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Old 11-19-2011, 06:53 AM
 
Location: North Dakota
740 posts, read 1,723,045 times
Reputation: 530

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Hello. Most organic gardeners have their own tips, tricks and methods. I thought I would share a few of my own. If you have any useful tips, please feel free to share and keep the thread going.

The foundation of great soil is worm castings. Without the wonderful, squiggly little worm, we would have no topsoil, and therefore no or very little plant life. Charles Darwin spent multiple decades studying the earthworm, and came to the conclusion that the simple little worm is the most important animal in existance. Setting up your own worm bin is relatively easy and you can do a quick google search and find many how to sites. Your worm bin would be an addition to your composting pile. It takes 1 to 2 months to get your bin completely established to the point of harvesting castings.

Castings can be used as a mix to your soil, or as a mulch. As you water, the castings will release the nutrients they hold over time. By using castings, you will no longer need to fertalize and there is absolutely no risk of burning your plants. By providing the correct nutrition to your plants it will give them the strength to resist many pests. This is Mother Nature's natural fertalizer.

You can also brew worm tea, and use to water your plants on a regular basis. You will need a plastic bin, a small aquarium pump, a little molasses, an old pair of pantyhose or cheesecloth, a stick wide enough to put across your water bin, some string and some worm castings. It is best to use rainwater in place of tap water. If you can only use tap water, then let it sit for a good 24 hours before use. Now put the worm castings into the pantyhose(amount of castings depends on the amount of tea you will be brewing). Tie the string to the stick and the other end to your pantyhose(it is now a large teabag). Now just suspend your teabag deep into the water. Add a tablespoon of molasses to your water and now use your aquarium pump to ariate your water for about 48 hours. The molasses will feed all the beneficial microbes and bacteria and you are providing oxygen by the aquarium pump. This worm tea now has all the nutrition of the worm castings and can be sprayed directly onto your plants. It has pest control properties as well as disease control and can be an amazing overall secret to organic farming.

Another tip I can offer is to grow your climbing plants vertically using a simple trellis. This will prevent many diseases and pests from affecting your plants as well as offer more sun. If you are growing melons, you can simply use socks, pantyhose etc to cradle the larger melons/squash.

I have many more tips and will continue to post on occasion. Please feel free to share!
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Old 11-19-2011, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Ohio
668 posts, read 1,844,537 times
Reputation: 806
Dont know what 'worm castings' are, but this is what I got off of a Television Show.

Growing tomatos.

Nutrients
Iron
Calcium Nirtrate
Fertilizer (such as Miracle grow)

Helps promote a growing 'stem' so that you can have more tomatoes.

And, are you promoting adding worms to your inside garden? Wouldnt they 'eat' through the soil and harm the roots? How deep is your soil base, and worm base? (I know you dont add worms to potted plants, because they would kill the roots, and, Im curious to see a picture of your 'inside garden' on how you stop the worms from destroying the roots in there?).

I wish you well...

Jesse
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Old 11-19-2011, 01:30 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
740 posts, read 1,723,045 times
Reputation: 530
Worm castings is worm feces. You do not add the worms to your garden, though your garden most likely contains hundreds, if not thousands of worms already. The castings would be used in place of your miracle grow and adding other nutrients is not necessary or recommended and would do more harm than good.

Worms do not eat soil. They actually benefit the soil by allowing more oxygen and providing better overall drainage and the waste they leave behind is at its smallest form, and provides all those nutrients your "tv show" told you to add. One of the most awesome aspects of worm castings(poop) is that it replenishes nitrogen to soil.

When did I say anything about an 'inside garden'?

If you feel it is necessary to add all the nutrients to your soil, because a tv show said so, by all means. Go for it. I am in Ecuador, South America right now and I do not yet have a garden going. I have been involved with actual organic gardening for nearly 20 years, and I have always been huge into permaculture. I like to think I know what i am talking about.

PS. Do a little research on Miracle Grow. Not only is it not truly organic, but it is made by the same company who promotes Roundup. DYODD.
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Old 11-19-2011, 01:32 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
740 posts, read 1,723,045 times
Reputation: 530
Definitely do a little research on vermiculture. It would most likely amaze you and getting involved with worm composting is pretty simple. The added benefit is that you don't have to turn your compost anymore and if you are a fisherman....well, you get it.
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Old 11-21-2011, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Land of Free Johnson-Weld-2016
6,474 posts, read 13,406,838 times
Reputation: 6404
1. Raise food-producing plants that require little babysitting. I realized I can't do battle w/ bugs and pests for certain types of food. I could just be bitter because the rabbits ate all my lettuce. Follow recommendations for crop rotation, and use non-GMO pest-resistant cultivars where possible. I enjoy ornamental edibles, fruit trees and berry bushes which seem to produce easily. Gardening w/ pest-free varieties is a lot more enjoyable.

2. Use fertilizer...sparingly! I realized how much runoff is created even w/ a little organic fertilizer, and the fertilizer cna make its way over large areas of grass. After a rain on my crops, my ornamental pond was full of algae! I would use fewer smaller applications of fertilizer.

3. Use paper baggies on fruit such as apples and asian pears to deter pests. I got a lot more edible fruit after covering w/ waxed paper baggies. Protective Fruit Wrapping
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:25 PM
 
Location: North Dakota
740 posts, read 1,723,045 times
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Plant specific plants near each other for pest control and other benefits. It is called companion planting. Here is a decent list of beneficial companion plants as well as bad plant combination
http://www.gardenguides.com/410-good-amp-bad-companions-vegetables.htmls (broken link).

A good example of companion plants would be strawberries and spinach. A good example of a bad combination would be corn and tomatos. Both of these plants grow upwards and bushy, and would be competing for maximum sun.

The herb comfrey makes excellent natural fertalizer if you do not have worm castings. It can also be added to your compost to speed up the rate of composition. Just like worm castings, it will not burn your plants. It can also be used topically for bone related injuries and is often called knitbone.

Last edited by Alaskan_Adventurer; 11-21-2011 at 04:33 PM..
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Texas State Fair
8,567 posts, read 9,330,054 times
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Alaskan_Adventurer, I come to this thread by a search for comfrey. As a gardener, I am and always will be a novice. I'm in it for two reasons, one to grow a vine on a wall, and two, for the adventure of learning.

I set up a 4' sqr compost bin few years ago, using mostly tree leaves. Recently my neighbor has been giving me her grass trimmings. Up until this year my yard has been mostly weeds. Earlier this year I discovered a six inch or more layer of soil at the bottom of that compost bin. Historically, I've been digging down to pull up composted material to which I add water which I then spread over the vines and a rose bush. They react as though they've been as refreshed as a southerner drinking sweet tea on a hot day.

Now I have a couple of bags of premium soil for the purpose. I did use some of that soil for a thin cover to plant wildflower seeds which to my amazement began to spring forth within about three to four days.

I had read about comfrey and have planted my first cuts a couple of weeks ago. The first leaves have pushed through. I'm looking forward to making a comfrey tea and/or adding to my compost. BTW, for the first time this year, that compost pile has been smoking when I've turned the material.

I may turn into a gardener after all. Ol grandad would be proud.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:15 AM
 
2,791 posts, read 3,554,042 times
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Companion planting really does work! Think how Mother Nature does it, there are no nice,neat rows in nature or monocultures. Here is another chart:

Companion Planting
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:59 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
17,985 posts, read 17,140,226 times
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Save all your uncooked vegetable scraps for your compost bin. You can send for (or sometimes they're available at the garden center) a plastic indoor compost holder with a cover and a handle. You just keep throwing your scraps into it until it's full, at which time you dump it onto your outdoor compost pile. They can sit on your counter top or on the kitchen floor.

If the pile is in the sun and you have some real soil in it along with the vegetable peelings and maybe some grass and leaves (I don't remember the exact proportions) it will turn into beautiful garden soil! Beautiful black gold! Gorgeous soil that never needs fertilizer because it IS fertilizer!!! Add shovel fulls of this perfect soil around your plants and they will be thrilled. You can sort of rake it in or just let the rain soak it in.

If your soil is too acidic, add a little bit of bone meal. You can use lime too but it takes longer to work. Some plants need acid soil, some need alkaline soil. Most flowers like the bonemeal, especially bulbs. Lilacs like the alkaline soil. Check to see what PH your plants need and then add bonemeal or something acidic (pine needles?) to adjust the PH. Trees, like Japanese maples, like a more acid soil.

Do not underestimate the importance of the PH of the soil. I found out (the hard and expensive way) that my soil was way too acidic. Nothing would grow there. I had pine trees, oak and maple all over the place--they do well in acid soil so that should have been a sign. Then I read that if the soil is too acidic for the plants growing there, they cannot take up the soil nutrients! The plants were starving because the soil was acidic. I added bonemeal--and it was like night and day. Bonemeal made the soil sweet/alkaline and then the plants could absorb the nutrients in the soil and what a difference. Wood ash will also sweeten the soil.

Rake your pine needles up and KEEP them to put around your rhododendrons and azaleas who love the acidity of pine needles and need the mulch over them due to their shallow roots.

Don't even think of setting your tomato plants out until it's HOT out. They are tropical. Once they get the heat, enough water, good soil and some sort of fertilizer, they will grow like crazy. They need to be in the sun. Every day, pick off those tiny little branches or shoots that start to grow in the Vee sections of the branches and where the branches come off the main stem. You want just a vine with a few strong branches, not millions of little sub branches draining off the plant's energy.

Lettuce is a cool weather crop and it will bolt in the heat. Plant it early and keep it cool and more or less in the shade but not deep shade.

Plant what is local and plant it in the right soil in the right type of location. Don't try to torture plants to grow in your garden that can't grow there--a lot of work and not very rewarding. Stick to what grows in your USDA zone--find out what your zone IS and stick to it.

If you are getting birds eating your berries, one solution is to use screening--like what you use on windows--and make a cage around it. Use thumb tacks if you need to, and sticks--nothing complicated. I found that plastic screening sold in garden centers was snagging birds because the holes were too big.

You can keep weeds down by cutting open black plastic garbage bags and spreading them out in the rows. Hold them down with the extra rocks you dig up every year. You can keep weeds down by putting hay down and if you put hay around the base of tomato plants they enjoy the warmth that it creates.

If your plant is healthy to begin with, you usually will not need sprays or other chemicals.
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Old 06-13-2013, 07:52 PM
 
Location: McKinleyville, California
6,413 posts, read 8,855,333 times
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I have been organic since 1987. I have a compost pile that all vegetable scraps go into and it is loaded with earth worms. I also have a compost pile that I put grass and leaves in and I rotate it about 5 times a week and add up to 12 barrels of grass each week to keep it hot. I have 32 yards that I maintain, so I have acess to plenty of leaves and grass and it gets my heap up to 155ļ I use no pesticides or herbicides. I use an organic bug spray made from pytethrum flowers and dish soap and for weeds in sidewalks and the driveway, I use boiling water to kill them. I plant the pyrethrum [feverfew daisy] with roses and lemons and it keeps the ants away. The pyrethrum spray can be used on fruit trees to keep bugs from developing by spraying in early spring before the flowers open and from when they open on to fruiting, I spray the trunks only to keep the ants off. A good bug control are birds, so I have nest boxes for them and provide them with seed and in return, they eat most of the bugs in my yard, I also planted hedge rows for them to hide in and nest in. A good fertilizer that will not burn the plants is rabbit manure, either the droppings or as a manure tea.
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