Let's garden

As the harvest approaches, remember to give back to the Mother

by the Garden Goddess

irst, allow me to introduce myself. I am the Garden Goddess, a cre- ation of those biodiversity freaks at the Organic Gardener's Resource and Design Centre in Encinitas. My agenda is to bring useful information to an ever growing community of concerned individuals that want a "user friendly" way to sustain a residential garden without a dependency upon chemicals, poisons or synthetic compounds that harm the web of life that is so fragile here in the urban sprawl. Now that the intro is complete let's garden ...okay?

We are rapidly coming upon a time when all of our summer vegetables and many of our fruits will be ready for harvesting. It is also, however, a time to give thanks to the provider of that bounty and to restore that which had been depleted during the growing season. Yes, fellow Earthlings, I'm talking about the soil! The most overlooked part of the garden is by far the most important and often the most misunderstood.

In our semi-arid climate, our soils have a tendency to be somewhat alkaline and often heavy clay or silt is the primary physical characteristic that we notice. These traits are common in the southwest and we often make the mistake in thinking that our native soils won't grow a good garden so we don't. But we can, and the process of transforming our soil is not complicated, costly or labor intensive.

Good garden soil can be biologically manufactured as you grow your garden. And with a maximum of three fertilizations a year, along with a composting/green waste recycling program, rich loamy soil can be made from literally any native soil one might encounter in San Diego county (excluding solid stone). The following recipes will be helpful to those of you considering a fall garden plot or even if you're just restoring the soil after this season's harvest:

Basic soil enrichment program for a 10 ft. x 10ft. garden plot:

Spread all of the above ingredients over the plot and rototill to a minimum depth of 6-8 inches. Water the entire space liberally and mulch with a 2-inch layer of organic compost. Let the garden plot digest for about 10-14 days and then proceed with planting. In 4-6 months, fertilize with a 50-50 blend of cottonseed meal and alfalfa meal at a rate of 5-7 lbs. for the 100 square foot plot. Repeat fertilizations at 4-6 month intervals.

For those vegen gardeners who decline to use animal products in the garden, switch out cottonseed meal for the guano and use soft rock phosphate instead of the bone meal. Please remember that a good 2-3 inch layer of a compost/mulch over the garden will protect the soil from drying out and will provide the earthworms with a tasty midnight snack.

The Garden Goddess is a trademark of the Organic Gardener's Resource and Design Centre, a sustainable business with an environmentally active agenda. D.W. Trotter is a consulting horticulturist and an award winning garden designer. If you have any organic gardening questions, please feel free to call toll free at (888) 514-4004 or e-mail at curlymill.net The advice will always be free of charge, it's the Goddess' way.