Saturday, June 15, 2013

All Will Be Well in the Garden (Summer 2013)

In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.  

My status report on the 1.5 year experimental container garden is as follows:

-- gardening is expensive, you will not save money, except for maybe an herb garden
-- plants are weird
-- plants have enemies, lots of enemies. your only hope is to proactively spray with copper spray and neem oil unless you go non-organic.
-- all substances must be bought in quantity and mixed yourself or you will spend even more money. specifically, I mean potting mix, copper spray and neem oil.
-- potting mix is not dirt
-- throw away diseased plants and potting mix. do not reuse potting mix after one year.
-- replenish with time release fertilizer and immediate release cool aid
-- tomatoes are a pain in the ass, get all sorts of diseases, are very picky about their watering and fertilizer.
-- there is good information on the internet and there is crazy information on the internet. You will have to find out which is which.
-- buy disease resistant plants/seeds or you will be sorry
-- inspect every day
-- harvest the peas and beans relentlessly or the damn things will stop producing.
-- buy vining and indeterminate, stay away from determinate and bush.
-- concrete mixing bins from home depot / lowes make good garden containers
-- use wire to trellis
-- plant serially, use nature's simultaneity to your advantage. when harvesting basil from a productive plant, start the next plant so you will have something in three months.
-- using the simultaneity and economies of scale are the keys to successful gardening
-- if you want to improve your quality of life and save money, just do an herb garden, and leave it at that.

The quote above is from Being There.

Other notes, 6/18/2013

-- relentlessly remove diseased leaves or parts, and throw into trash
-- be aware that some of this is spreadable, so take some care not to spread disease by
contact, wash hands, etc
-- plants must be placed separate from each other to provide good ventilation, this helps stop the spread of disease
-- you must have full 360 access to plants to remove disease parts, inspect them etc
-- I use a green translucent ribbon to tie up plants to metal supports
-- I make use of hanging plants a lot to achieve separation and to keep plants off the ground where different pests like to live (e.g. slugs, etc)
-- yield will be greatly increased if you have something like a simple greenhouse or cold frame
-- if you are working from seed you are expected to cruelly thin plants, e.g. choose a winner and clip off the losers in any one area so that plants are not crowding each other.


  1. My dad gardened obsessively. I don't know if he liked it that much or if it was just an irrepressible reflex. It meant I grew up knowing what real food tastes like. Glad you do this. You are almost inspiring me to start.

    1. The trick is that if you are stuck at home most of the time, then it is something that can get you out of the house, and for example, give you a break from writing your memoirs. Most of the food you grow will taste no better than what you get at the better part of the supermarket, except growing it yourself makes you more aware what those people must go through to be profitable at it. The big win, if you are like me, is the fresh spices, every day, without spending the money. If I had to grow enough food to feed myself really, I would have starved by now.