Stillwater News Press

Garden

February 22, 2014

In the Garden 02-23-14

My favorite chore is cultivation

I always look forward with great anticipation to a new gardening year. The possibilities are not endless, but plenty of new techniques, gadgets and flower and vegetable varieties exist to excite this gardener for years to come. Looking last week at a plant’s basic needs of good water, air and nutrients; this week is a favorite gardening “chore”— cultivation.

In a nutshell, cultivation is turning the earth to prepare the soil for crops. This can be anything from sitting on the ground with a trowel, scratching and weeding space for a few 6-packs in a flower bed to dragging a cultivator behind a tractor to churn and break wide swaths of farm land. Usually home gardeners fall somewhere between using either a gas-powered rotary tiller to turn larger gardens or simply a shovel and strong back.

Roto-tilling is usually done in early spring when the soil is not so moist it sticks to the tines of the tiller. It is a great tool for a first time garden plot where compaction and time have turned our clay soils into something that resembles earthenware. This type of tilling is also a great way to incorporate organic matter into a large area evenly. Roto-tillers usually dig deeper that a person can by hand, breaking up and mixing the subsoil and topsoil. Depending who one talks to, this could be a positive or negative thing.

Hand tilling — the shovel work — is embraced by those who garden in raised beds. Generally establishing raised beds are the bulk of the work for the bed is protected from foot traffic and compaction making it easy to turn the following year. Raised bed gardening also allows beginners to easily experiment with plant rotation, succession planting and four-season gardening.

Once the soil is plowed or turned, take at least a little time to put on the old tennies and enter in. One of the reasons I love cultivating so much is I have the opportunity to hold and feel the soil. Maybe it’s because I believe I come from dust rather than a primordial slime; be it bagged potting soil or Oklahoma clay, I like to feel the texture of soil. And soil is something you can build!

However one cultivates their soil, building it by turning under cover crops to decompose, adding organic amendments, compost or other soil conditioner — building soil is building the future of your garden. Truly a gardener’s wealth is in the soil; handling the soil each spring and periodically through the seasons allows one to see the fruit of their labor before seed ever hits the ground.

LeeAnn Barton has worked with nurseries for more than 20 years. She digs in the dirt in Stillwater.  Email her at leeannbarton@sbcglobal.net.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Garden
  • Farmers Market 07-31-14

    The Stillwater Farmers Market is open every Monday at Stillwater Medical Center from 2-5:30 p.m. and every Wednesday and Saturday in Strickland Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    What’s at the market this week?

    July 30, 2014

  • In the Garden 07-27-14

    Quercus is the Latin name for oak. It is a quirky name; some believe its roots came from the Celtic word for “fine tree.” Anyone familiar with oaks knows they are indeed fine trees.

    July 26, 2014

  • Farmers Market

    The Stillwater Farmers Market is open every Monday at Stillwater Medical Center from 2-5:30 p.m. and every Wednesday and Saturday in Strickland Park at the corner of Hall of Fame Avenue and Main Street from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    What’s at market this week?

    July 23, 2014

  • Grow! 07-20-14

    Roses are a beautiful addition to any garden and landscape. They come in a variety of colors that enhance your yard. However, like other plants, roses are susceptible to disease. One that seems to hit roses the hardest is rose rosette disease caused by the rose rosette virus.

    July 19, 2014

  • Seed to Table 07-20-14

    Weed control is an important part of food production. So, I recently undertook an effort to rid my pastures of a particularly noxious weed.

    July 19, 2014

  • In the Garden 07-20-14

    Mulch is full of purpose. What it lacks in mystery, it makes up in function. Mulch contributes to healthy gardens. No one ponders or debates it, yet many do not take the time to mulch.

    July 19, 2014

  • Farmers Market 07-17-14

    The Stillwater Farmers Market is open every Monday at Stillwater Medical Center from 2-5:30 p.m. and every Wednesday and Saturday in Strickland Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    July 17, 2014

  • Grow! 07-13-14

    If you have no space outdoors for a garden, don’t despair because you can still grow something consumable. Bean sprouts are the easiest and fastest crop to grow.

    July 13, 2014

  • In the Garden 07-13-14

    “Where’s the relief?” That is what I’ve been thinking all week in the garden. I water, wondering if the mist is going to cool or cook the plants. I assumed the last thing anyone would consider this week is planting — anything!

    July 13, 2014

  • Farmers Market 07-10-14

    What’s at market this week?
    Fruits and veggies: Bell peppers, beets, blackberries, cabbage, carrots, collards, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, jalapenos, leeks, new potatoes, onions, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelon
    Baked goods: Biscotti, cakes, cinnamon rolls, cookies, muffins, pies, scones and turnovers

    July 10, 2014

Buy & Share Photos
NewsPress e-Edition
NewsPress Specials
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Stocks
NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza
Must Read