Defining Your Reason For Gardening

I have been contemplating, lately, the reason why I garden. I have always hoped to grow enough produce to have a booth at the Farmer’s Market and make a little money on the side, but have not been able to accomplish this goal. I get a few extras to share with family, but it is sporadic and hard to get consistency on what is coming in.

I have re-defined my reason for gardening. I have decided to grow my garden with the goal of producing as many healthy, nutrient-rich foods, for my husband, myself, and our extended family.

This year I did a trial of straw bale gardening. This is how they look today.

Cucumbers and marigolds in front bales, potatoes growing behind.

Cucumbers and marigolds in front bales, potatoes growing behind.

Lettuce going to seed in front bales, basil, and huge tomato plants in back bales.

Lettuce going to seed in front bales, basil, and huge tomato plants in back bales.

The green bean plants need to be removed from these bales. The bales are decomposing and the onions are sinking. I am interested to see how the onions turn out as they sink further down and are growing crooked.

The green bean plants need to be removed from these bales. The bales are decomposing and the onions are sinking. I am interested to see how the onions turn out as they sink further down and are growing crooked.

The straw bale experiment has been a success in that it has cut down on pest, and grown really big healthy plants, but I have decided not to use the straw bale method again. I had to use a lot of chemical fertilizer to condition the bales at the beginning, because organic fertilizer required huge amounts and was more expensive. Then I had to periodically spray them with miracle grow to keep the plants going. The straw bales were another big expense.

In studying various resources on nutrients in our food sources, I have found two areas of thought.

#1 Our soil is not depleted of nutrients like many people think, otherwise the vegetables wouldn’t even grow.

#2 Our soil is depleted of vital enzymes and nutrients that made people healthier years ago. We still get really big lush plants from chemical fertilizers, but the nutrients we need from the food is lacking in these chemical filled soils.

Regardless of which we believe to be true, I do find there is a strong evidence that we should garden as organically as possible to prevent adding incessant chemicals to our bodies and to produce foods that are richer in the nutrients our bodies need to prevent disease.

I plan to use my straw bales for compost after this year and continue to produce as much compost as possible via natural resources of leaves, grass clippings, and vegetable scraps which replenish the ground with the natural elements we need to have in our food supply.

On a happier note, I have been getting a lot of antioxident-rich blueberries, grown in chemical free soil, with only natural fertilizers.

Blueberries and other garden produce.

Blueberries and other garden produce.

Making beneficial changes takes strong discipline, especially when it may be a long time before we see results. I read recently that because our body cells are always renewing themselves, a year from now, 97% of our body will be composed of new cells. That means that it may take up to a year to see a benefit when we stop drinking sodas, drink more water, eat only healthy foods, and make our food supply more organic.

If we want healthier lives we have to start.

What are your gardening goals?

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15

 

 

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Transplanting in the Greenhouse

When I start vegetables or flowers from seed in the greenhouse, I usually start them in trays. After they have grown enough to have a third leaf, I transplant them to cups or sectioned containers to allow them to continue to grow.

This allows them to absorb nutrients from the dirt in the tray, and then they can be moved to another container with fresh nutrients.

Geraniums started from seed.

Geraniums started from seed.

You will notice that a few of these tiny plants have a leaf starting to turn yellow. This can happen when they need more nutrients than they are getting or if they are receiving more water than they require.

I prepare new pots with fertilizer-enriched soil in varying sizes. For a flower….they will not bloom until the roots are bound up in the pot. If I plant some in smaller pots, they will get root bound sooner so the blooms come sooner. Once they are blooming I can set them in the garden. I leave some in the larger pots and allow them to bloom later.

Prepared pots.

Prepared pots.

I use small plastic spoons to scoop up the plants, keeping the roots intact; then place them in the new pot. This has to be a very gentle process.

Removing the plant.

Removing the plant.

Transfer in process.

Transfer in process.

Once the plant is placed in the new pot, I water it well. I also transfer some of the soil from the original tray, because it is already moist and will pack well to hold the plant in place as you water.

The final step is watering it in.

The final step is watering it in.

So, there you have it. How to grow and transplant your spring flowers.