Saturday, April 01, 2006

Garden Guard


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I'm not a true organic gardener. I have no qualms about moderate use of nonorganic fertilizers. I like the slow release type like Dynamite or Miracle grow. I do a lot of organic stuff like composting and manure additions, but I'm no purist. This is not a place where rocks are breaking down into fresh soil...rather, this is a place of sterile quartz sand. Go to a Florida beach, pick up a handfull of sand...that's my soil. A soil test comes back with near zero in most of the nutrient categories. Sixty-five inches of rain leaches away nutrients as fast as you can add them.

What I do not use, is any type of inorganic pesticide, fungicide, or herbicide in my garden. Mostly I don't even use the organic kinds. One of the big farces of our time is the idea that if you put the word "NATURAL" or "ORGANIC" on a product label, it's automatically safe, or good for you and the earth. What a crock.

So my plants get little extra protection against bugs, etc. I do pest patrols and squish or feed caterpillars to my chickens. In my garden are lots of little toad and lizard habitats to encourage natural predators of the garden enemies. The anoles are really good at bug patrol.



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The first snowpea, eaten on the spot after this picture was taken about 2 weeks ago.


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My favorite garden guardian is Flounder. Not much of a bug-getter, but he will occasionally bark at the deer.

He's obviously a type of bird dog...here we see him in his nest.

12 comments:

rick said...

Are those tomato plants? I had to be in Miami Thursday so I saw the family at Craigs Wenesday night.Glad your back the shadow pic was cool,and when I saw a different one up top I knew you were back.I wanted to be there Thursday but i could not get off work we are swamped right now, I thought of Mr. B as our train rolled south towards Cuba I mean Miami.He was a very talented guy who loved life,his family as well as his Country. Stuart bought a flay bottom boat and its rigged for gigging maybe we can go this summer.

doubleknot said...

I also had sand for my garden in my gardening days but built raised beds and put anything I could get my hands on in the beds to make soil - dirt, rabbit droppings, chicken dropping, cow droppings, mulch - leaves dried grass anything I could get - the sand would just eat it up the first year but after that as I kept adding more and digging a little deeper I had some nice soil to plant in.
Love the snow pea pic - that was the first thing I used to grow also and they usually didn't make it out of the garden. My son and I would snack on them.
I did have luck with buying some wasps and other bug eaters to help with the unwanted bugs.

roger said...

oooh. snow pea envy! mine are up about a half an inch now. and my daring experimental early tomato starts haven't even shown a sprout yet. the greens in the greenhouse (how appropriate) are doing well.

steady rain all night. morning temp 40. will probably warm up to 45.

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Love snow peas. We probably won't be eating our first until some time in May. When will your first tomatoes be ready for eatin'?

Flounder has soulful, pretty eyes.

vicki said...

On the tail of RD- LOVE snow peas.
I did a bit more gardening while in Florida last week but for the time being it has to be stuff that can go unattended, except by my anole farm workers, for weeks at a time. There is a sprinkler system but otherwise...did you see those frightening plants that resembled body parts I found growing up my Florida fence? Hmm. Also, while there I checked on the Sagos- they have had bad scale- and the thorough dish soap and water bath I give them each time I go seems to be working.
Here in Michigan we are 6 weeks away from even looking at tomato seedlings but when we do it's Miracle Gro for them and everything else in the garden. My hands are blue for much of the summer.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

My husband ran the rotortiller through the garden yesterday, but it won't be until about May 15 before we can set out any tomatoes.
Your snow pea looks great and your BIRD dog in his nest...that's cute.

Deb said...

I lived on a sand plain here in Minnesota a few years ago,
and all my soil tests came back inert. Any compost added to the soil would pretty much disappear, so I did resort to a few fertilizer tricks. Whatever works! Now I am blessed with a bit heavier soil, as well as abundant horse manure and raised beds to put it in.

Wayne said...

My snowpeas and tomatoes are just coming up; the former planted directly in the soil, the latter in pots.

Very sensible line you've drawn there. I too have no trouble using miracle gro or osmacote fertilizer. But like you i don't use pesticides of any sort. I've too much interest in maintaining predator insects.

It's likely that it was Kurt Hoffer who scared me away from a purist mindset many many years ago.

Floridacracker said...

Rick,
Your folks were there and they represented y'all well. I did pretty well until the folding of the colors and Taps...had to swallow hard a few times.
Yes, those are tomatoes.
Yes, floundering sounds great!

Doubleknot,
I do add a lot of organics, but they take Nitrogen to break down and I supplement that.

DPR,
Brrrr...actually I'm not ready for hot weather yet, so a high of 45 sounds delicious. When you're munching your snowpeas, my vines will be on the compost pile.

RD,
Flounder's eyes are verrry soulfull. When he was a puppy and sometimes BAD, it was always tough to discipline him. I think the first tomato could be late April.

Vicki,
Scale on cycads hits me too and I use the same soapy mix. They need an annual dose of magnesium too. Neat to think these were plants dinos munched on...
And yes, I saw that sensuous blossom...


Abandoned,
The dog is an expert at finding a soft spot to lay down.

Deb,
Moderation in all things may be the best advice ever given. My dad will have a longer harvest of tomatoes, because he's a better gardener to start with, but he also uses Daconil fungicide and I just can't go there.


Wayne,
Kurt Hoffer? Uh oh Professor, I guess I have a homework assignment.

Wayne said...

Heh - Kurt Hoffer - "The True Believer", which was a big thing among the junior high school reading and literature classes oh so many years ago. This was way before eemokurok, what some called "I'm OK, You're OK". Different author, of course. My mother and I had a lot of fun with that one, specifying that while eemok, urnotok.

BTW, your remarks on "natural" and "organic" hit home for me. You know how I hate to be cynical, but those labels do it to me.

Floridacracker said...

Wayne,
mmok2.
The natural/organic assumptions of wholesomeness really bug me. There ARE wonderful "natural" products out there that are better for you than traditional additive laden products, (YOU LISTENING RURALITY?)...I wasn't fussing about them...just the blind acceptance of the label.

My real peeve is "chemical free" labels..WHAT? Is there a vaccuum in the container?

The infomercial ads that run on radio and tv seem to be allowed to claim anything and everything for their supplement products? Where's the FDA?

Thunder Dave said...

FC, You bring up an interesting point. It seems that "Natural" supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Just don't call it a vitamin, a medicine, or a food and you can market just about anything with little or no regulations. It's definitely a Buyer-Beware situation!