Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Time for digging and getting ready to plant

Looking over my garden this last year here are some things I have learned.
1) Drip irrigation is just as good for the weeds as it is your plants.
Solution this year (I Think): Will use a heavy cover (tarp-like) to help keep weeding chores down. The drip irrigation was too valueable in this hot texas summer.
2) Ants love egg plant, who would have thought.
Solution (I Think): Will spray with molasses several times. I will let you all know if this works.
3) 2.5 gal/ hour is not good enough for trees when on the same timer as the garden.
Solution: I will double it this year.
4) Bermuda grass sucks.
Solution: More burning and soil forking the roots out.
5) Intensive gardening is a really bad idea on virgin soil whose last supported plants was bermuda grass.
Solution: same as #1... not intensive gardening.
6) Need better soil.
Solution: more compost... and as money permits will have several yards of good soild truked in.

All in all I had some decent returns. I also got lazy toward the end. Those well watered weeds and the texas drought resulting in lower returnes... wore me out. Can you say Farmers market.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

New Organic Gardening Website

Though I still plan on keep this blog... I imagine that it will remain unloved for part of the year, unless other editors join me and share their experiences. I have decided to spend my time creating a knowledge base on a website.
I have never been that good at Journaling, however I can write focused how to articles/reviews edit them, and organize them. I think this would be more valuable to people than a blog... they wouldn't have to search through many post to find the information that they need. I believe that I will start to use the blog to give basic information about what needs to be done in north Texas at a different times of the year... this would make the blog more useful.
I invite others who have a gift of stories to join the blog and post garden stories for people to enjoy.
The website, Organic Gardening Web, has just been started and is not much to look at now. I have only spent about 2 hours on it so far and have many more to spend to make it a valuable resource for organic gardeners. Once the page has enough information I will invest time in a beautiful template for the site. Without the information to back it up a template would not be worth the time.
Currently I have posted 2 pages. I am focusing my energies at this time on recipes for the organic garden (pesticides, herbicides etc...). Some of the information is coming from what I learned from family, and I imagine much of it is from reading books and other places on the web. I am focusing my energies on making it a unique resource. If anyone wants to contribute... feel free to write me at sbetzen@faircoffee.com.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Nettle and neglect... but tomatoes galore

Well I have not posted in a while. I have been very busy setting up ecowindchimes.com. My garden has given us most of what she could give... but tomatoes are still coming in like gang busters. In fact we have started giving them to family members. Every meal we have something with tomatoes in it. Tomorrow we will make a 20 qt pot of minestrone... with lots of tomatoes. It will only have food from the garden with the exception of some beans and zucchini. Spaghetti squash is coming in as well... we now have 5 growing on the vine and one will go into the soup tomorrow.
Last year the zucchini got bacterial wilt and produced wonderfully. 3 plants made much more than we could eat alone. This year the plants were huge... never produced a thing. I think squash vine borers got them in the end, but they looked so healthy. Will check next time.
The garden is covered with grass and weeds. Every now and then I go out and pick some... but usually get stung by stinging nettle and come inside... rarely to return for the day. That stuff hurts.
The drip irrigation helped us through a very dry year.
We will be getting ready for a fall garden soon and will probably post more as we get to work on that. We will not be doing the intensive method this time... we had too many problems with weeds. We will be mulching with hay.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Aphids came back

Well the tomato seemed to be free of aphids....

I looked over my tomatoes plants and found that the aphids came back. We I could not take this bit of information... after gloating that the strength of my plants kept them at bay. So I mixed a deadly potion of orange oil, neem oil, a drop of soap in a spray bottle full of water. KA-POW... they didn't have a chance. they were all dead within 24 hours and only their bodies remained ... to be washed off with a spray of water.
Though my tomatoes seem strong. I am noticing that 2 of them are displaying curled leaves. I looked this up and found that it is not something to be worried about. The symptoms did not fit the descriptions of the bad diseases that cause leaves to curl. It seems they might just be a symptom of over watering. So I adjust my timer and move on. They are full of tomatoes.
I also am starting to see peppers appear on my pepper plants and one of my broccoli plants has a great big head right now.
The harvest is coming.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Garden Wind Chimes

Yesterday I received the windchimes I ordered as a test order from Grace Notes. I was amazed st the clarity of the sound. I hung the tuned wind chimes on my porch near my front door and sat on the porch and had a coffee. I felt as though I was on a vacation at a bed and breakfast in the hill country of Texas (I go to Biscuit Hill in Canyon near New Braunfels). I was amazed at how relaxed I felt.
I will have to admit that this is my wifes store... so there is some possible bias in my statements. I however know that we started selling these wind chimes only after we were convinced of the companies concern for the environment. We also confirmed that all of their employees had been with them for at least 5 years. We listened to all the windchimes and after talking with the company decided to sell these quality instruments at Ecowindchimes.com.
If you think that my bias make my word unreliable... you can listen to the wind chimes yourself on line. I can't wait till we get more, we have 2 acres and with these wind chimes spread out it could sound like a symphony. The next one will be placed by the garden so I can listen to them as I work and with ten years warranteed... I know that they will last outside.
Sometimes gardening is about the flowers and produce... but a "true" gardener knows that they do it for the peace. It can be a deeply spiritual experience.
My next post will be about the tomatoes I'm getting... But I had to mention these wonderful tuned wind chimes.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Paw Paw Trees

I have to say that my Paw Paw trees are growing very slowly. I'm not sure how fast they are supposed to grow... but i wish mine would grow faster. I planted them last year, so I am hoping that this year is the year that they take off. I have been giving them foliar feedings about once a week this year (along with many of my other trees and my garden). I haven't seen much for results in the trees yet (but it may take more time). However my garden is going strong. I feel that the foliar feedings are the main reason that my tomatoes survived that attack from the aphids without my help. I just wish this stuff would work on my squirrels... hello hot pepper wax.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Broadcast Small Seeds

So I was looking for the basil in my garden and I finally found it... is 4 small bunches about the size of a half dollar. The person who planted it, who I love very much, punched 4 holes and dropped the seeds in. So I am looking a bare spots starting to fill with weeds and now I see my basil "clumps" coming in. So I thought I would put this reminder that... in my opinion... you should broadcast small seeds (or go through the trouble of spreading them out manually).
In fact I will take this further. I know that some books suggest placing 3 squash (example) seeds in the same hole and thinning later. It is true that some seeds will not germinate... but do go through the trouble to punch(or dig) another hole. Your plants will be more healthy and productive.