Organic Gardening Blogs

Chosen as one of the Top 30 Organic Gardening Blogs – March 2018

What To Do If You Can’t Dig

One of my readers, a fairly new gardener, told me she gets bogged down trying to do everything properly.  I think a lot of people — especially beginning gardeners—do that.

Take Soil Preparation for example.

The reason for soil preparation is to give your plants the best possible chance to do their best for you.  If involves loosening the soil, adding organic matter, and […]

Organic Gardening Methods Questioned

It seems to me that almost anything that is part of organic gardening can be and more than likely will be questioned by someone who is unfamiliar with the process.  The unfamiliarity with any given process is the very reason they question —– they don’t understand the why of what is being done.

“Raised beds” Questioned

I was talking to one of my readers […]

Why Mulch Your Garden Paths?

This post was inspired by a reader of my site who has recently invested some time in preparing a new garden bed.  Her sister-in-law is doing the same and they had a question regarding a recommendation I made in the second part of the post Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement.

In preparing a new bed I advised adding about 3 feet to each side of the area designated for the bed and dig that at the same time you dig the bed.  The soil from the path area would be thrown up on the bed leaving the paths much lower than the bed.  I then recommended mulching the paths as well as the bed.

(Picture below shows my new roll of straw.  I try to keep one on hand all the time.)

My reader writes:
“My sister-in law was wondering —and I got stumped a bit— as to why it is important to mulch the paths.  ———I guessed that since you use the path dirt to raise the bed, old weed seeds get exposed.  Mulching the paths helps keep the weeds down and keeps them from seeding into your beds.—”

She’s correct of course.  When you dig up ground —– buried weed seeds are exposed and therefore can germinate. Mulching the paths keeps the weeds down and/or controllable.

The nearer weeds grow to your garden beds the greater the chance they’ll re-seed in your bed.  Even if you’re diligent in removing them ——life is life —–and in all probability sooner or later you are going to have some weeds grow and go to seed in your beds.  Much less chance of this happening with mulch on the paths.

There are other important reasons to mulch —–read more—-

Adding Organic Matter - 2nd Key to Soil Improvement

If you are just joining me I recommend you read the articles that preceded this article. Here are the links:

Soil Improvement – Your Foundation for Success; Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement;   Cont’d. Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement

Part 3 –

Organic matter is anything in the soil that was living and has decayed.

This act of increasing organic matter in your soil by adding organic material will be of great significance and value to your garden.  It will have a profound effect on your garden’s success and the survival and well-being of your crops.

The study of soil has been extensive and the knowledge that organic matter is necessary to raise crops successfully is widely available. Yet, worldwide crop production has resulted in a decline in soil organic matter and thus, a decline in soil fertility.

The chemical companies great —–read more—-

Cont'd.- Soil Preparation - 1st Key to Soil Improvement

If you are just joining me please read Soil Improvement – Your Foundation to Success and the first part of this post, Soil Preparation – 1st Key to Soil Improvement.

Best Time to Prepare Your Soil

The best time is either spring or fall.  The main thing you want to try to avoid is hot, dry-as-a-bone ground and extremely hot temperatures. Try to work in soil that is neither too wet nor too dry.  It’s best to work when temperatures are pleasant — best for your body, best for your mental outlook, and best for your soil.

Never till wet soil because it will cause heavy clodding and the layer beneath will become further compacted.

Before You Begin

If you’ve done any —–read more—-

Contained Raised Beds? NO WAY!

I see contained raised beds in magazines that are showing off someone’s beautifully laid out garden. Some are quite elaborate and look lovely. The walled raised beds used in landscaping (for example to control erosion on a hill) make a great improvement to the property and if one can afford the expense and labor in constructing them they should last for a long time.

Our framer of years past (my husband is an artist) had a stone wall that enclosed a flower bed. She had an infestation of copperhead snakes —–read more—-

3 Things of Primary Importance When Starting A Garden

Insuring a Great Return of Investment on Your Effort.

My First Garden

We lived in apartments in the city for our first 14 years of marriage.  Bill and I had never raised flowers or vegetables but doing so was one of our dreams.  When we moved from the city to the country we could hardly wait to “dig up” some ground and plant vegetables.

My first year of gardening started out in an area that was one foot above sea level and seemed at times to be one foot below sea level. During rainy times water would lay in puddles and sometimes remained that way through June. Herons and mallards frequented the yard like it was a pond. Then the heat would come and bake the ground.

As you can imagine it was not very conducive to growing anything.  To make matters worse the soil was —–read more—-