Finally, I’m sure after much anticipation; I have a post on gardening.
Upon moving to Pensacola, I had the pleasure of learning from Renee and Tom of East Hill Edible Gardening. I was initial drawn to organic gardening upon watching the documentary Food Inc.
I found it fascinating that one of the best things you can do for the environment is start your own garden, and, as a foodie; the idea of fresh ingredients from the backyard was an added bonus.
Just briefly, I wanted to share the basic set up and concept of no-till, weed-free, organic gardening. Since I consider myself a novice to gardening, I started off with a small plot (4×6 ft. with a 1ft. path all around, to be precise). Then I used plain, brown cardboard (sans the ink and tape removed) and placed several layers over the the entire plot, overlapping the path as well. The idea is to kill off whatever weeds and grass is growing underneath. Cardboard is also biodegradable and should wear down in about a months time.
After the cardboard has been placed, I used a bale of hay as mulch for the garden. I know some well-seasoned gardeners are probably raising their eyebrows because of the bahia seeds you’re adding to your garden. However, by using this method, I have found that I rarely, if ever, have to weed. The rare occasion I do, the weeds are plucked with little effort. Where the trouble comes in, is if you’re attached to your well manicured lawn (in which case I am not), you don’t want the seeds falling there.
Then, I was advised to purchase fresh, nutrient-rich organic mushroom compost (not the kind from the bag). Lucky for me, a twenty minute drive north, brings me to a rural community, where mushroom compost is in abundance. I’m growing a plethora of lettuce right now- several varieties of kale, romaine, arugula, cilantro, peas, etc. With that said, I’m using about 2-3 double handfuls of compost per plant. As far as placement goes, I’ve spaced my plants in 3 rows of four, cutting a large enough hole through the cardboard to accompany each plant’s growth.
Lastly, the path. If you do decide to use this method for gardening, please learn from my mistake. Make sure you double even triple cardboard your path and use pine straw for your mulch. While I have not had problems with weeds in the garden itself, they will slowly encroach your path in time. I like to go heavy on the pine straw to block sunlight but also to make sure it doesn’t blow away.
And there you have it! Winter is a fantastic time to begin- fewer pests, cooler weather, and very little maintenance. Water your garden daily and check it for anything unusual. If you’d like to learn more about this method or find yourself in the Pensacola area, check out Renee and Tom’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/EastHillEdibleGardening/