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The Virtual Gourd Garden

Ground Temperature and Breaking Ground
great idea!

Gourd seeds like their ground warm. 80 degrees is good starting temperature for gourd roots.

Planting gourd seeds earlier is possible, however, this practice may mold, rot or freeze the seeds. Most gardeners advocate sowing seeds into the ground when the last frost of the season is past. However, giving seeds a head start in a greenhouse environment such as indoors under plant lights will keep them freezing in the cold, cruel world and give you a jump on your gourd growth time.

Friendly warning! Gourds can grow up to 50 feet, so make sure you don't start them indoors too soon!

Breaking Ground

breaking ground The effort of breaking ground is one of more difficult jobs in gardening. However, stacking the odds in your favor will ease the task.

Hint One:Limber up before you dig. Get your juices flowing, raise your temp. a bit -- get the blood flowing in you before you get the ground turning in your garden.

  • Some gentle head bends from side to side and front to back and gentle pivots around to start.
  • Add some shoulder lifts and then pivots in circles to loosen up those arms.
  • From the waist, gently bend to the right then the left a few times to limber up that stiff back.
  • One at a time, bring knees to the chest (unless you have incredibly good balance, you might want to sit for this one.)
  • Rotate ankles one way, then the other. Point toes. Draw them up. Point again. Clench toes. Relax. Repeat.
Remember to BREATHE during the above and repeat each of the loosening moves as you feel you need.

The BUTS: "WHOA! My soil is really wet." Time for other things than digging today. Trying to dig through overly wet soils is WAY too hard. Right? (Where's that glass of cocoa?)

More BUTS: HEAVY MAN! "My soil is really heavy . . . even when it's not wet!" Do yourself and your soil a favor and choose a garden fork rather then a shovel or spade to work with the hefty soils.

Hint Two: use clean garden tools that are in good shape, in the right proportion to your frame, with edges sharp as needed. Nothing is much worse than trying to get a tough job done with ill-fitting, rusty, broken tools. So take the time to help yourself! Remove and replace cracked handles. After use, knock and hose off the crud, then plunge a few times into a deep bucket of sand to help remove any rust and remaining dirt. If the shovels, hoes, etc. need their edge sharpened, this is easily done with a long, flat rasp. Organize the gardening tools in one place out of the weather, each in their own space for ease of access and to keep them in great shape from season to season. Tape metal grips with tennis racket tape or like to keep the blisters at bay.

Hint Three:Have plenty of organic matter handy (compost is GREAT) for turning into the broken ground. Organic matter makes improvement in fertility, crumbling texture, and cuts down on water logging in clay ond heavy soils.

Hint Four:Having a plan of how you want your garden to be laid out is a great idea. After you've broken ground and churned in organics, you might want to take the last few minutes of your labors to lay down a few stones for the walkways or measure the rows for the soaker hose or T-tape systems you want to install.

WHEW! Done! A great days work. Congratulations. The really hard work is DONE! Yipee! But remember Hint Two before you call it a day. A good garden tool is a well kept garden tool.

spade pointer for return