Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Constant Cornucopia

In these uncertain times, we can relish the security of fresh food from our yards just as our great grand parents did. All it takes is fertile healthy soil, a sunny location, and growing the right crops for the right time of year to enjoy daily crisp salads, crunchy sweet sugar snap peas and carrots, pungent arugula and so much more. So cultivate a thriving organic garden and a prosperity mind set using a few simple techniques.

First, feed your soil NOT your plants! Chemical fertilizers force feed your veggies while neglecting or even damaging your soil. Choose a 10 foot by 10 foot garden site in full sun, remove weeds, and sprinkle on the following:
50 pounds of cheap dog food nuggets (as they decay they nourish your soil with a wide range of nutrients)
4 bags of Black Cow dairy compost
4 bags of Black Velvet mushroom compost
5 twenty pounds bags of cheap white cat litter IF you have sandy soil to add clay, which helps to hold water.

Turn this all under with a garden shovel (not a tiller), leave the surface rough, then water deeply for 30 minutes. Rake smooth, then mulch with 4 inches of either hay or free chipped mulch from a tree trimming service. Let this all "ripen" for 3 weeks to create truly rich fertile soil.

Gardens in largely frost free areas, like most of Florida and much of the Gulf coast, can plant cold hardy crops like the entire Cabbage family ( kale, broccoli, mustard, boy choy, collards) plus carrots, beets and peas October through February. Gardeners in colder regions can plant all these plus others in spring when frost danger has passed.
Just use your hands to "part" the mulch to expose 10 four inch wide bands of soil so that the garden looks striped by bands of mulch between the rows, and plant your seeds and seedlings in the exposed soil. Hand water daily for two weeks for best germination, then weekly but deeply thereafter...the mulch layer will keep your soil moist while decaying and adding more organic matter.

For best growth and vigor, when your seedlings are about 4 inches tall, drench each row with one gallon of water into which you’ve mixed three tablespoons of that wonderfully stinky old-fashioned fish emulsion your great grandma used on her potted plants. It provides all the nutrients plants need, including trace element minerals from the sea. Water it in, then brace yourself for months of vibrantly healthy home grown all-organic veggies any chef would envy, and at a fraction of the cost of even non-organic produce. "Alaska Fish Fertilizer" is my favorite brand.

Come home after a hard day at work, slip into something comfy, and enjoy the feeling of security and abundance as you harvest a healthy FRESH meal for your family from your own back yard.

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