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Organic Gardening Blog

Welcome to my organic gardening blog. At certain times of year I post gardening tips weekly and other times much less frequently. Sign up for my ebook over to the right (or near the very bottom of the page if you're on mobile) if you want to get my best stuff :)

Kelp for nutrient dense food
Kelp fertilizer helps grow nutrient dense food

I'm going to go beyond basic soil management, such as watering and mulching, to briefly cover what comes after that on the journey to nutrient dense food.

Here are 3 steps you might look into after having already become comfortable with the basics:

Tulip Drawing

Two very cool things have happened this week, and I'm pretty much freaking out with excitement:

  1. Winter became spring for a few minutes and then turned into summer (we had picnics outside every day this week!)
  2. The Smiling Gardener Academy launched yesterday (more people have joined than I had anticipated and everything seems to be going great so far!)

Vegetable Gardening In Nepal
Growing food takes patience - I wonder how long this took (I believe this is Nepal)

Do you ever feel like you'll never grow a perfect 12 brix tomato, or have much success at nutrient-dense vegetable gardening at all?

It took me a long time to get past that feeling, and sometimes I still experience it even though I've been at it for a long time - and I would say I'm a pretty decent vegetable gardener.

Soil Nutrient Testing

My first year as an professional organic gardener wasn't always easy.

My mind was full of all this incredible information I had learned studying organic gardening the previous year, but I didn't yet have the experience, especially with more advanced things like soil nutrient testing and fixing problem lawns.

I had plenty of experience as more of a conventional gardener, but that is quite different. Now I had (and wanted) to do things without any chemicals.

Plant Diseases And Pests
Plant diseases and human diseases have similar causes

When I first started teaching organic gardening, I was told not to draw parallels between plant diseases and pests in the garden and human diseases, for fear of offending people.

It was one thing to teach people that plant diseases attack only unhealthy plants, but to hear most human diseases attack unhealthy people can be just too much to take.

This is especially true since most of us have someone close who has had one of the major diseases, and it could come across that I was faulting them for getting the disease.

There are many pesticide side effects, but an important one that a lot of people don't know about is the effect of pesticides on non-target organisms.

Is Lime Sustainable Fertilizer?

Mining limestone is big business, but does it give us a sustainable fertilizer?

The world's biggest limestone quarry is right near the top of the state of Michigan on Lake Huron. It's 7000 acres, roughly half the size of Manhattan.

I'm not sure how much of the material from this particular quarry goes toward agriculture, but lime is one of the most important fertilizers in organic gardening.

This photosynthesis simple explanation is good for gardeners to understand, just so we know the very basics of how a plant eats and what we can do to help.

Garden centers occasionally sell home soil test kits, but are they accurate or are you better off sending your soil test sample to a soil lab?

Define humus: The organic component of soil, formed by the decomposition of leaves and other plant material by soil microorganisms.

That's according to Google and it's basically accurate, although if we're getting nit-picky:

  • Humus isn't the only "organic component of soil"
  • It's not just leaves and plant material (it's anything that was once living)
  • Insects and animals are involved in this decomposition process, too.