This is what you need to do when you have the typical small city yard.  I grow various plants on trellises next to my deck and towards the back of the yard for privacy and more space.  The Wisteria and Clematis pictured is all new growth after being completely pruned to the ground so the deck could be painted.  Don’t be afraid to prune hard once in a while, just be sure to do proper research before doing so and be aware of the time of the year you do this.  Early spring is the best time. 

You can grow most vining veggies such as cucumbers, peas, pole beans, melons and pumpkins with proper support, the larger they grow.  I have even had to trellis some cherry tomato plants due to the branches becoming very leggy and long to save space.  Check out or bonnie among many other garden websites for additional information on how to do this for heavier fruit.  In the past I have grown everything from fruit to nuts with little more than hand tools and lots of work.  You don’t really have to make much of a financial investment to end up with plenty of food to use throughout the winter barring infestation, varmints and other issues common to organic gardening. 

Plant everything you can from see, it is much less expensive than buying mature plants or seedlings already started.  For flowers and herbs, try to stick with perennials you enjoy so they will come back each year and you can divide them for more plants.  The plants will appear to die off at season’s end, but they should come back unless your area suffers from an extremely hard winter, your plants were not hardy enough for your growing area or were not taken care of properly.  Please be careful not to dig up the roots once they do die off.  Some gardeners are over zealous in cleaning up at the end of the growing season.  I am a firm believer of letting most plants stay as is til very early spring.  This affords the birds more places to perch and give them some seeds and nesting material. 

Annuals have more flowers but die back each year and don’t come back the following season.  I am recommending that you try to find older gardening books that used tried and true methods and be careful with some of the newer information that seeks to promote and market various expensive gardening products.  I still have a number of books purchased in the early 1970’s.  My favorites are “Down-to-Earth Vegetable Gardening” by Dick Raymond and “Vegetable Gardening Encyclopedia” by Consumer Reports.  I believe there are other garden books by Raymond that are still in print such as “Garden Ways Joy of Gardening.”  They will walk you through soil preparation, garden planning, starting seeds, hardening off plants, weeding, feeding and care.  The also include harvesting information and how to best use and store your produce. 

Gardening is good exercise.  It gets you out of the house and off your butt.  You work with your hands and use muscles you didn’t know you had.  Make sure that you are in reasonably good shape and stretched before starting anything strenuous or you will really it feel it afterwards.  Organic gardening saves money on food and increases your nutrients.  It gives your body and soul a workout. 

Gardening is good for you!


How Green Are Your Gardens?

I never use chemicals in any garden, aside from Miracle-Gro, which are chemicals.  I don’t believe in GMO’s, Genetically Modified Organisms, due to the fact that God (nature) cannot be improved upon.  We were created with everything we need to live.  GMOs are not the same as creating a new type of rose or bean, they are genetically altered and there is absolutely no good reason to do this except to make someone wealthy.  They do this to try and make food grow faster, have a longer shelf life or be more disease resistant.  We have subsequently seen how the quality of our well traveled food is almost tasteless and the fruit never seems to ripen properly because it travels better if the flesh is firmer.  I have grown many gardens without any fertilizer but compost and they did just fine.  I use no gas-powered tools.  If it is not manual it is electric, less pollution and smell. 

When I first moved to my current neighborhood my neighbors offered to lend me their gas-powered mowers, which I refused and told them why.  I did think it amusing that they felt sorry for me using it.  It’s not difficult to use a hand mower if you don’t have a large yard and I do not at this time.  I do have an electric chain saw and edger as well as a small electric tiller purchased last year, all seldom used.  If my city did not have strict codes, I wouldn’t bother edging my lawn.  I believe in natural lines and since meticulous lawns and pruned shrubs were started by the very rich, it ain’t my style!  This is Po’ Girl!  I do find the tiller really makes a world of difference in amending my garden soil and incorporating composted material.  Don’t be seduced by all gadgets and accessories now available.  The best food can be grown organically with a little work.  It will save you a bundle to do everything by hand, but if you ever decide a tool is worth the extra money for the time and energy saved, then purchase it.

Information is available online and on various home shows regarding organic gardening and composting.  My great grams always composted using garden scraps not fed to the chickens along with egg shells, leaves, manure, and other organic substances such as coffee grounds, fish guts and ashes.  This was layered and stirred, wet down as needed and dug into the soil.  They did not try to make a nutrient rich “tea” as some do now in vats.  You need more than nutritious water to enrich the soil.  The actual composted material improves the composition or structure of the soil by adding the additional decayed matter which helps the soil retain moisture as well as increasing aeration.  Please visit my links page to go to other websites for more organic gardening information.  You can check out to be sure your garden won’t get busted one day.  Actually not sarcasm.  They will fine you for having unmarked or homemade fertilizer if it cannot be readily identified.  And you guys thought the IRS was bad!

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3 thoughts on “GREEN GARDENS

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