No Dig Gardening – An approach I have never heard of

I love their use of compost. I hate their use of fertilizer. I can not attest to this approach because I have never tried it, but it seemed interesting.

Building a Vegetable Garden
Your Complete Instructions for Natural Gardening Success

The No Dig Garden is built on top of the ground, so you can start building a vegetable garden anywhere. This is natural organic gardening at its simplest and best.

Preparing a vegetable garden of this sort is extremely attractive for those sites that have poor soil or invasive weeds.

It’s also a great way to build a garden for those that can’t, or don’t want to, dig a good size vegetable garden!

Follow the natural gardening no dig diagram below, but first thing of course is to choose the site. Make sure it is roughly level and ideally most of the area gets at least 5 hours of sun a day.

If it’s not as level as you’d like it, roughly smooth out the humps and bumps, then fill the gaps and any lower edges with soil, sand or whatever organic material is at hand, such as bark, leaves, twigs, washed seaweed, paper, jute, wool carpet or similar. As this rots down, you will need to add more compost to these low areas and gradually build them up.

If the ground is on too much of a slope, build some terraces for easy maintenance. Get your creative juices flowing… you can make a grand affair with formal retaining walls or just shore levels up with branches, bricks, rocks, planks, corrugated iron or other obtainable materials.


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I Tried Gardening By The Square Foot – It was pretty cool

They say it is an easier way to garden and more efficient as well. I actually thought it was a little more work. Well anyway more work initially what with creating the raised beds and stuff. Not sure I like it for sweet corn or vining squash or even tomatoes but for the small stuff it is definitely worth it.

Welcome to Square Foot Gardening


The Square Foot Gardening Foundation

We are a nonprofit, so every single dollar spent on our products funds our nonprofit foundation, the Square Foot Gardening Foundation, so we can teach this method to as many families and communities as possible. On our Foundation website you can find educational material as well as information about our humanitarian projects around the globe.

Mel’s Blog

Our Founder, Mel Bartholomew, has just launched his own website. He’ll be sharing blog posts, videos, pictures and humorous colums, along with a special column called Mel’s Soap Box! He would love it if you would visit and leave him a comment!

The Forum

We also have one of the most active and popular gardening forums filled with plenty of helpful members.

The Store

We have put together some great products that will help you kick start your Square Foot Garden. Whether you want to learn more about the SFG method or buy boxes and get started right away, we have what you need!

Upcoming Engagements

You Can Make a Difference
You Can Make A Change

Join SFGF in changing the world one square foot at a time by hosting a certification study group or a three day symposium!

And don’t forget to tweet and share on Facebook, or even “pin” your favorite product with pinterest!


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Composting Saves A Huge Amount Of Energy – But generates methane

So it could be a net wash for the environment.

Help the Environment and yourself, Recycle your Food Waste

March 26th, 2012

MikeTheGardener MikeTheGardener, member

Billions upon billions of pounds of food waste every year are thrown away with the regular garbage pick up. This puts a tremendous strain on not only our environment but our wallets to pay people to come pick it up and hail it off to a local landfill.

All is not lost though. You can do your part and solve this problem by recycling your food waste. By recycling your food waste you are create what is called compost. Compost is the end result of organic matter that decomposes.

Your food waste doesn’t simply sit in your kitchen and rot away, which wouldn’t be too pleasant, you actually do something with it and that is you bury it. I will get to more on that in a moment.

The first step is to get yourself a giant Tupperware bowl that, from now on, you can put your food scraps into. Everytime you have leftovers that would normally go into the garbage you redirect that food waste to your Tupperware bowl.

When the Tupperware bowl gets full you will bury it in your backyard. Dig a hole about one to two feet deep and empty the contents of the Tupperware bowl into the hole. Now cover the hole with the dirt. That is it you are now done. You have just recycled food waste.

Now comes the exciting part that you don’t actually see, but trust me it is happening. There is an entire ecosystem that lives underneath that top layer of soil. When you bury food they work hard decomposing that food and give back to you compost.


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Growing Vegetables Is A Great Way To Exercise – But mainly it is good food

Here is a site with the basics.

Growing Your Own Food: Small Vegetable Garden Ideas

Growing your own food has its advantages. It’s a low-cost source of fresh vegetables, herbs, and legumes. You retain control over whether chemically-laden and potentially dangerous pesticides and fertilizers are sprayed on your food. Plus you get the satisfaction of chopping and sautéing food you personally planted and harvested with your own hands.

The sense of self-reliance that comes from growing your own food in a small vegetable garden can be exhilarating. The task appeals to primal, survivalist instincts. Furthermore, many nature lovers regard organic home vegetable gardening as good for sustaining the environment.



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Vegetable Gardenig The Oprah Winfrey Way – Well she did the interview

I suppose if she has a vegetable garden her “people” do it for her. Michael Pollan says some interesting things but besides becoming a vegetarian he does not have many answers. Who knows how good a gardener he is. But you can find more here.

Eating Green
Healthy Vegetable Garden
The Oprah Winfrey Show | April 22, 2009

Michael says eating vegetables you grow yourself is the “single greenest thing you can do” and can save money as well. “An investment of $60 can save you $200 in fresh produce,” he says.

Gardening can break your kids’ love of junk food too. “You will find your kids eating vegetables from your garden that they would not eat any other way,” Michael says. “How my son discovered vegetables was from growing them in the garden.”

Looking to develop a green thumb? Join our


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Balance Your Vegetable Garden – Some things grow together

My wife is a big believer in the idea that some things grow well together and some things actually inhibit each others growth. Her example is onions and potatoes. She believes that from growing to storing onions and potatoes should never be together. Here is a site that agrees with her.


Many plants have natural substances in their roots, flowers, leaves etc. that can alternately repel (anti-feedants) and/or attract insects depending on your needs. In some situations they can also help enhance the growth rate and flavor of other varieties. Experience shows us that using companion planting through out the landscape is an important part of integrated pest management. In essence companion planting helps bring a balanced eco-system to your landscape, allowing nature to do its’ job. Nature integrates a diversity of plants, insects, animals, and other organisms into every ecosystem so there is no waste. The death of one organism can create food for another, meaning symbiotic relationships all around. We consider companion planting  to be a holistic concept due to the many intricate levels in which it works with the ecology.

By using companion planting, many gardeners find that they can discourage harmful pests without losing the beneficial allies. There are many varieties of herbs, flowers, etc. that can be used for companion plants. Be open to experimenting and find what works for you. Some possibilities would be using certain plants as a border, backdrop or interplanting in your flower or vegetable beds where you have specific needs. Use plants that are native to your area so the insects you want to attract already know what to look for! Plants with open cup shaped flowers are the most popular with beneficial insects.

Companion planting can combine beauty and purpose to give you an enjoyable, healthy environment. Have fun, let your imagination soar. There are many ways you can find to incorporate these useful plants in your garden, orchard, flower beds etc.


Following is a our plant guide (with some tips) to help you “work in harmony with nature.” Yes- we do practice companion planting at Golden Harvest Organics LLC. We always have.

Note: This guide is not intended to solve garden problems as the suggestions may work differently in various situations or perhaps not at all. Don’t let that discourage you from giving the ideas a try! What works for some may not work for others and vice versa. Experimenting is the only way we can gain new insight for our own individual gardens.

This page is Copyright © Golden Harvest Organics LLC and the information may not be physically or electronically copied, printed or otherwise distributed without specific permission from our company.


ALFALFA: Perennial that roots deeply. Fixes the soil with nitrogen, accumulates iron, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. Withstands droughts with it’s long taproot and can improve just about any soil! Alfalfa has the ability to break up hard clay soil and can even send its’ roots through rocks! Now that is a tenacious plant! Alfalfa is practically pest and disease free. It


The plant guide is huge. Go there and read. More tomorrow.


Vegetable Gardening At The White House – This is an old story but

I loved it when Jimmy Carter put up solar panels and I love it for the same reason when Michelle Obama put in a vegetable garden. It is telling of course that Ronald Regan tore the solar panels off the White House and destroyed them. The division in our culture is so clear. The White House had a vegetable garden all the way up to the 60s or so when it “fell out of favor”. Now it is back and it will be interesting to see what the next occupant does with it when he is elected.

First Lady Michele Obama Plants Organic Vegetable Garden at White House

Obamas Hope White House Organic Garden Will Cause Healthy Lifestyles to Blossom

From , former Guide

On March 20, 2009, First Lady Michele Obama celebrated the first day of spring by using her famously well-toned biceps to pick up a shovel and break ground for an organic vegetable garden at the White House. (See the official layout [pdf] of the new White House garden.)

Educating Children a Primary Goal of White House Garden
In talking with reporters about the new garden, the first lady got down and dirty about the benefits of good nutrition and the need to educate children, families and whole communities about the importance of a healthful diet, especially at a time when obesity and diabetes have become national health crises.

Twenty-three fifth graders from Bancroft Elementary School in Washington, DC, helped the first lady dig up the 1,100-square-foot garden plot on the south lawn of the White House, which is near the tennis courts and the swing set the Obamas installed for their daughters and can be seen by people passing by on E Street. The plan is to have the students stay involved in planting, tending, harvesting and cooking the presidential produce.


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Gardening Organic And Other Important Ideas – Great site

This is a great site for all kinds of gardening ideas. I like the idea of combining a naturescape and a garden.


Environmental Tips for Individuals: Your Garden

Your Garden

Create a Backyard Wildlife Habitat

As people take over more and more of the land, we need to provide food, water, and shelter to the animals that are now relying on us for their survival.

  • Backyard Wildlife Habitat: A backyard wildlife habitat or “naturescape” can be created in your own backyard. A miniature version can even be created on your patio or deck. Basic elements include fresh water (i.e., a bird bath and, if in a yard, water low to the ground); plants and feeders that provide nourishment for birds, insects, etc.; and rocks, trees, bushes and/or bird houses for shelter and nesting. Purchase plants that are native to your area. The National Wildlife Federation has an excellent program: The Backyard Wildlife Habitat Program which provides some helpful, detailed examples.
  • Attracting Animals: Learn how to attract:
  • Protecting Birds: The greatest danger to birds in your yard is window collisions. Audubon provides tips for minimizing collisions.
  • Resources: How to Naturescape provides inspiration and information on switching to native plants.


Gardening Tips

  • Organic Gardening: Go organic!! – here are some basics.



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Gardening And Energy Conservation – How do you figure

Most people do not see gardening your own food as saving energy. They see it as healthy and even self reliant. It does save a huge amount of energy. First and foremost there are no transportation costs to your vegetables. If you use a lot of fertilizer then that changes some but the cost of an avocado  from Mexico is huge. Second, you are not driving heavy equipment like at a large vegetable farm. You should see the fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides they use.


Rosemary is one of those plants that not only smells good, it tastes good and looks good too. When I say taste, I mean as a flavoursome herb so don’t start chomping on a random stem and expect it to fill you with culinary delights – because it won’t!

Be that as it may, rosemary plants are fantastically popular and are often found in gardens as a specimen shrub or informal hedging.  Evergreen – and tolerant of most soils so long as the drainage is good, they will even put up with most of the weather that Britain can throw at it despite is warmer origins of the Mediterranean and Asia

Its Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means “dew of the sea” and while rosemary is most closely associated with Mediterranean cooking you don’t need perfect sunshine, or a sea mist to grow it successfully. All you need to provide is a free draining, sunny spot. Poor soils are no obstacle and it will even survive periods of drought.If you are growing it as a formal hedge then it can be clipped throughout the growing season, but be aware that if you do this you will be removing the flower buds and so it won’t produce flowers for you.

If you are using it as a specimen plant then you can prune after flowering. Otherwise, August to September will be the best months.

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Gardening In Illinois – Here is another eco friendly source

I still have some trepidation about how this Spring plays out. I think April and May should be watched carefully. These folks seem to know what they are doing. You might ask them.

Native Plants are Naturally Nifty!

Have you heard the buzz about native plants? Native plants are the topic of many magazine & newspaper articles, garden shows, seminars… etc. So why is everyone talking about natives?

Natives make sense! Native plants “grew up” in Illinois. From our soils to our weather, plants that are native to Illinois do more than tolerate our conditions…. they seem to enjoy it!

Since they enjoy our climate and soils they can grow vigorously and fight off most disease organisms and fungal pathogens. This means that you, the gardeners, don’t have to spray them with fertilizers, insecticides or fungicides.

Another benefit to their Illinois heritage is that our native critters, butterflies, birds, bees, etc recognize them as a food source! You might say… ahhh….I don’t want critters eating my new plants…. well, yes you do! Allow me to explain.. once a native plant is established, it can tolerate feeding from our native critters with no problem. For example: a Swamp Milkweek (Asclepias incarnata) can be nearly defoliated by monarch caterpillars- and it’s ok! The plant is no worse for the wear!

Healthy insect populations = healthier food chain. Insects are kind of like the bottom of the natural food pyramid. Many animals, birds and reptiles depend on insect protein for food. When insect populations are not healthy, neither are the populations of certain birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

Healthy plant and animal populations = healthy food chain = cleaner water = cleaner air= healthier humans.

You might be thinking… what does any of this have to do with me and my yard….well- you’re yard is or should be an ecosystem! We have modified 95-97% of the land in the lower 48 states… 42% (approximately) of that land in in agriculture, and approximately 54% of that land is in suburbia. This is where we come in… the gardener. Our backyard gardens have never been more powerful than, more needed, than they are today.

Our “natural” areas are over-run with invasive plant materials like Russian Olive, Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Tree of Heaven, multiflora rose, crown vetch, tall fescue, and the list goes on. If you would like to see a complete listing of INVASIVE PLANTS check out the Missouri Botanic Garden website.


Go there and read. More next week.