Denise's Organic Garden


First of all, let me tell you that the source of the composting came from a book entitled: Solar Living Source Book: The Complete Guide To Renewable Energy Technologies and Sustainable Living, purchased through REAL GOODS. If you'd like more information about this book or the company, please e-mail me.

What's Currently Planted How I Made My Compost Pile Why Grow Organic?

What's Currently Planted

It is the beginning of spring, so now is the time to get the garden ready for summer squash (yellow squash and zucchini, in particular), tomatoes and bell peppers. Since the average date of the last freeze in Tallahassee is March 20, it is best to start plants in pots so you can bring them indoors in case a cold front comes through, or wait until the end of March to plant. If you decided to plant outdoors, keep an eye on the weather forcast, because you don't want to plant seeds and then have the ground freeze. I have planted some yellow squash, and transplanted some plants that grew out of my compost pile. I think they are some sort of squash, but exactly what will turn out is a mystery! Next on my list to plant are bell peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. I've been reading about how to arrange tomato plants around a steel cage of sorts in order to maximize yield and harvest ease. (As a mathematician, the optimization comes naturally.)
The planting was completed this weekend. I have three gardens completed, and I'm ready to maintain the plots and harvest the crops. I have harvested some of the spinach leaves (for the best flavor, pick the leaves before the plants flower, and especially when the leaves are around 5 inches long). My tomato plants are around 3 feet tall, and have a few flowers, but no fruit yet. The yellow squash have flowered several times, but so far, no squashlings have arrived. Perhaps bee season is just beginning. My zuccini are growing nicely, but no flowers yet. My cucumbers have just sprouted, as have the watermelon. This weekend I planted corn, beans and squash (the three sisters, as they are sometimes called, since the squash takes the ground level, the corn grows tall and the beans climb on the corn) and I started a pumpkin patch.
After one week, the corn, beans, squash and pumpkins have sprouted! Most of the plants are 2 inches tall. The cucumbers and watermelon continue to grow, and my tomatoes have flowers, and the first green fruit of the season is visible! The squash are flowering, and the vines are growing, but nothing edible has been produced yet. It's been pretty dry so far this spring, so my water bill should be fairly large!
Someday I will find the time to take a picture of the gardens, take the film to K-mart for developing, pick it up, scan it and finally ftp the photo to my computer account so that you can see how everything is arranged. Until then, please use your imagination. I will continue to update this page, for your gardening pleasure.

Introduction Why Grow Organic?

How I Made My Compost Pile

I've begun a compost pile in the back yard. I dug a hole roughly 1 foot deep (the ground was VERY hard). I used alternate layers of dry (like dry leaves), green (like freshly cut grass or uneaten veggie bits (broccoli stalks, old left-overs, etc...)) and dirt. No meat, dairy or egg products are composted, and always ended with dirt (keeps the animals out--sort of). It takes about 6 months for the stuff to compost, and turn into usable, rich dirt for the garden. The fire ants tried to hang out near the pile, but got discouraged by the activity (and the occasional pot of boiling water!).

After mowing my lawn twice, I am now officially over cultivating a huge lawn area, and am in the process of removing the grass and planting my garden. It's a slow process (as I've already explained), but I have two small plots planted and am working on my third. I do plan on keeping some grass for Alic to roll around in, but since he's small (and has a large appetite) there's room (and need) for both grass and garden.


Why Grow Organic?

As was mentioned in the title, this is an organic garden. The risks of ingesting pesticides and herbicides far out-weigh (in my humble opinion) any "benefits" in creating super-resistant mutant bugs. So I am trying to minimize the bugs while maximizing the purity of my food and minimizing the carcenogens that my family ingests. A good book to read on the subject of pesticides is Silent Spring by Rachel Carson. But I don't want the bugs to get all my harvest, so I am planting "companion" plants together. For example, basil supposedly repels the bugs that like to eat tomato plants, so I've surrounded my tomato plants with basil. Tricks that use nature's defenses are quite cool. If you have any plant pairs that you'd like to share with me, I would appreciate the information. I am always looking to add to my gardening knowledge base.

Introduction How I Made My Compost Pile