As a child I remember having to get out in the garden early before the heat. Mom and Dad had 4 kids to feed and money was tight. Didn't enjoy it at the time but came winter and we would open a jar of peaches...yummm. Had 1 atempt at gardening when I got married. It produced lots of vegetables for us. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peppers, tomatos, onions. For some reason that was the only one we had.
Last year we decided we would attempt at grow tomatos and peppers in containers which was a huge flop....forgot to drill drainage holes. The roots rotted. Did some research online and found square foot gardening. Basically it's 4'X4' frames marked off into 12" squares. We have 4 beds built ready to add the soil mixture this weekend.
I also found directions for a self-watering garden containers using 2 rubbermaid totes, a water pond soil basket ,black rubber hose and soil mixture. These would work for patios or apartment dwellers. I might give these a whirl this year too.
I've tried container gardening since I moved up here and not had much success. I also tried growing herbs in strawbales and that didn't work. I have come to the conclusion that I need to have a greenhouse so that my plants can take advantage of the light before it gets warm up here.
I have tried growing tomatoes in containers the past 3 years now. Just when they start to look great, they start rotting from the bottom. I keep getting tomato worms and have NO idea what to do about it---especially when trying to avoid pesticides. I did plant a blueberry and blackberry bush last year--so we'll see if that produces anything this year. I also tried growing peppers--green and banana. The banana peppers came out fine, but I got green peppers about as big as my thumb. I love the idea of gardening but I'm just not good at it. I'm not ready to give up yet. I guess I need to do a lot of research to get serious about it.
For those who want to grow plants with the Earthbox method but can't afford the initial investment, here is a link to instructions for building your own earthbox type growing system. I haven't made it yet, but I'll be picking up the supplies this week. Here's a link:
Not only do you not need to worry about stuff like salmonella in peanut butter, you won't have to worry about the really BAD pesticide load on many fruits and veggies.
Ignorance Does Not Equal Safety
Even in the face of a growing body of evidence, pesticide manufacturers continue to defend their products, claiming that the amounts of pesticides on produce are not sufficient to elicit safety concerns. Yet, such statements are often made in the absence of actual data, since most safety tests done for regulatory agencies are not designed to discover whether low dose exposures to mixtures of pesticides and other toxic chemicals are safe, particularly during critical periods of development. In general, the government demands, and companies conduct, high dose studies designed to find gross, obvious toxic effects. In the absence of the appropriate tests at lower doses, pesticide and chemical manufacturers claim safety since the full effects of exposure to these mixtures of chemicals have not been conclusively demonstrated (or even studied).
The majority of the U.S. population has detectable concentrations of multiple pesticide residues in their bodies, as detected in biomonitoring studies by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ubiquitous pesticide exposures are further compounded by exposure to hundreds of industrial chemicals that contaminate human bodies and are even found in the developing fetus. The full health effects of exposure to these mixtures of chemicals are not yet known; true public health protection would require a consideration of cumulative risks of exposure to multiple toxic chemicals at a time.
We just got all that we need to do our garden 'hanging' this year. We are using a wire-tension system to convert a broken old hammock into a frame from which we are hanging 20 pots. And the seeds are in the peet pellets working on becoming seedlings. There will be (knock on wood) all kinds of peppers, squash, tomatoes and a variety of herbs. The point of getting it off the ground is to help us stay organic and keep all the pests and weeds away.
Good luck to us all!
3/1/2009 1:06:01 AM
I would love to start a garden and hope to start one this spring. I live in an apartment, but have a small backyard where I can start a small garden. However, I have no idea where to even start. If anyone has any information on how to go about starting a garden, please write me! ANY info will be greatly appreciated!
For those who like patio gardening there is a product called Earthbox, http://www.earthbox.com/ that I used for growing on a balcony in NC. it is a non messy self contained system. It is also possible to raise a garden up for those in wheelchairs, who do not want to bend etc.
I was an organic gardener in Los Angeles until the Medfly spraying. I learned "Square Foot Gardening" from a PBS series. My beds were 4' by 4' so I could reach in anywhere. I also had 3 laying hens and some rabbits and composted with their manure, seaweed, newspapers and grass clippings as well as other plant matter. I used to spray my ladybugs with coca cola so their wings would be wet and they would not fly away. I used a product called wheast to feed them protein and induce them to stay and lay eggs. I also bought praying mantis egg cases. I liked to grow the same veggie in different colors for fun salads. Homegrown food has waaaay different flavor from store bought (often grown for farmer convenience at harvest) and the eggs were spicier. Good times.
I love having a garden! I get such as blast from it. There's good cardio, healthy vegetables, I can and freeze for fall and winter use which saves money and I meditate and sing while I'm there which lifts my mood. An extra is I share what I grow with neighbors and friends which makes me feel good too.
I found on the internet about straw bale gardening. It is for those who do not have room to garden or gardening equiptement, or if you can't bend down easily. I thought I'd give it a try this year. There is a organic way to it, too.
I grew tomatoes and peppers and herbs last year. Yes, it is extremely rewarding to use the things that have come from your garden!!! However, it's also extremely frustrating when every time that perfect tomato just barely starts to ripen, a squirrel comes by and takes a bite out of it. Also keep in mind that often home grown produce is much much smaller than what you would get at the grocery store. I think this year I'll be hitting up the farmer's market during tomato season but keep growing my own herbs.
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