My Edible Garden

I've been gardening for most of my life and have been a devoted fan of organic gardening the whole time. It just makes so much more sense to work in harmony with Mother Nature than to fight her. Besides which it is better for the planet and better for our bodies. Here you can see what I'm planting and harvesting, with gardening hints and resources thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018


I know I've been AWOL for a  bit. Lots of things happening in my life right now. Some issues of the computer not recognizing that there really are picture on the phone to download. And my phone is old so the battery runs out real quick when I'm trying to do thing on it. As you know I root knot nematodes in several garden beds. I bought some things to help with that and will be adding a  page to the blog about organic controls showing the experiments I'm doing. In the meantime I'm not sure if these sunflowers have a nematode issue or if they just need more nutrients. I think it may be a little of both.

You can tell a lot about a plants nutritional status by looking at it's leaves. This sunflower leaf is very pale green so it probably needs some more nitrogen. The yellowing and die back at the edge of the leaf says it needs potash. I know that nitrogen and potash are both low in my soil and some other nutrients may be present but may not be available to the plant because of the high pH (usually 8-9. If you don't know what pH is you can check this article What is pH?)  The Royal Horticultural Society has a nice article with photographs of nutrient deficiencies here. The University of Arizona Extension Office has a good chart here but they don't include pictures and they don't offer organic solutions.

Plants often start out doing very well in the spring and early summer, only to run out of steam part way through the season. There can be many causes, having to water a lot because we are so hot and dry can leach nutrients out of the root zone, our high soil pH can tie up some minerals and make them unavailable to plants. Plants need more of some nutrients at different points in their life cycles. I have been watching some great videos from Dan Kitteredge and the Bionutrient Food Association about how the biology in the soil works and how it feeds the plants. I'll be working hard to improve my soil and foster the correct biology so that in the future there won't be any deficiencies.

In the meantime I've bought some Neem Cake fertilizer. They press an oil from the neem seeds and use it for controlling nematodes and other things. The material that is left is used as a fertilizer and also to help control nematodes. So I'm adding it, along with SulPoMag (sulphate of potash magnesia) which is a mined material to add potash. Crab shell meal is also supposed to help suppress nematodes. All of theses materials are going into beds before replanting. If the bed showed evidence of nematodes I'm planting cole crops like kale, cauliflower and broccoli as they are not usually bothered by nematodes. If there was no evidence of nematodes in the previous crop that's where I'm planting more susceptible things like beets and lettuce.

 One of our little Nankin pullets disappeared without a trace awhile back. I found a young pair to keep her company. They are still in quarantine but will soon be joining her. Hopefully they will hatch some chicks this fall.