Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Homestead Tips on Tuesday: Earth Friendly Gardening for Your Backyard

Why do folks garden? The simple answer is, to provide themselves and their families with better quality food for their table. So why then, in our attempts to provide better food do we include things in our gardens that shouldn't be there? No, I am not talking about the plants..... I am talking about the garden structures themselves and the techniques used to grow the plants.

Where does your fertilizer come from? Do you use pesticides? Have you ever given consideration to the amount of plastic in your garden? These are all things that you should give a little more thought to if you plan to or already garden. You might be surprised that your valiant attempts to grow a bounty of produce is actually counterproductive to WHY you’re doing it


1. Natural vs Synthetic fertilizers - Yes you want to grow as much as you can, as big as you can, but at what price?!? Synthetic fertilizers deliver precise nutrients to the soil and act on soil immediately, but what about the long term negatives? Synthetic fertilizers destroy beneficial microorganisms and leach into groundwater.


So you should buy organic fertilizers then, right? Maybe not..... Here is some food for thought.... When you buy your organic fertilizer at the store what does it come in? A plastic bag. How did it get to the store? On a truck that used oil and gas to get it there. Well then what should you do? Why not start your own compost pile to create rich soil or make a poo tea to fertilize with. Trust me, if you don't have your own critters (NOT dog or cat poo) I bet you could talk a farmer into giving you a scoop of cow, horse, rabbit or other lovely poo you could use to make your tea.


2.  Pesticides - There is nothing like dumping chemicals on your veggies to keep them free from bugs nibbling them. (Note sarcasm) Sure you can grow beautiful crops, but at what cost? Pesticides do kill "pests" but they also kill none targeted insects as well, like bees. Bees are vital in pollinating that lovely garden your growing!!! Let's not undermine our gardening by eliminating a vital part just because a few leaves here and there might get nibbled by "pests." There are many natural folk remedies you can try in order to combat "pests."  Do they work? Some do indeed.

3. Weed barriers, boarders and trellises - Sure you can buy all of these items in plastic for your garden, but why? While weed barriers containing plastic will help control weeds, it will also limit the amount of water and nutrients that make it to the root systems of your plants! Why not do a little recycling and use things like paper and cardboard as barriers. We us pizza boxes to line new raised garden beds.

Plastic borders may look nice but again, why not use something more natural? Rocks can make a beautiful boarders as well. You can use untreated lumber, as well as bricks to make garden bed edges or to line paths. And why invest in plastic trellises for your vertical veggies when you can use bamboo and twine, both of which are more natural and considerably cheaper! You can also use wood and cattle panels to make beautiful arches for you plants to climb. We use a metal arch way our neighbors were going to toss when they moved. Be creative in re-purposing items for your garden this year!

We all know why we garden. Now it is time to think a little more about HOW we go about doing it. I hope you all have wonderful bounties this year with lots of left overs to can for the winter months!



**Homestead Tips on Tuesday is a weekly series where we help you learn skills, tips, and trick to help you on your journey of homesteading. Many places post list of things you should/could do as far as homesteading skill, but I feel lists are at times overwhelming and can make people give up before they even start. So every Tuesday I share one thing for you to try or consider. I hope you join us every Tuesday and I would love to hear about your adventures with each weeks topic.**

51 comments:

  1. Clearly I'm five years old because I laughed at poo tea :) I really can't wait to one day have a garden (and compost heap!) of my own! Your pictures are so beautiful. It must be so nice to be able to step outside and go shopping!

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  2. Great ideas! I never use pesticides in my garden exactly because of the reasons you mentioned. They kill bees and other bugs and insects that are very helpful in developing your garden.

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    1. Not to mention, well at least here, the country kids and I like getting out our field guide and IDing bugs!

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  3. Good tips/reminders..... I am always surprised.... and disappointed when I hear of people enthusiastically talking about their wonderful garden... only to also hear about this or that fertilizer or pesticide.... I often wonder WHY they do the gardening in the first place, since you can buy the same unhealthy food right in the grocery store....although I know some people garden just for the fun or exercise, also. Thank you for posting. :)

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    1. I guess it is the I want more, bigger, better then the neighbors kind of thing. Maybe some folks just don't care, which is sad.

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  4. Hopping over from Pin It Monday! These are some great tips, and most things I didn't think about before. I'm such a newbie to gardening. I'll definitely be looking for other choices than plastic when lining the garden from the rest of the yard. Thanks!

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    1. So glad you popped over! Hope you have wonderful success with your garden!

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  5. hi there! oh how i'd love for you to join in Fishtail Cottage's Garden party (begins May 1st)...hope to see you! xoox

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  6. The best dinner conversations at our house always include talk of chicken poo and bun (rabbit) poo. If you can't have chickens or don't want them, then having a rabbit is where it's at to get some fertilizer. I talked to a wise farmer once. He said, "If you don't use pesticides you'll have bugs. If you do use pesticides, you'll have bugs." I've learned to plant 20% more to feed some bugs. Succession planting really helps if some bug decimates your crop. They usually move on within a few weeks and you can replant.

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    1. Always have to give the bugs their cut! LOL

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    2. Great tips, Everybody! Talking about pesticide and produce, a friend ("from old country") once said,"If even bugs won't eat it, why would we?"

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  7. I love this article. You make some great points about organic gardening. I love the idea of recycling pizza boxes to line your raised beds. We are big fans of composting here, not just for the garden, but because it helps reduce our household waste as well.

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    1. So glad you stopped by and enjoyed reading. I love hearing back from folks!

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  8. I have a compost tumbler that saves the run off to be used as compost tea. My houseplants love it as much as my edibles outside

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    1. I have a tumbler too.... it is called my hubby! LOL Your right though, that is a great idea!!!

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  9. I had my first garden last year and didn't use any pesticides.

    How do you keep the critters from getting into everything?

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    1. LOL Who says I do!?!? Trust me, nature (and our chickens and ducks) get their fair share! LOL

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  10. Great post and you are right there are so many natural alternatives to make your garden chemical free. stopping by fron Real Food Friday.

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  11. I really enjoyed the photos of your garden, especially the ducks :) Thanks for making us think about the HOW of what we do and for linking up to Real Food Fridays. Hope to see you next week.

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  12. What a great post. I totally agree that we need to be aware about what we bring into our gardens. That's one reason we began homesteading, I wanted to know what I was feeding my kids. Thanks for sharing at Green Thumb Thursday!

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    1. Thanks for coming by Tanya. I could agree more... we start with the best intentions when we garden and we need to not loose sight of that in our haste to make it a success!

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  13. This is a great post and I love your garden. I agree and think education is key. A lot of new gardeners think fertilizing with chemicals is the way to garden. Thank you for sharing at Green Thumb Thursday!

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    1. It is so nice to meet like minded gardeners! I agree, educating folks is important.

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  14. Some great ideas! Gardening is certainly a great way to ensure we are getting real food and we can control what goes into it and on it. Pesticides are toxic and as you said there are many great natural alternatives to chemical fertilizer and pesticides. I have shared on google & pinned. Thanks for posting on Real Food Fridays Blog Hop. Happy gardening!

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  15. You have made me want to grow something!! Someday I will tackle gardening...the desire is there. Thanks for sharing on the Thursday Blog hop!!

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    1. Start small.... use a 5 gallon bucket and grow some tomatoes!

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  16. Great tips! I love my garden. Thanks so much for sharing with the Let's Get Real party.

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  17. LOVE this post! Thanks for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist. YOU have been featured @ Back to the Basics this week!

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing with Wednesday's Adorned From Above Link Party.
    Debi and Charly

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  19. Really enjoyed this post! I read your blog and follow the new posts when I receive notices from facebook. I have just recently started a homesteading blog myself that is located at southernurbanhomesteader.wordpress.com and would appreciate it if you could check it out.
    Thank you,
    Brenda at Southern Urban Homesteader

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    1. It's nice to know someone reads my stuff! LOL I'll pop over and take a peek (just as soon as I get my darn country kids to finally go to sleep!)

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  20. Great ideas! I will have to give some of them a try this year!

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  21. OMGosh YES! I love this post - it's a good idea for all of us to stop & think about how we garden. Thanks so much for sharing! (Visiting from Tuesdays At Our Home Link Party)

    ~Taylor-Made Homestead~
    Texas

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    1. Thank you. It is nice to know others value gardening without so many "modern" conveniences.

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  22. your garden all looks so inviting (and edible!) It's lovely to see somebody who practices what they preach! thanks for sharing with us at our #OTM link up ~ Leanne :)

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    1. Sadly, we had to add a fence around it last year because the ducks and chickens when nuts and ate everything. I don't think it is as pretty now :( but we still practice the same principles.

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  23. You raise some really important points in this post and have shared some great tips too! Sharing your post. Thank you so much for bringing it to the Hearth and Soul Hop.

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  24. so many awesome ideas! thanks for these :) I live in an apartment so I'll keep this for when I buy a house! Currently , I just try to keep some plants inside for air quality and brightening up rooms, and a few outside like wildflowers and some salad greens :P

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    1. Thank you and I hope you get some land (no matter how much)soon!

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  25. You make some great points here. Thanks for sharing on the Happiness is Homemade party.

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    1. Well thank you! And thanks for popping by!!

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