Monday, April 6, 2009

Easy Food Gardening

Sign on at One Million Gardens' web site and receive a packet of heirloom seeds, free!
...enough, they say, to grow 100's of pounds of food. The site provides a 52 week course in organic backyard food production and features online videos of gardening techniques.

Read's entry to learn the 10 easiest food crops to grow, specific soil ph and tips for planting and growing each.

I'd add:

  • Remember to give your seeds and plants loose, organically amended soil. Manure, mushroom compost, household compost are all fine amendments. Add liberally!! Green sand is a mined mineral, available at garden centers, that provides the soil with potassium (for disease resistance and overall plant vitality), loosens clay and binds sand. Raised beds offer best control of soil quality.
  • If you have rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels or other guests squatting on your property, be sure to fence your garden. Apply wire netting to the fence, and dig it into the ground at least six inches straight down and then a good six inches perpendicular, into the garden area. Planting marigolds at the perimeter of your garden will further discourage munchers. Bird netting over berries and grapes will keep birds from taking your entire crop. Leave a few for the birds, though! And check often to ensure that no animal has become entangled in the net.
  • Fertilize, if you must (a rich, well-amended garden bed does away with the need for fertilizer) with fish emulsion, sea kelp (both available at area garden centers) or manure tea, which is made by filling a potato sack or other porous material with manure, placing it in an old trash can, adding water and letting it sit for a few days...then applying the liquid to plants. If your garden is planted in less than wonderful soil, apply any of the aforementioned weekly.
  • Create sturdier support systems than you initially think you'll need for climbers and tall plants. Purchase or make your own. Be diligent to attach new growth, regularly.
  • Hang banana peels near plants to control aphids.
  • Provide lots of sunlight, water as needed and weed around the plants every so often.
  • Harvest and enjoy!

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