Islam Fellow Moors!
There are many preparatory tasks that one can embark upon during the Islamic Month Jumada Al-Akhirah 1439 (February 2018, Gregorian) pertaining to Horticulture. A few of the things that can help you prepare for a successful grow this year are:
- Gathering seeds,
- obtaining peat pots,
- drawing and mapping out your garden plans,
- planting bulbs in flower beds, and
- soil preparation
It’s also a great idea to begin a home gardening journal. Journaling your garden brings clarity to your plans as you decide on what to plant in your zone and then map out the design of where to plant it your garden bed, essential planning for a garden full of healthy fruits, vegetables and herbs.
To recap last month’s discussion, I want to ensure that all Moors understand the importance of Food Sovereignty, i.e. the Right of people to choose, access and consume healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and one’s Right to define their own food and home agriculture systems. This includes knowing when to plant by viewing your region’s 2018 Plant Hardiness Zone Maps as well as knowing the definitions of horticulture terminology such as Perennials, Annuals, Hybrids, Heirlooms, Organic Seeds, Intermediate, Germinate, Determinate, Compost (Composting), Frost Dates, pH, Transplanting and Rhizomes.
February is an important month in planning what you would like your garden to look like and the foods of which it is to be comprised this Spring, Summer and Fall. I have devised, by regions and zones,] a February Gardeners “To-Do List” upon which I encourage all Moors to reflect. Here is a short list of what your garden preparations should look like this month:
Zone 3- (Upper Parts of the United States, below Canada, Maine, Upper Montana, Washington State, Idaho, Upper Michigan and some areas of New England)
- Check for winter sales at your local garden store. Most times you can find sales on pots, planters, soil, tools, indoor plants, seeds and garden tools. Your local dollar store also carries many of the same items for your garden that are oftentimes less than $2-4 per item.
- Organize your seeds. Seeds can be organized according to date, type of seed, whether to start indoors or outdoors, in alphabetical order or by separating vegetables, fruit or herbs. For flowers, it is always good to organize by how often it grows. This constitutes knowing if the flower is an annual, perennial or biennial. A biennial is a plant that completes its life cycle over two growing seasons.
- If you have flowering bulbs, check bulbs for any deterioration, particularly if they appear to be too dry to plant. Some bulbs will come back each season. A good practice of bulbs that return is to pull the bulbs from the dirt and replant them in fresh soil to restart their growth. Do this in a warm area in your home with a good amount of natural or in home lights.
Zone 4– (Lower Wisconsin, Upper Minnesota)
- Start seeds indoors that are slow growers. You can determine which plants are slow growers by checking the back of the seed packs to determine the length of time in days that it takes for your plant to reach full peak for harvesting. Plants such as Lavender, Spearmint, Onions, Leeks, Celery and certain outdoor flowers like Pansies can take anywhere from 90 to 200 days to harvest. The sooner you start indoors, the greater the chances of having a great yield by the beginning of the Summer.
- Prune dead or damaged leaves and branches from fruit trees, brambles and shrubs
- Try raising an indoor crop of leafy lettuce or spinach under indoor lights.
- Fertilize houseplants that show signs of new growth indoors.
Zone 5– (Lower Michigan, Iowa, Upper Indiana, Upper Michigan, Nebraska, Illinois and some parts of Colorado)
- Under lights indoors, you can start daisies, sunflowers and some impatiens
- Start seeds of lettuce, celery, onions, leeks, and early tomatoes indoors under lights. This is best done around the third week in February.
- If the ground isn’t frozen, you can start spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, beets and radishes.
Zone 6– (Lower Pennsylvania, Northern Maryland, West Virginia, Lower Illinois, Missouri and Kansas)
- Under lights, start seeds of onions and leeks at the beginning of the month
- Near the end of the month, start seeds of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts indoor under lights.
- If you have a mild winter, you can transplant trees, shrubs and roses that you may have started indoors.
- For early tomatoes (Tomatoes that you can harvest as early as June), start indoors under lights. Transplant them in April outside.
- Rinse and clean houseplant leaves (they also collect dust and microscopic mites), turn the soil in your houseplants by adding new soil or completely repotting, especially if you had fungus gnats in previous years. Fungus gnats are very small flies that lay eggs in your plants soil and live outside or very near to your houseplants. You can kill them with a mild mixture of vinegar and cold water.
Zone 7– (North Carolina, Middle and Southern Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Upper Arkansas, Oklahoma and Northern parts of Texas)
- When you see daffodils come up from the earth, plant seeds of spinach, turnips and peas. Cover the bed with plastic until sprouts begin to emerge.
- Start any herb indoors under lights
- Also indoors, start annual flowers that need to be transplanted outdoors in 8-10 weeks (remember the back of the seed pack will give you these instructions)
Zone 8– (South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas)
- Feed your soil by applying compost to plantings throughout your landscape, near trees, shrubs, lawn and all garden beds.
- By week three, you can plant potatoes in 4 inches of warm soil
- Begin sowing seeds of lettuce, collards, kale and most leafy greens. For a continual harvest, sow seeds every two weeks.
- By mid-month, prune rose bushes and shrubs and add a covering of mulch. If you don’t have roses, you can plant some now!
- Prune fruit trees such as apple, pear and cherry trees, grape vines or blackberry bushes.
Zone 9– (North Florida, South Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Southern California)
- Till and build up your soil. During dry spells, incorporate compost and all organic waste into your beds
- Start seeds of indispensable summer veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants- indoor under lights
- Plant perennials
- Direct sow radishes, spinach, carrots, peas, onions, and cabbage family vegetables.
Zone 10- (Southern Florida)
- Direct sow corn, cucumbers and be prepared to protect them from a surprise frost.
- Set out hot pepper transplants
- Plant fast growing varieties of beets, carrots, radishes, okra, peas and sweet potatoes.
Each month of the year, there are a variety of things that one can do to prepare for a home garden. In the coming months, we will dive deeper into more advanced levels of home horticulture in hopes that Moorish brothers and sisters throughout the country can become experts at beginning and continually becoming food sovereign in our respective republics and domains.
Humbly Yours in Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom and Justice,