View Full Version : Organic gardening...
08-11-2008, 02:17 PM
Is it as crazy expensive as I fear it is? I'd need to get some garden boxes, because the soil out back is clay and will yield nothing edible... I will obviously need to get *organic* soil/fertilizer to fill the boxes... and then seeds. Are all seeds organic, or no? Where do I go to find organic seeds? I really want to start growing more of my own food, because buying organic every other day is a huge blow to my wallet. :(
08-11-2008, 04:50 PM
It's not expensive at all. It's actually incredibly cheap.
You can make your own soil by composing.
Yes, you will need organic seeds, but seeds only cost pennies and organic seeds aren't much more expensive than conventional ones.
Thallasa mix from www.growgreens.com is a great organic fertilizer, and very inexpensive.
Gardening is also a ton of fun :) .
08-11-2008, 07:49 PM
Thanks so much for the link! I will most definitely have to try out this fertilizer when I start my garden. I'm kind of green thumb impaired, would it be a waste to start a garden now? Should I wait for the next spring?
08-11-2008, 11:00 PM
I'm kind of green thumb impaired, would it be a waste to start a garden now? Should I wait for the next spring?
It's a bit late for this year. But you can work on planning a really great garden for next year.
08-11-2008, 11:10 PM
If you're doing a garden, fall/winter time is good time to grow the greens.. Or, just do a herb garden if nothing else!
08-13-2008, 02:53 PM
I hear ya! My mom and I planted our first garden this year. And my mom can barely keep her flowers alive! It has been fun though, especially now that stuff is growing. It's so nice walking out into the garden each day for my lettuce and green onions instead of going to the store and buying them! We bought our organic seeds from Menards and Wal-Mart I think.
09-05-2008, 11:18 PM
organic foods. Check with your extension service to see what kind of advice they offer.
For some people, gardening is cheap. For others expensive. I planted some longan trees and now am down to about $350 a pounds for them. I bought a lot of earthboxes last year. I am probably in the $50 a pound for tomatoes. Grow stuff that's easy to grow in your area. You can also look at raised beds and lasgna gardening. They both address lousy soil issues.
09-05-2008, 11:23 PM
Go to your local nursery/garden center. There is a product out there called "clay buster" that helps break up clay soil. You can also start digging in compost, which will do the same. Get seeds specific for the Pacific Northwest. Go to Territorial Seed Company online and request a catalog. I love their catalogs. They have organic and conventional seeds for things that grow especially well in our climate. You can definitely start things like lettuce and swiss chard and other greens now. Good luck with your garden!:D
09-06-2008, 07:31 AM
Book recommendation: "All New Square Foot Gardening"
I've been following this method for a couple of years, though I don't use slats anymore to mark the square feet. (I like strings better, or rocks to mark the intersections). This method tells you what you need to have good results the first year and thereafter. You can definitely do some preparation this year for next year's garden, and maybe have time for winter greens -- spinach, radishes, kale, and turnip greens. Oh, and if your kale overwinters it will come out swinging in the spring.
In my climate, I have to use much more water than the recommendations in the book, but it's very dry here. For me to be successful in the garden, I have to have drip irrigation or soaker hoses installed and on a water timer. Otherwise the garden doesn't get enough water. Fortunately drippers and timers aren't so hard to set up.
Anyways, I think this is a great beginner book. Gardening really has a learning curve, and each season has its successes and failures. For example, I can't seem to grow zucchinnis, while other gardeners find them both easy and over-productive. But I grew melons this year and some of them tasted WONDERFUL. Others were just ok, though I was happy to get them from my yard rather than the store.
09-08-2008, 05:42 PM
Territorial Seed also used to carry a book called Gardening in the Pacific Northwest by Steve Soloman, although I didn't see it the last time I was on their website. It's a good book. I like Territorial, too. Their seeds are a little more expensive, but their advice in their catalogue is good and they are honest about what does and does not produce here. Another good one, although for fruit is Raintree Nursery in Washington. Trees take a few years to produce, but berries are almost instant gratification.
Here's what I did to rehab my garden area: First I laid down clear plastic sheeting and anchored it so it wouldn't blow away. Then after all the vegetation under had DIED, I dug the ground up and added compost and greensand. I raked it into raised beds and left about 2' between paths. I do not use mulch because of slugs, earwigs and pillbugs, all of which LOVE mulch. I just let the grass grow back and keep it tidy with a rechargeable weedwacker.
I use dolomite for calcium, kelp and fish fertilizer. Not too expensive, really, for the produce I get out of my garden. Really the only big expense was the tall fence I put up to keep the deer and turkeys out.
09-08-2008, 05:50 PM
Grow boxes will make it expensive, by the way.
The only equipment you need to do a household garden are a very sharp shovel, a good quality trowel, and in my opinion, a rechargeable weed wacker. If you use the plastic first and then create raised beds, weeds aren't much of a problem at all. It will take several weeks for the earthworms to come back, though (the ground gets hot and they move on temporarily).
Portland does freeze, but you can prepare at least a few beds now, before the rains set in and put in spinach and oriental greens, kale and turnips. There are also some winter hardy lettuces, but you really need to hurry for those. About April you should be able to sneak some peas into the same garden beds but wait until you have about 10 days with no rain before you dig up the rest of the garden.
Alternatively, order online now or wait about 3 more weeks and go up to Raintree Nursery and buy some berry bushes. October is a great time to plant those.
09-08-2008, 08:12 PM
Petaltothemetal - Does that mean that October is a good month to replant berry bushes as well? I have some Gooseberry and currant bushes that need to be moved. Do you use clear plastic to kill grass? Wouldn't black be better? I sit on 2/3 acre prairie and have a hard time killing that to make more room for vegetables.
what is this using clear plastic to kill grass technique?
09-10-2008, 11:54 AM
Thanks saxmaam for posting the list to Square Foot Gardening. I think I used to have the original book, but I don't know where it is (that's what happens when you move 6 times in 10 years!). I bought it again.
09-18-2008, 01:50 PM
Well, I'm a little late replying to the plastic questions! I like clear because you can see what's happening underneath. It heats up very fast and you can use the same plastic later for frost shields! You can either drape it over hoops or a piece of fence roll and secure it (I've used purchased clips and also good quality clothesline clips) loosely, leaving some air space in case it heats up or you can secure it tightly and slash the plastic uniformly with maybe 2" slashes every 6" or so near the top to let heat out. For killing grass you lay the plastic down flat on the grass and secure the edges with rocks, pins, earth staples, fence posts or whatever you have. Don't need to get fancy because you'll be pulling it up in about 2 weeks in warm weather or maybe 4-5 weeks in cooler weather.
For transplanting berry bushes, I'd wait until the leaves were gone or nearly gone, indicating the plant had gone into dormancy. Usually mid to late October about where you are and November for me further south.
09-18-2008, 11:38 PM
Thanks bunches, petal, I will rest up for October!:D
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