It’s time to get growing! Jackie Marie Beyer, of the Green Organic Garden Podcast, joins us once again for today’s show. Jackie has been podcasting for a little over five years now and she runs a one-woman-show. At the time of this recording, she had single-handedly produced 311 episodes of her podcast, while also working full-time as a teacher.
Jackie had what she describes as a “brown thumb” when she started her podcast. She’s managed to turn that around over the last five years, however, and now she feels confident that she can grow a fair amount of food.
Today, Jackie will share some simple steps that you can take to create a supply of fresh, healthy, organic garden herbs and vegetables. She will explain which vegetables are easy to grow, and she will suggest some of the things you might want to put in your yard or landscape if you’re new to gardening.
Jackie and her husband, Mike, wrote a book called The Organic Oasis Guidebook, which explains how spending much of your time living outdoors is good for you, and good for Mother Nature too. Because what’s good for us is also good for where we live.
In the book, you will find a challenge for new vegetable gardeners.
There are many reasons to grow garden vegetables
Starting a vegetable garden at home will not only give you constant access to a supply of fresh, health-giving greens, it can also save you a lot of money as organic vegetables that are sold at local farmer’s markets are often quite pricey.
Backyard gardening, patio gardening, indoor gardening, and raising food of our own is currently becoming very appealing to more and more of us! So much so that online seed suppliers are battling to keep up with the demand.
Starting with a new garden
If Jackie had to start a new garden now, she would plant one small, deep bed, one larger deep bed, and some kind of fruit.
She would grow carrots, lettuce, and peas outside, planting them in the second week in April. The lettuce should come up quickly, but the carrots could take a little longer. Sugar snap peas grow vertically so they’re nice to plant if you have a smaller area to grow things in.
With lettuce, you have a choice. You can either harvest them whole or you can pick the leaves and they will keep growing. Jackie’s favorite lettuce to grow is black-seeded Simpson. As long as you keep picking them, they will keep on growing until they start to bolt.
She would also plant a cherry tomato plant in a pot.
The great thing about planting certain fruit trees, like raspberry bushes, blueberry bushes, apple trees, peach, and plum trees, is that they will come back year after year. They might need to be cut back a bit, or pruned, but for the most part, they will keep producing more and more as they get older. And it doesn’t take too much effort to care for them.
Berries and cherry tomatoes are very easy to freeze as they don’t have to be cooked beforehand.
The easiest way
If it’s too much work for you to dig up a patch of your sod to make a vegetable garden, you can mark out an area, lay down some newspaper to cover the sod in that area, and soak it with a lot of water. Then place some cardboard on top of the newspaper and cover it with compost, manure, or some very good soil. Within two weeks to a month, you will be able to plant right on top of the sod without having to dig it up. This can save you a lot of back-breaking work.
Talk to your neighbors
Most people are very willing to share their garden knowledge. So talk to your neighbors to find out what they’re growing, and when they plant things.
Planting a border of flowers and herbs around your garden is very pretty to look at, it smells fantastic, and it helps reduce the number of bad pests that would otherwise come into your garden and eat your vegetables.
Planting sunflowers around your vegetables is also a good idea because they attract ants, which eat aphids, so the aphids are more likely to stay away from your food plants.
Some good companion plants are marigolds and nasturtiums.
Remember to always have something blooming in your garden.
Build your soil by planting cover crops
Don’t have to let your bare soil sit for longer than twenty-four hours. You can plant cover crops in a small garden to build your soil if you only want to plant something in a couple of months but you want to dig the bed right now. The cover crop will put nutrients into the soil and you can remove it before it goes to seed, leaving you with a bed full of nutrient-rich soil.
Some good cover-crops are things like clover, buckwheat, sweet potatoes, and radishes.
If you don’t have anything else to plant in their place, you can allow your lettuces go to flower rather than pulling them out.
Links and Resources:
The GREEN Organic Garden Podcast – Check Out Jackie’s FREE Organic Gardening Course!