Monday, August 31, 2015

V is for Victory -- Garden

by Kate Collins

I've been harvesting a crop of about 50 cherry tomatoes a day since mid-July. There are so many tomatoes that I practically feed the neighborhood, not to mention fill my own freezer with enough chopped tomatoes to make sauces for a year.  I love it!

I also grow my own herbs and lettuce, and this year I even planted sunflower seeds in a big pot. The sprouts are super nutritious and delicious eaten raw, in salads, or cooked in stews. As you can see in the photo, I let two of them grow and my little yellow headed guy is standing tall -- with a brother coming up on his right.

I came across a helpful article just yesterday on how to make a home garden grow like crazy and realized I'd been doing some of what was suggested by accident.

As it turns out, tilling the soil is a big fat NO NO!  Tilling destroys valuable soil life and promotes weed growth. When you till, you break up the aggregates, waking up  bacteria that consume the organic matter that acts like a glue in the soil and help retain water. So tilling is profoundly counterproductive.

You can also look on YouTube, which is a fantastic resource. There you can such things as how to optimize your garden and grow your own food. Search YouTube using the keywords "no-till garden."

Instead of tilling, mulch the soil or grow a cover crop. I didn't realize that certain plants grow better when another plant grows with it. The next book I'm going to buy is, Carrots Love Tomatoes: Companion Planting for a Healthy Garden, which teaches you how to do intercropping of vegetables.

The other benefit of growing your own veggies is that you can make sure they're organic by NOT spraying them with pesticides. There are other remedies that are safe to use, such as 20% vinegar mixed with water. Or look on You Tube for ideas.

As you can see in the first photo, I have just a corner of my space devoted to vegetables. It doesn't take a whole lot of room. If you don't have soil, use containers. It's fun and oh, so rewarding to harvest and eat your own crops.

I'd love to see photos of your garden. I think you can share them here. Please do!