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Organic Gardening

Im starting my first garden this year... a big one... and i think im in over my head!  Im planning on planting tomatoes, zuchinni, cucumbers, carrots, seedless watermelon, cauliflower, broccoli,peas, asparagus and swiss chard. My plan was to plant a bunch of different things and to see what grows best.... but i have so much more work to do by next weekend , i dont know if i will be able to plant everything :(    I already know im planting tomatoes for sure-- our neighbor heard i was starting my first garden and gave me 15 plants! (I dont know if i'll be able to use all of them, so i'm going to do the "Plant a Row" thing, that i think Davedrum mentioned a few weeks ago!) Does anyone know which things grow the best/ are good for first time gardeners? :P Also, do you guys use any organic or homemade sprays to get rid of bugs? If so what brand.. or how do ya make it ? Yesterday i noticed there were TONS of ants and a few other creepy crawlies. I Dont want to hurt them, but i just want to deter them from eating my stuff!
Thanks in advance!
Daniela

I've promised myself never, never to plant zucchini again.  I like to plant bok choi or collards very early in the spring, because they do well in cold weather.  If I'm on the ball, I can get a very late summer crop planted, too, and harvest them up til the end of December in some years (in Iowa!).

I like to plant the bottoms of green onions I buy and cook with from the grocery store in the spring.  I use most of the onion and just plant the bottom inch or so with the little bits of root sticking out.  They grow, and I can harvest just the tops like chives all summer long whenever I need green onions.

I also like to plant tomatoes, basil, cilantro (though it usually bolts before I can use much), parsely and chives. 

The only plant I've ever had any bug trouble with was my short-lived asparagus patch.  It got some bug infestation and died forever, as did our neighbors'.  I'm trying to decide how and if i can ever try asparagus again, maybe in another location.  One way to avoid bug problems is to rotate your crops so you aren't planting them in the same part of the garden two years in a row.  That will keep the bugs guessing and your crops pest free.

A raspberry patch is easy to start and doesn't have many pests.

I don't think most of the bugs you see around, like ants, really hurt a garden much.

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IST, have you tried planting the roots of any other onion type veg? I want to try it with leeks :)

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I've never tried leeks, but what do you have to lose by trying?  Keep us posted.

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I will definitely try it. I got some from a local organic farmer on the weekend. I also got some organic jerusalem artichokes that I'm trying to grow...I will for sure let you know how it goes. :)

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this is late, but fyi, I planted the bottom 1/2" + rootlets of my leeks a couple weeks ago, and they have now grown just above the soil. :) next thing to try: red onion! I hope the leeks keep growing before some serious frost sets in...I want to eat them!

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Omnivore pee is a really good deer deterrent. Get an omni friend to pee in the bushes near your vegetable garden - apparently the smell of being in meat-eater territory makes deer think twice about hanging around.

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Hey gardeners! I figured it was time to bring this thread back to life...because it's time to start seeds indoors! (at least for us in Southern Ontario)

I haven't bought any plastic flats to plant in, so I'm thinking of doing the newspaper seedling pot thing. However, they will need to last a few weeks, so I'm wondering if anyone has used these before and whether they'll stand up to watering etc. for that long?

I like the idea of using something biodegradable so I can plant the pots right into the garden and make transplanting easier on the seedlings. I would love people's input :)

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My expert gardening friend used those for some vines, and they seemed to do OK. I don't know when she planted them though. Good Bump, Tino!

Anyone want to give me any tips on growing greens? We are unsuccessful gardeners usually, so we decided to keep it simple and just do greens. Kale, collards, spinach.
I don't know if I can even do seeds because we don't have any direct sunlight in our windows. I might have to buy starter plants.

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Organic vegetable gardening is one my obsessions along with pet chickens, vegetarian cooking and bike riding.  There is a gardening forum that I frequent were about half the people think that organic gardening techniques and heirlooms/open pollinated crops are vertially worthless.  Boo!!!  I would love to resurrect a thread with like minded gardeners.

Soil fertility and conditioning is one of the biggest boons to any garden.  It would be great to also get a discussion going about that, too.  There is so much more than just the NPK ratio to productivity.  Maintaining a good soil foodweb, soil structure and moderating pH and temperature has even more to do with how well a garden grows.  I am always looking for better techniques and more info about this topic.

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For ants aned snails try diamateous earth.  You can get it on line or at local nurseries.  Great stuff.

I plant marigolds all around my yard.  the tomoto horn worms hate them as well as lots of other nasty bugs, but butterflies love them.

I've had great luck with these two things and an occasional insecticidal soap (dishsoap and water) for aphids or white flies when necessary.  Lady bugs love aphids and white flies so if you can buy some or lure them to your yard you've got it made.

Peppers work great in AZ.

I have a very tiny yard do I can't plant anything that I can't grow vertically.
I've been buying and saving seeds from things I already know I'll eat.  No use buying somethng that grows well in your area but you can't stand to eat (turnips for me). 

I fling seeds in the general area I want them to grow. throw some compost enriched dirt on top and see what comes up. I never mark what I put there so by the time it comes up I can't remember. It's like Christmas in the yard. It's always a surprise.

I have 3 tiny raised beds.  Right now I've got kholrabi, kale, stawberries, chard, parsley, garlic, cilantro and lettuces growing. Because they survived on their own.
Kale, chard and lettuces do great in containers and can be moved into a shady area when it gets too hot.

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Bovins, I have a lazy mans method of gardening, too.  That is what I like about living in a warm region.  No need to start transplants indoors and all that mess.  I just direct seed under row covers or bottomless plastic bottles. 

Does anyone do no-till gardening?  This year, I want to give it another whirl.  My goal is to efficiently utilize all the organic matter I add to the soil and multiply yields.  It seems that no/low till, heavy mulch methods are the best for this. 

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Not much chit-chat.  Guess there isn't as many vegetable gardeners on VegWeb anymore.

Well, here is what I am working on in my garden.  I am just about ready to put in my warm season veggies.  The last of my seed orders just came in the mail.  Yeah!!!  Right now, I am working homemade compost, coffee grounds and a general organic fertilizer into my beds.  Bought a bale of hay for mulch.  This year, I want to start a no-till garden.  It seems to produce fantastic results for people.  It also reduces CO2 in the atmosphere. 

How was everyone introduced to vegetable gardening and organic methods.  I had dabled in gardening since I was 11.  Mostly organic due to the cost of chemical inputs.  It wasn't until I transfered to a 4 year college that I really became involved in the various types of sustainable agriculture.  I had a professor that was really into permaculture, no-till and the like.  I even had the oppurtunity to work on the university demonstration and market gardens at Stan State and UC, Davis.  What a blast and very informative.

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The pre-columbian mesoamerican cultures had the most simple and effective organic gardening practice.

Mexican food to this day refers to the "Three Sisters" - corn, squash and beans.

All three are planted in the same plot. The squash leaves shade the (mulched) ground to inhibit weed growth. The corn grows up between the squash. Beans (vine types)  are planted next to the corn and grow up the corn stalks. The squash and corn need and use nitrogen from the soil. The beans fix nitrogen back into the soil. It's so simple yet so perfect.

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Found this article about building soil fertility  http://www.organicguide.com/gardening/soil/maintaining-soil-fertility/  It goes a little indepth about degradation in agricultural system.  But it does explain how the soil building process and nutrient cycling works. 

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I tried planting the 3 sisters and didn't have a lot of luck. I'm sure I was dong something wrong. I have so very little space I never gave the corn much more thought after that.

I got in to organic after I found out I have a tumor (benign) on my thyroid. I cut everything out of my diet that could potentially make it grow - including meat.
Since going veg my last 2 ultrasounds have shown it has shrunk on it's own. The doc can not understand how this happens. Thyroid tumors are not uncommon, but the location and size of mine is. It's in the back and pressing on my trachea and vocal chords. To remove it, as would be the usual course of action, would require partial removal of my vocal chords. I gotta big mouth! I'm not ready to go there.  So I went healthy instead. Doc doesn't believe this is why it's shrinking but I do.
Every time I eat some veggies from my yard I think 'take that you sonnabeech!"

My yard is too small for a real compost pile but my compost has turned in to a vermipost bin instead. Just as good! All kitchen scraps go in there go in there except my coffee grounds and egg shells (from my ova-veg DH). They get crushed and straight into the raised beds.

I like the idea of completely recycling everything I use.

I wonder if there is a comparison of veg carbon footprints vs omni carbon footprints.

My sweet basil peeked through the dirt today!! (in recycled broth containers in the kitchen window).

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Many people correctly mention that legumes can bring nitrogen to the soil.  (As in the 3 sisters garden, cover cropping and intercropping) However, each legume has its own nitrgen fixing bacteria.  If that bacteria is not present in a sufficient amount, the legume will take away instead of adding nitrogen.  Legumes can be heavy nitrogen feeders, quickly depleting the soil.  Most soils are not at the capacity to supply the right rhizobacteria for most legumes.  It is best to add a general inoculant to the soil, buy a rhizocoated legume or a organic fertilizer that includes a general rhizobacteria mix - most do but check the side to make sure.  Inoculents are cheap, less than $10 for bag that coats 50 lbs of seeds.  Most sites that carry organic growing supplies have them.  This is the best source since very few specialized nurseries or farm supply stores will have it. 

Don't even bother looking for it at Lowes or Home Depot.  Actually, don't bother looking for anything that really has to do with organic or vegetable gardening at any home improvement store.  Shesh!!  Last year, I asked at few different places if they had row cover.  All I recieved was blank stares.  They didn't even know what it was.

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Today my first seeds sprouted!!! :D

I started some seeds indoors a few days ago: 2 kinds of tomatoes, kale, sweet & hot peppers, and lettuce...2 of the lettuce pots have tiny sprouts poking out the soil. I'm excited! And now that these have started growing I feel more positive about all the other stuff that's ahead :)

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Isn't it amazing how excited we can get just to see a little peek out of the soil?

First thing I do when I come home from work is check those little babies to see how they're doing THEN I say hello to everyone else in the house.

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How is everyone's seedlings doing?  My tomatoes are taking off.  Still waiting on the peppers and eggplant.  The greens planted a month ago are doing well.  This could weather were having is slowing things down a bit.  Can't wait for Spring to come back.

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all of mine (save for one pot of hot pepper seeds) have started to grow. My kale (which was the first to sprout a couple weeks ago) got kind of wilty over the weekend, hopefully it'll perk up again. Haven't put anything in the garden yet since we'll likely still get frost sometime before may.

Also the garlic we left in the garden last fall is coming up all over one side of the garden, and there are random onions growing in it too (which we didn't have in the fall so who knows where they came from) and the thyme, oregano, sage and chives are all coming back. I spent a good few hours weeding on the weekend since the weather was so nice. can't wait to get planting

eta: there's also rhubrarb!

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