Slightly Less Novice Organic Gardener

I finally got around to uploading and adding captions to some photos of this year’s garden. A few notes and goals for future planning:

Organic Garden 2007

– Get started earlier. I’m going to stick with low-tech seed-starting for now (no grow lights this year, but I still would love to build a strawbale greenhouse). This winter/spring, I’m going to try out the milk jug seed starter method (scroll down), which should make excellent use of the 16’x16′ deck on the south side of our house while freeing up limited window sill space for pickier plants like tomatoes.

– Dedicate more time. I didn’t spend the time really needed in the garden this summer, mostly because I’m responsible for a toddler, and–maybe some of you know this already–toddlers are incredibly needy and demanding little creatures. They’re quite charming, of course (at least mine is), but also a bit challenging to garden around. I’m looking forward to a slight improvement next summer.

– Expand. Next year’s garden will be 2-3 times as large as the current one.

– Straighten up. Work on neatening up the edges of the garden and tackle encroaching weeds and grass. Establish where I want the permanent beds to be (a good way to keep weeds at bay) and look like.

– Preserve produce. I had grand plans for putting up veggies last summer, but time slipped away from me, and I didn’t get it done. Fortunately, there are a number of women at my church who have offered to teach me canning. We may even may it a community canning event next fall.

– Take some produce to the farmers market. I realized last summer that I didn’t have to be an expert at growing 20 or 30 different things before bringing a bit of my extra produce to the local farmers market. Ours is still a pretty low-key affair, so a small table with just a few things is a perfectly fine way to start my market efforts. Way too many of my beautiful cucumbers went to waste last summer, and by selling only those, I could have recouped what I spent on all my garden seeds.

Despite all the improvements I plan to make, I’m fairly pleased, considering that this is only the second time I’ve had a garden (and this one is about four times the size of my first), and I’m virtually a self-taught gardener. I’ve also been able to rely solely on organic methods. I have to laugh at myself from time to time, considering that what is revolutionary to me is old hat to so many people who have been gardening and putting up produce for years and years. But I didn’t grow up doing this (although my parents did have a garden on ocassion), so I’m learning a lot as I go.

So, to all you veteran gardeners, feel free to comment with a piece of your tried-and-true gardening advice.

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About EMH

Forty-something. South Dakotan. Mother to 11-year-old K.L. Wife to Cory. Lutheran pastor. Novice organic gardener. Sustainable living aspirer.
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