Organic Gardening Tips

Organic Gardening

It’s important not to get caught up in thinking an organic garden is out of your reach.  Some very inexpensive and simple steps will have you on your way.  Remember, an organic garden is a garden that is cared for with a more natural approach without the assistance of chemicals and pesticides. 

Companion plants area a great way to repel pests.  Plant tomatoes near cabbage — the pests that love to nibble on your cabbage will be repelled by the tomatoes.  Another companion duo?  Radishes and spinach — the radish will attract the pests from the spinach, yet the damage done above the ground won’t affect the radish below the soil.   

Lady bugs will also take care of some unwanted garden pests, and you can attract them with parsley and dill, along with other nectar producing plants.

If you need to take a more aggressive route to ridding your garden of pests, use an organic bug spray, such as insecticidal soap.  This soap has been used for centuries as a safe and chemical free pest repellent.

If you pests have four legs, and it’s a deer, in the end the best way to go is to replace your plantings with deer-resistant varities.  Ask your local Cooperative Extension service for a list of plants that are locally deer-proof. 

If squirrels and chipmunks are regular visitors, remember they like to keep a look out for enemies from the protection of their burrow entrance. If you establish a tall groundcover to block that view, they’ll seek shelter else- where.  An added benefit to groundcovers?  They’ll  provide beautiful colors and textures to your spaces and help retain moisture in the soil.   Creeping thyme and Creeping Jenny are good choices for sunny spots, and for shadier areas,  tiny creeping mints such as Mentha requienii will do well.  Black Eyed Susan are a good choice for those with clay heavy soil.  Some nice low-water  choices include Trailing Yellow Dalea  and Trailing lantana. 

These are just a few simple tips that will help you transform your garden space into an Organic Garden. 

Martha Stewart and GardenWise on Herbs and Vines

Plant and Grow Now — Vines, Veggies and Herbs

Martha Stewart was on the Today show this morning  talking about herbs.  She pronounces the “H”.  Here’s  a link via hulu. You’ll have to suffer through  a 30 second commercial.  Martha’s segment has inpired to do today’s post on what you can plant and grow right now — Veggies, Herbs and Vines.  

Plant now: Veggies and Herbs. After the threat of frost has passed and your soil has warmed, start planting your summer herb and vegetable garden.   Some veggie choices I’ve had great luck with in containers include eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini.  Seeds are more budget friendly, and it’s always great fun to swap seeds with friends, but some of us may not have those types of friends.  Small plants can be purchased from your nursery for not more than a few dollars per plant.  This is the route I took last year when planting my containers, below, which included lemon cucumbers, also pictured below.   Some of my favorite herbs to grow each year to use for cooking and grilling include basil, rosemary and thyme. 

Grow now: Vines.  Charming and low maintenance, vines offer great a solution for those seeking to add color and fragerance to their outside spaces.  Some favorites are Purple wisteria and Crossvine ‘tangerine beauty’ for color and fragrance.  Carolina Jessamine has very aromatic flowers (not to be confused with Swamp Jasamine which has fragrance-free flowers,) and Tumpet honeysuckles such as ‘Major Wheeler” and ‘JohnClayton’ are favorites as well., an informational website where a large community of experts share information, has a wonderful in-depth feature on huneysuckles by Paul Boland which you can find online here.  Check your local nursery for a good seleciton of vines that are available in your area.