Embracing Our Interdependence With Nature

The No Till No Dig Way: Once You Know Why You Will Know How

It is a tough job to have to nurture plants through their entire life cycles, constantly guessing at what their nutritional needs might be and then providing all of those nutrients and minerals regularly. It is a losing proposition doing battle with insects protecting helpless plants from hoards of unchecked leaf chewers and suckers, root boring nematodes, and countless fungal, and bacterial infections. I don’t know how a farmer could make a dime off of a farm that is dependent on the many constant and costly inputs necessary to wage a chemical war against nature.

Composting: To Turn or Not To Turn?

The conventional approach to composting is that we should turn our compost piles. I have already discarded the conventional approach to gardening: I won’t turn the soil. It occurs to me that it is past time to re-examine my approach to composting.

Composting: The Nose Knows

The first thing a person wants to do when they decide to start composting is to keep their kitchen garbage out of the landfill. It is a noble purpose for sure, and kitchen garbage is an excellent addition to any compost pile. If you have grown up in the garden you will know the smell of properly working compost and what goes into it to achieve balance. If you haven’t done this before it takes just a little information and some practice, and you will be making nice compost in no time.

In The Garden: When It Is Cold, Sheets & Straw To The Rescue

Even with expecting cold weather, choosing our warmest spots for our most tender vegetables, and growing lots of brassicas, onions, and carrots every where else, we need lots of great strategy for protecting our tender and often favorite vegetables. Local farmers are losing millions of dollars in tomatoes in these low temperatures. There isn’t much they can do for a field of tomato plants in 20 degree weather, but we gardeners having far fewer plants to protect, can afford to put lots of effort into just a few plants.

The No Till No Dig Way: The Invisible Garden Mound Ingredient

The no dig layer mound being a human concoction meant to approximate an excellent soil environment has lots of spaces for air. It is imperative therefore that we keep our feet off of the mounds. If we step on our work we compress it and everything changes. The mound compressed is no longer an ideal garden.

Harvests: This Summer In The Garden

This summer has been a whirlwind for me. I picked up some part time work at a local organic farm last winter and the job lasted way into the summer. A couple of months before the farm job started I began volunteering at the Community Vegetable Garden at Heathcote Botanical Gardens. Just as the farm…
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Inner Life: Shelling Peas

How is it, you may wonder, that shelling peas could have anything to do with our sacred inner life? Two summers ago I had lots of Black Eye Peas in my garden. I passed a big bag of peas to my rancher friend Linda from Crazy Hart Ranch. The following week, as she smacked her…
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Friends’ and Clients’ Gardens: My Brother’s Garden

“I prepared my bed, just as you instructed when we discussed preparing my garden. The soil was in pretty good shape already so I simply raked-out compost I prepared over the winter and then spread straw on top of that to keep down the weeds. When I planted my vegetables, I sprinkled the bunny and…
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Friends: Heathcote Botanical Garden’s Community Garden

Photos by Nan and Adina Heathcote Botanical Garden recently decided to create a community garden. I was fortunate to be at the first meeting about a year ago, and I was able to get involved with this project at the beginning. This community garden is currently focused on growing for a Sarah’s Kitchen in Port…
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Friends’ & Clients’ Gardens: Tami’s place

These Pictures were taken by Tami and Melody. This past winter Tami bought fresh vegetables from my garden, and carried a bucket of kitchen garbage to me for my compost every week. Everything changed when she ate the fresh broccoli I put into her bag. Tami said she didn’t know fresh broccoli wouldn’t stink when…
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In The Garden: When It Got Cold

The fall of 2009 was very hot and humid. We didn’t have night time temperatures below 70 degrees f. until it was officially winter time. By the time New Years Eve rolled around we had begun to have extremely cold weather and it continued well into February giving us very few warm days in between…
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Friends: S&S Takeout

Not long ago in the article Sustainability: On Local Food and Community I wrote about the value of pursuing local food. There is a very cool new vibe in town that very much supports local family farms. S&S Takeout is a new restaurant in Downtown Fort Pierce that is embracing the concept of local food…
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Garden Pests: No Problem If You Foster Soil Life, Diversity and Balance

After I wrote the article Garden Pests: Nematodes I received a comment from Naomi. She wrote “Wow, mind boggling how many things can go wrong in a vegetable garden!” Her comment made me realize that I did not bring home the point of my article very well. While there are lots of potential problems and…
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A Not So Funny Joke

I have seen this joke posted on many websites. I have copied and pasted it here because it is so relevant. As far as I can tell the author is unknown. The Suburbanites Author unknown God: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the…
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Friends’ and Clients’ Gardens: My Neighbors’ Fabulous Garden

My neighbors grow in compost not because it is the organic or no till or healthy thing to do. They grow this way because it fosters the most vigorous plant growth and the most flavorful vegetables, in a place that once seemed much less hospitable for growing food.

In The Garden: Growing Legumes

Many growers have forgotten about legumes as nitrogen fixers, or have forgotten how to use them to help build garden soil. This would be unforgettable information except that it is easier to buy a bag of fertilizer. The bag of fertilizer method is easier for sure, but it is more expensive, hard on soil, and is a potential pollution threat to our water ways. Legumes lock up nitrogen for future use. Plants know how to tease nutrients out of soil, and how to attract and make deals with bacteria, fungi, and protozoa for the nutrients they hold in their bodies. Growing legumes enriches the soil and the microbes in the soil with nitrogen that plants are able to use.

The No Till No Dig Way: Why Soil Should Not Be Disturbed

To grow in an organic manner in such a way as to decrease the cost of your inputs, increase the health and disease resistance in the garden, and increase garden yields, a grower must focus on the soil. This focus must be on maintaining optimum populations of the microbes and the invertebrates that are present in healthy soils.

The No Till No Dig Way: Revisiting The Lasagna Garden Mound

The concept of this no dig bed is simple. You don’t till or disturb the soil below, and you create a mound that roughly approximates a balanced pile of stable scrapings. This is a great way to start quickly and these mounds feed the soil below as the growing season progresses attracting beneficial insects and microbes to your growing area, and you won’t have to fertilize the plants growing in these mounds.

In The Garden: What To Plant In April In South Florida

It is April in the South Florida garden, and the winter vegetables are loosing their shine. It is time to pull out the last of the carrots, and as the broccoli spears get longer and begin flowering it is time to harvest the leaves for the cook pot. The dill is flowering, the cilantro too, and the onions are putting on some serious size. My last crop of lettuce is nearly picking size, and the older crops are all bolting. The peas and tomatoes are ripening fast now, and the eggplant and the peppers are flowering.

Everything Manure: Bunny Balls

In the world of garden manures Rabbit Manure (Bunny Balls) is one of the most fondly regarded. Using livestock manures to help build your soil or compost means not having to spread synthetic fertilizers on your plants. It is a consistent slow release way to improve soil so that plants can develop an interdependence with the soil and feed themselves.