From the Archives

The Southern Democrat, March 5, 1931

How to have good gardens

by A.H. Barnett, County Agent, and Julian Brown, AU Specialist

The past year has revealed many important facts relative to our home garden work. There are several groups of farmers to be considered. Some do not avail themselves of the opportunity to have a home garden; others plant only at certain seasons when only the most common vegetables are planted. Even with some of our best gardeners, there is a decided shortage of stored vegetables. By investing only a few dollars in good garden seed and spending a few minutes planting and working the garden each day, every farmer in Alabama can have plenty of vegetables to eat (either fresh, canned, or dried) regardless of how hard times may be.

During the next few weeks all or a good part of the following vegetables should be found growing in every home garden.

Set at least 50 crowns of Mary Washington asparagus in one side of the garden at an early date. For a good supply of leafy vegetables plant turnips, tendergreen, mustard, spinach, and lettuce. Plant all of these at once and fertilize liberally with nitrogen to rush to edible size. Plant one of the spring types of spinach, such as Bloomsdale, King of Denmark, or Arogon. Plant the New Zealand later in the Spring. For head lettuce, plant a variety such as Iceberg or New York. Big Boston is a good variety for those not so anxious to produce crisp heads. Where cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are to be used they should be planted at once. Much better results will be secured now if you will get plants and set them. Plants should also be used in starting the onions and cabbage. Copenhagen or one of the Wakefields should prove to be the very best variety of cabbage for Spring. Of the onions, a few plants should be set of both Bermuda and American kinds. The Yellow Bermuda and Prizetaker are very good varieties.

For root crops, plant a good supply of carrots, radish, beets, and parsnips. If you do not grow a fall crop of Irish potatoes, plant enough this Spring to supply you until next year. Nothing is so easily grown and yet so important as a good supply of Irish potatoes at all times.

The cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, squash, and tomatoes should not be planted or set in the fields until danger of frost is over. However, you may use “hotkaps” or some other such means of protection for these young plants and thus have them reach maturity much earlier.

In order that the garden work this year may not be overlooked, the following should be done at this time: plan the garden for the year – include a wide variety of vegetables, use care in selecting varieties, and order now plenty of seed to carry out this plan. Still better, order more seed than you think you will need (the cost is very small) and then you will have plenty with probably some to use next year. Also purchase a small hand dust fan and some arsenate of lead and nicotine sulphate for fighting chewing and sucking insects. They are sure to appear.