Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Green finger tips - tomato, basil , rosemary and marigold

Tomato pests in the organic garden

A gardener knows that tomatoes are prone to all sorts of attacks during the tomato growing season. They are vulnerable to blight and bottom end rot. Red spider mites also love to take advantage of tomato plants in your organic garden.

Grow tomato, basil, rosemary and marigold together in your garden

Create a terrific combination of companion plants in your organic garden tomato with basil rosemary and marigold. Basil and rosemary are both aromatic plants which are great insect repellents. The strong aromas of these herbs help the tomato plants to thrive, keeping the tomato plants healthy and virtually pest free. Adding the marigolds helps to keep the nematodes away and attracts hoverflies. Hoverflies pollinate plants and the larvae of some species eat pests like aphids.

Companion planting yield healthy tomatoes

Growing tomatoes can be easier and more rewarding when companion planting them in the garden. The other advantage of growing your basil and rosemary with the tomatoes is that when you come to cook the herbs with the tomatoes, you are in for a taste explosion. The combination of cooking with basil and tomato is superb. Any dish with tomato and rosemary is guaranteed to be a winner, especially when it is grown in your very own organic garden using companion planting.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Green finger tips – city organic garden bed developments

The city organic garden bed is developing

The soil in the bed is still washing a little. The rain has been pouring for a few days and the drum gets full quickly. The excess water is washing the soil away. I need to get some more mulch and plants growing where the soil is washing.
The gas guy managed to crack the paving stone I put in place when he brought the new gas bottle, so now it looks like a mosaic.

Plants planted in the city organic garden

I have placed a potted fern next to the rainwater harvesting tank. I am going to leave it in the pot as otherwise it will get too large for the space. I have thrown a few mung beans and flax seed (linseed) into the bed. I am about to plant some mustard.

Volunteer plants in the city organic garden

There is a volunteer potato (which shouldn’t really be growing this close to winter, but let’s see what happens) I am debating about moving it as it is growing right in the pathway.

The “weeds” that are volunteering are mainly clover, dandelion and chickweed. All of them are soil improvers. It is amazing how the soil knows what is needed to balance and improve it. Clover and dandelion are well known for their nitrogen fixing qualities. Chickweed adds Potassium to the soil and is a great green manure crop.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Green finger tips - Rainwater harvesting

Assessing what I have available for rainwater harvesting

One of the first things needed for a successful organic garden is water. I had a look around the little yard of my city organic garden and discovered this unused 20 litre drum standing in the corner of the courtyard.

Here is the downpipe throwing water onto the soil, which is washing away down the drain. So to stop the soil erosion and collect a little rainwater, I did the most obvious thing.

Rainwater for the city organic garden

I placed the drum under the down pipe and hey presto! Here is the first rainwater I have harvested from the roof. This simple action allows me to have water on hand for the first little bed of the tiny urban farm.