Life with weeds
Last summer at a farm market, someone asked me what chemicals we used for weed control...all I could do was laugh. I grow the best weeds in the area! Because we still do most of this by hand, and refuse to use chemicals, we invested in breathable mats. They let the earth breathe, the water permeate and they save us a lot of work. We still spend hours weeding every week, but they sure help. Where the mats won't work with the plants we mulch and hand weed more...dirt under our nails.
We Grow From Seeds
We grow all of our vegetables from seed every year. I do not buy someone else's seedlings and plant them. Dozens of flats of tiny little plants are nurtured and then transplanted. I use an organic starting mix too. Our garlic, potatoes, onions, asparagus are all are from organic cuttings or starts. Our fruits have been growing organically here for a number of years but the original plant may or may not have had an organic start.
We use only organic materials for fertilizing our gardens. Let's all give a hand to those cows, chickens, turkeys, sheep and the llama. Everything gets composted that is available.
Just as manure and bacteria are part of my garden so are the bugs. Good and bad. SInce we have bees, we have to be very careful about what we spray and when. I only use pyrethrin and other natural repellents. We have lost entire plantings because of squash bugs or cucumber beetles...but if I had used the pesticide to control them - I wouldn't eat the harvest...so bugs we have.
My Kitchen Garden
Three oreganos, chives, parsley, thyme, cilantro, a few basils, garlic scapes, rosemary, a couple of sages, bay laurel, a lot of mints, marjoram, lavendar, scalion, and a few flowers thrown in for good measure.
Heirlooms, Hybrids, and the Ugly Tomatoes
Lavendar Touch. One of my favorite eggplants. We only grow varieties that have a special quality. Many are heirloom varieties. They have to taste great, cook great, and be healthy for you. One of the hardest adjustments for people is that they aren't those perfect 'clones' you find at the supermarket. Our tomatoes look a bit weird. They have cracks, and can be pink, multicolored, and sometimes shaped funny. But they taste great and they all have names and I know them personally.
Most importantly, have you noticed that the produce you buy at the grocery store doesn't rot or grow mold for days or sometimes weeks? If mold or bacteria can't grow on it, how alive and fresh can it really be? What did they do to it to make it non-digestible to these basic organisms and how could it be good for you?