frozen between seasons. Once done, I can get started perusing a variety of print and online seed catalogs.

Here's a listing of my favorite seed suppliers, pretty much in order of my preference:

  • Johnny's Selected Seeds - offers hardy varieties for northern latitudes
  • Stokes Seeds - offers an incredible variety of vegetable and flower seeds
  • Twilley Seed - our main supplier of sweet corn seed when we were farming and roadsiding vegetables (no online sales, but offers both a print and downloadable catalog)
  • R.H. Shumway's - offers many heirloom seeds
  • Park Seed - provide a beautiful catalog - lots of gorgeous flowers
  • Gurney's Seed and Nursery Co. - a good lineup of items - we used to order seed potatoes from them
  • Thompson & Morgan Seeds - a British vendor that can ship into the US - their print catalog is gorgeous

One of our nicest surprises from our garden two years ago was a then new variety of pea, Eclipse. It's a very sweet pea and quite productive. We froze two bags (about 10# total) of peas that summer, and they were quickly gone. Katherine, our middle grandchild who lived with us at the time, absolutely loved them. When we'd put more on her plate, she'd squeal with glee and clap her hands.

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