Monthly Archives: March 2018

Mulching Your Home Garden

Prepare your garden beds that you plan on growing your beet crop by raking all roots, rocks and other debris from the soil. Add compost to the soil to lighten it and add organic matter to the soils structure. Avoid fresh manure, this can cause what is known as forked root. Beets will benefit best if they are planted either in hilled rows or raised beds.

The idea that is important here is preparation. Days-to-harvest gives us two important things. The first is the estimated time it will take to produce harvestable crops. The second is the planning that is needed to produce as much food as possible within a small space or even a container. Both estimated growing time and planning are needed for planning a fall garden.

But just as some plants benefit from being planted next to each other, others hate being next to each other. Planting them together can make one or both of the plants grow much slower, and potentially reduce their yield. For example tomatoes hate growing near potatoes or corn. Strangely enough, this hatred doesn’t always go both ways. While corn also hates growing next to tomatoes, potatoes don’t care if they are planted next to either vegetable (and in fact like being near corn).

Don’t become impatient. Organic Gardening takes time. It takes time to let your compost do its work so that your soil becomes rich and healthy. It also takes time for pest-control methods to work, such as building a beneficial insect population. Be patient. If you’re coming from a traditional background, you might be tempted to just dump synthetic fertilizer or toxic chemicals on your plants to get results quicker. But that will only set you back weeks if not months (or an entire growing season) if you wish to do things naturally again.

The two tomato plants I bought bloomed early and we had some pretty green tomatoes for a few days. They were there on a Tuesday and not there on a Thursday. I think one of the neighboring gardeners, assuming our overgrown plot had been abandoned helped themselves to the tomatoes. I got one beautiful perfect and juicy, organic and I grew it tomato. Brenna may have gotten one as well. It was the only produce that the garden created all summer long.

Do take care of problems when you first notice them. If you see a leaf turning yellow, a white mildew starting to appear, black spots or you see pests, take care of the problem right away. because the longer you wait, the harder it will be to get it under control.

The week after we planted our organic garden, in mid-April, it turned cold. We didn’t get a hard freeze, but we did get day after day of pouring rain. The garlic plants, all started indoors, were washed from their planted locations to the middle of walkways and to neighboring plots. The marigolds planted to keep insects away seemed to be the one type of plants that actually grew. Things sprouted in the plant beds and then i realized that none of us remembered what a freshly sprouted bean plant looked like. No one could tell the difference between a carrot and a weed.

There are many plant combinations that work well together. One combination that dates back many centuries (it was originally used by Native Americans) is known by the nickname of “The Three Sisters”. This involves planting corn, beans and squash together in the same area. The corn provides a structure for the beans to grow up. The beans fix nitrogen in the soil, which helps the corn and squash grow. The squash performs triple duty – it provides a ground cover that restricts the growth of weeds, it helps keep moisture in the soil by acting as a living mulch, and the prickly hairs of it’s vines deter pests.