This year we got out garden going a little late in the season, fortunately in San Diego, Ca you can get away with that. This was our first year in our house so the fist thing we needed to do was pick out our plot. TIP: Choosing a Location — Select a plot of good, well-drained soil near a water supply. It should be close to the home for convenience, but should not be shaded by tall buildings or trees. Enclosing the garden spot with a fence is usually profitable.We chose a spot next our south west fence that gets the most sunlight, and acts as a natural barricade against critters. After we chose a spot, we spent the first week tearing up the soil and getting it ready for a garden. It s a little back breaking work, especially if your use to being on a computer all week, however the reward of yard work is always beneficial.
We decided to do an Organic Garden for a number of reasons. Organic gardening differs from “conventional” gardening mainly in the areas of fertilization and pest control. The organic gardener prefers to use natural and organic materials and methods, and avoids using practices and synthetic chemicals that may be detrimental to his health or environment. In order to this much attention is put on the soil you use, to maximize the most nutrients getting to your plants from the soil alone. A major basis for organic gardening is the use of abundant quantities of organic material applied to the soil. Usually, it is in the form of animal manures, plant manures, cover crops, compost, or mixed organic fertilizer. We purchased a composter at our Neighborhood Gardening Store to start our composting. The model we purchased is great for making compost as well as making compost tea. This batch will not be ready for another 3-6 months, just in time for our winter garden.
We also started a Vermiposter with worms. Worm composting is a method for recycling food waste into a rich, dark, earth-smelling soil conditioner. The great advantage of worm composting is that this can be done indoors and outdoors, thus allowing year round composting. It also provides apartment dwellers with a means of composting. In a nutshell, worm compost is made in a container filled with moistened bedding and redworms. Add your food waste for a period of time, and the worms and micro-organisms will eventually convert the entire contents into rich compost. We got our started and then were able to go by a friends house and pick up some worms. This will kick start our batch in time for next season.
Because we needed something a little sooner we went to out local Land Fill and picked some of the good stuff up there. Fortunately for us, residents of San Diego get can get their compost for free at the Miramar Land Fill, as long as you are willing to scoop it up for themselves. We undershot our first load, so we had to make an extra trip to make sure that we had enough for both of our plots. We even had enough after our second trip to stoke out one of our neighbors with some our extras. TIP: Compost can actually get rather expensive if you are purchasing it at a Garden Store. We estimated that we saved around $400 right from the start picking ours up at the land fill.
The Garden Design — Many gardeners find it helpful to draw out on paper the location of each row and the crop or succession of crops to be planted. We did this as well. We separated our garden into four separate plots and grew plants that are good companions together. TIP: There are two types of companion plants: those that compliment the nutrient needs of other plants, and those that insects do not like. Plants that insects do not like, make great companions to other plants in your organic garden. Planting onions and garlic amid your organic vegetables, will repel a variety of insects. In addition to providing insect protection, you can harvest the onions and garlic, too. Marigolds are another great companion plant. A companion plant can also be one that insects like. In South America, coffee growers plant banana trees around the coffee crops. Insects like the sweet, banana plants and fruit, much more than coffee plants.
To avoid walking on the soil and compacting it down which can be damaging to plant roots, we laid planks across our garden to act as a natural barrier between plots, as well as give us access to all areas of our growing plants.
As an extra bonus for our garden we water it with our house plants and garden with our dirty fish tank water. We keep a basic gold fish tank that sits in a window seal between our patio and living room. Each week we need to clean out the tank and replace 1/3 of the water. That dirty water is full of amino acids and nitrogen that plants thrive on.
one week later.
Keeping out the Predators can be basic or extreme depending upon your situation. To keep out our land shark we put a basic garden fence. This way he can’t roam around the garden covering our garden with his markings, and eating our ripe harvest. We are hoping the combination of the fence and land shark will keep out the raccoons and skunks. We also built a simple frame to lead our vine vegetables, and added an old disco ball that helps keep out the birds.
We started growing natural wildflowers about a month before we planted our garden to deter predators of the vegetables.
our onions are kicking in as to be expected.
Some nice spots that we found to grow herbs are in hanging baskets.