May 2, 2011

Gardening, Organic Style

The time is here for getting the garden started. Actually, I missed the date for the early cold crops, but better late than never. It's hard for me to get motivated when it's super chilly outside. So, yesterday's beautiful day was perfect for hours of prepping and planting.


In March, my husband spread some of our beloved composted cow manure (we have cows, which means lots of manure) into the garden and tilled it all in. I've recently discovered you must make sure your manure is composted before applying it to your garden, which I haven't always done. If it's applied fresh, you'll need to thoroughly mix it in with the soil and give it time to compost there. If not, there's a chance dangerous pathogens remain and could potentially make it into your fruits / veggies. You also run the risk of introducing fresh weed seeds, which I know has happened to me, and 'burning' the leaves of your plants from the high salt content or prohibiting germination from the high levels of ammonia and nitrogen. Composting addresses all of these issues and is another topic of interest to me, which I'll approach again in the near future.

This year, I'm planting a combination of seeds and seedlings. Some do better directly sown into the soil, while others prefer to germinate elsewhere and get a head start in the garden as a seedling. Lettuce grows great from seed, as do carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, kale and peas. If I want an earlier harvest, I'll plant seedlings of these varieties (with the exception of carrots, turnips and radishes) and also sow seeds in succession (every couple weeks) to extend the harvest. My other cold crops include swiss chard, arugula, onions, kale and leeks. I intended on planting cabbage today, but brought home cauliflower instead. I'm not sure if I'll plant it or return it. I've tried to grow it in the past without success, but I do love to eat it.

When the soil warms up a bit more, I'll sow green beans and corn. Also to come is the planting of tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and zucchini, pepper and herbs...and of course sunflowers.

Last year I had a tough time with garden pests, as well as a crazy amount of weeds. I'm currently researching organic ways to deter / eliminate the pests and to combat the seemingly uncontrollable weed population. Stay tuned - there will be more to follow in the upcoming weeks.

Gardening is such physically demanding work and requires a lot of focused time, which is sometimes difficult to come by with two young ones running afoot. However, every minute is worth the effort when your garden starts to come in and you begin to enjoy the fruits of your labor, sometimes literally.


Stephanie said... [Reply]

Beautiful garden!!! So excited to have some delicious salads this summer. And I love your blog! So much great information that I would never have time to look for myself. Thank you!!

Jessica said... [Reply]

Your garden looks great! :) Jessica

Jennifer said... [Reply]

Hey! Thanks for showing me the garden the other day; it looks great! Did Stan put up the deer fence?

Tracy said... [Reply]


I know, I can't wait for everything to start growing in. Lettuce will be the first to be enjoyed - yum! Glad the information is helpful!

Tracy said... [Reply]


Thanks, Jess! It's getting there...need the weather to warm up a little before planting the rest.

Tracy said... [Reply]


Thanks! Not yet...and of course the first night two of my baby lettuces were sacrificed. So upsetting.

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