How does your garden grow?

Welcome to Health and Natural Ways blog site!  We’ll start today with a discussion on gardening.  Its now Fall as of September 23, 2011.   Do you have any plans for a fall garden?   You can “still” get your garden ready in time for winter season.  There are so many surprises waiting for you as a new gardener!  Last fall I started my first winter garden.  I did the research for what was good to plant for a winter garden and purchased seeds.  I planted carrots, various lettuces, broccoli, beets, cabbage and a few others.   I prepared the garden first by pulling out any unwanted plants (weeds of old veges from the summer)  I have found some of the best organic fertilizers are Gardenville Soil Conditioner or general fertilizer, found at only stores that handle organics, such as Marshall Grain Feed Store in Fort Worth, Texas  http://www.marshalgrain.com.  Also, every good gardener needs to keep on hand a few large bags of dried molasses.  You cannot believe how green, lush and full your plants and grass will be.  Use the dried molasses  over your garden and lawn.  It will make the friendly microbes in the dirt grow and they will eat any unwanted red ants at the same time feed your grass or your garden very very well!  So, back to the winter garden prep:  break up the dirt.  If its not soft and easy to work in you need to mix in some light mulch and compost , organic of course, and also just plain potting soil (organic) will give it a lift.  Generously sprinkle the dirt with dried molasses.  If you have any crawling creatures that concern you, throw out the diatimatious earth over all and let this sit for a few days.  Then come back and rake and loosen the dirt, form your rows (look at your seed package for directions on distance, but generally about a foot apart will do).   Plant a few seeds every foot or so on each row.  Mark down on paper what you have planted and water lightly but well so as not to stir up your seeds and ruin what you just planted!  They need time to get their feet in the dirt!  So, high sprinkling is best.   Through the winter I had large dark green leafy veges that were so hardy they made it through the snow and ice we had here in Texas.  My carrots, broccoli and cabbage all three made it.  No bother with bugs and naturally controlling pests in the winter.  You’ll enjoy!  Be sure to read sites like http://www.dirtdoctor.com for many organic gardening  tips on everything from what to plant, companion planting, composting, keeping critters at bay naturally, etc.    Just finished the Spring and Summer season of gardening.  There was a lot to learn this season as all the others.   I learned first hand about companion gardening.  It is ultra important to know what plants go with what plants so as not to impede the development of your plants and fruiting.   I had learned when my cucumbers would not fruit!  They vined and flowered, for several months, but no fruit.  Then  I got out my book on companion gardening and learned that you cannot plant a fragrant vege next to them.  So, my beautiful 4′ tall by 4′ wide dill plant had to go!  My cilantro had to go!  my squash plant had to go!  To complicate it further, I had planted peppers and turnip greens and broccoli, they all had to go because they were attracting hoards of beetles!  So, it left me with cucumbers, tomatoes, beets and later my okra plants.  All of the last ones I kept thrived well, but the cucumbers took off and were so bountiful I could hardly keep up with picking them.  I had about 150 cucumbers in my 5′ x 20′ above the ground garden!  It was so hot here in Texas the tomatoes would not bloom and fruit – I held out to the very end and pulled them up (end of August).  Now, still enjoying my okra plants.  My freezer is full of freshly picked okra from my organic garden.  Also, an added feature of this summer’s garden experience. . . frogs.  Had those great little guys all around the house.  They loved the shade of my cucumbers but I had to pull up the vines alas and kept the greens at the other end of the garden for their shelter and added protection until the drought and heat lifted.

Natures Sunshine Herbs

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