Preparing for a Hot Growing Season

Reader Contribution by Renea Winchester
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Friends, something in my gut tells me it’s going to be a hot and parched growing season in Georgia. I don’t want to use the “D” word; it’s too early. Mercy, we’ve just now started busting up the dirt and getting serious about planting. Still, it takes only a few days to dry out the Georgia clay, less if the temperatures climb to above eighty as they did today, as they are predicted to do the rest of this week. A constant wind doesn’t help either.

My garden soil is powdery and I’m beginning to fret.

Knowing that I am powerless to control Mother Nature, I have taken matters into my own hands. It’s time to mulch.

Yes, I know, it’s early. The beans have barely sprouted. The corn is only 3 inches high. But time, and garden duties, wait for no man.

Today I heaved shovels of mulch to my garden. The wheelbarrow also contained a bucket full of soggy newspapers.

Adding newspaper is the best way to lure earthworms to your garden. Gardens need moisture; earthworms aerate the soil. Mulching the garden early this year should give plants the extra help they need during what I think will be a hot and dry growing season.

After shredding the soggy papers, I laid them around the plants then shoveled mulch 1-inch thick. I sprinkled more water around the plants and added another layer of mulch.

The rest, my friends, is up to Mother Nature. What do you do to protect your plants from the harshness of the growing season?

Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories: True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoesearned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In September of 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, & Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at Friend her on Facebook here. Follow her on Twitter here.

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