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Question of the Week: How does your garden grow?

2009 August 24

Summer is the time for flowers, fruits, and garden vegetables. Share ways you garden that reduce environmental effects…  more compost, less chemicals, more rain water, less irrigation, and others.

How does your garden grow?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

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18 Responses leave one →
  1. Gretta Luedeke permalink
    August 24, 2009

    Instead of throwing away our fruits and veggies in the trash, we have a compost pile in our backyard. Recycle those nutrients!!

  2. Linda permalink
    August 24, 2009

    I grow using organic methods; yard waste and kitchen scraps go into a compost heap that turns it all into “garden gold”. Most of my plantings are in small ground-level beds (for the roses and rosemary) or raised beds or containers for various herbs and flowers; catnip to keep the feline of the house happy, lavender and carnations to keep me happy, and one tomato plant and (I hope!) a late planting of bell peppers to keep my table happy. The raised beds and containers are a wonderful way to garden in challenging circumstances; I only have to enrich the soil in the containers, rather than trying to bring up the fertility of my entire yard. Our place used to be cotton fields, so soil fertility and health is a real question, even after all these years. Also, I have limited energy and time; tending containers and raised beds makes it easier on me, as there isn’t as much bending and no where near as many weeds to pull; pruning and harvesting are a snap, too. The containers also help me conserve water — not as big an issue this year, thank goodness, as we’ve had buckets of rain. Thankfully, *drainage* is also enhanced in a well designed container… My husband appreciates the raised beds and containers too; there’s no chance of mistaking them for “just more of the lawn” and they mean less for him to mow.

  3. BOB permalink
    August 24, 2009

    I do compost and all my garden clippings and acceptable kitchen scraps go into this pile EXCEPT any fruit and much of the kitchen scraps go into my worm pile.

    I took out a bush and dug the hole a little bigger (about 3 X 3 and 3 feet deep and bought some worms and put them in. Now they multiply about 10 times each year and I take 1/3 the worm pile and put them in the garden then fill the hole with dirt, compost, a little manure and let them do their thing, This keeps the worm pile going and the worms I take out and out in the garden do a lot of good aeriating.

  4. Susan permalink
    August 24, 2009

    In Portland, OR:

    Compost kitchen scraps
    Collect rain water in barrels
    No chemical fertalizer (random applications of organic fertilizer)
    Raised beds
    Grow stuff that we eat everyday:
    Tomatoes
    Basil
    Parsley
    Peppers
    Cucumbers
    Lettuce
    Summer squash
    SpinachBlueberries
    Raspberries
    Strawberries
    YUM!!!

  5. Allie permalink
    August 24, 2009

    My garden is tall and weedy right now. It’s a new place to me and I’m not sure what was planted before. I’ve watched to see what sprouts grow into what plant in my wild garden only pulling the weeds when I am certain the are not a flower or fruit. It’s been a growing year for me and my garden.

  6. Sebastian Eilert permalink
    August 24, 2009

    On its own… we are blessed in South Florida that irrigation is really not a need. Even though many projects incorporate large turf areas that require lots of water for irrigation, the alternative does work quite well here.

    My yard still has some turf but is mostly filled with native vegetation and fruit trees. The later has been of particular interest and as of last year literally bears fruit. Avocado, Mango (3x), starfuit, Limes, Anon and dragon fruit are currently alive and well. There is also a passion fruit vine and some hers. The alter will not grow well until the brunt of the rainy season is over.

  7. August 24, 2009

    We use two different compost piles at our house; one in the garden area for the grass and leaves and any extra food scraps after the “worms” have been feed…
    And the other is a “movable worm composter” that winters inside and then going back out in the spring time…
    This is the first year. that we’ve only used the “worm tea” to fertilizer everything, both inside and out…
    (The veggies and berries, fruit trees, inside and outside plants and the grass)
    And are loving it and I even get free worms for fishing….
    As for our outside watering we are working on being 100% “rain water; that we should be by next season. We had a lot of recorder breaking hot days this yr, so it was an eye opener for me and a lot of other in my area this summer. So I’ll be installing more rain water tanks, to be more prepared …

  8. Jackenson Durand permalink
    August 24, 2009

    We try to let our garden grows by the same nature that they was creating, since Earth evolution.
    Our garden has been helping by the rain, sustainability and the sun effects on eco-environmental systematic. That is means, less irrigation and fewer chemicals.
    Recycling plastic waste and other contaminate unusable items from our garden.
    For this summer we only grow flowers because of our little opportunity and house condition area.

  9. C L permalink
    August 24, 2009

    I read this question as more open-ended than the previous entries.
    While I do compost on a daily basis, make and use compost tea for fertilizing, have rainbarrels for rainwater runoff to use for watering and use only eco-friendly or home brew products for pesticides, fungicides and miticides I have found one thing that really helps my garden grow. I use mulch as opposed to rocks in my flower gardens, but more importantly I have made use of a perennial, low growing groundcover called lysmachia that looks incredible (very lime green and vivid) in my garden that often draws compliments and requests for clippings. I live in Minnesota, zone 4. I have never lost any of it due to winter kill and it comes back better each year. I don’t find it to be unmanageable and although it has healthy growth, it doesn’t grow like a weed! It holds the moisture in the garden so I water less. I can pour on the compost tea and it doesn’t affect the leaves, throw shovels full of compost on top of it and it grows through and eventually eliminates the need for replenishing mulch because it becomes thick enough to eliminate weeds. When I’m ready to put a new perennial in the bed I just tear (yup, I said “tear”) up a portion, plant it in another bed and go on with my planting. It fills in around the new perennial and begins growing in the new location also. Granted, in some areas of the country it may have uninhibited growth and be a problem, but it’s worked successfully for me in Minnesota.
    In my vegetable beds you can’t beat the grass clippings over old, recycled newspapers. The grass clippings work like a charm and you get rid of your newspapers at the same time. The combination works to fertilize and retain moisture.
    We have had some weird weather for our area this year, but for some reason it just can’t ever be bad enough not to want to garden! It must be an illness I have!
    We are building a home in northern Minnesota (north of the Twin Cities 80 miles) in the spring of 2010 and we are having a greywater recovery system installed. I’ll let you know how that works for us and if our gardens flourish as a result. I’ll use lysmachia and all the same gardening methods, but the greywater system will be new to me.

  10. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    August 25, 2009

    I live in a condo complex so I don’t have my own yard. But I am a member of the Homeowner’s Association Board of Directors and landscaping is a major issue for us because the complex is set in a small valley in a parklike setting with a creek running by. We are doing several things. (1) the landscapers have put down a thick layer of multch for the trees and flower beds. (2) We have put our irrigation system on SMART controllers and have ajusted the sprinkler heads so water only goes on the landscape and not onto hard surfaces where it can run into the storm drain system. (3) we use natural pest controls to the greatest degree possible. (4) We are also a “NO PETS ALLOWED” community which further helps conserve the landscape. We are now working with the water district to bring recycled water to the complex for irrigation. Best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  11. Johnny R. permalink
    August 25, 2009

    I once grew a little garden on my Uncle’s land, but it was sold long ago, and ego games kept me from gardening in the commune where I lived for eight years; and there are millions of others who would love to grow their own food, but they are landless and poor, living from paycheck to paycheck, not realizing that it is the relentlessly growing human population that crowds them out of any chance to live in peace and balance on their own land. But most of those who own their land smugly ignore the relationship between overcrowding and poverty, because a growing population provides the low wage labor that creates the wealth for some and poverty for most. Otherwise, everyone would have to share equally to survive — horrors ( ! )

  12. BewaterWise Rep permalink
    August 27, 2009

    I use native plants in my garden and implement water conservation techniques like xeriscaping. I make sure to:
    * Use less-than-thirsty plants.
    * Keep turf grass to a minimum.
    * Group plants thoughtfully.
    * Water plants only when needed.
    These help in maintaining a beautiful garden while I also save water. You can find more gardening tips at http://bit.ly/3YSpq2

  13. Arul karthi permalink
    August 27, 2009

    I have the small garden in my home

    * we give to the plant natural organic
    * we give to plant mean it grow well
    * we save the money also

  14. Nick permalink
    August 28, 2009

    In the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix, I plant in sunken beds, have about 900 gallons of rainwater capacity, create compost tea and BD500 microorganism soil spray, keep a watchful eye on successes and failures, and most of all, eat everything I can and share the rest.

    Mucho mucho mucho mulch here in the desert. Close to 100% rainwater use (again, we are a desert) Lastly, everything in my garden, including trees, serve more than one purpose. The sunflowers shade in the afternoon, feed birds and myself. The tepary beans shade the soil, feed my belly and provide Nitrogen to the soil. My plum tree gives me and my neigbors fruit, shades my rainwater tank and shades the west side of the house.
    oh yeah, and in Phoenix…we can have something growing ALL year. let the jealousy begin! If you can be jealous of 110 degree days for a couple months…yuk

  15. Helen permalink
    August 30, 2009

    I live in a closed complex community, so I do not have my own individual garden, but we have a compost site where all the tenants contribute and not only are we doing our part in saving the environment, but it is a great way of building community spirit.

  16. Kinshuk permalink
    September 16, 2009

    Well I have no garden but lots of plants in flower pots among them some are ornamental plants and remaining are of roses, china roses, etc. I never use chemical fertilizers apart from this I use compost made by biodegradable products obtain from kitchen sometime cow dung and use stored water instead of fresh water for them.

  17. Kat permalink
    December 28, 2009

    Gardening is so much fun. Here are some great resources for organic seeds:
    http://www.wheatgrasskits.com
    http://www.genericseeds.com
    http://www.handypantry.com

  18. Duncan permalink
    January 16, 2010

    Why my garden is hydroponic, it is interesting that you can get organic certified hydroponic nutrients too.

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