As a veteran contributor to our employee garden, Estate Director George Blanckensee has seen everything from bumper crops and gopher infestations, to blossom end rot and more. Calling on 10 years of experience, he offers three tips for a successful home garden.
Tip #1 - Planting Seedlings
If planting seedlings (little starters you get from your nursery) outside, don’t start too early. Many people think that if you plant in early spring, you’ll get a head start and your plants will be big and beautiful before everyone else’s. You might be fooled by a hot spring day that leads you to believe it’s warm enough, so you plant now. If the ground is cold--and likely it will be—or if you still hit some cold spring days ahead, your plants will struggle to survive (and they may not succeed). Those plants are now stressed and may be damaged enough to prevent correct growth through maturity. I’ve seen people plant 3-4 weeks after me and by mid-summer, their plants are as full and healthy, if not more so, than mine.
Tip #2 - Planting Organic
If you’re planning to plant organic, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t amend your soil. Veggies, especially tomatoes, need lots of nutrients. Your natural soils alone may be okay for one year, but true farmers rotate locations every year to let their soils re-nourish, and they amend their soils in the process. To make sure your plants flourish and your veggies look and taste great, add Epsom salts (diluted in water) and bone fish meal to your soil. And remember, one application won’t be enough!
Tip #3 - Planting Tomatoes
If planting tomatoes, as your plant grows you’ll want to start stripping the lower leaves and stems that touch the soils. Most bad things (fungus, molds, etc) come from the ground. So you want the ground to have as little contact with your plant as possible. As your plant grows larger, stems and leaves will continue to droop and touch the ground. Cut those away.
Relaxing at the End of the Day
So what do I drink after? If it’s a long, hot day in the garden, Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling for sure. I need something rewarding that’s clean, crisp, and refreshing after a lengthy, exhaustive day. If a mild day in the garden, definitely Zinfandel. An elegant style of red that doesn’t weigh me down before enjoying a nice home-cooked meal for dinner!
Relax with a bottle of Chateau Montelena wine by viewing our available releases.