Originally created 11/05/99

Records can help keep gardeners in the green



A couple of months ago, I wrote about evaluating how your tomatoes did in your garden and how important it is to write things down. Let's extend that chore to include keeping records on the entire garden.

Get a notebook and label it as your garden record book. Enter the name of each variety you planted, the seed, the source, the date planted and date harvested.

Next, write down your evaluation of the crop. Keep records of chemicals used, the fertilizer analysis and anything of personal interest. The notes will help you plan next year's garden a little more efficiently.

Here are some suggestions as to what your garden headings may look like:

ADAPTABILITY TO AREA:

Some varieties do well in our area while others do not. The microclimate (the plant's immediate vicinity) may also affect the success of a particular variety.

GROWTH SEASON:

When did it grow? The number of days from planting to maturity can vary considerably from one variety to another. You can use successive plantings of the same variety or several varieties of different maturity dates at the same time to extend the harvest season.

MATURITY:

How long did it grow? Some tomato varieties (determinate) set one crop, and the plant is through when you harvest the crop. Others (indeterminate) can keep producing over time if you properly care for the plants and then pick the fruit as it matures.

PRODUCTIVITY:

How much did it produce? With the same care, some varieties yield much more than others. Usually, hybrids will outyield non-hybrids.

QUALITY:

Was it good? Varieties differ greatly in flavor, texture, keeping ability and adaptability to canning and freezing. How you will use it may influence the variety you choose.

DISEASE RESISTANCE:

What problems did you have growing it? Some varieties resist leaf and soil-borne diseases and nematodes. Resistance is important where these problems are known to exist or where you haven't taken prevention measures. The county extension service office has a list of recommended varieties.

Keeping records may sound like a time-consuming chore, but in the long run it will pay off and probably save you some time and trouble.

NOVEMBER TIPS

Clean up rose beds. Be sure all diseased leaves are raked up and destroyed. Spring or late winter (before the plants start active growth) is the preferred season for pruning roses. Do not cut off canes in the fall. It is better to stake and tie extra long canes in the fall to prevent winter wind damage.

Avoid transplanting shrubs and trees on sunny and windy days. On these days, the roots are exposed to too much light and drying winds, putting undue stress on the plant.

After several killing frosts have occurred, cut back dormant perennials to about 3 inches above ground.

Potted geraniums grown indoors should be allowed to become somewhat dry before being watered. They need plenty of sun to promote vigorous growth and flowering.

Sid Mullis is director of the University of Georgia Extension Service office for Richmond County. Call him at 821-2349, or send e-mail to smullis@uga.edu. The Richmond and Columbia county offices have a Web page at www.griffin.peachnet.edu/ga/columbia.