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24 responses to “Video 1: Your Best Garden Ever”

  1. Paul,

    I like your ideas and I live in the other end of TN. I am new to gardening and have a lot to learn, but I guess the first thing I have to do is find a spot and some how dig it up and getting it ready to plant. Is there an easy way to do that without going out and buying a roto-tiller? i am 73 years old and don’t have much strength left to manually start digging, that’s why I stressed and easy way to dig up a garden spot.

    • Hi Vernon! Great to hear from you. And I totally understand. We do teach a very simple way to prepare garden beds that doesn’t break your back and gets easier and easier every year. Unfortunately it can still be a challenge the very first time you break new ground. But once that initial breaking up of the ground is done it is very easy to maintain. You may want to look into what Robyn wrote in the next comment here about using a no-till method. An alternative to what she shared is to do the same thing only instead of adding soil add 6-8 inches of mulch. Mulching your garden area will encourage worms and other soil biology to loosen the soil for you. It’s a great way to get started but takes a little longer since you’re waiting for nature to do the work. You’ll want to wait a couple months before planting it then.

    • Another option for Vernon might be raised beds. He can raise them as high as he needs and avoids having to use a tiller or broad fork and it will alleviate bending over to tend the garden and weeding. Yes it may be a more expensive option but saving the back and knees is worth it.

  2. Perhaps a no-dig garden would be suitable for Vernon. The one I tried years ago and I don’t remember all the details but was s great success. It’s something like this. Collect a pile of newspapers. Mow down the weeds or grass where you want your garden bed. This needs to be a boxed in area so you need some planks of the right size. Just cover he area with several several layers of newspaper so no grass or weeds will grow up in the bed. Then put different layers of straw, manure, alfalfa hay, and well composted soil on top. Each layer should be several inches thick. I think after you place each layer down you have to give it a good watering. And there’s your garden bed all ready to plant your seedlings into! I’m sure someone could give more helpful details and you can probably look up no dig gardens on the web and get step by step illustrated instructions.

  3. My biggest problems in the garden are 1) Wire grass ( a form of bermuda grass) that is everywhere and will not go away, and 2) Bugs- lots of cabbage worms, Japanese beetles and bean beetles.

    • Hey Nicole! One of the best solutions for Cabbage worms is a product called Dipel. It’s organic and it will deal with them very efficiently. You can also dust your plants with food grade Diatomaceous Earth to help with other bugs. 🙂

  4. The house we bought 7 years ago has a children’s play area within a raised bed type box. We decided to remove all the bark chips in the play area and filled it with garden soil for growing a garden. It was fun gardening for about two years. Unfortunately, two sides of this raised bed is flanked by trees. A redwood tree that has now grown to about 40 ft tall and an almond tree. I have given up on gardening in it for the last three years because the roots have encroached into the soil and I felt that the soil amendments that were faithfully added for the vegetables were going into the big trees. Last year we bought grow bags and planted tomatoes and greens. Our city lot is tight so there is no where else to relocate the raised bed for gardening.

  5. I have a small CSA, with 10-15 shares. This is my fifth year with the CSA and I have found that when I grow more of something, the more pest problems I seem to have. A couple of years ago I planted potatoes in some raised beds. They looked huge and beautiful and I was getting potatoes. We noticed potato beetles and began picking them as often as we could. We were gone a couple days and came back to just bare branches sticking out of the ground. Every branch was completely covered with the potato beetle. We realized we have a weed (buffolo burr) that is in the same family as the potato and they feed on that. So we had a great number of them living in the area and they just attacked those potato plants. I have had many pest problems – cabbage moth and squash bugs are the other big ones we battle. That is one of the biggest problems I have! I did not plant brassica family or potatoes last year but would like to try again this year. I am planning to do a soil test as you have said that ammending the soil to the right nutrients can help with pest problems. So I am hoping this helps. I have many garden areas, and want to test each area, do the home kits that I see from Johnny Seeds work ok? Thanks, looking forward to having somewhere to go with all my questions!!

    • Hi Susie! Great to hear about your experience and sorry about the potato beetles! Definitley focussing on the soil is the first step in the right direction. I wouldn’t suggest doing a home test. They are pretty unreliable. We suggest getting your soil tested through Peaceful Valley (groworganic.com). They give good organic recommendations. Also, you may want to try growing fall potatoes. Where we are the potato beetles are out in the spring but are gone later in the summer and so when we grow fall potatoes we don’t usually have the same issue with the beetles. Can’t promise for your area but you may want to try it!

  6. Paul, do you recommend the use of bacillus thuringeinsis for the cabbage moths and butterflies i.e. their larvae or those green worms or catterpillars that eat up our brassicas? I use it and what a difference it makes! I live in Australia and over here the bacillus is readily available and is supposed to be ok for organic gardeners to use.

    • Hi Robyn,

      Yes we do recommend it! It is an excellent way to handle worms/caterpillars that is organic. I’m glad you’ve been having success using it!

  7. My biggest challenge is crab grass, it gets ahead of me and the plants.
    Last year I had the most beautiful tomato plants, but when I went to pick them, the back half of the tomato was gone because of stink bugs.

    two years ago, I had the most beautiful turnips, and these were my first turnips! I planted them in late August or September and harvested them in November.
    This experience has let me know, I can grow beautiful organic food! I want to grow food for my family and teach others.

  8. Any recommendation on getting rid of wire grass (form of bermuda grass) that invades your garden spot and even works its way into raised beds?

  9. all the way in Africa…kenya to be precise, living in one of the driest part of the country. hope i will learn alot from you so that i can do organic gardening in our almost arid area and supply food for my community. one famous company sold us seeds but i guess it was a terminator seed because afterwards the land seems almost infertile. where can do we start from? is there a way we can rejuvenate the soil and reduce the adverse effect of the chemicals we have been spraying it with?

    thanks

  10. My biggest problem in Thistles and blackberries. I dig and dig and their roots seem to go forever. I have dug some thistle roots bigger than my pinki finger

  11. I think my biggest challenge for this year is fear of failure. After all of the rain that ruined my very first garden last year I think on all the wasted effort. I am going forward and planting, in spite of that fear, and am actually hopeful that with my downsized garden I will be successful.

  12. My biggest challenge is the neighbors spraying. Two years now my next door neighbor has sprayed all through the summer and fall. I tried covering my garden as much as I could but everything was damaged and by the time the wilted leaves were gone and the plant looked like survival was a possibility it started getting close to late fall. Nothing produced much. Beans were deformed and tomatoes were small and not very flavorful. I talked to the neighbor next to me and asked how we could remedy this as my garden is quite large. He said it wouldn’t drift over and I told him it did. I don’t want problems as he is a sheriff but I have called the state and they said they could investigate Big trouble. Don’t want enemies but this provides me with over half of my veggies for the winter!

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