Posts Tagged Garden

How to Set Up a Garden You Can Actually Keep Up.

How to Set Up a Garden You Can Actually Keep Up.

set up a garden thats easy to keep up with

Gardening feeds more than my body it feeds my soul and connects me to my food and the earth. I love being in my yard and feeling of the cool soil between my fingers. But something you don’t know about me is that I have a chronic pain condition that makes hard labor difficult. How do I keep up with a 1200 square foot garden?

Better to start small than too big

Learning to garden is a process that most gardeners will tell you never ends. There is no rush to grow everything now. Start small and add to your successes each year. I have heard countless stories of people who started with half an acre and burned out before they reached the harvest.

Don’t fight if you don’t have to

Raised beds can be helpful when you are battling invasive grasses and weeds or if bending down to work on a traditional row garden is painful. A couple of years ago the soil in my garden needed some amendments but I didn’t have it in the budget to bring in compost for the full 1200 square feet. We chose instead, to amend just the rows. Be creative, don’t fight if you don’t have to.

Weed Control

deep mulch garden

Traditionally, the growing season was spent hoeing and raking between the rows in the garden to keep the weeds at bay. Over the last 40 years, there has been a shift in our thinking as we have come to realize weeds are the Earth’s method of protecting the living micro-organisms in the soil. Those little “bugs” feed the soil and ultimately your plants.

Bare earth is not necessary for a thriving garden. Mulch, cover crops, and companion planting are all strategies you can employ to guard those healthy micro-organisms and hold the weeds at bay. I have a deep mulch garden and spend very little time weeding.

gardening 101

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Beginner Gardeners Guide


Irrigation

watering gardenWatering cans make for pretty pictures and flower pots but are entirely ineffective at keeping a backyard garden watered. Growing a successful garden relies on consistent water. The first few weeks with my current garden I was trying to water with a hose. It took nearly two hours a day. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that up, especially when the heat of summer kicked in.

We set up drip hoses that could all be turned on at once. I attribute much of my success in the garden to our drip system. There are lots of ways to successfully water your garden. Make sure that whatever you choose is easy to keep up with so that your hard work is not lost on a busy, hot summer day.

 

Preemptive pest control

Some plants are more susceptible to pests than others. Cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower are some of the worst. They seem to send out signals calling the cabbage moths and aphids to come feast. Placing row covers over these plants when you plant them into the garden prevents pests from laying eggs on them. Fighting pests can be a full-time job, save yourself a headache and keep them out from the beginning.

The easiest way to keep up with your garden is to set yourself up for success before anything is planted. Be creative, don’t fight if you don’t have to, keep it small and then build on your successes. Gardening doesn’t have to be a full-time job.

Your Turn!

  • What makes your garden easy to care for?
  • What intimidates you most when you think about gardening?

How To Use A Scythe

Here is a video of me showing folks how to use a scythe to cut grass around my solar panels.  A scythe is a simple tool from a time long ago.  It is mainly used to cut grasses and create hay and fodder for animals.  In my case I use it to keep up the field around my solar panels so that they don’t become too shaded and then not produce enough power for me.

A few tips on using a scythe:

  • Keep the blade sharp and know that you’ll be sharpening it often as you cut
  • Since you’ll be sharpening along the way, keep a wet stone with you.  I use one on my belt
  • Get ready for a work out because it’s hard work!

Why use a scythe:

  • It’s good exercise
  • It can help cut grasses without the use of fossil fuels
  • It is much more quiet that a lawn mower
  • I find it meditative work
  • Its cheaper in the long run

The basic movement when using a scythe:

Adjust the handles so your wrists are comfortable and you hands have a good grip with no strain.  Allow you arms to slack and let the scythe natural fall into place in your hands.  Take a wide stance with one foot in front of the other.  The rotate at the hips back and forth for cutting.

Folks This Ain’t Normal

Many folks know Joel Salatin for his progressive farming practices and stances on food, he is a fantastic speaker and was recently invited to speak at Google where he talked about how the way we produce food today is not how humanity has eaten for the vast majority of our existence.

Working With Will Allen

This past weekend I had the privilege of meeting Will Allen of Growing Power.  Those of you who aren’t familiar with him, he has been growing food on a 3 acre parcel of land he grows 100,000 talapia, $300,000 of produce, has 500 laying hens and a dozen goats.  He came to North Carolina to do a hands on workshop where we erected a 48′ long hoop house and built an aquaponics system.

Here is a video and below will be some photos from the weekend:


 

Backyard Aquaponics

Recently I have been looking into aquaponics to start growing talapia in the planning phase of a larger urban agriculture project I am working on.  I found this great video tour of an automated system that is setup in a tiny greenhouse.  I found it interesting and thought I’d share.