Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Organic Garden

My brother and I have started an
organic garden in my mother's backyard. He has some gardening experience as he did the digging for two large vegetable gardens in the past while I had exactly none. To the left is our beginning herb garden- thyme on the very left, then sage, shallots--two different kinds--then basel on the far right. To the north of the basel is radishes. To the north west of the radishes is strawberries. In other parts of the garden in the box we have cilantro, cucumbers, and parsley which had been planted by the gardener Heriberto--he started it and then my brother and I expanded it.

Since I was totally inexperienced I got a lot of books out of the library to read. Two were most helpful: Pat Welch's Southern California Gardening and Ann Whitman's Organic Gardening for Dummies. I'd recommend these two for the total beginner. A lot of the gardening books said it was important to test your soil, but Whitman gave easy
instructions to test soil drainage which we did.

My brother dug a 1 foot hole which we filled with water. Then we watched how quickly the water evaporated from the hole: less than ten minutes the soil drains to quickly and greater than four hours the soil drains too slowly. Our water drained in a
half water so the soil was fine for drainage. Doing this small
experiment reminded me of junior high school science class.

We got organic potting soil from Home Depot; my brother had dug up the soil twice, so then he mixed in the potting soil into the soil from the ground. We mostly got seedlings from local nurseries but carrots, radishes and zuchinis we planted from seeds. Once the seedlings were up, we added some organic fertilizer around the new plants. My brother is watering.

By the way I made a big mistake by throwing all the radish seeds into the ground and not spacing them out like the instructions on the back of the seed packet said. I will never do that again! So radish plants grew up in a thick mass--very pretty but the book said they would die if they weren't thined about 2-4 inches apart.

So I got down and started weeding raddish plants. I'm learning best by my stupid mistakes like with raddishes. Next time I'll follow the instructions exactly. Later we want to add compost, and I'm going to a workshop run by the city of Los Angeles on how to compost May 18th.

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