Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Organic Gardening class -- part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday's post. Continuing with the tips.

Most people know that a garden needs plenty of sun and needs to be open and not under trees, but the next thing you really need is a soil sample. It is better if you get a detailed test because it is really nice to know what trace minerals you need to add to your soil and how to amend your PH. Building up the soil will give you the best results and make stronger plants. Stronger plants will be more disease- and pest-resistant. Above Mike Cunningham is taking a soil sample.

Azomite is one of the amendments that is used at Country Gardens. I had never heard of it before but I was sold on it and purchased a bag to use in my garden before I left. I am getting a soil sample before the week is done and I know I will be using more lime in my garden because Georgia soil is acidic and the lime made from calcium will prevent end rot.

Above, a photo of beets.

After the soil is right, they prepare the ground by making a berm, adding compost and organic fertilizer.

The next step, irrigation.

They prefer a drip system laid out on each side of the plant if the row is wide.

Their system has regulators

This system is very expensive for folks like me. He suggested watering in the morning if you must water from overhead so that the leaves could dry out by nightfall. This helps to prevent plant diseases. If you can, hand water at the base of the plant.

They then cover it with at least 4 layers or newspaper (not shiny) or Kraft paper and then hay. In the center of the rows they put down cardboard and mulch. They use materials that will compost. They then dig down and plant the vegetables through the paper and cover with wheat straw. The wheat straw sometimes grows but is easy to pull up.

Other tips: Use BT for caterpillars. It is a great organic solution for things like cabbage, tomatoes, squash and cucumbers.

Floating row cover is great to use for pest control and protection from the elements.

Plant things like broccoli and Brussels sprouts in August rather than February in this climate. They will never make by warm weather and will just flower and won't produce. That was a good tip for me because I planted Brussels sprouts and broccoli. We will just have to be satisfied with adding the leaves to stir-frys.

Pull up dirt around root vegetables like potatoes and carrots and give them plenty of vertical room in soft soil to grow.

I thought this cucumber patch looked good. Look how high the vines can grow. I am thinking my cucumber fences need to be higher.

Plant things together to utilize space, like these peas and lettuce.

They have these greenhouse structures that you can throw plastic over to protect from freezing temps and during the summer, they are just regular garden space. That is something I would love but I can't afford it.

Squash were such a problem for us last year because of the squash vine borers and squash bugs. They suggested picking off eggs of both and spraying with BT because after the squash borer hatches, the worms crawl down the stalk and bore into the vine. It you can catch them with BT, it will help. Also, keep planting at intervals to keep them going all summer.

For tomatoes, prune off the suckers to keep one vine growing for larger fruit.

Plant them deep. I am going to add calcium limestone, azomite and organic fertilizer and probably Black Kow to mine this year.

I would highly recommend taking a course like this, because I learned even more than I thought I would from this class.

This was not everything I learned and I appreciated the comment that every individual gardener learns tips and tricks that works for him. Make sure the basics are taken care of and then you will learn and grow in gardening know-how as your garden grows.

1 comment:

  1. Great gardening tips! I like the photos too.
    Thanks for sharing, Joanie