The Styled Ramblings of Heavy Petal's Bruce Bailey

Gardening the way it was ment to be—or something close to it

The more I garden the more I learn—it’s because the less I know.

This year I am taking on a major new garden space. It’s a plot next to my

It's always good to have a qualified machine operator. LB is good at giving direction, getting into mischief, sunbathing in the greenhouse, and keeping down the mice. She would also like to remind all that Earth Day is Friday April 22nd. LB is a great companion as are most Rat Terriers. She also wants me to let you know she is a lucky dog because she has her own dog—Buddy.

living quarters, just a strip of land 25 x 175 feet. The soil is good, some rock, but not excessively rocky. I have worked the soil, last year adding manure and clippings to it. I figure after a good year that stuff should be broken down and ready to be put to work.

I have been reading many other blogs—

I have been trying to glean from others what may or may not be the best practices. We hear words like green and sustainable, but let’s use terms like practical and self-sufficient. Gardening should be more about common sense than chemistry.

I use the tines to loosen the soil before I disk it.

Now it’s true I don’t live in an apartment, my soil is rather alkaline, and I am in a high desert but I have plenty of resources. I have manure literally at my finger tips because of family horse ranch I am on, water is bountiful, and I have a great growing climate with plenty of sunshine. The only worry I have is livestock getting out and getting into my garden, but I am working on that prevention as well.

My goal this year is to not use chemicals. Chemical fertilizers, amendments, pesticides or herbicides. Our forefathers had other ways of doing things. Making soap concoctions, sprays of cayenne, adding fish renderings into the soil. I guess if it was good enough then it should be good enough now?

It's ok to use larger tools if the space requires it. Gardening should be enjoyed and a lobor of love, not labor intensive.

beautiful worked up soil waiting to be planted

Now I have cheated.  I must admit that. I do not have a team of horses, oxen or mules to hook up to a plow and work my soil. I have used a Massey Ferguson tractor that is here on the ranch, have worked up the soil and gotten my plot prepared with a little help that is more contemporary. I have not created beautiful ‘lasagna beds’ like Michael Nolan or many other people I tweet with. 

I am a bit more aggressive when it comes to this. I am not worried about the bits of grass, I am not seeking picture perfection. What I am concerned about is making sure the food I produce is healthy and safe for me and my friends.

This was my big spring clean up project for the day. I did not neglect my greenhouse while doing this, no dogs were hurt and I did not go hungry while writing this blog posting.

I would suggest to all out there. If you have a small plot, an apartment, live in a new subdivision, or our in the country—do yourself a favor and grow a few of your vegetables. You can work on your compost this year for next. You can build the soil and work in the earth. It is rewarding in many ways, a stress reliever from the office, a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday living. Even if it is 20 minutes or an hour: find that zen your garden space will create.

Happy Planting!


2 responses

  1. Wowzer! i wish I was growing on all that land! I am jealous! looks like you are off to a great start. I cant wait too see your strip in action and full of fresh food!

    March 29, 2011 at 4:53 am

  2. Wow, you have a lot of land to grow those veggies on! I agree, I want common sense and self sufficient. The word ‘sustainable’ can be off-putting to many. You are doing all the right things, Bruce. Chemicals are ‘out’ for me, as well…I like to see butterflies, bees and wildlife and don’t want to cause harm. Good luck with your crops this year!

    March 29, 2011 at 2:12 pm

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