Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Staying Organic

I found this treasure at my local library for $1 in the used book section. A very handy guide on organic gardening. The author has some great articles on why we should grow organic, rather than hybrid, not to mention why bugs and even WEEDS are essential! -- Yes, weeds. (It is nice to know that I'm not the only one who likes weeds!) http://www.malcolmbeck.com/

This video was really motivating about how gardening requires good stewardship in handling outdoor pests. When left alone, nature takes care of itself! If you're even thinking about organic gardening, watch this video! This man's garden is amazing and I really like his perspectives.

For a natural and more effective way of handling unwanted pests, Diatomaceous (pronounced - die-uh-toe-may-she-us) earth, can be used as a barrier around your home to prevent unwanted guests. This is of course, the BEST remedy, rather than using poisons that will harm ourselves, pets, and our environment. Diatomaceous Earth can be purchased at Lowe's, or your local feedstores. Some brands come in food grade, and is used for cattle consumption to ward off unwanted parasites, etc. I wouldn't use this on my plants, as the last thing I'd want to do is kill off the essential bugs - Lady Bugs, Praying Mantis, Beetles, Bees, etc.

Corn! This is the organic gourmet popcorn that I had purchased from an Amish store. Check out the miniature ears.

I have a bunch of reeds (bamboo-like) growing in my backyard, and these have served wonderfully as tall sticks for my pole beans. What I hadn't expected was the reeds to propagate! From all the watering, the reeds are now growing new leaves and enjoying their new home with the beans. I'm thinking that what I'll probably do is allow the potted reeds to continue growing, and use these for shrubbery and screens around my home. Of course in pots! Unfortunately, the reeds that are growing against my fence like to spread into my neighbor's yard! :(

Another reason why I refuse to use poison in my yard. Lizards! These are my garden's best friend. It's been a few years since we've fanatically sprayed our yard with poisons, and mosquito sprays. In some cases, we would hook up the garden hose and spray every week or so! (shudder) It is safe to say that the health of my yard is finally bouncing back. Each year my garden is improving.

My peas are blooming!

Some of my pole beans. Next year, I have plans to grow several more pots of these, doubling the size of my garden.

We are at the end of August and I can sense fall in the air, even though the temps are averaging 100 degrees. Last week, we were teased with a few cool mornings. I'm really looking forward to shutting the pool down, and just focusing on a winter garden, opening my windows, and baking fresh bread!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Toiling for Melons!

I was forced to pick my melon early. Thankfully the Galian Israeli melons will continue RIPENING after being picked, unlike a watermelon. I also harvested a mini cantaloupe as well.

Obviously a very hungry and annoying creature likes my melon's too :(


The last of the Mohicans. Undecided on whether I should just go ahead and pick it now, or see if it can survive a few more days on the vine.
The cantaloupe.

One of the surviving melons.


Saving seeds! Non-hybrid (genetically tampered.)

After rinsed, the seeds will dry naturally in the greenhouse. Afterwards, they will be stored in a cool dry place.

This is what I'm battling. The garden seems to have reached the end of its first season. Growing (producing) has slowed down, if not completely stopped. My opinion is that it's the weather. The nights barely cool down, and we need rain. Lots and lots of it! Hoping for cooler weather!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Snake Beans!

I'm enthralled with the Asparagus - yardlong beans! They can grow 3 feet or more. Curious as to why these are growing faster than my other bean plants, I reread the seed packet and realized this bean variety LOVES sweltering hot weather.
Check out the bean on the right. It's too long for me to fit in the picture. I'm totally in love with this plant!

My cantaloupes have been battling the heat, but so far, I've spied two healthy melons.

My best plant so far is the Galia Israeli melons. I have several melons on the vine. You can see how they've changed since my last post. Once they turn yellow, they're ripe.

Bell Peppers are doing well.

This is the Fajita Bell variety. The red bell peppers are hotter than my Serrano, and Jalapeno peppers!

My onions are sprouting. This is the batch I had purchased from Whole Foods to grow my own. I have found it's sometimes cheaper to buy organic non-hybrid vegetables to cultivate my own seeds. This way not only do I get fresh vegetables out of the deal, but also more than enough seeds to save for years to come. The plant beside my onions to your left, I've forgotten what I planted. Don't you just hate that? I tend to do that a lot -- go nuts with the planting and forget where everything went.
My tomato plants are just plain not producing. I'm hoping that once things cool down, they will take off in the fall! This past week, I planted several pea plants, Malabar spinach, Kentucky pole beans, some more Zucchini, and for companion plants (to share pots with other veggies) I planted carrots and radishes.
Now if only it would RAIN!