Sunday, August 9, 2009

Organic gardening and all that entails

My garden this year really sucked. Lack of water seems to be the main culprit. I think it has rained once since May in Seattle which is really weird. I keep hoping to see rain in the weather forecast and it's just not there. I've been watering a little but we only have one rain barrel which isn't enough for the flowers and the vegetables and fruit. My wildflowers and lavender is doing ok, but even our raspberries suffered. They were tiny and hard and sour at the peak of their ripeness which I assume is from lack of water because for the last nine years.

I plant marigolds around the periphery of my garden because the squirrels don't like the smell, but they didn't last very long before they started to dry up. The fennel (which attracts beneficial insects) is doing great though. My radishes did horribly but this is the first year I've tried to grow them. Apparently I did not thin them out like I was supposed to.

JP and I are in an argument about whether or not he can use moss killer on our grass. I vowed to not use any chemical pesticides or herbicides on our property so I need to find out if what he says is true - that moss killer is just iron because the moss hates the iron. It really is a futile attempt on my part to keep our yard sans pesticides and herbicides because most of our neighbors use them and our yard is so tiny and when it does eventually rain all that stuff just leeches into our yard. Plus, we've only been here nine years and who knows what the residents before us used.

One of the things we'll have to think about when we move to the country is if the land has ever flooded because you apparently can't plant vegetable gardens on soil that has recently flooded because the soil is contaminated and thus will contaminate the vegetables. There was one horse farm out in Monroe that was for sale on Woods Creek and JP actually really liked it (although he wasn't ready to move which is why we are still here and not on a horse farm in Monroe). Anyway, last winter all over Western WA they had crazy 100-year floods (or possibly 200-year or more floods) and most of the land at the farm had flooded so we would've had to wait through two growing cycles before safely planting a vegetable garden. A lot of places we have looked at which have not flooded for as long as the property has been lived on (100 years or more) actually flooded last year with the huge floods this area had. I'll have to find out the effects of a septic system and land contamination during a flood if we were to move before two years. Although, that will probably be a moot point because JP says that he will be ready to move in 2011 and not before. Which gives me one less thing to worry about - although who's to say if we're going to have any more crazy big floods in the next couple years.


  1. Sulfates and phosphates of iron are commonly used today as moss killers, slug/snail poison and for conditioning of low-iron soil. Before you freak out and scream, "Slug bait! There was this one time when my brother was little..." No, that was a different family chemicals, the dreaded metal aldehydes. Iron salts are not toxic to humans or non-mollusk pets. They are also not especially soluble in water either, so no worries about leeching into the groundwater. Iron(III) Phosphate is even approved for use as slug/snail poison in organic farming.

  2. Yes, but it's toxic to my mollusk friends. What about my mollusk friends? That could be my brother's problem. I've often thought he could be a mollusk.

  3. Yes, well, as long as your brother stays on the sidewalk he'll be fine. But his mollusk chums, them will I continue to flick into the street by the dozen, a fine French hors d'oeuvre for my friends, the crows.