Fixing the Garden

We’ve been having trouble with rabbits, I think. I see them in the yard all the time. I think they’re eating the green beans. The leaves are gone. Also, there are little ones here that like to dig in the dirt and play with plants…DSCN0362So I bought some chicken wire. I thought that I’d put it inside the cinder blocks, and cut the chicken wire in half so I’d have enough for the whole garden. I, however, did not let my husband in on the plan (Oops). So he goes out there to do it and he’s like… “did you not measure?” I guess this is where communication issues come into place. 🙂 We talked about it and we decided to keep it on the outside of the cinder blocks. So my husband went to the store to buy some more chicken wire.DSCN0370And a couple zucchini plants and a cucumber plant magically appeared in the garden after that trip. 😉 Of the three zucchini plants that I planted, one has died and another might survive. But we really like zucchini and I don’t want to take any chances. I hope I don’t kill any more plants.
DSCN0371I bought some marigolds the other day because I read somewhere that they’re good for repelling pests. And hey, a little color wouldn’t hurt, right?


DSCN0361

I had planted basil inside and I figured today was a good day to plant it outside. They now live beside the tomato plants. I hope all goes well from now on.DSCN0358

Advertisements

Garden Update

20140424-151653.jpg

We had some trouble with the zucchini and cucumber. I thought I was overwatering, so I cut back. But that was evidently not the right thing to do. So now we’re watering a lot more now.

20140424-151702.jpg

20140424-151723.jpg

 

The tomato plants aren’t doing that bad.

20140424-151733.jpg

 

The onions are sure taking off.

20140424-151744.jpg

The green beans are lookin’ good. I don’t know what’s up with the one without leaves. Maybe bunnies.

 

 

Garden update

20140329-163628.jpg

We planted some zucchini that I had started indoors. It was about 3 inches tall so I decided it was time. I put a milk jug over the tops of them so that it would act kind of like a greenhouse. I also had a cucumber plant that was ready for planting.

As far as seeds go I planted 5 green bean plants. Some parsley, chives, and some green onions. I have regular yellow onions and shallots planted.

I still have eggplant growing inside and a tomato plant. I also have a bunch of sweet basil starting to germinate. I’m excited about this garden!>

Working the Garden

I’m continuing the summary for my own use of the Organic Gardening book I’m reading.

Chapter 4: Working the Organic Garden

If you plant your seeds in a hexagonal pattern, there will be less moisture loss and less germination of seeds because the foliage will cover the soil. Start by planting one seed at the corners and one seed in the center.

It is important to sterilize the seed starting equipment. Clean them and let them sit in a diluted bleach solution so as to get rid of any diseases that may be on the containers from last year.

Water the seedlings from the bottom – it encourages root growth. Mulch to reduce moisture loss. Only put mulch on a week after seedlings have become established in the garden. Turn the mulch under at the end of the season so it has time to decompose, don’t wait until the next spring.Use hay/straw/grass clippings as mulch. Most wood mulches rob the soil of nitrogen when they rot.

There’s a fairly large fruit/tree planting and care section, which I am skipping over because I don’t plan on doing that right now.

The next section is a detailed description of the plants. How to sow them and their care and maintenance, and how to harvest them.

Garden

Image

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.

Around the Farm

20120922-105914.jpg 20120922-105933.jpg 20120922-110022.jpg

This is the back “pasture” of our farm. It has a bunch of trees seeding tiny trees. Because there’s basically no sun reaching the bottom, there is no grass growing back there. There are a bunch of old leaves covering the ground also. I haven’t done much research on this, but a low yield burn may just be what we need for that. Next summer we plan on cutting down the big trees and having a big party to invite a ton of people to come help. Firewood as a give away for those who come help.

20120922-110037.jpg

Yes that is rusty barbed wire randomly on the ground back there.

20120923-162014.jpg

This is a tree that’s in the hedgerow close to the garden. It’s HUGE! Four to five people could probably stand around it with their arms out spread holding hands.

20120923-162051.jpg

This is the garden. Wait, you say, it looks more like a lawn. Yes because someone planted a tall grass for the cows to eat, but never let them over in that area to have them eat it. Then it seeded and spread the seed all over the garden.
20120923-162136.jpg

This is the ancient rototiller. With a tub with a hole on it to “cover” it from the weather. It broke down halfway through the job. Time for a new one, I’d say.
20120923-162251.jpg

Yes, that’s a bunch of junk that’s probably been sitting there for years.
20120923-162301.jpg

This is one of the four peach trees. Not pruned very well.
20120923-162315.jpg

This is another peach tree and cherry tree.

20120923-162335.jpg

These are the two apricot trees that haven’t produced for 15 years. I’ve collected soil samples to take to the extension office to see if we can fix it by icing the soil. Hopefully we don’t have to cut hem down.
20120923-162346.jpg

This is the pear tree. We canned 16 quarts of pears from this, plus probably a 5 gallon barrel we gave away.
20120923-162414.jpg 20120923-162441.jpg 20120923-162452.jpg

Two more peach trees. That big tree is supposed to be a pecan tree, but it has never produced anything for lack of another tree to pollinate it or something like that. Evidently someone mowed over it in their teenage years.

20120923-162512.jpg 20120923-162523.jpg

The garden after one run through with the rototiller and a raking. And after the second one and raking.
20120923-162531.jpg 20120923-162538.jpg

My husband is using the tractor to cut down the tall grass around the garden. Hopefully we’ll have another free day to prep the garden and use the tractor again as well as my husband’s grandfather’s rototiller, which is substantially newer than the one pictured above.

Organic Seed Resources

Renee’s Garden – Most of the seeds are 2.79 or 2.99. All of these are organic.

Mainstreet Seed and Supply – sells seeds by the ounce or pound, so I’m not sure exactly how that works out as far as affordability goes. Not all of these seeds are organic, but they do have an organic section.

Burpee – It seems like all these seeds are 3.95/package. They do have a good selection though. Not all are organic.

Botanical Interests – most expensive seeds are 5.49, but most seeds are under the $2 mark.

High Mowing Seeds – sold by the ounce or pound. All organic seeds

Park Seed – Wide variety in price, not a great selection it seems.

Grow Organic – only sells in quantities of 1/4 lb. more than I want to pay currently.

Natural Gardening Company – Prices seem a bit high.

Pears

We finished canning the pears. All in all we have 16 quarts. I’m not sure how much it would be if grandpa hadn’t been snacking on them when he was cutting them up.

Thank God I boiled them to get the skins off so we wouldn’t have to peel them by hand. Next year I’m definitely doing it the way the ball canning book says to do it.

20120919-141012.jpg