Monday, July 11, 2011

Organic Gardening by a Friendly Farmer

I'm working at the Harvest Market Garden. It is a part of UT's 
organic program. There are 6 of us interns and we run a one acre garden and sell the produce at a weekly farmers market on campus.

My farm dream is to have a homestead to produce food that is healthy for people as well as for the land. I want to heal the land and heal people with the food I grow.

Organic, small-scale farming (what I do) is a great gender equalizer, I think, because it is mostly a matter of stamina - not sheer muscle power. The strength it takes to make it through a 12 hour day of harvesting, when it's 95 degrees, is quite different from the strength it takes to bench press 350pounds. I enjoy being on equal ground with the fellows I work with and feeling strong in what I do.

If fancy loves anything it’s fresh.  Which is why Kirsten Eisele, who is currently working with The Harvest Market Garden in Knoxville, has written a little piece for us on budget organic gardening.  Kirsten has also agreed to help out with a little Q&A on budget organic gardening.  This girl knows her stuff.  Ask her anything in the comments below and she’ll answer.  

"Greetings, fancy ladies! I am a fancy girl who gets her hands dirty at different farms across middle and east Tennessee. Last year I had the privilege of living in a house where the owners had established a perennial herb garden and was 
completely won over to the joy of cooking with fresh herbs.

Fresh herbs are essential to every fancy girl’s kitchen. They lend that extra edge of flavor to any dish, whether a simple spaghetti sauce or a crusty loaf of rosemary bread.
The only problem with fresh herbs is that they cost a whole lot if you have to rely on the grocery store to get them. You’ll pay about $3 to buy a tiny package of probably not-so-fresh herbs that will go bad quickly if you don’t use them immediately
The solution? Grow your own! Most herbs are notoriously easy to grow. They will grow in the ground, in a pot, indoors, outdoors, on the roof, in the backyard. 
Starting from seed is my recommendation. It may take a bit longer for you to get the lovely-smelling plants you desire, but it will be worth the wait.
You’ll get the best value by purchasing an assorted seed packet. Individual seed packets cost about $2/each and can be bought at your local hardware store or farmers co-op.
Many herbs are either perennials, such as rosemary and sage, or self-seed easily, such as dill. Put a bit of effort into setting up your garden and with luck you will be literally reaping the rewards for years to come.
The cheapest soil prep is good hard work, if you have a home where your herbs will be permanent. Dig up the spot where you're going to put the plants 
Here's a link to a recipe for homemade organic pest sprays. Super easy to make and earth-friendly. Though usually, the best organic form of pest control is to use two fingers to squish the offending bug!

Two Homemade Sprays for Fighting Aphids organicgardening.about.comThese two homemade organic sprays have a proven track record of effectiveness when it comes to getting rid of aphids.
Interested in an indoor garden? Check out this resource for information on growing different kinds of herbs.
Interested in an outdoor garden? In our mild climate, perennial herbs can survive the winter and thrive during warm weather.
Please comment with any additional questions and I’d be happy to do a follow up Q and A post!
Your friendly farmer, 

1 comment:

Mema & Sha Sha Kitten said...

Love this post. I'm for sure going to try the tomatoe spray.Hey Fancy girl your Mom and I had some gardening fun with a roto-tiller in your backyard in Redlands. Fun memories.

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