Thursday, April 8, 2010

Grow Your Own: How to Grow an Organic Garden: Part 4

So, did you find your hardiness zone? Did you select the delectable herbs, fruits and veggies you want to grow for your family this year? I hope so! I know you'll love your garden, no matter how big, or small it is!

Today I am going to show you my favorite garden accessories. These products make my life easier!

First we will start with my beloved tomato cages. If you've grown tomatoes before, you know that they can be a little crazy. A little more like tomato "trees." But not quite as well behaved. Anyway, the garden center tomato cages do work for the first month or so, but you definitely need something more heavy duty for the entire growing season. And if you're like me, and live in a place where there are ridiculous winds and crazy thunderstorms all summer, the right cage can mean life or death for the plant! My flimsy garden center tomato cages just blew right over last year until I got these! They are made of concrete reinforcing wire, and you can get the wire at Home Depot or any hardware store. You can also use them for cucumbers, peas, or any other climbing plant. Check out these articles to find out how to make your own:

Ok, speaking of tomatoes, here is some organic fertilizer I'm going to use this year. It's by Garden's Alive and I have heard nothing but great things about it. One woman I know grows 600 tomato plants a year here in K.C., MO. She says Tomatoes Alive is absolutely beyond...the best fertilizer she has ever used, even better than conventional fertilizers! She used Miracle Gro before she went organic. Click on the Garden's Alive link to see it!

My second favorite garden accessory are my earthworm castings. I got mine from Northern Lakes Worm Castings online. I especially love these when transplanting veggies that you've started inside. And I also love making it into "tea" to water the plants with. Earthworm castings are "black gold"- an aptly given name. They are an incredible allover fertilizer. Check out the link for more info.

Lastly, every gardener needs to decide how they are going to water their plants. I would love to make my own rain barrel. A rain barrel is just what it sounds like, a large container which catches rainwater coming off of your roof, so that you can use it to water your plants. It usually attaches the downspout of your home. I can't use rain barrels because I can't attach it to our home since we don't own it. Once we're in our own house someday, I definitely plan on making a few. You can make your own and it's really cheap- maybe $30 for supplies. It's really a great way to conserve water and be a good steward. Plus it's free! You can also watch videos on You Tube teaching you how to make one.

If you're not able to do a rain barrel, though, I'd recommend this hose filter by Pacific Sands. Remember that the chlorine in your water is harmful for your growing plants and also is a chemical you don't want to ingest! (Chlorine was used in chemical warfare in World War 2- do you still think it's ok to drink?!)

Well, this pretty much wraps up my favorite gardening accessories! I hope you're well on your way to growing food (and memories) that your whole family will enjoy!

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