How NOT to grow garden vegetables

(this is an exerpt from an email I sent my SIL last night – as I was writing it, I realized that I wanted to post something about my garden efforts so I’m cutting and pasting with not a lot of heavy editing.  I’ll be updating our garden progress here off and on…I’ll try to go lightly with the garden posts so as not to put you all to sleep…)
Today we started our garden.  We bought organic compost by the bag and tilled it into our existing soil.  I’d like to start a compost bin but need to do further research.  Rich is convinced that it is going to smell, but I’m telling him that there are things you can do to prevent unpleasant odors.  We’ll see who wins that battle.

Last year our entire gardening game plan consisted of:

1) randomly picking out plants
2) sticking them in the ground with absolutely no forethought
3) doing nothing until fruit does or does not show up on the plants (if they even grew!).

As you can imagine, our results SUCKED last year, with only 50% of the plants making it out of their infancy and very little actual vegetables for our “efforts”.  Our garden was technically an organic garden only because we never bothered with any sort of fertilizer, weed killer or insect killer.

This year, besides the organic compost addition to the soil, we are trying a several new things:

1) actually reading a bit on how to care for each of the plants we buy (never thought to do that last year!)
2) buying plants instead of starting from seed as it lessens the chances of failure as they are already half grown. Some of them are already purchased, but for those that are not, I’ll have to do shopping at our farmer’s market that opens next weekend!  At farmer’s markets you sometimes can purchase garden plants that are grown organically.
3) planting in such a way that plants that help each other grow are next to each other (called companion plants)
4) planting crops in a sort of haphazard rotation so they naturally regenerate the nutrients in the soil
5) we’re hoping to actually do some weeding this year since we did almost none last year
6) putting some sort of gate around the garden area because last year Zoe (our dog) ate all our strawberries before they were ripe.  (As it turned out that was a lucky accident – since they were first year plants, we were supposed to be pinching the flowers off anyway.)

I did have two herb plants that are still with us from last year.  We have a robust sage and a thyme plant (both extremely easy to grow, so says the info I’ve actually read this year.  No wonder they survived with little to no care).  I cut them back today (as apparently I am supposed to in the Spring) and Rich and I worked on washing, tying and hanging bunches of herbs to dry up in the attic.  In two weeks we should have enough dry herbs to make poultry and pork for our entire lives.  Obviously we’ll be needing to give most of it away.

Want some?  If you live in my general vacinity, this is your last chance for polite refusal.


2 Responses to “How NOT to grow garden vegetables”

  1. 1 Kristina May 1, 2007 at 7:58 am

    I don’t think you’re a stalker. LOL I do take your offer seriously and will keep you on my list of people to call… seems to me the kids would have a great time and we’d finally get to chat in person about the many things we’ve shared online over the years! You are a rare soul, thank you for that generous and sincere offer!

  1. 1 Green Thumb » How NOT to grow garden vegetables Trackback on October 1, 2007 at 7:59 am

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