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Monday, June 7, 2010
I had a very sweet friend of mine ask me if our garden was for our personal pleasure. I'm so glad she asked that question! What a can of worms she has opened. The first reaction to her question would be absolutely. Gardening is my passion! But of course there is a lot more to my story. I can look back at my personal gardening history and see how much it has changed over the years. When I first began to garden it was small of course and lots of fun. I knew about organic gardening, but I didn't know how to organic garden. My husband and I have 2 acres in Southeast Texas. It has always been very difficult to grow on. When the bugs broke out I didn't really think to much about using something like Seven Dust on my veggies. I didn't think any thing about using Miracle Grow to fertilize. It seemed to be the most popular thing at the garden center and I thought it was the normal thing to use. I now know it's very normal, but normal don't make it right.I always wondered why our land was so difficult to farm. The soil was so poor and had very little top soil. It was sand at the top, but rock hard. Then there is clay in some places only a foot down. Our whole place could have been a giant fire ant farm. I decided to try and do some research to try and find a little more history about our small piece of farmland. What I found was that our land was originally part of a huge farm that grew Watermelons for many years. Watermelons are one of those crops that will deplete all the nutrients in the soil. Without the use of sustainable organic practices, basically the soil becomes raped of all its substance. This farmland was not able to grow a thing without the use of artificial means which are chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and hybrids.
First on the agenda would be improving the soil. We do this by making our own compost, double digging and collecting all the organic material we can. This is the most economic and productive way to garden without harming our environment. Each new year we expand the garden a little further.
The next goal has been to create a natural environment. I love this part the most. I have studied and put into practice the use of diverse and companion planting. It's almost like thinking of a forest floor and how things grow together. You start ending up with your own little eco-system. Everything begins to work together. The birds, the insects, the herbs and flowers are all to be seen on the surface, only because of what is going on beneath the surface.
My favorite story is a perfect example of how things work together. It is called "The Legend of the Three Sisters." This is a Legend of the Native American Indians. In late spring, we plant the corn and beans and squash. They're not just plants- we call them the three sisters. We plant them together, three kinds of seeds in one hole. They want to be together with each other, just as we Indians want to be together with each other. So long as the three sisters are with us we know we will never starve. The Creator sends them to us each year. We celebrate them now. We thank Him for the gift He gives us today and every day. - Chief Louis Farmer (Onondaga) The story goes: The oldest sister is the Spirit of the Corn. She wears silken tassels that rustle as she moves. The sister called the Spirit of the Bean wears clinging green leaves. She clings to and leans on her older sister for support. The youngest sister is the Spirit of the Squash and Pumpkin. She wears a golden crown and sits at the feet of her older sister. For the whole story visit the link below: http://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/collateral/articles/F05.legend.three.sisters.pdf