South Mississippi Gardening 101

Since my interest in gardening began a few years ago, I've been searching with mounting trepidation for some resource that will help me understand the strange specificity that is growing things in Coastal Mississippi. Because, y'all, it is different here. We don't even have the same climate/soil structure/growing season as Saucier, MS - and that's just 30 minutes up Highway 49. (I guess that's not saying too much - pretty much everything is alien once you get north of I-10. Y'all'll find this attitude is pretty common among what the rest of the state affectionately refers to as "Coast Trash.")

We have alternately sandy/poor/salt burned soil, and some parts of our yards are still Katrina scavenger hunting grounds. The climate is WEIRD. As I write this, on January 14, 2013, we've just come out of a week straight of 70 degree days...only to start preparing for some steady night freezes. It's a miracle all the darn plants don't just say "to hell with it" and move to Florida.

I've dug around the Internet and a few bookstores and turned up a wealth of information, but so much of it deals with parts of the country that have good soil and four seasons. Y'all, if we have four seasons, they're hot, sweet Lord it's hot, less hot, and fog/fall/winter?/rain. I even have a gardening book by the Mississippi gardening man, Felder Rushing, and it's fabulous. Easy to read, down-to-earth, plain language awesome. But it still isn't Coastal MS-specific. However. I am from the South. And we don't say,"can't find it, time to give up." We make it ourselves.

So welcome to the garden section. Here I'll be chronicling my efforts at composting, in-ground gardening, soil improvement, seed germinating, and full blown gardening. Hopefully the end result of this effort will be something of a Coastal MS gardening companion, and maybe somebody else'll get some use out of it too. Please see below links to my garden journal, and some resources I've found useful along the way.

Garden Journal
Digger's Diary, Entry #7: Square Foot Gardening, Bird Netting, Troubleshooting Transplants
Digger's Diary, Entry #6: Inevitabilities of Gardening
Digger's Diary, Entry #5: hardening off seedlings, sowing more seed
Digger's Diary, Entry #4: ditching the round grow light in favor of 4' fluorescents. New seedlings!
Digger's Diary, Entry #3: questions about what type of garden bed to sow
Digger's Diary, Entry #2: a look at my compost bin, starting seeds
Digger's Diary, Entry #1: ordering seeds, getting ready for Spring

Some Helpful Resources:
GardenGuides.com
National Gardening Association
Felder Rushing, the Gestalt Gardener
Worm Composting
Earth 911
Northwest Edible Life: Seed Starting 101 - decidedly not a Coastal MS Gardener, but still a great resource as the principles of seed-starting are pretty universal
Groworganic.com
Seed Starting FAQs
Jones Valley Teaching Farm-not exactly a gardening guide, but a fascinating organization committed to re-educating kids to the ways of gardening and local harvest
Square Foot Gardening Guide
Heavn's Best Compost
MS Hippie Organics COOP

Running Cost Total (rounded to nearest dollar):
Topsoil: $40
Cinder Blocks: $25 
Seeds: $32
Grow Bulb x2: $6 ea, so $12
Cat Litter: $2 
Seed Starting Mix: $6
Fluorescent bulbs: $12
Shop light: $12
Milk Jugs for "Greenhouses": free
Plastic container, lamp: "free" (I already owned them)
Newspaper: actually free; brought home from recycle bin at work
Old Windows: free! Found them on the side of the road! Yippee!
Worm Castings: $35

1 comment:

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