In An Organic Vegetable Garden, Insects & Animals Are Our Friends

Organic Vegetable Garden Sheet Mulch
Here's the beginning of my sheet mulch - newspaper and manure

This week, I started laying the groundwork for an organic vegetable garden.

I've been digging out some grass for the beds (6-8 inches below soil level in some spots to put in a good, deep path) and sheet mulching other areas right on top of the grass.

I'll post a video tomorrow to show where I'm at.


Announcing A New Project, Because, Well, Spring Is Here

The Soil Food Web - Organic Gardening

After spending so much time writing the organic gardening book, I know I should take the time to promote it.

But it looks like I'll have to put that on hold because I have the coolest idea for a new project, and spring is here, and well. I'll explain it in the video.


The Organic Gardening Blog Is Back With Gardening Advice Galore!

Old Organic Gardening Blog

But it's spring and the bulbs are up, so we're all feeling the itch and I'm ready to get gardening and blogging again. You can check in here each week for organic gardening tips and lots of info on growing vegetables. I'll have some videos for you soon, too.

Today, I have 3 quick notes:


Planting Trees And Shrubs - Determine The Correct Planting Width

Planting Trees And Shrubs - Width
I didn't have a planting width photo, but I thought this tree was cool

Planting trees and shrubs is easy once you know a few principles. I know you want to give them the best chance at flourishing that you can.

You’ve just spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on these plants, so it makes sense to spend a little bit of time planting them correctly in your organic garden.

When I was a young landscaper, I planted a lot of trees. If the root ball was 36 inches wide, I probably chose a planting width of about 40 inches.


Planting Balled And Burlapped Trees - Don't Make These Mistakes

Planting Balled And Burlapped Trees

Planting balled and burlapped trees is easy once you know how to do it. I have already talked about Planting Trees In Pots, and the technique is the same with b&b.

The worst is when the burlap is wrapped around the trunk and tied tightly with string. This may be okay at the nursery, but not in the ground.

Burlap is often treated with copper sulfate or other synthetics because it stays intact longer and keeps a tight root ball. We don’t want that in our organic gardening arsenal.


Planting Trees In Pots - Don't Make The Same Mistakes I Did

Planting trees in pots is easy once you know how to do it. But should you leave the pot on? The garden center may tell you to leave the fiber pot on when you plant. They may tell you to take off the lip and the bottom, but that’s generally all.


Using Bone Meal For Plants? That’s Risky - Use This Instead

Bone Meal For Plants
Fungi magnified 2500 times - cool, right?

What you use instead of bone meal for plants depends on how much effort you want to put into this, but the cost isn’t much and neither is the time.

There are the 3 products I generally use when planting in my organic garden.

I've already discussed the risks of using bone meal.

These alternatives are in order of importance, in my opinion, so if you just want to keep it simple, use the first.

Update: 3 years after writing this article, I decided to start selling these products, since I've used them so successfully myself. I've put links to them down below so you can learn more.


Using Bone Meal For Plants? Here Are The Risks

Bone Meal For Plants
"Mad Cow Disease" - Of course we find a way to blame the cows

Using bone meal for plants has been passed down for generations. It is made from ground animal bones and comes in a granular or powder form.

When I did a lot of landscaping as a teenager and in my early 20s, I was using bone meal for almost all of my plantings, but then I learned about the potential risks and studied organic gardening and learned about a few superior products.


Drip Water Irrigation - Is It Appropriate For Your Garden?

Drip water irrigation
A sprinkler is usually much better than drip water irrigation

I've talked about the problems of drip water irrigation before and today I'll talk about what you should use instead.

Why Does Everyone Say to Use Drip Water Irrigation?

It is rare to find criticisms of drip water irrigation other than that they are expensive or that they clog up.


How To Keep Dogs Out Of Flower Beds - 4 Sustainable Methods

How to keep dogs out of flower beds
Heather, Blue and I at our wedding, August 7th, 2010

It's a common problem for gardeners with pets - how to keep dogs out of flower beds. And deer, and cats, and rabbits and moles and voles and on and on.

I have a few gardening tips, and what I really want to do in this blog post is say goodbye to my family dog, Blue.

He passed away last month at about 13 years old, not bad for a good-sized dog. I hadn't spent much time with him over the last few years other than when visiting my parents, as I lived a few thousand miles away, but I'll miss him.


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