Joe Lamp'l checks up on the newly planted organic garden, and shows you how to bets care for your garden by adding compost.
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Welcome back to fresh from the garden, I'm Joe Lamp’l. Today, I'm talking about organic gardening. I set aside this part of the garden as an experiment in organic gardening. So far, I’ve made the beds and I’ve added the compost and I’ve planted four main crops, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash. All of these other plants are just companions to attract the good bugs or repel or confuse the bad bugs. It’s been a few weeks so let’s check on the progress.
The plants in my organic garden had begun to take off. Most of them were planted as seedlings so they’re growing quickly. These beds are really starting to fill in and I can certainly smell the scented geranium and the mint. Earlier in the show, I talked about the importance of compost in the role of organic gardening and I added a layer of compost when I tilled. Now, I'm ready to add another layer of compost to the top of these beds.
Adding composts prevents weeds but it does something even more important. I didn’t add it before because it might have kept the seeds from coming up.
Composts on the surface of the garden will drip nutrients into the soil just like a drip coffee maker perks into a pot. Each time it rains, more nutrients will be carried into the upper root zone.
Tea time in the garden is not what you think. There are no dainty cups or flowered table cloths around here. Garden tea or compost tea is liquid fertilizer. That’s made up of compost and water but you can also add bone meal or blood meal to the mix even the newer. This has been soaking for about a week and it’s ready use. Now, I use compost tea in the garden by sprinkling a little over each plant about once a week to replace synthetic liquid fertilizer.
To make compost tea, place one part manure or compost in a piece of cheese cloth and tie it up with a string then place it in the bottom of a five gallon bucket, fill the bucket with three parts water and let the mixture stip for 24 hours. The tea is then ready to use.
It’s been three weeks since I had a compost to the top of all these beds and the garden is really looking good but to keep it looking good, you need to keep to constantly inspect your plants for diseases and catch them early before they become a problem. Now, there’s four types of diseases that can affect your plants, fungus, bacteria, virus, and nematodes. Now, some of these can be treated with synthetics but the organic gardener needs to try to prevent them.
There are only a few fungus side and bacteria sides available to organic gardeners. Some common types are mix, lime sulfur and copper sprays. Be sure to read the instructions carefully before using any type of chemical treatment, organic or synthetic.
Viruses can spread real quickly in your garden. If you suspect that you have a plant with a virus, you need to remove it and destroy it as quickly as possible because there are no chemicals controls. Now, symptoms of viruses include stunted plants or molted and discolored leaves and poor fruit quality. Early, I mentioned nematodes as a disease and there really not disease but they’re always included in that grouping. What they really are microscopic worms that live in the soil and they feed on the plant roots cutting off the water and nutrients supply to the rest of the plant causing it to wilt and eventually die. Now unfortunately, there are no chemical controls available to the homeowner for this problem.
One way to reduce the chances of diseases entering your garden is to make sure you're not the carrier. Bacteria, fungus and viruses can enter your garden on the bottoms of your shoes or your hands. So, good way to cut down on the chances of soil born diseases entering your garden is to use a bleach spray solution on the bottom of your shoes.
Mix one part bleach to nine parts water in the plastic spray bottle and label it. Each time you enter the garden, spray a little of the bleach mixture on your shoes. This will kill any diseases that may be on them.
Another way to prevent the spread of diseases is to use the bleach spray on your tools and anti-bacterial lotion on your hands. This won't kill all harmful diseases but it will keep down the spread of germs especially if you’ve had sick plants in your garden.
Water is one of the easiest ways to transfer disease from plant to plant. So, if you can't avoid working in the garden whenever the foliage is wet but if you have to just be sure to dry your hands before you move on to the next plant. One good thing to do is to water early in the morning at ground level so the foliage has a chance to dry out before night or use hoses so the foliage never even gets wet.
So far, I’ve added no synthetic chemicals to my organic garden and I made sure my harvest techniques follow the same rule. When picking vegetables, always put them in a clean basket or bucket, make sure your hands are clean and wash your harvest under clear cold water. This is the first of a lot more harvesting to come but overall I’d say this organic garden experience is a success. Now, it’s a bit more labor intensive and the beds are laid out a little differently than you might imagine but the results are definitely worth it.
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