I’m reading this to gather as much information as I can about gardening and planning for it. I’m planning on gardening in my backyard on a very small scale. We’re going to put in raised beds for the veggies.
Concerning organic gardening: I’m not one of those crunchy people who only buys organic produce or other kinds of products. I do think that if we could get all people to do it that would be a great thing, but things like that usually come slowly, unless mandated by government. I tend to weigh each option differently, as to whether it would be good for me and my family as far as health and/or finances go. I guess it’s kind of like the pirate’s code – the whole organic gardening thing are more like guidelines. ARRRGGGH!
As I read, I’m going to put some of the ideas in blog posts so I can remember them as they apply to my situation. And so I can return the book to the library. 🙂 I love the library! We go every week.
The first chapter acquaints you with what organic gardening is – basically good science for preserving the earth and your part of it for the rest of mankind and with the least amount of effort monetarily on your part – with long range goals in mind.
The second chapter is about soil and compost. What I gleaned from this chapter is that compost is a really good idea. However, since we live in a rental, that might be problematic, and also, we don’t plan on spending much more time here so that isn’t really going to work for us, but when we move (if we move to something we plan to spend some time living in) I definitely will start a compost pile. I’m going to see if when we buy soil from wherever I’m going to buy compost and another kind of soil (there are so many types out there!)
Chapter three is about planning. Even if you don’t have that much space, the book presents varieties of plants that are ornamental but also bear fruit. I don’t plan on doing that right now because it would probably be a nuisance to the next tenants if they aren’t into growing their own food. Evidently you should use heirloom and heritage varieties of seeds. I am loving that because I’ve seen those heirloom tomatoes and they look sooooo good, I’m totally growing those. Crop rotation is also important to improve the quality of soil and to keep diseases at bay. I didn’t realize this but you should rotate not just by crop but by crop family.
These are the rules for Crop Rotation
- Never follow this year’s crop with another member of the same family.
- Arrange your plan so that heavy feeders always follow legumes, which enrich the soil.
- Potatoes yield best after corn
- Grain crops do best after legumes
- root crops often take a lot out of the soil, so put them before legumes
- Having brassicas follow onions is beneficial.
- Tomatoes are narcissistic and do not like to rotate.
- Squashes and cucumbers are beneficial to most following crops.
These are the vegetables grouped by family:
- Goosefoot family: beets, spinach, Swiss chard
- Daisy family: endive, chicory, artichokes, sunflowers, sunchokes, lettuces
- Morning glory family: sweet potatoes
- Mustard family:kale, radishes, cabbages, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli, rutabagas, turnips, cauliflower
- Gourd family:watermelons, melons, cucumber, summer squash, winter squash
- Grass family: wheat, corn, rye
- Pea and bean family: beans, peas
- Onion family: onions, leeks, garlic
- Buckwheat family: buckwheat
- Nightshade family: peppers, eggplants, potatoes
- Carrot family: celery, carrots, parsnips
Also another friendly tip is that you should take a vitamin B12 supplement if you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet.
They give you a list of vitamins in each vegetable and what they’re good for.
These are planting combinations to avoid:
- Apples and potatoes (which I’m not planting)
- black walnuts trees and tomatoes (and everything else): their leaves produce toxins that wash down to the dirt… bad bad bad.
- Brassicas and tomatoes (I’m planting both of these)
- Keep grass away from young pear and apple trees (not that I’m planting trees, but my husband loves pears so I will in the future)
- Maple trees and wheat (not planting)
- Spruce trees slow the growth of other trees, but encourage the growth of strawberries
Towards the end of the chapter I’m finding that I need to plant more than just vegetables. I need to create a habitat with other kinds of flowers that encourage natural predators to the pests I don’t want in my garden. More on that later.