Want to have a home Garden but just don’t know how to get started? We can help and you will be on your way to enjoying the highest quality produce available. From your home garden you are not only getting great tasting produce but you are also learning and caring for your food. Ask any chef how they made the wonderful soup and they will say “ I made it with love.” It also helps you attain a better knowledge of the growing seasons and understand how labor intensive it is for other farmers who produce on a much bigger scale. Once you take your crop right from the ground and rinse it off in preparation for a sauté you have a great appreciation and feel accomplished.
Just yesterday (September 19) my dad and I replanted the majority of our garden. It took about 3 hours. We started by removing all the old crops, breaking them down, and putting them into the compost bin. Decomposition begins slowly but surely, in months we’ll have rich, healthy soil. Before planting new crops we amended our soil. A labor of love plus exercise for the day, we dug up six inches of old soil and mixed the compost, potting soil, bone meal, and alfalfa with the old to maintain robust soil. We also included castings from my worm bin and worm tea. Once the soil was amended, we laid out the seeds. We planted potatoes, 3 varieties of beets, kale, and 7 different greens. In 1 to 2 weeks the first of the seeds will be coming up and my garden will start to look lush again.
This weekend I went over to my friend’s house. He has a wonderful garden with grapes. Unfortunately, we had a really lackluster summer in terms of weather so his grapes didn’t do to well. However, other crops did wonderfully. I am telling you about my friend because he is hosting very unique creatures at his house. Those creatures are chickens. He has four of them. They are only six months old as of now and are not laying eggs yet, but they are doing something equally as important. Chickens eat everything. So instead of having a composting bin, our neighbor gives all of his table scraps to his chickens. The chickens eat the rubbish and turn it into poop. The poop is fantastic for soil. It is rich in nitrogen and the crops love it. He basically has his own eco system. I on the other hand, have to get my nitrogen form coffee grinds. I have not been into Huckleberry for a few weeks now, but when I used to work there all the time I would bring home all the used coffee grinds.
Another great nutrient for soil is eggshells. They are rich is calcium, which helps maintain strong robust soil. If my parents would allow it, I would get chickens but they are not fond of the idea. Even though I would provide them with fresh eggs, I don’t think my neighbors would appreciate chickens either. Most importantly, my dog Charley, would probably go bananas and possibly eat them so they are not practical. For now, the worms and compost bin will have to do.
Update February 10, 2011
In addition to taking a hiatus from my blog, I took a little hiatus from my garden as well. I had a bad experience the last time I planted because the birds ate all of my seeds and I didn’t know what to do. The annual plants did fine without me tending to them because I have an underground watering system but the rest of the garden was just a lot of dirt. What got me back to growing was I missed going out to the garden and planning a menu based on what was ripe. About six weeks ago I took a big undertaking and retransformed my garden. I put huge bird nets around the perimeter so nothing can enter. I also had to amend the soil, plant new seeds and buy a few plants to get a head start for the next harvest. In addition, I had to feed all of the other plants that hadn’t gotten any attention for the past few months. My asparagus was brown, my kale and chard were limp, my lemongrass needed pruning and my carrots needed to be dug up and separated. Also my citrus trees were turning yellow because they were lacking essential minerals.
Now my garden is back on track. This Tuesday I dug up 20 of my small carrots and roasted them for dinner. I still have over a hundred left. In addition, my kale has been growing nonstop since I fed it and got rid of the bugs. The kale has been a big part of my families dinner all week and there is tons more to go around. The brilliant thing about kale is that it grows back so quickly. My asparagus is producing new stalks every day. My father had it in his egg whites this morning. All of my seeds, Arugula, Spinach, Parsnips, and rutabaga’s are coming up and my garden looks amazing again. My citrus trees are getting some life back and the leaves are starting to get a little greener. In fact, my tangerine tree has ripe fruit on it and more on the way, and my Valencia Orange tree has a lot of green oranges on it. The recent heat has been great for the garden and I just had the gardener’s cut some big trees back, so everything gets more sun!