Outdoors: Planting time for vegetable gardens and more

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By SHANE PROPHETT, Arnall Grocery Company

I trust everyone enjoyed their time outdoor the past few months.  As we look forward into the spring, outdoor activities get even more exciting.  As you read through this please remember the rule: “Get outside and try it.”

What if I told you that I know of a way you could make an investment that would bring returns of 25, 30,120 and even 800 times the initial amount?  Before you accuse me of some sort of scheme, let me explain how you can see these results for yourself.

One squash seed can produce up to 25 lbs. of squash, one okra seed can produce as many as 30 pods of okra, one bean seed can produce 120 beans, while a single corn seed can produce up to 800 kernels of corn. All this in a few months time.  Much better returns than any legal activity on the stock market.

Good Friday (Friday before Easter) is the traditional time to start your vegetable garden.  This can vary because for those that don’t know, Easter is set as the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after March 21.  This makes Good Friday come anywhere from the end of March to the end of April.  Our average last frost is mid-April, so this year with Easter on the 17th, the traditional Good Friday planting should be just right.

Mid-April is the time to plant most all good-tasting vegetables – including, corn, beans, peas, okra, squash, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, cucumbers, and cantaloupes.  Plant any way you can.  Till the ground, make a raised bed, 5-gallon bucket, old tire or whatever else you have will work.   Fill with a bagged garden soil or find a good spot in the woods to dig up a little soil.  This soil is usually more nutrient rich than that in the yard (plus who wants holes in the yard?).

Speaking of yards, it’s time for mowing and post-emergent weed control if you are so inclined.  Mowing heights can vary depending on what species of grass you have. For example, fescue will need to be mowed a little taller than a Bermuda or centipede lawn.  I usually cut my lawn (mostly weeds) low because I like to walk “on” my grass and not “in” my grass. This is also a good time to work on pine straw and mulch beds as well as planting annual flowers.

As a side note, whatever you do in your yard please weed eat.  If you cut your grass without weed eating, it’s like washing your vehicle without cleaning and shining the tires and wheels.

Birdwatchers and non-birdwatchers alike probably all have bird nests on their porch by now.  While there are ways to prevent this, spikey things and sticky substances, we have chosen to embrace them at our house.  We get to observe several hatches each year from the comfort of our couch.  Another way to deter this nesting habit is to place nest boxes in the area in hopes of providing a better place than your porch.

Hunters are in the turkey woods (same as deer woods just during turkey season).  Don’t forget to scout for deer signs while chasing turkeys. That will allow you to kill two birds with one stone (see what I did there?)  Be careful to avoid hunting turkey near deer feeders as this may land you in trouble with DNR. You could hang a “deer only” sign on your feeder but I don’t think that will protect you from prosecution.  Also, new turkey regulations allow for a two-bird harvest and only one in a day.

Fishing for crappie and bass will be good through April and May. As the weather and water warm up, you’ll probably want to focus more on bream and catfish.

As for pond management, keep an eye on the weeds while you are out fishing.  Treat the weeds as necessary.  Keep feeding fish as time and budget allow.

You have heard it said that “you reap what you sow.”  This is true of a man’s deeds but not his seeds, and thank God for that.  When properly cared for, seeds will produce many times more than what we sow.  Get your seed in the ground or raised bed or bucket and see what happens.  You don’t have to have a green thumb; a green pinky will do.  Have fun the garden, woods, yard or local park and I’ll see y’all out there.

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