Planting an Eclectic Organic #Garden

I do not have a “green thumb” and all my organic gardening attempts have been experiments. This is my 3rd year of experimenting with growing veggies, herbs and flowers in a small space and without use of pesticides. If nothing dies, I feel successful.

A couple ideas I have incorporated into my organic garden experience this year began at the end of last season. First, I wrote down a simple list of plants and how well they did. Second, I wrote down what I wanted to plant again the following year. Third, I collected seeds from local farm produce I bought throughout the summer to plant the following summer. And finally, I read, Pinned, and read more about gardening ideas throughout the winter and spring months.

This year, I didn’t plant as much. However, what I did plant will be abundant – bell peppers and herbs. I didn’t plant any flowers last year, but my next door neighbor did. I wanted my front space to look equally as appealing and under the old mulch was an abundance of hard working earthworms. Why let good soil be covered by mulch again?

I planted spinach, cucumber, red bell pepper and cantaloupe with the seeds I collected last summer. The cucumber seeds have sprouted already! And I built a simple vertical herb garden with 2 steel buckets I found at various flea markets last year. (My favorite part of the garden this year.) Also, found a couple used window boxes and ceramic drainage sections to use.

Vertical Herb garden with 2 stainless steel buckets and organic soil.

One failed attempt last year was use of pallets, but I’m reusing them this year as a trellis for the viney plants. Another idea was to plant onions that had already started to sprout in my cupboard. Celery can also be started in water, then transferred to the ground.

It’s my eclectic garden this year. Some new ideas, a few old ideas, but all an experiment in a little space.

What have you tried with success or failed attempts to grow?

St. Patrick’s Day – 5 Great Ways to Live a #Greener Life

Plant a garden with flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! One of my favorite holidays, not only for the color, but also to celebrate the Irish heritage.

Uncommonly warm and sunny in the middle of March in Ohio, St. Patrick’s Day inspires me to truly think & be green today – the greenest day of the year!

5 Ways you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and Live a Greener Life

1. Start a garden. March is the month to start planting seeds, repot last year’s houseplants, prep the ground (or planters) for your summer garden. visit your local greenhouse to answer questions about what you should plant and where. Living in an apartment with only the morning sun on my balcony does limit what I can plant; however, greens like lettuce, spinach and kale will fare well in mostly shade. Assess your space whether it’s a 8′ x 12′ plot in your backyard or a 6 foot cement patio, you can still fill your space with plenty of fresh herbs and veggies that will be ready when the summer heat hits.

2. Volunteer with a community garden. Even if you don’t think you have a green thumb (sometimes I wonder myself), there are plenty of tasks to do to keep a garden green and growing all season long. There’s weeds to pluck, seeds to plant, and oftentimes community gardens accept veggie scraps and leaves for the compost. Get your kids involved too. Ask around about community gardens, look in the newspaper or call your local city hall to find the nearest community garden. Urban gardens are sprouting up, literally, where abandoned houses and parking lots used to be. In my area, I’m just tickled green to see another fenced in garden in the most run-down neighborhoods. That’s urban development in the most greenest sense to me!

3. Start a compost. Thinking green, invest in creating or buying a composter for your kitchen or backyard. Amazon has
countertop compost bins if you don’t have space or the time to have one outside. Use the compost in potted plants, your garden, your neighbor or community garden. The nutrients combined with soil will yield better and organic crops. Read more about how to use compost in your garden here. Worm bins are also a great alternative to using indoor compost bins and buckets. Of course, you’ll  need worms and some soil, but worm poop is the best organic fertilizer for your plants and if you take care of “feeding” the red wrigglers, you won’t have to endure the stink of their process either.

4.  Eat more plant based food. Have you noticed the rising cost of food lately? Meat, especially pork, will continue to rise in price throughout 2012 and beyond. Do yourself, your health and your family some good and reduce the amount of animal products in your diet. Plant based diets are easily digestible, contain protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals to keep all your organs working properly. Start simply, eliminate one animal based meal a week with a vegetable or grain entree. Two of the 3 main meals I eat daily do not contain meat or animal by-products.  I buy tofu (soybean) based products as well as whole grains to replace the protein found in meats.

5. Buy local. Local farms and roadside stands are more abundant or maybe as abundant as they were 30 years ago. Buying local seasonal foods decreases fuel costs, lessens exposure to harmful pesticides and herbicides and puts your hard earned wages back into the community. Check out this resource to find a list of local farms in your area,

I could go on and list more, but I know you really want to get out and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and I have some Irish recipes to tend to today, so enjoy this great Green day.

Go Irish!