Gardening project had healthy harvest

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 29, 2012

For a senior project at North Rowan High School I chose vegetable gardening as my subject. My mom suggested that I should know how to keep a garden no matter what career I have in my life. That’s very true because fresh produce from your own backyard is about the best you can eat. Especially because you can control what substances, such as pesticides and fertilizers, come into contact with the plants.
The first step I took when I was ready to create my garden patch was to find a sunny place in my backyard that would not be blocked from the sun too much, but also would not get so much summer sun that the plants would be burned. When that perfect spot was found, the ground was tilled up. But there was one problem. The soil where I live is sandy with a lot of little rocks in it. I used about five or six bags of Black Kow, cow manure, and several bags of potting soil to condition the dirt.
After the soil was conditioned, I dug small holes for the vegetable plants and put a little fertilizer in them before I transplanted the seedlings. My experienced father showed me how much fertilizer went in the holes and how to put the dirt back over the base of the seedlings once they were secure in the ground. My father also gave me a ruler and told me to place the plants about a foot apart for their growth.
I ran into several problems. One of them was water running away from the seedlings because they were planted on ridges created by the tiller. I had to constantly keep a “bowl” of dirt around their bases to keep the water near to the roots until the root system grew larger. In the spring I had to protect the plants from frost with newspaper-lined 5-gallon buckets placed over them at night. Obtaining enough water was another problem. I live on a community well, so I had to use water barrels to catch rain. When the rain didn’t come for periods of time, several barrels had to be hauled across the county to my uncle’s gardening business to be filled up with fresh well water.
Even after all of these obstacles, a nice harvest and a few giants were grown.