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!







12 comments:

Robert Giddings said...

I have friends who moved from the city to a small gentleman's farm. The first year they planted 40 tomato plants. Needless to say everyone had plenty of tomatoes that year. They even ended up putting up a free tomato stand.

Kate Collins said...

I know the feeling! I planted 3 cherry tomatoes, but seeds from last year's crop sprouted, so I had to week out about 100 of them. I ended up with 8 plants and more tomatoes than my neighbors can handle. Next year, I'm not going to buy any. The ones that came up on their own are bigger and sweeter and weren't grown with pesticides.

Margaret said...

I don't plant veggies any longer but I love my flowers. Your garden looks lovely and the Sun Flower! I planted the mini Sun Flowers a few times and love to watch the birds pick out the seeds. I just posted some current late Summer flower photos on my blog today. Feel free to take a look. I can't wait to start adding my Mums and pumpkins.
http://littlebungalowlife.blogspot.com/

Nicole said...

Kate, I had no idea that tilling was so harmful to the garden… I will definitely take this into consideration next planting season. Thanks for the tip! :-)

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Fabulous post, Kate! I love your garden. We had only flowers this year, but next year hope to be more balance. Hugs and thanks for the great info.

MJ

Lynn in Texas said...

We used to have big veggie gardens, and even sold our organic produce to a health food store. Now I mostly just grow herbs and flowers. Wanted to grow tomatoes again this year but didn't get around to it in time, darn! Didn't know about NOT tilling, but will read the article. Thanks, Kate, your blogs are always inspiring and informative!

Lynn in Texas said...

Just beautiful, Margaret! I especially love your front porch. So cozy! Thanks for sharing.

Kate Collins said...

Lovely photos, Margaret. I saw a goldfinch pecking at my little sunflower yesterday and caught a photo of him. I'll have to post it on my FB page.

Kate Collins said...

I didn't either, Nicole! But it makes sense. Look how well plants grow in the wild. I didn't disturb the dirt except to make a hole for my plants this year, and they are growing like crazy.

Kate Collins said...

Thanks, Lynn. I like sharing interesting and helpful tips. Glad you find them so.

Kate Collins said...

I should add that if you let some of the tomato seeds rot in the soil, you'll get plants the following year - lots of them. You just have to wait until about June to see them, and then don't mistake them for weeds. They overtook their purchased sisters and are now the big producers in the garden.

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