Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farming the land

Since we started gardening, we have done what we have always known. We have tilled the ground and worked the garden that way. It's just what we remember helping with as kids and so when it came time to begin our own gardening, that is the route we went.

Being one who loves to read and research, I have been learning about how tilling disturbs the ground, waking up dormant weeds that could be easily smothered out otherwise.
That got me thinking...

I want big beautiful gardens like the one above.
I have been reading about the no-til gardening like Sara and her family do over at Farmama.
They have some amazing gardens and gorgeous vegetables.

I also already do a little raised bed gardening.
As you know we have a few beds like that already. Some do fabulous, some not... the soil is poor in two of the concrete block beds, so we are going to have to work on that in the off season.

Aren't these raised beds amazing?
Again, my pictures today are from Pinterest 

I want these beautiful results WITHOUT the use of pesticides, herbicides and gmo seeds. Is that too much to ask for?

So, do you have any tips?
What is one thing that you have learned from gardening that you would be willing to pass along?
If I get enough, I might make a whole separate post with everyones tips... wouldn't that be fun? :)



  1. I'm almost embarrassed to even talk about our "gardening" at all, but we've had some success this year (if all the green tomatoes are to be trusted). We told the regular garden plot to shut up and leave us alone and just went with raised beds this year, two of which we put up closer to the house. I think we'll move those down to the big garden area again next year though because the sun is only overhead and makes everything grow up instead of out.
    We spent a little more money than I would have liked and bought cow manure, vermiculite and sphagnum moss. We mixed those with some well-aged manure from our chicken coop (which we never clear out unless we want manure for the garden) and then put in the plants. It's amazing what good soil will do!

    Our old garden area was just used for too long with too many chemicals (40 years or so before we moved here). We're just giving the bulk of the area a nice long rest and then we'll probably keep filling it with raised beds as we can afford them. A couple more each year probably. I am really looking forward to setting up a deeper bed and growing some carrots one of these years- my favorite!

    Have you heard of hugelkulture? I'm not sure if that's the right spelling but it's another type of raised bed gardening without any tilling. You really should check out http://www.waldeneffect.org/ They're doing it for real and they're very real about how it gets done, their failures as well as their successes. There's no crafty goodness to ogle but that's because they're too busy actually living off the land. They do things on the cheap and sometimes it's ugly but it generally works. I skip over a lot of posts because they produce too much for me to digest, but I always learn something from them.

  2. pass by your gardens once or twice a day just to take a look, pull a few weeds, squash a few bugs, pick a few peppers, notice a thirsty plant, enjoy new buds, see new colors......if you tend little bits every day, then it could keep you from hours of work. If you pull weeds before they go to seed, that is a GOOD thing.
    I am a square foot kind of gardener. I like keeping things contained where they are easy to be watched and tended. I use cinder blocks and lots of good mulchy dirt from my pile.
    I fully plan to have an Autumn garden this year. Even if it's just a few flowers, I'd like the challenge.

  3. square foot gardening by Mel Bartholomew taught me the most about raised beds. :) We did traditional till and row method this year and let's just say I won't be doing it again. Wowsa, so much more work I don't have time for in this season of life. Next year, back to raised beds!

  4. I'd highly recommend reading the book Teaming with Microbes and Gaia's Garden for great info. In Gaia's garden they focus on permaculture techniques using perennial vegetables and then give instructions for building small keyhole beds for annual veggies. It's truly fascinating and I love learning more about and trying to incorporate it into my gardening.

  5. I can't say much since our gardens this year are terrible due to the lack of rain here. BUT I have had great gardens in the past. You really have to keep up with the weeds. Also if you have access to it- rabbit poo is the best fertilzer you can use. Unlike other manures you can use rabbit poo fresh and it won't burn up your plants. Just try not to have too much urine in the mixture.

    We also use DE to control bugs. (Diatomaceous earth) We use DE for our gardens and our animals.

    Hope that helps. I love your blog :)