The winter season

Larry G. Field
Thursday, January 24, 2019
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(editor’s note: Last week’s Outlook featured the first two parts of

a gardening series written by Larry G. Field. There are a number of topics coming up in future columns that will interest the many gardeners in our area. Field is going to cover growing many popular and tasty vegetables, including beans, beets and asparagus. Depending on your dedication, these might be columns to clip!)

Many of your readers probably think it is winter. To an experienced gardener, it is garden preparation season. It is time to mail early for discounted seeds, time to prepare for planting of bedding plants, and much more.

Notice that the title is “the winter season,” not “the off season.” There is no off season to gardening. Change oil in your motorized tools, sharpen your hand tools, stake your garden so you know your seed needs, remove plant waste, repair the irrigation system, improve the edging, process your harvest, haul manure, sand, etc., analyze your past results, etc.

Approximately half a century ago I read a very accurate statement in the “Organic Gardening” magazine. It went something like this, “The best way to enjoy quality fresh grown vegetables is to cultivate a good Gardener.” This immediately rings two bells. First, most experienced gardeners grow far more than they can utilize; properly cared for gardens are massive producers.

The second point is that only an experienced gardener can tell you how much work, planning, time and responsibility must be dedicated to achieve a good garden. If you plan to use this series of articles, as I hope, to start or improve a garden, don’t expect to till some ground in the spring, scatter seeds, and go back in the fall to collect a year’s supply of produce. It doesn’t work that way! Don’t attempt a garden unless you plan to work.

When participating in the Farmers Market, we had to harvest daily to collect produce at the peak of perfection. Customers are fussy and home growers should be even fussier. Most summers we take at least one vacation of a week, nine days with weekends. Nearly every time we will miss a crop. If the crop is approaching ready when we begin the vacation, it will be past its prime when we return. If the “faint of heart” are encouraged by these articles to grow, begin very small and with a minimum of investment. If you become hooked by watching things grow and by eating the best produce available, you can always expand and invest.

After leaving my parent’s home, my first garden was a 9 x 9

foot plot at my rental where I tilled into the gravel at the house end of a narrow driveway. It produced both an abundance of

produce and fish bait, worms and crawlers, from what started as a small, oil contaminated gravel driveway. This first garden was

barely larger than a sheet of plywood!

Winter season is a time of work and study including the

following: Reflect on last Gardening Season’s Results. Utilize

Learning Opportunities: Gardening Magazines and Books, Seed Catalogs, Computer and Library information, Seed Packages, Herbicide, Pesticide and Fertilizer product labels, any gardening

print that finds its way to you. Learn from Experts: Gardeners,

Seed/Plant Providers, County Extension Agents, YOUR OBSERVATIONS. Don’t miss a learning opportunity!

Upcoming Events

Monday, July 13, 2020
2nd Mondays, 6:30 p.m., at Wood's Powr-Grip, 908 West Main St., use the west entrance, open to the public. 
Monday, July 13, 2020
2nd Tuesday, 6 p.m., Laurel Public Library
Monday, July 13, 2020
Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E Main St.
Monday, July 13, 2020
Second & fourth Monday at 11 a.m., Big Horn Resort, 1801 Majestic Lane, 281-8455
Monday, July 13, 2020
Free, 2nd Monday, 3-5 p.m., Frontier Cancer Center, 1315 Golden Valley Cir., Billings, 800-227-2345
Tuesday, July 14, 2020
2nd and 4th Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., Council Conference Room


Will you be attending the Laurel Chamber of Commerce’s Car Show and Downtown Laurel Farmer’s Market this Saturday?

The Laurel Outlook


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