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Don’t Til the Dirt April 4, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, How to tips.
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This is a repeat of what was about my first blog.  But it’s worth saying again.  Please don’t til the dirt in the garden.2560784473_655051884e

Deep tilling of the garden does damage that won’t be repaired for years to come.  Remember there are millions of living things down there.  Things we can’t see, but that do so much good.  When you til the dirt you upset their homes and lives and sometimes even kill them. 

There is a much better way to plant.  I know because I’ve been doing it for several years now.  And it is so simple.  In a couple of weeks I’ll remove the winter cover from the garden beds.  In my case that’s leaves, other garden scrapes and newspaper.  Then I’ll dump on a couple of inches of my well aged compost on the beds.  I may use a hand spade to work in the new compost a little bit.  I’ll use an old tree branch to make my rows, sprinkle out the seed or place in seedling, cover lightly with dirt and I’m done.

It works great for new beds also.  Lightly break up the existing dirt, dump on lots of compost, at least several inches thick and plant.  I did this with a new strawberry bed last year and they grew like crazy.

If your interested in finding out all sorts or ways to have a garden without tilling the dirt, check out my favorite source, Mother Earth News at www.MotherEarthNews.com.

Don’t forget the bread January 4, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things.
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wormsI’ve been spending a lot of time doing what most gardeners do this time of year, reading about gardening. 

One of my favorite subjects is composting.  I love that by composting I can make great dirt for the gardens and reduce our over all waste.

However, almost all the articles I have been reading have left bread off the list of ingredients that are okay to compost, especially whole grain breads.  Most worms, a key part of any good compost pile, like the grains.

So along with fruit and vegetable scrapes, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells don’t forget the stale bread.  The worms will thank you.

And then there was mud November 30, 2008

Posted by liajo in Bubba & Allie.
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sunkenmudpoolYesterday’s snow was beautiful, but it didn’t last long.  It all melted away, and made some wonderful mud for Bubba to play in.  That dog loves mud.  If there is one spot of it anywhere in the yard he will find it. 

I must have sweep the kitchen floor 3 times yesterday trying to keep it kind of clean.  I love the rich wet dirt in my gardens, but I’m not so happy about it on the floors.  I wish I could teach Bubba how to wipe his feet, or at least be more lady like outside.  Allie almost never gets mud on her on feet.

Oh well, I guess there is a down side to everything and the down side to beautiful snow is mud.

Garden helpers October 22, 2008

Posted by liajo in Bubba & Allie.
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I thought about starting another blog starring our Jack Russell’s, Bubba and Allie.  But then I thought about just adding stories about them to this blog.  It really does fit, they love to play in dirt.  They also love to roll in the grass, dig in the dirt,eat bugs and wonder through the vegetable garden when the fence is open.  Bubba, yes he is a male, loves to pee on all the flowers.  That’s about as close as any of my plants get to fertilizer.  I have two of the best garden helpers ever.  They are the only reason I have not planted the entire backyard in gardens.  Jack’s need room to run and play.  So I happily share the yard with them. 

The picture above is not Bubba and Allie, but it isa group of really cute Jack’s and our two look pretty much just like them.  If I can get them to hold still I’ll try and take their picture to post.

Backyard Ecology October 13, 2008

Posted by liajo in general.
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I’ve been reading a lot about ecology lately.  Not a subject I would have thought I would have been interested in a few years ago.  But a few years ago I wasn’t practicing organic gardening.

Knowing some basic ecology and especially micro ecology helps to put some of the organic practices into prospective.  It amazes me how many little critters can live in a teaspoon of garden compost.  It also amazes me how delicate they are and what a wonderful job they do working in the garden. 

Trust me, after reading just a couple of books I will never look at fallen leaves or dirt in the same way again.  I know now just how many critters they feed or house.

I also have a much better understanding about underbrush around our trees and just how important it is to an entire different set of little critters.  I now realize that while a nice and neat garden may look lovely to me, it doesn’t offer much protection or as much food to the animals that live in my garden.  

Sometimes I think we get to concerned with the big picture.  And while global ecology is important it will help a lot if we all start in our own backyards.

Don’t till the dirt!!! September 30, 2008

Posted by liajo in How to tips.
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I was web surfing last night looking for some advice on potato growing.  I ran across a great site with lots of useful information about potatoes and other vegetables and fruits.  I decided to look around the site a little more and clicked on an article about “how to start a garden.”  In the first paragraph the new gardener was told to till the earth as deep as they could.  I wanted to scream. 

When will well meaning gardeners stop giving such advice??  You should never till the earth.  There is an entire micro ecosystem under there that we can’t even see, but whose homes we are destroying.  These little critters are vital to the health of any garden. 

The easiest and quickest way to a new garden is to lay bags of potting mix on the ground open holes in them and plant directly in them.  Check this out on www.MotherEarthNews.com.  If you want a “traditional” garden then very lightly hand till the earth to a very shallow depth.  Next layer on a three to four inches of good composted soil and plant.  Never and I mean never till the earth as deep as you can.