Monday, July 13, 2009

9 Tenets of Successful Gardening

We reached a milestone at the Farmer Fred Rant Blog this past weekend: 9 followers!

“9” is a number with much significance:

In mathematics, the sum of the digits which form its multiples are themselves always a multiple of nine; e.g., 2 x 9 = 18 (and 1+8=9); 3 x 9 = 27 (and 2+7=9); 4 x 9 = 36 (and 3+6=9); 5 x 9 = 45 (and 4+5=9), etc., etc.
A baseball team is made up of 9 players.
A cat has nine lives.
The Beatles padded out the White Album with their least played (and longest, most boring) drek of  a track, “Revolution #9”.
And, in Numerology (according to Yahoo! Answers), if the number  9 plays a recurring role in your life, your divine purpose involves the giving of service through your natural talents, passions and interests.

So, in the belief that “If it’s on the Internet, it must be true”…here are:
Farmer Fred’s 9 Tenets of Successful Gardening

1.    Don’t go into a nursery without a copy of the Sunset Western Garden Book under your arm. Think of it as that bucket of cold water on your hot passion for plants with weird names.

2.    Silly me! As if anybody reading a blog would drive around with a reference book! Ha! For you digital dirt diggers: Inquire on your IPhone before grabbing the goods via Google. Bing on your Blackberry before buying. Try to find information from your locale about the plant or garden problem.

3.    When doing online garden research, include the abbreviations for your local university with a good horticulture department. That  might lessen the chances of you getting steered into spending money and wasting time needlessly.  Here in California, that might be “UC”. Hence, a Google search might be worded along the lines of: “blossom end rot tomatoes UC”. Other good hort school abbreviations to keep handy in your search box: TAMU, WSU, OSU and some others that people will remind me of in the comments box at the bottom.

4.    Walk through your garden each morning. Make the time. Morning is when: if a plant is truly stressed from a lack of water, it’ll be obvious (many plants wilt on hot afternoons just to preserve moisture, but look fine in the morning). Morning is also the best time to catch bad bugs. Everything is in slow motion: the squash bugs (left), aphids, earwigs and snails are more noticeable. Look under the boards!

5.    Life is too short to put up with problematic plants.

6.    Run with scissors. In the car, keep a small pair of pruners, a bottle of water, an old Tupperware container and a small bag of seed starting mix or sand handy for preserving plant cuttings offered by people you meet during your travels.

7.    Never say, “It won’t survive here!” All gardening is local. Real local. Just because you can’t grow bananas in your backyard doesn’t mean your neighbor may also miss out. Gardening is part science, part art, part luck. Think: microclimates. Reflected heat off of south and west facing walls. Raised beds. Sure, you are probably right. But just in case…simply say, “Good luck!”

8.    Plant for your nose. Place aromatic plants near walkways, patio doors, bedroom windows. Think daphne (left), gardenias, Michelia, nicotiana, sarcacocca, jasmine, honeysuckle, stock, tuberose. Surround a hot tub with incense cedar trees.

9.    90% of the time, water is the problem. Either too much or too little; free flowing sandy soil or slow draining heavy clay soil.
9b. Don’t measure soil moisture with your eyes. Dig down and use your hand. Or a moisture meter.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, I wrecked your numerology this morning when I became follower #10.

    To make up for this, may I suggest another tenet? Always share your (flowers, veggies, asked-for advice) with non-gardening friends.