I’ve been totally busy teaching classes lately and the last class I taught was the Santa Fe Master Gardener Intern Class on Vegetables. All I can say to the interns is hang in there. Yes there are some difficult classes to get through but there are some great instructional classes as well that are like a breath of fresh air. It wasn’t till I became a Master Gardener that I really blossomed as a gardener. And now I am a rabid gardener! The knowledge you will continue to gain afterwards, the contacts, camaraderie and friendships you will develop will help you grow as well as the plants you will be growing! Hopefully you enjoyed and learned a lot from the Vegetable class. (Yes it was my favorite class when I was an intern!) So for those of you who couldn’t come to class or aren’t in the program but are interested, here are the information sheets. I want to make them available to all.
INFORMATION SHEETcovers what the differences are between an Heirloom, Hybrid and GMO plant and explains what mycorrhizae fungi is and how it helps plants grow.
HERBSis a list of perennial and annual herbs we can grow here in Santa Fe.
PLANTING TOMATOESandPLANTING SQUASHboth address how to transplant them into the garden and some of the things I add to help grow these beautiful vegetables and also how to help thwart the dreaded squash vine borer and squash bugs.
I’ve been really busy this fall around the garden since the Pumpkin Bash. It seems like I never have time to do any projects when the garden is going so I try and get some of the projects done in the fall before the dead of winter. Last week cleaned out the pumpkin patch and then I rented that Bobcat where I spread out about 4 yards of horse manure on top of it. I really needed to dig it in or it would blow away before spring.
giant rototiller-16 hp
So yesterday I rented a giant rototiller (16 hp) and plowed in the 4 yards of manure, 50 lbs dried molasses (it smells so sweet), 50 lbs mushroom compost (are we cooking here?), and 50 lbs of gypsum (for calcium-makes strong bones, I mean strong plants!) in the pumpkin patch.
final pumpkin patch done
Now it looks so beautiful and is ALMOST ready for next spring! I still have to dig in some leaves (in the holes where I will be planting the pumpkin plants next spring) and a little (I mean very little) composted chicken manure to start the decomposition process so they can decompose over the winter and become leaf mold or should I say leaf gold by spring. This will be the third year for this pumpkin patch and boy what a difference three years makes when you add amendments each year. It’s starting to look good and the rototiller just cut through it fluffing it up together. I don’t like to rototill very much because of how hard it is on the soil microbes but felt that I needed to do it for now since this dirt was so void of any organic material and hard as a rock. I think after this year I’ll won’t have to do it again. I will add more mychorrizial next spring to help replenish the soil microbes.
Someone just wrote me if I knew a source for Mycorrhizal (also called Mycorrhizae) products here in Santa Fe. So I thought I’d respond in a post in more detail as well as reply to him in the comment sections.
Mycorrhizal is a fungi that help protects plants from many diseases and drought like conditions. It forms a symbiotic relationship with the roots, making water and soil mineral nutrients more available to the roots of a plant while the plant feeds the mycorrhizae sugars it produces. It is found in nature in most UNDISTURBED soils. Gardens do not have undisturbed soil- we work the soil to various degrees adding amendments and tilling soil.
There are two main types of Mycorrhizal.
ECTOMycorrhizal works on more woody crops like trees. I don’t use it myself on my trees.
ENDOmycorrhizal works for most (90%) but not all vegetable crops (some crops do not respond to any Mycorrhizal like Brassica crops, spinach and beet crops). I used myco products for both my giant pumpkins and tomatoes in previous years but will also try it on all my curcubit crops this year as well as they seem to get the most diseases and the prices seem to be coming down on mycorrhizal products as it starts to become mainstream.
I just saw that Santa Fe Greenhouse has some Mycorizzial products. I bought ‘BUSHDOCTOR MICROBE BREW’ (by Foxfarm products) from SFGH and will try it this year. It is a liquid. It says on the directions to use 2 tsp/gal of water every 2 weeks as a drench. I think a bottle would last the whole gardening season for most people. I can’t remember what it cost (I bought it a month ago), but didn’t seem like it was exorbitant. I use to have to order myco on the internet so I’m anxious to see how it works. The Microbe Brew also has a bunch of soil bacteria and microbes in it besides the Mycorrhizal that will be good for the soil and plants as well. All these things help the plants either protect or fight off diseases-all organically.