Keeping the garden

With all the rain we’ve been having the last few weeks, there are some plants that seem to be thriving in this weather while others haven’t made an appearance yet.   We did plant quite a few seedlings but now that the rain has washed away most of the lettering on the markers, it is unclear as to what the plants are.  I’m finding that it is very important to till the ground before you start planting to reduce the amount of weeds that you have.

As we’ve started to pull weeds it becomes very difficult to distinguish the difference between the plant and weed that I’m concerned about how much of the garden will be left.  Once the rains stop in our area I will have quite a bit of work ahead of me.

I’ve been researching the best natural weed killer to use in the garden, but one problem is that we have already put in our seeds with some of them coming up.  A couple of suggestions; gypsum and lime can both kill or diminish the growth of your garden if you put it on after the vegetables have been planted.  From what I’ve read you have to put it on the soil before you toil the ground.

I will keep researching and post any new information that I’ve found.  One recommendation was to use black and white newspaper on the ground to keep the weeds from growing…

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Natural, Organic, Non-Gmo Produce in Bulk

A friend sent out the recommendation to this company that sells all Organic, Non-GMO, produce in bulk or single sizes.  This company works by drop shipment: if one is already set up in your area then you order what you want off their website by the cutoff date and the order is dropped off at the chosen site for your group.

If a group is not set up then you can set up a drop ship point near your address, the only requirement is that you have to have at least $550 in sales in order for a group to be arranged.  Delivery is usually about a week after the order is placed.

Each person has to order at least $50 to avoid getting the $5 undercharge.  You can either order more food in bulk or in single sizes.

http://www.azurestandard.com/

Weeds, weeds, weeds!

All this rain has been great to some extent for our plants, but the weeds are growing in abundance.  A few times while weeding we had lost track of the plants that had already sprouted.

Our family wants to use natural ways to grow our food instead of using commercial pesticides and weed killers. We were told that you can use a mixture of vinegar, salt, and dish soap but be very careful that you don’t spray your plants or they will be killed too.  We went out and sprayed the outskirts of the garden with this mixture and various places around our yard but did NOT notice any death to the weeds. 😦

I signed up for a newsletter from the Farmer’s Almanac, and this morning I received an article about controlling and eliminating weeds in your garden!! Some other suggestions were to put mulch in between the rows and plants of about 2″ thick which will keep the weeds from receiving light, I’ve also read that you can put black garbage bags tucked really tight over the areas that are not planted and it will scorch the weeds.

http://www.almanac.com/content/weed-control-techniques?utm_source=Almanac+Companion&utm_campaign=6d81d588a2-Companion_May_17_2011&utm_medium=email&mc_cid=6d81d588a2&mc_eid=9ca6741ff8

One important note: before you start the ground for gardening make sure that you proceed with ALL measures you can in preparing your soil for plants.  It is very time consuming and tedious picking all the weeds out by hand!

Follow-Up to planting companions

The previous post is what we used in planting our garden.  You can find more information off of Farmer’s Almanac, which I highly recommend!!

All of this rain seems to be helping as we are finding more and more seedlings making their appearance.  Yesterday, we went out and weeded the grass that was coming up.  We are trying to find a natural weed killer that can be used instead of the commercial.

A link we found stated that we can use vinegar and dish soap, or vinegar and salt.  However, if you use this recipe be very careful as we are told it can kill the plants and grass next to it.

If you have any recipes or suggestions for natural weed killer for the yard or garden.  Please post in the comments below!

Thanks!

Planting Suggestions – Are they friend or foe?

Here is some basic planting advice from The Old Farmers Almanac. Remember the left side is all friends- to the right is the Foe of these plants.!

Plant Companions: Friend or Foe?

Plant companions ensure a happy garden–and gardener.

by George and Becky Lohmiller

Source: The 2005 Old Farmer’s Almanac

It takes more than good soil, sun, and nutrients to ensure success in a garden. Plants have to grow well with one another. Some are friends and some are foes! Learn more about companion planting or what is also called companion gardening.

Examples of Companion Plants

  • Blueberries, mountain laurel, azaleas, and other ericaceous (heath family) plants thrive in the acidic soils created by pines and oaks.
  • Shade-loving plants seek the shelter provided by a wooded grove.
  • The shade-lovers in return protect the forest floor from erosion with their thick tangle of shallow roots.
  • Legumes and some trees, such as alders, have symbiotic relationships with bacteria in the soil that help them to capture nitrogen from the air and convert it to fertilizer, enriching the soil so plants can prosper in their presence.

Tips for Your Vegetable Garden

  • Some plants, especially herbs, act as repellents, confusing insects with their strong odors that mask the scent of the intended host plants.
  • Dill and basil planted among tomatoes protect the tomatoes from hornworms, and sage scattered about the cabbage patch reduces injury from cabbage moths.
  • Marigolds are as good as gold when grown with just about any garden plant, repelling beetles, nematodes, and even animal pests.
  • Some companions act as trap plants, luring insects to themselves. Nasturtiums, for example, are so favored by aphids that the devastating insects will flock to them instead of other plants.
  • Carrots, dill, parsley, and parsnip attract garden heroes — praying mantises, ladybugs, and spiders — that dine on insect pests.
  • Much of companion planting is common sense: Lettuce, radishes, and other quick-growing plants sown between hills of melons or winter squash will mature and be harvested long before these vines need more leg room.
  • Leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard grown in the shadow of corn
  • Sunflowers appreciate the dapple shade that corn casts and, since their roots occupy different levels in the soil, don’t compete for water and nutrients.

Incompatible Plants (Combatants)

  • While white garlic and onions repel a plethora of pests and make excellent neighbors for most garden plants, the growth of beans and peas is stunted in their presence.
  • Potatoes and beans grow poorly in the company of sunflowers, and although cabbage and cauliflower are closely related, they don’t like each other at all.

Strange Pairings

Sometimes plants may be helpful to one another only at a certain stage of their growth. The number and ratio of different plants growing together is often a factor in their compatibility, and sometimes plants make good companions for no apparent reason.

  • You would assume that keeping a garden weed-free would be a good thing, but this is not always the case. Certain weeds pull nutrients from deep in the soil and bring them close to the surface. When the weeds die and decompose, nutrients become available in the surface soil and are more easily accessed by shallow-rooted plants.
  • Perhaps one of the most intriguing examples of strange garden bedfellows is the relationship between the weed stinging nettle and several vegetable varieties. For reasons that are unclear, plants grown in the presence of stinging nettle display exceptional vigor and resist spoiling.

One of the keys to successful companion planting is observation. Record your plant combinations and the results from year to year, and share this information with other gardening friends. Companionship is just as important for gardeners as it is for gardens.

Plant Companions: List for Ten Common Vegetables

Here is a list of friends and foes for ten common vegetables. We’d suggest separating foes and friends on opposite sides of the garden or at least 4 feet away.

FRIEND FOE FRIEND FOE FRIEND FOE
BEANS CORN ONIONS
Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Squash
Strawberries
Summer
savory
Tomatoes
Garlic
Onions
Peppers
Sunflowers
Beans
Cucumbers
Lettuce
Melons
Peas
Potatoes
Squash
Sunflowers
Tomatoes Beets
Broccoli
Cabbage
Carrots
Lettuce
Peppers
Potatoes
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Peas
Sage
CUCUMBERS PEPPERS
Beans
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Lettuce
Peas
Radishes
Sunflowers
Aromatic
herbs
Melons
Potatoes
Basil
Coriander
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Kohlrabi
CABBAGE LETTUCE RADISHES
Beans
Celery
Cucumbers
Dill
Kale
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Sage
Spinach
Thyme
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Strawberries
Tomatoes
Asparagus
Beets
Brussels
sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Corn
Cucumbers
Eggplant
Onions
Peas
Potatoes
Radishes
Spinach
Strawberries
Sunflowers
Tomatoes
Broccoli Basil
Coriander
Onions
Spinach
Tomatoes
Beans
Kohlrabi
CARROTS TOMATOES
Beans
Lettuce
Onions
Peas
Radishes
Rosemary
Sage
Tomatoes
Anise
Dill
Parsley
Asparagus
Basil
Beans
Borage
Carrots
Celery
Dill
Lettuce
Melons
Onions
Parsley
Peppers
Radishes
Spinach
Thyme
Broccoli
Brussels
sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Kale
Potatoes