This post will provide invaluable advice on keeping a thriving organic edible garden with minimal time. Of course, I prefer to wander the garden for hours, but I do not get such a chance very often.
For example,these past 3 days have been super busy here at the DIY Backyard Farm. My day job (the one that pays the bills) has crept into my evening hours. Couple that with the shorter days and I have had little time in the gardens. In the past 3 days I have strolled the gardens for a total of maybe 30 minutes.
Ten minutes per day is not much, but it is enough to keep the garden chugging along and turning out great produce. If I only have a few minutes to spend in the garden then I will use those precious minutes to observe. I check soil moisture, general condition of plants and I look for pests. Finding problems before they get out of control is one of the best ways to grow great produce without chemicals. If you catch a problem early you can seek natural remedies or remove a problem plant before the problem spreads. I try to imagine myself as a beneficial insect patrolling the garden. My radar is on and searching for plants in need of help!
In the photos below you can see an example of a young (and tender) broccoli plant. Such plants are really vulnerable to pests because they only have a few leaves. If those leave get eaten the plant usually dies. Remember, leaves are like solar panels for plants. The leaves soak up sun and allow for sufficient amounts of photosynthesis to occur.
So, I was patrolling the garden and noticed all the young broccoli had leaves that looked eaten. On first glance there were no signs of pests. However, closer examination revealed the worms you see in the picture below. I simply removed and killed the worms and did a final check to ensure the plant was free of pests. I found at least one worm on each of my baby broccoli plants. Had I waited another day the broccoli would have been gonzo!
I rely on helpers to watch over the gardens when I do not have the time to play “beneficial” backyard farmer. My kids are great at garden care, but beneficial insects are even better. Unlike the kids, beneficial insect never stop working!
The big fella below was seen guarding our Kale early this morning. He was doing a great job! Always try to attract as many of these helpers as possible. You can also buy lady bugs, praying mantis and other beneficial insects to release into your gardens. This is a cool, interesting way to garden organically.
I hope you spend some “beneficial” time with your edible plants each and every day. They will pay it back 10 fold!