• 59°
franklin county times

Spruce Pine gardener shares favorite tips

Ryan Champion of Spruce Pine started gardening with his grandfather when he was 5 or 6 years old. He has grown lots of produce over the years, and he has learned many gardening tips.

“A lot of people don’t realize there’s more to it than just digging a hole and dropping seeds in,” Champion said.

Here is his best advice for successful springtime planting:

1. Work your ground early. “I like to plow in the fall. In some places, I plant cover crops such as clover to put nitrogen back into the soil,” Champion said. “I try to work my ground a little in the winter, especially on a new spot, in order to give time for the grass to die out.”

2. If needed, put lime on all garden spots to raise the pH level of the soil and help fertilizer work better. “I usually like to put the lime on in the fall,” Champion said. “The better the pH of the soil, the better whatever is being planted will do.”

3. Don’t plant your seeds too deep, or they won’t come up. Okra, for example, should only be planted 1/4 inch deep. The depth needed is different for every vegetable.

4. Some vegetables need allday sun in an open area. “Be sure of what is necessary for what you are planting,” Champion said.

5. Different types of fertilizer work best for each vegetable. Make sure to address the needs of whichever vegetable you are planting. “I put 33-0-0 regular ammonium nitrate on corn,” for example, Champion explained. “One of the other fertilizers I use on vegetables is 82424; it has more phosphorous and potash.

6. Keep the weeds out.

7. Stay away from harsh chemicals as much as possible. “I use Sevin Dust sometimes, though, to keep various bugs away, like Japanese beetles and bugs that eat okra,” Champion added.” Liquid Sevin Dust that you mix with water and apply by spraying seems to work better for me. I try not to use it any more than I have to. You have to experiment. What’s needed depends on factors such as your soil.

9. When okra starts producing pods, Champion likes to trim some of the leaves. “It helps the sun get down into the plant and also helps because the leaves use up a lot of moisture. Removing some of the leaves helps the water get where it really needs to be.”

10. After corn comes up, Champion recommends planting pole green beans around it, as they will grow up the corn stalk. He said this will often strengthen the corn stalks and make them more resistant to high winds.

11. Don’t be afraid to thin out your crops. Things need room to grow. Thinning things out often makes it where they can produce more later, and it helps them be more likely to thrive than they would be if they were all bunched together.

12. Save seed from year to year. “Last year, I planted seed that I had kept frozen since 2005 – oldtimey white field corn,” Champion said, “and I made quite a good crop from it.”

Galleries

PHOTOS: RHS exhibits skills during Northwest Alabama Marching Classic

High School Sports

Russellville High School holds mini cheer camp

Galleries

PHOTOS: Red Bay Founder’s Fest

Features

Third generation stonecutter takes pride in continuing legacy

Franklin County

Meet current group of Franklin County Junior Leaders

Franklin County

State issues fire alert

Galleries

PHOTOS: Roxy holds cruise-in events in downtown Russellville

Galleries

PHOTOS: Tharptown senior homecoming representatives take court

News

Phil Campbell, Red Bay FFA place at North Alabama State Fair

News

BTCPA announces auditions for first production of season

News

RCS Education Foundation honors excellence

News

Downtown Russellville Collective receives grant to further efforts

Franklin County

NWSCC sees fall enrollment continue to rise

News

AlmostBama show raises money for Place of Grace Sept. 23

News

Roxy holds Cruise-In

Franklin County

Political announcement: Doug Aaron announces run for county commission seat 


Franklin County

TVA plans to invest $15 billion over next three years

Franklin County

Alabama Young Farmers vie for top titles

News

RHS ranks 18th on best Alabama high schools list

News

Downtown Russellville Collective receives statewide recognition at Main Street Alabama conference

Franklin County

PHOTOS: Franklin County celebrates Watermelon Festival

Franklin County

Chamber names watermelon winners

Franklin County

NWSCC hosts Run for Reading 5K, Family Fun Run on Sept. 16

Franklin County

New law prohibits smoking, vaping in vehicles with children

x