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Successful Homesteading, Issue # 28, Easy Organic Gardening
July 26, 2010

Issue #028, July 26, 2010

Easy Organic Gardening

Easy organic gardening - for some of you, that may sound a bit of a misnomer, especially now, when summer is at its peak, temperatures are at their highest, and weeds and pests may be taking over.

You started in early spring with the best of intentions. In January, you ordered your seeds, thrilled with excitement when they arrived, and planned your garden beds with razor-sharp precision.

In February you started your seeds indoors, breathlessly counting the days until you could plant your seedlings and the rest of your seeds. Then March came and you eagerly plowed up your beds and planted away.

And Now…

And now it's late July, not only have the weeds completely taken over, but they've established roots the size of small tree trunks. Worse still, the stickers have taken over and just wading through them to get to your vegetable plants is a painful experience. When you finally do make it to your beds, the pests have taken over, literally devouring every leaf your poor plants have. What little harvest your garden produces is dismal at best.

Easy organic gardening? Don't think so, you grumble. So what went wrong?

Take Heart

Take comfort that you're not alone. Gardening is a skill that takes time to develop. Most people won't produce that huge, bountiful crop the first or even second year of gardening, especially when you are growing an organic garden. In nature, there is a balance between plants and pests, but when you dig up the ground, plant your crops in even rows and are constantly digging in your soil, picking vegetables and pulling up weeds, you upset the natural balance of nature. Your plants will naturally feel some stress. So how can you make your gardening easier?

Easy Organic Gardening Tip
Keep Things Small

If the weeds have taken over in your garden, you have likely dug a far larger garden space than you can handle. According to Rodale's Vegetable Garden Problem Solver, you will basically need two hours per week for every 100 square feet of garden space you plant. If you only have about half an hour per day to devote to gardening, and you’ve dug a garden space that is 30 feet long by 10 feet wide (300 square feet), you've just built a garden that needs six hours of work a week, but will only get half that time and attention.

Next year, plant a cover crop on two thirds of your rows and only plant crops on the remaining third. Or cover those unused rows with black plastic using the lasagna gardening method of building your soil.

Easy Organic Gardening Tip
Water Consistently

I'm mentioning this here, because nobody bothered to mention it to me when I first started gardening. If you plant your crops in raised beds you will need to water your garden every day. Inconsistent watering will stress your plants and make them susceptible to pest infestations.

Easy Organic Gardening Tip

Follow the rule of nature by using mulch to cover your soil to both keep in moisture and keep your soil warm. Use hay, leaves or other organic matter to protect your soil. They'll also feed your soil, making for healthier plants next year.

Keep Building Your Soil

If you've done all the right things, and your crop is still dismal, it may be that your soil is poor. Take comfort and keep building your compost piles. Eventually your soil will improve, and you'll be rewarded with a more bountiful harvest year after year.

What's New?

Hope Your Garden is Doing Well!

Urban homesteader Daniel asks the question, "How is Your Garden Doing?" Read more

Edible Urban Backyard

Ara, who lives in south Florida used her limited space to great advantage. Read more.

Can You Make Money Homesteading?

The answer may surprise you. Read more here.

Crazy Days on the Farm

Read how one homesteader is pursuing her dream of self-reliant living in Vancouver, B.C. Read more here.

And as always, happy homesteading!

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