Friday, April 17, 2009

Organic Gardening

As the world continues to self-destruct around me, I have changed my priorities drastically over these past two years. Somewhat religiously and politically isolated, I find myself doing my own research rather than relying on mainstream media in order to make decisions for my family that may help us prepare for difficult times ahead.

One thing that has become very important to me is cultivating an organic garden. In the northeast we have always opted for townhouses for the simplicity and affordability and so I always did what I could with herbs and small tomato plants in pots on the patio. Now here in Texas, I have my first real fenced-in yard, perfect for having 2 little boys. Now I can finally have a real garden and I love it. My father has always had a garden, and I can remember my grandfather’s tomato plants looming above my head when I was a child. His father, an immigrant from southern Italy, was also a farmer and set the price for certain vegetables in the market in Boston.

However, my lineage has done nothing to help me so far. The Internet along with clerks at Callaway’s, on the other hand, has helped a lot. I'm well on my way to experiencing William Alexander’s journey in his book, The $64 Tomato, “How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden.” Soil, organic compost, organic fertilizers, “Rabbit Scram” (very pricy concoction containing Coyote urine to scare them away), and beneficial nematodes (very, very pricy but never have to be replaced again) are some of the materials I have used in the garden even before the plants. I am even trying composting at risk of offending neighbors.

Once that was done, I have attempted both store-bought plants and germinating seeds from both small pots indoors and also directly into the soil. I have tried at least one of just about every vegetable I could find. There have been many failures, but this makes me more sure of which techniques I want to use next time around. Finally, things are really coming along nicely. When a neighborhood cat visited my herb garden last week, I found a good non-toxic solution online. Simply grind up lemon rinds and spread them over the area. So far so good, but if he does come back I could be mean and sprinkle some cayenne pepper around.

Lastly, a friend sent me a website for something called, “Square Foot Gardening.” It is worth looking into if you are limited in space or live in an arid region. You can create a pretty nice garden in a 4x4 foot space without soil, and using much less water. I will definitely look into this more for next year. In the mean time, I have asked a neighbor to take me canning with her the next time she goes, because I am going to have to do something with all of those $64 tomatoes when they come in.


  1. I'm considering growing big pots of organic blueberries & strawberries. I might even do Dwarf Lemon & Lime trees.

  2. Great article Jennifer! Can't wait to see your garden! Or eat a salad from it!
    I think I'll go buy some tomato plants today, you have inspired me!