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Archive for May, 2008

It’s that time of year! Time to till the soil and plant away! This year, why not try a more natural approach? The benefits of organic gardening are extensive – and easier than you might think!

The first thing to do is get your beds ready and have some plants that are popping up – either grown inside by you, or purchased from a local greenhouse (buying local cuts down on toxic emissions from trucks to bring them to you as well as supports your local economy). Once you’re all set to plant, be sure to mix in some of that compost that you’ve been brewing up with kitchen and yard scraps! Mixing it into your planting soil adds wonderful nutrients to the soil that plants can feast on! Once this is done, you can begin planting away! Be sure to consider things like companion planting and intensive planting. This can allow your plants to “use” each other for their benefits together and keep wasted space to a minimum! This also makes your job easier, reducing garden space and providing you with more fruits for less labor.

When you get all of your plants in their appropriate places, be sure to find preventative methods of keeping weeds at bay. Things like layered newspapers on the entire floor of the garden, covered with grass trimmings will not only keep weeds from invading before they get a chance, but it will also promise to keep moisture in the soil, where the plants need it. In addition, using this method recycles otherwise discarded reading material and yard waste, but it keeps you from having to water, in most places, or at least as much as you would. You may have to dig out a few weeds & lay down more newspaper as some of it tears or breaks down, but I can assure you that little effort will far outweigh not using it at all!

Bugs… you can keep them away without pesticide intervention. With a little research and some non-toxic efforts, your food will be grown without poisons and your environment will be thankful. Did you know that some pests are good? Learn which ones are beneficial and which ones are not. Allow nature to work for you and discourage only the pests that truly cause damage. To rid yourself of deer feasting on your garden, try alternative things like leaving slinkies stretched across the outside of your garden – the metal look and sound will scare them away. Human hair sprinkled about will also deter them (a great way to help recycle an otherwise discarded item from your local barber shop). Slugs or snails a problem? Instead of spraying with chemicals, try leaving sandpaper rings around your plants – cut out circles with holes in the middle (think an “O” shape) and place them around the base of your plants. The rough surface will deter them from nibbling your greens and they will turn away. Try sprinkling salt lines around your garden to kill them before they have a chance to enter.

When it comes to harvesting, the more you remove, the more will grow. Take advantage of this. Invest in some freezer bags or canning jars and every time you bring in some veggies for eating, bring in a few for canning or freezing. By the end of the warm season, you will have a freezer or cabinet full of nourishment, and picking ripe will provide the most nutritional benefits! This will save you money as well a allowing your garden to work for you.

What do you get out of these efforts other than some yummy food? You get safer consumables, a deeper pocket and some good old satisfaction from your efforts. Less gas is wasted too because you are supporting your own efforts and not the efforts of a farmer in another country, or at best, the other side of ours. And you’ll have plenty to share with your family and friends!
Have a great gardening related tip? We’d love for you to share!

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