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Garden Organization (and keeping on top of things)


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Relatively speaking, I'm a pretty new gardener...I've been doing it for about seven years now, but I am still entirely novice and feel so.  :-D  I can plant things and keep weeds down and harvest things, but the finer nuances tend to overwhelm me. All the details that make a garden really FLOURISH instead of just surviving-- periodic fertilizing. Soil testing. Amendments (and proper timing for them). Pruning (even tomato plants). Staking certain flowers. Adding netting before fruit is ripe. Knowing when to add certain things (like diatomaceous earth) in relation to when the bugs need the most deterrence. How in the world does one get this all figured out and not forget about things, and do it before it's too late, etc? 


I'm of the type that gets overwhelmed by all the things to remember, so I end up not doing them.  I've been trying really hard to overcome that this year and I am definitely doing it better than ever before...but still a long ways to go. I am learning some through experience, of course, but when your trial and error cycle only comes once a year, I get a little frantic to learn it NOW, before I have to wait a whole year to succeed at [whatever issue] is a problem.


Anyway.  Tips? Tricks? I sure wish I had learned this stuff as a kid and just did it without thinking.  :-D



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Some of it has to do with where you live and how good your soil already is. For instance, I live in the midwest, and our weather is never the same two years in a row--some years it's so inconsistent you'd think we'd moved to a different climate. My parents live in northern PA, and they have a lot more consistency. They also have fewer bug pests and MUCH better soil. Unfortunately, they have a shorter growing season and more four-footed pests that step right over sensible fences even in town. 


For fertilizer, we love Gardentone, and they have a tomato variety as well. It's easy and doesn't burn plants. We compost right on top of the garden all winter and then plow it in. If you want to get fancy, put up a little barrier over a portion of the garden so that you can easily stir your compost every few days. It will get better results, but the dumping on the garden all winter really helps too. 


If your soil is poor, you might have a great garden every other year if you don't amend the soil (or even if you do). It's just kind of how it goes. It will get better over time! 


Don't plant everything in the same place every year--some pests live in the soil but are plant-specific. Moving the plants around makes them less likely to be a problem. (I hope I am explaining that correctly--I could be combining more than one idea that isn't quite right. I know that we've had trouble if we don't rotate crops.)


Two-footed pests--if you plant or expect small amounts of something you are particularly fond of, be sure to tell your kids to stay out of it, lol! Nothing like having the kids have a "snack" while they are out playing, and boom, there goes your side dish for supper. Or having your 5 y.o. take a bit out of three different tomatoes while not finishing any of them. :-) 


Those are my lazy gardener tips. 

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