Seed starting season is here and we’ll be transplanting to our gardens before we can catch a deep breath.
If you’re a long time reader of TMG you’ve learned to save lots of time by not doing things that conventional wisdom dictates you “have to” do.
You already know if you work with nature you
- don’t have to till,
- don’t have to water,
- don’t have to weed more than 5 or 10 minutes each day,
- don’t have to add purchased fertilizers
- and a lot of other stuff the “experts” say you have to do.
If you’re a new reader, you have a lot of surprises in store as you stay current with TMG and as you go back through the TMG archives and discover all the things you may have thought you had to do as a gardener, but don’t.
In going back through some files the other day I found a few articles I’d saved that reminded me again of some of the more common things you read and hear that you supposedly have to do.
I’m enjoying blueberry bars this week; made from my frozen berries. Thus, my eye quickly caught an article I had saved on blueberries. Sure glad I never paid any attention to it.
It goes like this:
“Blueberries MUST have an acid soil with a pH factor of 4.5 to 50. If your soil lacks this acidity, mix in large quanties of peat moss or sulphur. Blueberries also need to be fed with an acid fertilizer, however, please note that the young plants require very little feeding and that heavy fertilization will kill the plants. They require watering on a weekly basis.”
Isn’t that interesting?
Want to hear something more interesting?
I have 8 bushes in the garden that have been there for at least 15 years. (This garden is 18 years old.) They produce an abundance of berries every year. Bill and I always ate half of each day’s harvest fresh and then I’d freeze the rest. Most years I have 3 or 4 gallons or more in the freezer.
- Since I planted the bushes the soil has maintained a pH of 6.6 to 6.8.
- I have never used sulphur on my soil.
- I stated my case about peat moss here. The only time I use peat moss is to mix up a growing medium for seed in pots.
- I don’t water my blueberries. Drought is normal in our area most years. The worst I remember was 10 weeks. My garden does fine anyway. (If I collect excess rain water in the spring that can’t fit in my two 25 gallon trash cans, I’ll sometimes empty it onto the blueberries or asparagus in the garden. Organic matter and mulch help hold it in the soil until times that it’s needed.)
- I mulch my bushes with leaves and straw all year round. If I can get pine tags I’ll use those also. (And no – pine tags do NOT make the soil acidic. That’s a myth that seems to be promoted a lot.)
- I have never “fertilized” my blueberries. They get all the nutrients they need from the decayed organic matter in the soil that comes from the leaves and straw.
It seems to me that most new organic gardeners come to “understand” that they absolutely have to make compost either in a “properly” made compost pile or from some purchased compost-maker gadget.
Over time, I’ve covered just about every aspect of that concept and have gone into detail about why it’s just not necessary for the average home gardener.
On the other hand, if you’re a market grower (of lettuce or whatever) and have beds in continual production and need to refurbish those beds with compost, it would pay to have a good sized compost pile(s).
Years back, a reader who had read of my easy composting method and had seen it first hand in my garden emailed me. She said her husband had purchased one of those barrel-like compost makers that one rotates ever so often. She indicated that he thought my way was not suitable because everything he read said that you need compost.
I was rather surprised that in all the information I had written that he did not understand that I was making compost – just in a much easier way. (And one that didn’t cost me a cent.)
Reasons for This Type of Response
I enjoy watching various things when I eat my meals. As you probably remember from past posts, I find encouragement and sometimes profound statements in the most unusual places. Yesterday, I found a maxim from Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
When the episode started this flashed across the screen:
Searching for the truth is easy; accepting the truth is hard.
Wow! They sure hit that one! But it would even be more accurate if adjusted as follows:
Searching for the truth is easy; accepting the truth can be hard.
Of course, part of the reason that’s true is there is so much out there that is either incorrect or filled with half-truths. We read or hear it over and over and it gets programmed into our brain. Then when something comes along that’s a little different (the truth for instance or an easier way) , we reject it in favor of what we’ve heard so many times.
Another part of that is that some cannot benefit from the experience of others which could save them lots of time. They have to find out for themselves by doing it the hard way.
Many times that’s due to not knowing who to believe or trust.
And oddly enough that wisdom must often come from following bad advice enough to know the good advice when you come across it.
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