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Making your own organic garden

This is a post about growing your own organic vegetables in your yard.

We live in difficult times. This project was for me as much about doing something fulfilling as doing something environmentally friendly, but it is certainly both.

I’ve been growing vegetables for many years now. I’ve had success with lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and potatoes in the summer time, but when I’ve attempted to grow kale and other vegetables, the neighborhood bunnies ended up eating them.

I needed something with a fence around it, and for that I bought a cedar raised garden with a critter guard system. In order to make it last longer, I used an applied transparent fence stain from Sherwin Williams before assembling the garden. Putting it together was fairly easy – I needed to sand it down first, but after that, I was able to assemble it using only a rubber mallet, a drill (for pilot holes), and a screwdriver. 

Afterwards I filled it up with dirt. I first used the entire contents from my first successful use of my backyard composter. This helped but wasn’t nearly enough dirt, so I bought some Cedar Grove compost (made from local municipal compost) and several bags of potting soil from Home Depot for around $25. Once the soil was dumped in, I got some help spreading it out and compacting it.

With the dirt in place, I was ready for planting.

Summer is now almost over, so I researched what you can grow in the autumn and winter here in the Pacific Northwest. WSU has a handy list available on the internet. I choose brussel sprouts, swiss chard, kale, and rainbow carrots, plus another plant chosen to help out our local pollinators. I have also tried planting some of my own kale seeds, so I’ll see how that turns out.

Thus far, the chard and kale has been a success. I can tell you that it was delicious, but required some soaking and washing to get all the bugs off. It’s in the salad spinner in the photo below, which also includes our harvest of potatoes and some cherry tomatoes from this summer, as well as our healthy daily supply of raspberries. 

As time has gone by, our garden has done quite well, but I’ve been confronted with another garden nemesis: snails. The damage inflicted by these pets is seen here in the awful smoke of this September’s wildfires.

To deal with these guys, I’ve bought some slug bait. Thankfully, this stuff doesn’t need to be toxic and poses no risk for pets and wildlife. The active ingredient is iron phosphate, which occurs naturally in soil and will degrade naturally. It does get ingested by snails and kills them in a few days. 

I haven’t received the sluggo yet, but when I’ve applied it and seen the results I’ll update this post. Until then, I’ll be enjoying whatever part of my organic garden that the slugs don’t eat!

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