Welcome to AOC's Organic Gardening page where you'll see some of our gardens and find the philosophy and background for all of my do-able gardening techniques. My desire is to demystify growing food and flowers and to enable you to do the same on whatever level you'd like!
Our Former One Acre Gardens:
The raised bed vegetable garden.
The berry patch.
Our Current Farmhouse Fixer Yard & Garden:
The future raised bed vegetable garden.
The future herb & flower garden.
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My Gardening Background
I didn't grow up gardening, other than being made to weed the little patch my mom had on and off and pick lettuce for dinner (both chores I hated). When I married and we bought our first house, I read all I could, learned by trial and error and eventually surrounded it with English-style flower gardens. I added a couple of raised beds because it fit in the plan and my Organic Gardening magazine said I should. I only wanted to grow some tomatoes and lettuce.
Surprisingly to me, those first few plants started in me a thrill of growing our own food and I planted more and more vegetables, turning our 50x100 lot into a production machine. I learned to can salsa and tomato chutney and pickle green beans. I took over some flower beds - and dreamed of having more land.
My dream came true when we were able to move to an acre in the country. I had a huge raised bed vegetable garden and flower borders to my heart's content.
And more maintenance than I ever could imagine - I found out that country weeds are nothing like city weeds. So I started developing easy, doable gardening techniques so I could spend more time harvesting and enjoying our yard. Things like no-till vegetable gardening, using plastic to combat pernicious weeds, layering beds with paper and mulch, using soaker hoses, edging, and permanent paths. Basically anything I could do to lessen the maintenance.
A few years ago we sold and moved to our Farmhouse Fixer with a blank slate of a yard. We're in the process of creating the new vegetable garden from this plan, as well as a sunken flower and herb garden from an area we had to excavate for a new foundation that you see above.
Why Organic Gardening?
Luckily, I didn't grow up with any preconceived ideas, so when I started educating myself on gardens, organic gardening made the most sense: it was better for my family, for the environment, and a LOT cheaper than buying a lot of herbicides and fertilizers.
I found I could top my raised beds AND flower gardens once a year with a good mulch and I didn't need any extra fertilizers, except for the slow-release organic fertilizer I add to planting holes for vegetables. Taking care of the soil - not compacting it and feeding it with compost - provided me with amazing vegetables. Covering beds with floating row covers kept most of the bugs at bay - and when I couldn't, this homemade bug spray worked like a charm.
So for me - and I hope for you - organic + easy techniques = gardening anyone can do.
Start your own garden or find ways to streamline what you're already doing with some of these ideas:
How To Garden