Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Gardening Tips - The Keepers

I can't even recall al the successful gardening tips I've incorporated into my routine. They are just a normal way of doing business nowadays. So I will try to compare when I started out practicing gardening while living in NJ to my techniques now. 

... Use compost. The idea of using compost works well for my methods. But I don't restrict myself to just traditional hot compost piles. I do sheet composting (aka lasagna gardening) when starting out over low-soil lava areas. I sometimes trench compost between rows of taro. My pallet grow boxes are all a form of composting. 
... Use mulch. Another great garden idea that works super for me. Over the years I've become a gung-ho believer in mulching. 
... Use manures. Manure is a major component of my soil amendment mix. I've learned that while not all manure is created equal, it's all a valuable resource.
... Use urine. Once I got past the ick factor, I began using urine as a routine ingredient in compost and many of the garden beds.
... Homemade sprays + soap sprays. I have a list of various combinations for using in the garden, all homemade. Only occasionally for specific problems do I feel the need to resort to commercial chemicals. 
... Use local resources. Breaking the buy-it-at-the-store habit was difficult, but once I started researching local sourcing, I felt more connected to my region. Local sourcing for me includes using local materials (wood, sand, coral, bone, manure, etc), buying/trading/foraging local foods, hiring local services, that sort of thing. While I still need to buy things from stores (or Amazon), I definitely feel better about doing things locally. 
... Grow what thrives locally. Don't fight Mother Nature. Which translates into, I don't frustrate myself by insisting upon growing summer squash, slicing tomatoes, and all those other veggies that don't do well in my area. And I've learned to grow what thrives here....and have learned to eat them. Wing beans. Pipinola. Sweet potatoes. Yard long beans. Okinawan spinach. Taro. Papaya. 
... Grow veggies in beds rather than single rows. Single rows are easier for machine use, but since I  don't use garden machinery, I tried doing the bed method. 2' to 3' wide beds with permanent walkways work well for me. 
... Multiple plantings spaced apart, as compared to planting a crop in just one spot. This idea sounded not only unnecessary to me, but more time consuming and difficult. But I'm really glad I gave it a try. Scattering my plantings has saved plenty of harvests when I've had attackts of diseases and pests. A problem will often show up in one bed but not in the others that are located in other areas. Example: I lost the peas and beans up by the house one year, but the beds down in the other garden areas gave me a bountiful harvest. So I now have crops planted helterskelter around the farm. It looks odd, but it works. And since the bottom line is to grow food, I do whatever works. 

1 comment:

  1. All good ideas! I think of mulch as the frosting on the cupcake of compost (weird analogy). When I am able, I do second and third seedings of lettuce, peas, and other fast-growers, sometimes as markers of slow-germinating crops like carrots. I just wish I could remember to put up trellises right along with planting.