About this Blog

Upon gardening for many years, we have decided to share ideas and cultural practices related to backyard vegetable gardening.  As well, we are interested in hearing what others are doing in their garden plots so that we may continue to try different ways to garden.

The Garden Dreamer is about two gardeners sharing their garden experiences with others.  If we can help even one person, then this blog will have achieved much.   Truthfully, we are dreamers on many levels however the best dreams are usually related to being in the garden and sharing with others.

Our goal is to work with folks who enjoy the garden as much as we do.  The scope of our blog will include topics about vegetable gardening, soil health, composting and many other garden related topics.

We still have a lot to learn……..

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The Garden Dreamer

“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years”

Author – unknown

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Contact us directly should this be of interest to you.

The Garden Alchemist, email: thegardenalchemist@thegardendreamer.com

Johnny L. Dose, email: JohnnyLDose@thegardendreamer.com

Chickens in the Garden

Yes, even the Garden Dreamer requires a little help to improve a garden space.  Over the years, I have utilized chickens for their manure and, of course, their eggs.  During the late afternoon I would let my birds forage for insects and whatever else they found of interest.  Although, I can’t say I am absolutely certain of this critter’s contribution to my garden’s success, I am considering making their presence become a permanent and integrated feature in our community garden.

The literature provides many examples where gardeners capture the richness of this bird’s manure while also enjoying their egg production.  We plan to keep 3 hens, on a 4-year cycle, in an attempt to evaluate their added value. in a vegetable garden.  Main points studied will be their contribution in both insect and weed control.  Most likely we will utilize either Rhode Island Reds or Orpingtons.  That’s right, absolutely no rooster!

My first task is to design a portable chicken coop so that our birds can be moved to any section of the garden.  It is my desire to introduce these birds by late Spring 2022.  I will be updating our blog as we make progress with this project.

Rising Above Ground

I have always been curious about seed germination and emergence.  As a youngster, I found it interesting how a tender seedling was able to punch through the soil while typically remaining undamaged.  So, how is this possible?  Well, most seed store food reserves (endosperm) during their initial formation.  These food reserves are utilized by the germinating seed to aid in the development of a root and shoot.  By the time the seedling exposes its first leaves (corn) or stem (beans) to sunlight the seedling has depleted most of its reserves.  At this point, the emerged seedling becomes dependent on sunlight for the manufacture of essential carbohydrates.  Simultaneously, the root continues to grow and takes up water and nutrients from the soil also contributing to the growth of the developing plant.

It’s been said that the most important stage in growing a successful crop takes place during stand establishment.  Unfortunately, this is not always achievable especially if Mother Nature brings forth adverse weather shortly after planting.  However, assuming that all is well, and conditions are prime for germination and emergence, we can anticipate excellent results as long as we continue to irrigate in a timely manner and are prepared to furnish supplemental fertilizer, if necessary.

To all gardeners, always plant A56ED80D-9CCD-4A36-81A3-D62B99070A4Dthe best quality seed available!

This post was prepared in memory of Dr. Tom Cothren (Professor of Crop Physiology – Texas A&M University).


Gardening – Learn by Doing

The greatest teacher is by doing and this relates very well to gardening.  Yeah, I have all the basic how-to books, special super interesting articles by those who know, and many hours of training while in the classroom.  However, learning by doing seems to be the best way to actually learn how things are done in the garden.

I recall a little life story when my dad took me to Big Bear Lake in California to fish for trout.  Well, about an hour before we were to set sail, I found him in the cabin reading a book on how to fish in fresh water.  When I asked him how long it would take, he told me that he wasn’t about to begin fishing in new waters until he was up to speed on the abc’

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Photo by ThisIsEngineering on Pexels.com

s of freshwater fishing.  My heart sunk because I wanted to simply wet a line.  About two hours later he was still immersed in his book, so my brother and I gathered up our gear and went to the shoreline to test the waters.  Shortly after arriving to our spot my dad came down to tell us that he was going to take the boat out and give it a test run before packing all the gear.  We said our yes sirs and simply kept on fishing.  Well, while watching my dad and uncle go back and forth on the lake attempting to correct an engine problem, we caught our limit of trout.  They never fished that day, but they did drink a lot of cold beer.  That night at the dinner table my brother and I told our fishing stories.

This season, I have had to re-learn or better yet, learn for the first time, how certain plants behave when planted too early and too late.  For instance, I planted a crop of bak-choi in very early spring only to learn that by doing so results in plants that bolt as the days lengthen.  Well, maybe this is something one could have learned in a book but, for me, it remains memorable through actual experience.

Another example pertains to pruning (removing suckers) tomatoes.  During the past many years, I have played around with aggressive pruning versus only pruning plants which demonstrate excessive vegetative growth.  However, the results have been mixed.  What I’ve learned from this experience is to let the plant tell you what it needs.  For instance, when a tomato plant is growing slow and does not develop a robust canopy, I will not prune it.  Rather, I allow the plant every opportunity to produce a crop.  However, if it grows vigorously and has numerous branches, I’ll prune it.  Yet, I never prune so much that the plant won’t have sufficient leaf area to sustain good fruit production while also providing sufficient shade to developing fruit. Shade helps to reduce sun scald on this tender fruit.

I believe what I’m trying to tell you is do some reading, and dream by way of colorful seed catalogues, but don’t forget to get dirty in the garden.  It’s an awesome journey!

Planting A Seed

Well, I guess the title for this first blog, “Planting a Seed”, is somewhat fitting.  What I hope to do is combine gardening experience, science and a love of plant life to anyone interested enough to wade through this blog.  I have elected to name this blog “The Garden Dreamer” because after a good day in the garden I love to fall asleep while recounting the day’s activities.

Anyway, whatever topic is discussed we hope that the information will be of some help and perhaps a source of encouragement for many and especially for those who have yet to plant their first seed!

Eric J. Lorenz and John G. Allan