Saturday, May 2, 2020

Top Ten Things I've Learned (So Far)

"The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world." 
- Michael Pollan

1. Weeds suck.  Landscaping fabric helps a lot to keep the weeds manageable.  Some weeds even emit chemicals from their roots to kill off surrounding plants to help the weed thrive.  Pull them as soon as possible.

2. Drip irrigation is the way to go for watering your plants.  It's easy, efficient, and fairly easy to build initially.

3. Rotate those crops!!!  Don't grow the same thing in the same spot year after year, rotate everything around.  Different plants use different nutrients, if you grow the same thing in the same spot you're going to use up the nutrients in the ground that the particular type of plant uses.  Rotate the plants to keep the nutrients in the ground balanced to help keep the soil healthy.


4. Use homemade compost to put nutrients back in the ground.  The soil is kind of like a bank account, if you keep withdrawing from it and you're not contributing anything to it, eventually it's going to be empty.  If you make your own compost and add that back to the soil then you're adding nutrients back into the soil for your plants to use and you'll have healthier, more productive plants.

5. Sunflowers are bad-ass, clean the soil, look fantastic, and the birds / animals love them!!!  They're great along the borders and/or areas where you can't grow anything else as well as rocky areas.

6. Fragrant flowers and herbs keep animals / pests away.  Marigolds are a prime example of this, if you're worried about rabbits or other pests getting into your urban farm then grow marigolds or herbs around the borders.  That should keep those types of pests away from your food!

7. Companion planting - not all plants grow well in close proximity to each other.  Just like people, some plants get along with each other and some don't.  If you're planting different types of plants in close proximity to each other do your research and find out which of those plants will benefit or harm each other.  Some plants feed off of each other and provide additional benefits to each other as they grow, just like great friends.  Likewise it can be detrimental to plant certain types of plants closely to each other as they fight to grow and they end up harming each other.

8. Wild flowers for your region help to rejuvenate the soil, look pretty neat, smell great, and help to keep your local pollinators happy with plenty of food for them.  Grow these in areas where you can't or don't want to grow food, they're fairly self sustaining once they get established.

9. Tomato cages are a pain in the butt, using stakes with line ran in-between them along with weaving the tomato plants in the line is much easier.

10. Garlic is the easiest thing to grow.  Throw it in the ground in the fall or very early spring (fall is better), once spring rolls around start watering it and watch it grow.  You can also grow lettuce or other greens directly around it, they seem to grow fairly well together.

BONUS:  Squash blossoms are delicious, I can't wait for the next round of squash blossoms.

Also, I look damn good in my Panamaniam farming hat!
Man Wearing Panamanian Farming Hat
Yes, that is a Conan O'Brien poster in the background!

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