This note I received today.

“I’m attempting to plant a garden for the first time and have found the literature I’ve read so far to be confusing and not clear enough for someone who is a complete beginner. I’m glad I came across your blog because you put things in much simpler terms. I’m excited to see what else you write about and to hopefully see my garden grow!”

Yes, friend, gardening is so simple, yet they work so hard to make it not. You need 6 hours of sun and good soil.  Start with whatever soil you have, till it up, and plant seeds. Lots of seeds. Water when you plant to aid germination, and daily for a week after. Don’t soak, just dampen.  Plant seeds in rows, wide beds, whatever strikes your fancy.

Then just wait and see what happens.  Weed as you must, or mulch against weeds if you can.  Pile on as much organic matter as you can to your garden. It won’t look pretty, but it pays off.

Pests will come, until your soil is truly rich, but deal with them organically and gently. Never be alarmed; you’re learning. You will have a harvest, because you planted.

Then forever keep it simple: 6 hours of sun and good soil.  Pay no attention to formulas, cation exchange rates, or science coming out of university extension people who must defend their salaries and never garden. Six hours of sun and good soil. Feed your soil a wide range of stuff. That’s all it is. Acidity and everything else will fall into line as night follows day. Mother will feel the joy, as will you.

Oh, and this: An expert is nothing but a damned fool a long ways from home.


About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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1 Response to beginnings…

  1. Peter I thank you for this column and your knowledge – I have to admit I graduated from a Ag college and became an extension agent in my first job. Ten years into my inorganic life a brother suggested i try composing grass leaves and almost anything that hasn’t had a pesticide or herbicide applied. The practice was adopted and thus the beginning of a new experience in organic practices.. I was so amazed at the attributes of organic verse inorganic I never turned back… Since literature found here and on the Organic Gardening Forums have become a valuable part of my reading and knowledge involved in raising veggies herbs and flowers. At first I was humiliated by the wisdom expressed by forums readers – but now acknowledge it was i that lacked the actual experience. My garden is limited space wise but i grow from Feb to my harvest in winter of brussel sprouts. Thanks for taking the time to express your knowledge and to pbbikes over in Rodales who has helped me with several problems involving a log on problems. Your efforts are appreciated by us in the plant growing community. Thanks

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