Planning and planting your summer garden

Cullman County Extension Office Coordinator Kira Sims presents at the session on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024. (Tatum Uptain)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The main branch of the Cullman County Public Library on Thursday hosted a class on how to plan and plant a summer garden, held by the Cullman County Extension Office.

During the class, Cullman County Extension Office Coordinator Kira Sims explained, “A good garden starts with good soil.” 

The Extension Office provides soil sample kits to the public to test the quality of soil or land before planting.

Sims suggested gardeners collect a soil sample to be sure the pH of the soil is where it needs to be to foster healthy plants. She said soil should be tested at least every three years to be sure that it is adequate and healthy.

Attendees were taught how to seed directly or how to decide if seeds should be transplanted from a small cell pack.

“We are going to direct seed our smaller seeds directly into the ground because they are harder to handle,” said Sims, who explained that larger plants should be started in cell packs. Once those plants begin to bud they can then be acclimated to the outside by taking them outside for a few hours a day for three to five days before planting them directly into the soil.

On the Cullman County Extension Office website, there is a planting guide to help gardeners understand and know when and what to plant during each season of the year. Sims said it is highly accurate and very helpful for gardeners who are just beginning.

Farming Basics is an app the Alabama Extension has created as a tool to help control pests. “While scouting for pests like beetles and caterpillars on your plants, if you see one you can use the app to find your plant as well as the pest that is eating your vegetable. This app gives you organic as well as conventional options on how to control pests in your garden.” said Sims.

At the class, guests were also welcome to take part in a seed swap. The Cullman County Public Library offers the free seed swap from spring until late fall for everyone in the community.

The Cullman County Public Library’s main branch is located at 200 Clark St. It can be reached at 256-734-2720 Monday through Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.

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