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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

As far as advising what grows best, when having an organic garden, a lot of that will depend upon where you live. You're not going to be "artificially stimulating" the growth. Most anything will grow in the US, though how easy or naturally something will do has a lot to do with the condition of the soil and the climate.
This website has really helped me with controlling pests safely and naturally. Remember that your garden does need some of the beneficial bugs and worms to help it flourish and produce some yummy fruits and veggies!
http://eartheasy.com/grow_nat_pest_cntrl.htm
Good Luck!
-dave

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I've always had good luck with tomatoes.  I've never planted corn, but a friend of mine did, and it grows really fast.  The yield isn't that great, but there's nothing like raw corn fresh off the stalk.  Peas are great that way too.  And peas will enrich your soil with nitrogen, which is good for most other plants.

I found lots of ants in my garden too, and it was so hard to find suggestions online for repelling them in a natural way without hurting them.  Actually there was lots of stuff on how to get them out of your home, but none of that would work in the garden.  I finally found a suggestion to put coffee grounds on their hills.  I'm trying that right now--Starbucks employees are required to give you their used coffee grounds if you come in and ask, it's company policy!  I know that wouldn't be 100% organic, but it's a great source of free coffee grounds, which also have lots of nitrogen.  You can mulch your plants with them a bit too, and that might deter pests from them.

I'm not sure if the coffee is working on the ants yet.  Let me know if you come across anything good!

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I'm having my first garden this year too, but it's a community garden so there are always people I can ask lots of questions.

So far I've learned:
- cucumbers, squash, and melon takes up a LOT of room, it will sprawl all over the place
- mint takes over! it's best in pots rather than the ground
- some plants really like to be by each other and some should be kept apart (this will make your produce taste better and will keep pests at bay)
- poppies keep insect pests away
- crows will eat your seeds if you don't keep them away (with sparkly things or by covering the seeds until they germinate)
- depending on your climate, tomato plants are best started with a young plant rather than a seed
- splashing water and/or soil on the leaves of plants makes them more prone to fungus and leaf diseases
- compost can be a great alternative to commercial fertilizer
- if you plant in rows they should line up East to West, so they get the most sun (not N-S, in which case one row will cast a shadow on the next most of the day)
- the highest plants should be towards the north, the lowest plants towards the south (if you are planting in a tight area like a raised bed)

It's a steep learning curve, I had no idea about food crops until a week ago, now I know more than I ever thought I would.

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I thought this previous thread might be of some help to you. I highly recommend planting lots of different things and just getting the experience. Have fun and don't get discouraged. I also recommend planting plants instead of seeds your first couple of years until you get more experience. They are just easier to manage.

good luck :)

http://vegweb.com/index.php?topic=14630.0

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Wow, look at all the newbs! This is my first year gardening too. (well, my parents had a few that I *thought* I had done a lot of work for, but now realize I only helped with really little things. Making it from the ground up is really something else. I'm going to have mostly veggies, but a few flowers too. I think I'm going to make several raised-bed gardens because my pups are runners and will not be detoured by something as silly as a fence! Plus, they like to make circles around things. The hard part is, I don't have anyone who wants to help me- and although I'm not complaining about not owning a car, transporting somethings by bicycle would be really really hard. Hummm...I must think some more. I will post helpful tips as I learn them. I live in Tucson and there is not much shade in my yard so I'm going to have to figure out what does well in the SCOTCHING sun and dry, dry heat. Additionally, I want a lawn, not a lot, just a little space big enough for me to lay on, do yoga on and such. But I'm not sure how to manicure with such a small patch. I think it would be really irresponsible of me to have a lush, green back yard in the Sonora dessert; despite the fact that all the golf courses have them and half of my neighbors.

What parts of the country do you other gardeners live in?

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I've been gardening for years, but  switched to organic a few years ago and my plants are being eaten alive (literally) by snails.  I am at my wits end.  If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them....
Vegheadzealia, you said you wanted a small lawn, you might consider a ground cover instead of grass.  I don't know if you have an Armstrong's nursery near you, but they carry a line called "stepables" that can handle light to moderate  traffic and they don't need to be mowed or anything!  And some of them have such pretty tiny flowers part of the year!  I am growing one with tiny light blue flowers in my meditation garden and can't wait until it is all filled in!!!
Good luck!!!

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I've been gardening for years, but  switched to organic a few years ago and my plants are being eaten alive (literally) by snails.  I am at my wits end.  If anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them....

As Tofuttibreak said, beer. Put small jars of beer around the area. It is not humane in the sense that it does kill the snails, but I have to say that if I was a snail (and I wouldn't know), I would probably rather drown in beer than be eaten alive by salt. Just a thought.

I have not come across any more humane way of dealing with snails, all involve somehow killing the animal.

actually, scratch that. I heard  snails really hate to "crawl" over rough surfaces so on a raised bed for example, you can attach sandpaper around the entire edge and they will stay off because they don't like to cross that barrier. I wouldn't know how to do that in a flat garden area though.

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Thanks for all of your help! I spent about 7 hours in the garden this weekend with my dad, and i shared a lot of the info that you guys gave me! We both really appreciate the tips! I  have asked my mom and grandma to start  saving their coffee grounds for me! (thanks for the tip, apstaats! I will def. get back to you in a few weeks to tell you if it worked!) Im also going to start composting. Thats a great idea!

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Thanks for the beer idea, I tried it, but it only attracted a few of the culprits.  After pulling out the organic gardening book I'd forgotten I had, I found out that they don't like wood ash so I surrounded the veggie area with ash and hooray!!! It seems to be working.  Sand (another suggestion from the book) did not work, they just slid right over it.... but they def don't like the ash!!!  And my fireplace is full of it so that worked out well!  I knew it was a good amendment for soil as it has tons of nutrients in it, so usually I put it in the rose bed or flower garden..... Dani, that is so cool and how great that you are spending fun time with your dad!!! 

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Be prepared for your tomato plants to get quite large, some years mine grow much taller than me!  I recommend LARGE tomato cages (not those dinky ones that are 3 feet tall)  Otherwise mid-summer you are going to be out there trying to stake up your plants that are falling over.  Also, cucumbers are a vine plant, and will grow up a trellis if provided one.  I use these sturdy green wire "triangle shaped" cages that several plants can grow on.  This prevents the cucumbers from taking over the garden...  Happy growing!  ;D

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My mom is having a horrible time keeping the deer out of her garden.  They eat everything!  Anyone have any effective means of stopping them? 

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I've heard something about human hair keeping deer away, but I don't know if that really works....

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My uncle is a barber and he said that he collects the hair and gives them to a local guy to deter deer from eating his plants.

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By the way, I tried the coffee grounds on my anthills, and I really think it worked.  I haven't seen any ants in that area at all.

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Be prepared for your tomato plants to get quite large, some years mine grow much taller than me!  I recommend LARGE tomato cages (not those dinky ones that are 3 feet tall)  Otherwise mid-summer you are going to be out there trying to stake up your plants that are falling over.  Also, cucumbers are a vine plant, and will grow up a trellis if provided one.  I use these sturdy green wire "triangle shaped" cages that several plants can grow on.  This prevents the cucumbers from taking over the garden...  Happy growing!   ;D

I totally agree. My tomato plants get HUGE and each one produces a ton of tomatoes (good thing I love tomatoes). We have a 8 foot fence around our garden. That keeps deer out. Plus it gives the cucumbers and beans something to climb. It works out well.

We've been gardening for years, but this is the first year we are going organic. So I will also keep some of your suggestions in mind.

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I've heard that the only thing that keeps deer out are plants they don't like... Kind of limits you but deer are beautiful, too......

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Hanging bars of Ivory soap works well too. It has to be Ivory though. We used to do this but I don't think Ivory is vegan (not sure). It's been a while.

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This guide to organic gardening will help you to plan, start and maintain your organic garden. Organic gardening focuses on the health and feeding of the soil, not the plant. By growing and alternating a wide variety of plants, the organic gardener can create a mini "eco-system" that will maintain a healthy balance.

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christine

Nourish your body with Naturally Nova Scotia's certified organic whole food supplements. Made with real food as Mother Nature intended.

Organic Whole Food Nourishment

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I too am gardening now! I just moved into a new house (yet again) and there was already a vegetable garden here the size of a small bedroom!! The previous tenants didn't take care of it so it's overrun with vine-type weeds and the dill has taken over, but we've been cleaning it up & found some great stuff...zucchini, sweet & hot peppers, garlic, chives, all different kinds of tomatoes...even edible flowers. Now if I can figure out how to rig up the rain barrel someone left beside it, that would be sweet. After pulling up all the viney weeds and covering the empty spaces with newspaper and grass cuttings...don't want those buggers growing back & choking anything else :/

here are some pictures!

zucchini
http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs245.snc1/9217_665749990729_120813142_42343952_5327255_n.jpg

garlic
http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs245.snc1/9217_665749995719_120813142_42343953_7707217_n.jpg

cherry tomatoes (they're now in cages...much better)
http://photos-c.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs265.snc1/9217_665750000709_120813142_42343954_2210783_n.jpg

giant sage bush
http://photos-d.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs265.snc1/9217_665750005699_120813142_42343955_3182191_n.jpg

nasturtiums
http://photos-e.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs245.snc1/9217_665750095519_120813142_42343972_6022094_n.jpg

sweet pepper
http://photos-f.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs245.snc1/9217_665750100509_120813142_42343973_1553928_n.jpg

hot peppers...I think the tag says cherry bomb or something. they're tasty!
http://photos-a.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs265.snc1/9217_665750115479_120813142_42343976_589546_n.jpg

There are also fruit trees...

plums
http://photos-g.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs245.snc1/9217_665749975759_120813142_42343950_1276746_n.jpg

apples
http://photos-h.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs245.snc1/9217_665749980749_120813142_42343951_6343723_n.jpg

and there's pears too. I want to try planting some more snap peas, transplanting my basil (the pot is way too small) and growing some winter vegetables like squash and potatoes and stuff. yum! Nothin' like eating out of your own garden :)

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Wow, Tino, that's great!  I want to move into a house with a ready-made vegetable garden (we need a pouting smiley with its lower lip sticking out). 

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