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Organic Gardening

Im starting my first garden this year... a big one... and i think im in over my head!  Im planning on planting tomatoes, zuchinni, cucumbers, carrots, seedless watermelon, cauliflower, broccoli,peas, asparagus and swiss chard. My plan was to plant a bunch of different things and to see what grows best.... but i have so much more work to do by next weekend , i dont know if i will be able to plant everything :(    I already know im planting tomatoes for sure-- our neighbor heard i was starting my first garden and gave me 15 plants! (I dont know if i'll be able to use all of them, so i'm going to do the "Plant a Row" thing, that i think Davedrum mentioned a few weeks ago!) Does anyone know which things grow the best/ are good for first time gardeners? :P Also, do you guys use any organic or homemade sprays to get rid of bugs? If so what brand.. or how do ya make it ? Yesterday i noticed there were TONS of ants and a few other creepy crawlies. I Dont want to hurt them, but i just want to deter them from eating my stuff!
Thanks in advance!
Daniela

That is definately rhubarb.  The other is not parsley but kale.

Hope you have a good gardening year. 

I will be working in my garden this week during a break between storms.  It looks like a cool, wet April for us.

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thanks dlb! I'm stoked that all these surprise plants grew. The parsley/kale smelled like parsley and looks alot different than the kale i started from seed, but who knows, i've never started anything from seed before. either way I'm happy!

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It could be parsley.  Its hard to tell from the image.

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Havent read the whoel threas yet but my best organic gardening tips are -

Pests -
Soft bodied insects are easily taken care of with insecticidal soap (1 teaspoon of a true unscented soap like Dr.Bronner's per quart of water + 1 teaspoon oil) just shake up and mist on. Works with hand  sprayers or industrial i use it both ways and my big sprayer is over a gallon.

If you have beetle or other hard bodied issues try adding ground red pepper to your mix (the amound depends on the plant your spraying), oil of of oregano if the plant can tolerate it. You can also infuse some crushed garlic in whatever oil you plan to use about 2 large cloves per ounce of oil.

Fungus can be helped by sprikling dry ground cinnamon on affected areas. Cinamon can also create a nice ant barrier if your garden is surounded by a hard surface and sometime sdeters snails.

Weeds -
I truly reccomend checking out square food gardening but if its not for you throughly weeding before planting and mulching will be of great help. And of coarse try to keep up with regular spot checks.

If your careful about placment you can plop some rock salt on top of weeds and water lightly, they will shrivel right up!

Growth aids -
I cant say enough about compost it does amazing things for plants and really reduces your output and therfore eco-footprint. You can add anything from grass to coffee grounds and eggshells (if you eat eggs that is) as well as all your leftover or rotten raw vegg material.

It may be a bit much for alot of people but i recycle some of my water usage by saving my steaming water from veggies in the fridge (2 quart container) then water with it when its full. Since its essentially veggie broth it has tons of water soluble vitamins to give back to the soil.

Crop rotation is big but not a worry for a first time gardener just yet.

Cover crops are good to look into certain plants are rich in particular nutrients so growing them to turn into the soil will help aid growth and prevent weeds. Think of how they plant clover at some winery's :).

That all i can think of for now and i feel like a dummy since i just saw how old the OP is (embarrassed face) but i hope it helps someone.

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I haven't read this whole thread, so forgive me if this has already been addressed.  I read on a green website that vinegar kills weeds.  Has anyone tried/heard this? 

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it works. You have to spray directly on the crowns and every few days until the plant is dead.  Be careful not to hit hearby plants you want to keep.  Also, make sure to do it a few times.  Once or twice will just injure the plant and it will come back.

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Thanks! 

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Great tip with the vinager, will be adding a spray bottle fullt o my shed :)

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It was the first day of our community garden today, yay! But it is a field where there are tons of prairie dogs. Any advice as to keeping them out, or what the don't like to eat?

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Prarie dogs!  I wanna see a prarie dog!

Hell all I get in my yard is my terrier dog.  She keeps everything else OUT!

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Prarie dogs!  I wanna see a prarie dog!

Hell all I get in my yard is my terrier dog.  She keeps everything else OUT!

They're super cute, but I don't want them to eat my peas! So far they haven't gotten my neighbors beet sprouts, but it is early yet.

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Have you looked into completely enclosing your garden below ground?  Somewhat like a sunken fence/cage.

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I'm starting my first organic garden his year (just moved to a small house with a yard, yay!). I'm very new to gardening, but I'm excited to give i a try.

I don't know how necessary it will be, but does anyone know of effective homemade insect repellent that won't harm the plants? Thanks!

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Saramonster, I've heard that diluted dish soap will repel some pests, along with garlic or chili spray. I'm sure if you google organic pest control you'd be able to find something safe and inexpensive.

This weekend we transplanted the majority of our stuff - onions, nasturtiums, tomato, zucchini, sunchokes, lettuce, marigolds, and planted some bush beans as well. Now I'm just waiting for my sweet & hot pepper plants to get big enough to plant. Fingers crossed everything will survive the transplanting...

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so far ive made cayenne, garlic, ginger, touch of bonners concoction and works for most insects, and squirrels (even buried the mash in corners to be sure) but with the rain the snails are entirely to well fed. egg shells (from work) only worked  short time, i imagine this for all the rough surface alternatives, so i am at a loss....

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How is everyone's gardens doing?  Anyone have fresh produce, yet.

I am still waiting for my first ripe tomato.  Tons of them are setting and growing.  A few are at the full size but still green stage.  There are some nice corn ears and cucumbers that will be ready by July 4th, too.  Can't wait for fresh grilled corn on the cob slathered in some nice veggie spread.

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Plant bok choi very early in the spring, and you'll have a crop to enjoy before most folks have even planted their gardens.  I don't have the patience to wait til July or August for a crop!

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I don't know how necessary it will be, but does anyone know of effective homemade insect repellent that won't harm the plants? Thanks!

Up at the top of the page i posted a list of tips for various issues including insects i find the best thing is insecticidal soap (1 teaspoon of a true unscented soap like Dr.Bronner's per quart of water + 1 teaspoon oil) just shake up and mist on. If you are in an area that gets scales add some rubbing alcohol to the mix leave on leaves 24 hours and rinse off. Havent tried that one as i dont get them down here but i hear its very effective.  You can skip the oil in the soap spray if you want but then it leves a white residue on your leaves harmless but not very attractive. Good luck on your garden!

How is everyone's gardens doing?  Anyone have fresh produce, yet.

So far ive had lots of blackberries, several salads worth of lettuce, a few tomatos, figs, about 6 strawberries, lots of chives, and im just getting my first broccoli flower :). I just finished alother large planting of a few more broccoli's plus turnips, beets, calendula, sage, peppermint, choclate mint, german chamomile, rosemarry, dill, cinnamon basil, nasturums, and blue lake beans.

After my current broccoli is done i want to do some different color cauliflowers along with some more beets and turnips plus maybe some kohlrabi.

My next set of crops that will be ready soon are jalepenos, gypsy peppers, radishes, scallions, baby chard, strawberries, tons of the larger tomatos, and cilantro. Year around i have avacados and usually some kind of lettuce plus whatever herbs make it through the heat and maybe a little neglect of propper bud trimmings :p.

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Sounds good LHH, I harvested a bunch of basil, (some for tomato/chickpea/basil soup today, yummy!) also some lettuce, a little kale, and some beautiful chard!  My cute little tomatoes and peppers are starting to grow, and my pumpkins have huge, pretty orange flowers on them!

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