Thursday, July 7, 2011

My First Organic Garden

I haven't planted a garden in a couple of years and my last attempt wasn't very fruitful to say the least.  I really wanted to be able to walk out my back door and pick my own fresh veggies again and know they were pesticide free.  I was in sort of a dilemma, however, since I severely injured my back last year and could not do the labor involved with the tilling, digging, bending, etc.  Luckily, I found a gardener who puts organic gardens in for those who don't really know much about the organic thing, don't have the time, or just plain don't want to do the dirty work.

The small 4 x 10 space was filled with certified organic seeds and plants. I was shocked at how much was planted in this tiny space! I could probably fit eight of these 4 x 10 gardens in my existing garden space! Some "extras" such as a lime were added to the clay soil to balance it out as well as worm casings. Mulch topped off some of the plants such as the tomato plants to help keep moisture in.  I had never used mulch in my garden in the past and wondered how much of a difference it would really make. 

Fast forward about six weeks and I was amazed at how full and beautful the space was!  At this rate we were going to have a huge bounty all summer!  Fast forward another week or so and we got about 5 inches of rain in a 2-3 day period - not good. I literally walked out to the garden on a Friday after the rain had stopped and it still looked great.  I walked out there Saturday and the entire garden looked like it had been fried by the sun and leaves were brown and shriveled as if I had forgotten to water it for weeks! How could this happen overnight and what the bleep killed my garden so quickly?

I frantically called the gardener and she told me she had just been to another clients house that had the same issue.  Seems that so much rain in a short period of time combined with the mulch trapped too much moisture and caused a fungus/mold.  I was told what to get from the local garden store to apply and also told to pull the mulch away so the soil could dry out.  Several plants didn't make it but some seem to be coming back to life. I'm holding my breath to see what is actually going to produce and hopefully I still end up getting more from my garden than from the store.  The verdict is still out on using mulch as it seemed to cause a huge problem with too much rain.