Saturday, May 14, 2011

Prairie Gardening 101 - Lesson 1

My friend, Laura, asked me to share some prairie gardening tips on my blog.  So it's her fault!

We are not talking flowers here.  I am a vegetable gardener.  I have nothing against flowers.  They are pretty and really spruce up a place.  But I feel my time is better spent growing things we can eat.  So my husband is in charge of the flowers.

Let me start with this - I have not been gardening that long.  This summer will be number 5 for me.  My garden has grown from a little 10x15' plot to something larger - about 15x30' (although I haven't actually measured it).  So I am not an expert.  But I have a good friend who has been giving me great advice, and you really do learn a lot by doing.  So I do have a few tips to pass along.

My first piece of advice comes from a conversation I had with someone the other night.  No, you cannot just rototill the weeds into the ground and "voila!" have a garden.  Certain weeds will multiply with being cut up and turned into the ground.  Quack grass, creeping Charlotte and even dandilions will all re-populate from small pieces.  So if you are going to garden, you have to weed, and you have to do it the hard way - digging them up and getting all the pieces.  Now, some people will tell you to use RoundUp.  I have a lot of issues with RoundUp.  First, it's made by Monsanto, and I consider Monsanto to be the devil.  Secondly, they say it degrades into neutral chemicals in the ground, but they are now finding that this is not the case.  Thirdly, I don't want to eat food that is grown in soil that's been soaked in RoundUp. 

The best thing to do is to weed extensively at the beginning of the season and then keep up with it until the fall.  Don't rototill until you've weeded (if you're going to rototill at all - there is some discussion out there that says you shouldn't.  You keep more carbon in the ground by not tilling it).

"Is this a weed?"  Is a question heard often.  A weed is any plant that you don't want growing where it is.  A beautiful rose bush could be considered a weed if it's growing where you don't want it. 

So if you didn't plant it and you don't know what it is, it's most likely a weed.  However, you could always do a little research to find out what it is before yanking it. 

Okay.  That's enough for today.  I'll pass along more "wisdom" in a day or two.  Time for supper.

1 comment:

  1. Love it! Thanks Sandi. This will be very helpful for all of us Prairie gardening newbies.

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