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Second Nature

07/24/2014 11:15AM ● Published by Billy Pilgrim

By Billy Pilgrim

Our garden, our happy place...a slice of heaven in our backyard. There is almost no place I’d rather be on a summer evening than South Redding in our organic garden.
   
I must have inherited a green thumb from someone in my family. I just know that from the time I was a teenager growing up in Southern California, I have been fascinated with plants, landscaping and gardening, and the process continues to give me unlimited peace and joy.   
   
It begins every February at our house when we start preparing the soil for spring. We invested in some of the best organic soil available a few years ago (thank you Bare Roots) and continue to add to it every year - new soil, compost tea and worms from the worm farm my daughter got me for Father’s Day, and fresh organic mulch. We say some prayers during the preparation and ask for a successful gardening season.
   
It’s all organic. I haven’t used a pesticide, herbicide or chemical fertilizer in our garden for 17 years, and almost everything thrives.

A pure environment means more bees for pollination, and we have many.
   
They visit the blossoms that eventually become the fruits and vegetables on our dinner table.
   
Much of it is experience, and a lot of it is experimentation and guesswork. I have tried to find plants that are compatible with one another, and we plant in some pretty tight spaces. We have tomatoes that are more than six feet high, and trailing vines producing squash, strawberries and lemon cucumbers. And among the veggies are blueberries, a butterfly bush, marigolds, echinacea, grapes, rosemary and lavender. They all seem to get along pretty well with one another.
   
I am so grateful for our marvelous garden and amazed by what it can produce in the Redding heat. This year looks like it is going to be one of the best years ever. Thank you, Mother Nature!


In Print, Life+Leisure billy pilgrim q97 snapshot august 2014 second nature gardening
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