Monday, May 12, 2008

Nothing Says Happy Mother's Day Like a Bouquet of Fresh Organic Vegetables Planted in the Garden!

Yesterday was a fun day at grandma’s house celebrating mother’s day by planting and gardening the organic & natural way. Nothing beats saying "I Love You" to the moms in our lives with a garden tribute. But a Hallmark card never hurts! The Leidhecker clan got to together for what we call FSA (Family Supported Agriculture), a new twist on CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).  We rodtilll, fertilized and prepared the garden for this summer’s vegetable bounty. There is nothing finer then fresh juicy rip tomatoes, golden & red potatoes, bean sprouts, beets, cabbage and corn straight from the earth. You name it we are going to plant it. Since I have a green paw and digging is my specialty I felt right at home.  

Organic gardening means no pesticides, herbicides, chemicals fertilizers or artificial supplements. This is great because when me and mom go vegetable picking for the dinner menu and are in the kitchen cooking up organic doggy food I can rest assure no chemicals were used in the process. Let nature do its thing and organic gardening will be less costly and give you peace of mind. A lot of people are worried, especially doggy parents, about the chemicals that are routinely used in food production. Sometimes these chemicals get into the waterways. Organic gardening means your kids and the family dog or cat, can play in the garden safely in a chemical free zone.

Composting is a great way to get organic all natural fertilizer without the chemicals and a great way to rid of garden & kitchen waste. Now that’s Reduce, Reuse, and Re-waste.!  But don’t be intimated it not as hard as it sounds, you just need to know what you can use to compost.  It is amazing how banana peels, potatoes, vegetable peels; coffee grinds can turn in to organic fertilizer.

It was a serene afternoon in the cool breeze.  Aunt Judy was the Garden Police making sure that we all did our part in the garden and dictating task. I must say I got in trouble a few times trying to chase a bee or Peter Rabbit and trampling over the beets. I can still hear her saying “Lola don’t step on the beets”.  Oh how I love my auntie Judy she’s quite a lady and she loves to garden.

 In the garden my mom was in charge of preparing the ground from being infiltrated by unwanted pests. Undesirable weeds that is, that appear to grow in places you don’t want them and make a home in your garden.  Sometimes I wonder how they get here! Well my mom wikied and did some research and explained that weed seeds exist in all gardens and sometimes their seeds are spread by wind, water & animals and by things we use to help gardens grow.

But for all of you newly planted gardeners take hope in this there are many ways to fight and prevent weeds from overtaking those innocent bean sprouts.
  Here are some helpful tips:

1. Prevention is the best medicine- so make sure you provide the best healthy environment for plants to grow.
  Improper watering, soil compaction, insect damage and disease are the gardens way of bringing out a Welcome mat for weeds. Like unwanted guest they get comfortable and never want to live.

2. Hand weeding is key when you see one of those garden offenders get down on your needs and start pulling.
  No one likes their roots to be pulled so after a while they will get to hint they have overstayed their welcome.

3. Use barriers- Many people use plastic around the plants to block weeds from growing.  An eco-friendly alternative is recycling old newspaper by shredding them up and is cheap and a good organic solution. All you have to do is layer the shredded newspaper ¼ thick around the vegetables and to keep it from flying away and littering the streets wet it down.  Then afterwards cover the newspaper with straw.  Trust me your warm weather-loving crops such as melons, pumpkins, eggplants and tomatoes will love you for it.

  You can even make your own mulch from mixture of pine needles and grass clippings.

5. Also you can arm yourself with the weapon of choice, a natural pest killer with things right in your kitchen or pantry. All you need is cooking oil, dish soap, water and a recycled spray bottle. Now that’s something to woof about!

 Let me leave you with some barking words of wisdom:

For all you city slickers out there don't be sad you can have an organic garden to, a small patch of land will do. My parents and I live in the city and we are going to be planting a little convenient garden right in our tiny non existent back yard. We just can't resist a fresh salad every night for dinner. So you see, you can eat your organic veggies and plant them too. Although going to the local farmers market for organic produce is fun and exciting planting your own garden is so rewarding and a lot less costly in the long run. Besides you get to have neighborhood DIY bragging rights! Perhaps you can even sell your hand grown produce on the side of the road or at a farmers market. 

For all you parents out there having a hard time getting your kids to eat vegetables you can get them excited about bean sprouts & spinach by getting them involved  in organic gardening too. Encouraging them to take an interest in how food is made will perhaps give them  a whole new outlook on eating a whole and natural meal. Also, they will have a blast helping with the compost making and thinking up ingenious ideas on how to remove bugs. Most of all, they'll enjoy eating the delicious food that comes from organic garden they helped plant & grow.

Barklingly yours,

Lola Rose (Woof, Woof!)

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