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Just let go and let nature do its job  RSS feed

 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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I just wanted to make this post so that maybe other new gardeners could take something from it and make their gardening experience more enjoyable. I started getting serious about gardening about seven years ago and I started with hard red alabama clay, the first couple of years I tilled in organic matter in the fall and it didnt seem to help much then I went to no till and just mulched the surface to death and things started to get a little better. I still wasn't getting plants to grow the way I thought they should and insects where killing everything it was a never ending battle. I used every kind of organic spray and trick to try and keep them under control but there was no winning. Next I started using only rain water and the chickens water when it got to dirty for them and I also sprinkle the chicken manure around the garden, still not quite where I wanted it to be, and still an endless army of insects attacked. Finally this year I decided to change my strategy one more time I went out and bought clover and a variety of different wildflowers and sprinkled them throughout the garden. All the plants came up along with a lot of chick weed but I didnt bother any of it, when it came time to plant I pulled what was in the way and planted my vegetables and just let it go. Now that I have done all this wasps and other predatory insects have come in droves to my garden and by the time I see caterpillar poop on a leaf the wasp have already taken care of it. Now all I have to do is make a quick walk threw the garden and yank what ever weed is getting a little to pushy and everything is looking great, its never looked this good. Now my only problem is I go out and pull a couple of weeds back and in 15 minutes im done and im looking around for something else to do because its taking care of itself. I guess im just saying that if you copy nature and let it do its job all you are left with is giving the plants you want a little nudge and the ones that are ground cover a little trim. I'll have to get some pictures together to post on this thread to see what people think about it, ANYWAYS thank for reading
 
Justin Deri
Posts: 80
Location: North Yarmouth, ME
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Cameron,
Glad to hear you've found some success. One thing I wanted to note is that you shouldn't discount the inputs you added in the first few years. All that organic matter and chicken manure you added may have taken a season or two to mineralize and biologically become available to plants. You probably helped create a lot of the building blocks for a good garden by encouraging the bacteria, fungus, nematodes, etc.

I'd love to see some pictures both of your past season and current success!

Justin
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Justin you are absolutely right it did help I mean the ground here was literally rock hard you could barely chip the ground with a shovel when I first started even with the tiller you'd be lucky to get 2 inches down. I guess I was just trying to say when you have done everything you know to do sometimes its time to just sit back and wait and let nature fix itself. My thoughts on letting the weeds and flowers take over the garden is in the deep south it gets SOOOOOO hot that I don't think even heavy mulch is enough to stop the sun from baking the soil, so my theory is a dense cover of foliage will keep the sun from ever reaching the soil period creating a sort of micro climate under the plants. As far as pictures I will have to dig around for old pics although I know I have some because I have posted a couple of times with pics of my tomato plants dying from root knot nematodes, and im waiting on the weather to improve to take new pics its been raining for 2 weeks straight here, saw the sun for the first time today so I suspect their is about to be a growth spurt about to happen, but I will get some up here soon.
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Here are just a couple of plants I did take picture of before the rain started, will post some whole garden pics soon.
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Swiss chard and lettuce in plastic 55 gl drum
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Blackberries in bird net cage
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kale growing in the garden
 
Weston Ginther
Posts: 63
Location: NW South Dakota - Zone 4b
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Great job, thanks for sharing your experience!

cameron johnson wrote:...Next I started using only rain water and the chickens water when it got to dirty for them...


Are you still only using rainwater and chicken water for irrigation?

In the picture below, is that a drip irrigation line? If so, would you care to share the details of that part?



 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Yes its drip lines I just use a large kiddy pool for the chickens water and I have a transfer pump that I hook up to the drip line when I want to clean the chicken pool, and the rain water I have a 65 gl water barrel that catches the water off the back of my house and right now I just use a 3 gl watering can but thinking about making a short hose with 2 male ends and then I could hook the transfer pump to the rain barrel as well. Although I do from time to time have to flush the drip line by removing the end cap because the chicken coop water isnt filtered so it does clog every once in a while, still thinking about how to fix that little problem.I have 300 ft of drip line just to empty the chicken pool into the garden.
 
cameron johnson
Posts: 74
Location: Prattville, Alabama, zone 8, 328ft
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Here are a few more pics not as clear as I would like but I have a scratch right in the middle of my camera lens i'll take some more with a better phone later.
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I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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