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Follow our Organic Vegetable Garden: Part 2

June 28, 2011

Driving in my neighborhood the other day, I saw a women tending to her vegetable garden in her front yard and pangs of jealously washed over me.  She looked very intense and had the full gardening gear on.  I just thought, I wish I had more time for gardening!  I think I could spend all my time outdoors playing in dirt.  I drove byagain later in the weekend and her garden looks great! Of course – right? I chalked it all up to the fact (okay big guess) that she doesn’t have little humans demanding her time – even the time she carved out for her garden.

So how can you maintain an organic vegetable garden with little time?  I work at home and decided my quick breaks can be spent in the garden – even my evening “Mommy Breaks”.  With each trip to see what is growing, I decided I will pull out weeds.  Each of these ten or fifteen minute time outs can do wonders.

Jessica's Garden
Freshly planted garden on Memorial Day Weekend

But you can also set up your garden to reduce the weeding chore!  Perform a quick search on “companion planting” to learn about pairing of vegetables so that there is always plant cover and every space is used.  I usually pair a root crop with a plant that has the fruit growing above ground.  For instance, I plant carrots under tomatoes and beets at the base of my squash hills. In raised beds, you can plant your vegetables together closer than what is recommended.

And move away from the old school thinking of planting in rows.  This year, I am trying out something new to create my garden pathways – straw.  I bought a bale of straw at Agway for about $11 and that will cover 500 square feet – clearly enough for me and everyone around me.   Plus, it looks better than anything else I have used in years past. I’m hoping that this all helps in the weeding department this year!

Organic Green Tip: Walk through your garden daily or every other day at a minimum – to check for pests as well as signs of diseases or other problems.  Catching problems early allows you to step in and correct a problem before it becomes severe. Pick off and dispose of diseased leaves during daily inspection tours.  Signs of disease include spotting or yellowing.

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