When we first develop an interest in gardening — but don’t know much about it — we pretty much follow either what we’ve seen family, neighbors, and/or friends do. Or we go on line, Google, and see what other gardeners are doing and what they say we should do.
After doing a lot of that myself in recent years— I’m thinking that I’m very fortunate I didn’t have internet when I started gardening.
I’m also fortunate that after only one year of gardening without any “how-to” information — I discovered Organic Gardening Magazine. (In those day they were read cover to cover and were jammed packed with practical information gardeners need.)
Who Dictates What’s Out There?
There’s still good information out there. But a lot of information is dictated by “marketing” and businesses selling a product — and not necessarily what the best gardening practices are.
Because of “marketing” certain practices and/or methods become so popular that various magazines feature them because they’ve become popular— it’s what the public wants to hear about. It’s considered the “in” thing.
Often — a great idea is promoted that really fills a need, but the movie, video, or article promoting it only tells part of the story. This can be because the producers don’t have enough time or space to tell all of it. Or it can be that in their zeal to tell the good part — they don’t want to tell any of the negative parts. Without the additional information — a gardener might not be quite as successful with that method as he/she had hoped.
Before Marketing as We Know It
I’m very grateful that I started gardening at a time that my Organic Gardening magazine was telling me it was important to prepare my soil deeply; thus, giving plant roots more opportunity to get what they needed from the soil.
A lot was written on very successful vegetable gardens in desert areas that get very little rainfall. The gist of those articles was how to cope with little rainfall and be successful in spite of it. It’s easier than you might think although you don’t see as much about it now-a-days. I guess that’s because of irrigation systems being so popular and so widely promoted.
Gardening without Soil Preparation
There are various methods that promote gardening without any soil preparation at all. Many of these methods originally began as an ingenious way to still be able to garden if you
- (1) were not able to prepare the soil deeply or
- (2) you had close to a year or more to let the layers of organic material on the ground do most of the soil preparation for you or
- (3) you were at a location temporarily and just wanted the easiest way to try to grow a few vegetables while you were there.
Those are great reasons to use the various methods that don’t involve any soil preparation. But if you want a long-term growing area that will give you the best results — deep soil preparation is the way to go.
A Reader Writes
Friend and reader, Sandra, wrote to me last night. She had been to the Mother Earth News educational event that they have each year in September.
She started out with a little humor (that I really enjoyed) by saying:
“The guy I heard at Mother Earth News got all his information from you, I’m pretty sure. :)”
Of course, that made me smile.
“He said don’t ONLY go on top with preparing the soil (like lasagna gardening) you have to ALSO go down (remove the weeds and loosen the soil ) Hmmmm, I’ve heard that somewhere before!! ” —
“Pretty much what you preach about soil preparation is what this guy was talking about. You could have given the talk. The place was packed with people wall-to-wall, so I don’t know if it was new information to these folks, but I did not learn anything that I had not heard first on TMG!”
Reader sees the Difference in Properly Prepared Soil
Over the past year or so that Sandra has been reading TMG and following my advice she has had great success in her garden and I have enjoyed her various reports telling me the details of those successes.
In her email of last night she included another success story that I wanted to share with you. She wrote:
“I renovated one of my bad beds (pre-Theresa) where we had put landscape fabric down on top of the weeds and just piled on top.—
“You should see the difference in the sweet potatoes I’ve harvested from a well-prepared bed versus this one. They are at least 75% smaller (in the “bad bed”), and it’s no wonder. I’ve fixed that—-” “— it’s a properly prepared bed now.”
It’s always good to broaden our knowledge base by reading and watching what others do. As you watch and read, keep the basics in mind:
- deep soil preparation,
- add organic material to the soil, and
- cover the soil
If they go too far afield from these basic principles or if things get too complicated — I hope a little warning bell will go off in your head. Success might not be as much of a sure thing as they’ve indicated.
Organic Gardening is easy, effective, efficient — and it’s a lot easier.
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