Well, we are now about a good 5 weeks into the growing season here in Missouri. Most people plant their garden out here around Mother’s Day and I believe we were about two days after that. It was a hectic time for a couple of days as most projects are, but after the planting there is some time to wait and watch the garden grow.
This isn’t a time for leisure, because what’s going on down in the roots of your garden is what is going to determine the quality of your produce. When I was growing up in the South I remembered hearing my Grandmother mention Miracle Grow. She always had a great garden and so I just assumed that’s what you put on the garden for food. I have since learned that while it may boost growth, it’s not exactly what you want to be putting on vegetables you are going to be putting on your table.
When Crystal and I began gardening a few years ago we wanted to have a garden that was free of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. We knew it may be more difficult to grow a good garden without them, but we didn’t want any traces of them in our food if we could help it. So we began to do some research on what it would take to have a truly organic garden. As stated in an earlier post it begins with good soil. Thankfully we have a good organic mix of soil with manure and compost mixed. There are places that you can buy this type of soil for raised beds and you can make your own compost at home with not a ton of effort.
Then there is the water. We choose to use soaker hoses in our raised beds to give a good even soaking without getting the whole plant wet, although this year has yeilded alot of good rain, so our watering so far has been to a minimum. The reason that we like ths soaker hose approach as well is that with a raised bed, it is easier to gauge thee amount of water you need by just checking about 2-3 inches down in to the soil. A good compost mix will retain water very well, requiring less than the normal watering done on an in ground garden. When the soil is moist down past 2-3 inches then you can stop watering, and know that it will stay that way longer too.
The new trend over the past few years for pest control without pesticide is diatomacious earth. When sprinkled in your garden it is picked up by pests in their mouths and on their exoskeletons. It cuts like razors and eventually kills the little crittters dead. They don’t like hanging around it much. It is all natural and safe for human and animal consumption. You do have to wear a mask to put it out, so you don’t accidentally inhale the dust.
Neems Oil is another repellent for bugs and critters. You dilute the concentrate in a simple back yard sprayer and cover your plants. It is offensive to most bugs and they will stay away from your garden. I also have a personal creation from last year that worked. I got a bottle of hot sauce and diluted it down in my sprayer and sprayed all of my plants with it. We had much success with this approach until the squash bugs came, but that is a whole different story!
The final thing I am going to talk about is good for protecting not only your garden, but also your skin. It is Mosquito Barrier. A super concentrate of enough garlic to end the twilight series in one good spraying and it puts an end to most of the bugs in the backyard as well. You can order it many places online and I would recommend it if you are going to spend any time outdoors this Summer. It of course has to be diluted in a sprayer and just plan on your yard and yourself smelling like an Olive Garden breadstick for the day, but once it goes out over your yard it is amazing how quickly you and your kids will notice the difference. You garden will thank you and so will your family.
Imagine having a healthy garden free of pesticides, one that you can just go out, pick your dinner, wash and eat. Also, imagine being able to enjoy that dinner without tons of mosquitos feasting on you and your family in the process. Try these methods out and share with us some of your own.
Our favorite garden spray we make with oils from Young Living. I personally add a capful of thieves cleaner to about 50 oz of water. You can add a plethora of oils like peppermint, rosemary, geranium, purification, to name a few. Or you can just spray the base of the plants and the ground around the plants with peppermint oil and water made up in a 30 oz spray bottle. This works really well.