welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

square foot garden, stop squash borer

a novice gardener asked if i would tell them how to plant a garden
they know nothing about how to do it
this is for the newbies to gardening

this is the kiss method
the keep it simple stupid method
the stupid is for the instructor not the student

its written for central texas
our soils and climate may not be the same as yours
but the principles are the same

you have to have at least 6 hours of sunlight available
to grow a garden
if you dont grow it in pots instead and put them where the sun is

this will be instructions for a 4 ft square garden

find a 6 ft x 6 ft area of ground to plant
scrape all the grass off
if its bermuda youll have a tough battle in the future to control it
in your garden

lay down at least 10 sheets of newspapers over the area
overlap them

make a frame of untreated wood (cedar is the best) that is 4 ft
x 4 ft square
use 12 inch wide wood if possible although 8 and 10 inch is ok

place the frame in the middle of the 6 ft x 6 ft space
place a rim of cardboard or plastic around the 4 ft x 4 ft box
you have made tucking it under the boards
cover this with mulch such as native hardwood mulch or cedar
this will block grass and weeds from sprouting around your garden

inside the box add the best garden soil you can get
i use the ladybug hill country garden soil from the natural gardener
at www.naturalgardeneraustin.com
you can also buy bags of it at most local nurseries but not the box
at the natural gardener you can bag your own in 5 gallon bags
also a trip to the natural gardener is worth it as they have demonstration
gardens there also as well as chickens, donkeys, goats etc

you have to start with good soil or your garden wont do well
dont skimp on this or you will fail

after the soil is in place you are ready to plant

divide the 4 ft x 4 ft garden into 1 ft squares that you will plant
with your plants
would use transplants instead of seeds to start out as they are
easier to use until you get better at this

put the taller plants on the north side of the garden

here are plants that are close to fool proof planting
and will last through the summer into next fall until it

1 ft squares     1   2   3   4
                        5   6   7   8
                        9   10 11 12
                        13 14 15 16
1 is the northeast corner and 16 is the southwest corner

in 1 5  and in 9 13 plant a sweet 100 tomato in mid march
whenever the last freeze has happened
it will grow until it freezes in november
it will need a trellis like the simple tomato cage

in 14 plant a malabar spinach-a vine that will grow well
all summer and provide spinach for salads and dishes
will need a trellis to grow
not all nurseries will have this
its worth finding it as its fool proof once you get it going
the natural gardener will have it
plant april 1st or afterwards as it doesnt like cold weather

in 2 plant an egg plant april 1st
would recommend ichiban but any egg plant will be ok
it wont do much once the summer hits but will take off
in the fall
same with the peppers

in 6 plant a bell pepper in late march
in 10 plant a jalipeno pepper in late march
they make hot ones and mild ones

in 3 and 4 plant onion plants that you can get in
late january or february
plant the first of february
each plant should be 4 inches apart
i poke my finger in the ground and drop it it
you should only need one bunch of them
1050 onions are a good choice for this area
as they grow you can pick them for fresh green onions
i usually pick every other one or just let them grow into
large onions

in usually june the tops will die and fall over
thats when you can pull up the onions

you will probably have a few extra onion plants just stick them
in the corners around other plants and eat the onions as
green onions as the other plants grow bigger

in 15 and 16 plant a red potato in each square
thats just two potatoes
plant them whole about 6-8 inch deep and make a hill of soil over
them like this ^
get the seed potatoes in february and plant around the 1st two
weeks of february
in early june the potatoes plants will die some and thats
the time to dig them up
usually those two potatoes will make 8-10 potatoes or more

in 7 plant a swiss chard
as it grows cut the leaves off to use in salads
you can plant them now or in the spring

in 8 plant arugula
as it grows cut the leaves off to use in salads
i let my grow in the late fall until it flowers as the
bees love its flowers
you can plant them now or in the spring

in 11 plant lettuce from transplants every 6 inches
thats four plants in this square
in 12 plant more lettuce or spinach
you can plant them any time now or the spring
but they will not grow through the summer
but you can replant in the early fall around october

in 14 plant whatever you want
or consider basil planting in early april
it will last until it freezes in the fall

you will need a liquid fertilizer like johns formula or medina or
another organic liquid fertilizer
dont use miracle grow
it does nothing to make your soil better
the salts from the miracle grow will accumulate over time in your soil

you will need an organic liquid seaweed to use
use a solution of this whenever you plant a transplant

new transplants may need to be watered every day until they get
remember plants die from overwatering or not watering
if the soil is wet then dont water it
watch out for overwatering from sprinkler systems

every two weeks apply a solution of the liquid fertilizer to each plant
the directions are usually on the bottle
i use johns formula

the other weeks apply a solution of the liquid seaweed to each plant

when it gets hot mulch your plants with mulch
i use pine straw but chopped up leaves etc will work ok

the garden needs one inch of water a week
a tuna can in the garden when a sprinkler is on can be used to
measure that one inch
drip irrigation is better
use your finger or a stick to tell if the soil is dry
again if you overwater or underwater the garden will die

when you harvest a crop then apply 2-3 inches of compost
to the square and work it in to the top 2-3 inches of soil
i use what i make or use the natural gardeners ladybug farmstyle compost
which is sold at most local nurseries

why this doesnt work
not enough water or too much water
dont start with good soil

on tomatoes they can get a big green worm called the tomato worm
just pick it off and feed it to the chickens or squash it
most of these plants do well without much pests or disease

if you have questions send me a comment or use the facebook link above
and ill try to answer it

good luck
its all worth it
bon appetite

another reader wanted to know how to stop the squash boer
the only 100% way to stop it is to not plant squash

techniques to try
cover the squash with the thin row cover that you can get at most
as the plant grows it will not be to heavy and will rise with the plant
open the tent of row cover in the afternoon so the bees can pollinate
the flowers then cover the plant back up

inject a solution of bt bacillis thuringiensis into the base of the
plant stalk
the bt is a bacteria that will kill the larva as it grows

this year i wrapped my stalk with wet newspaper strips and
then placed diatamaceous earth on and around the stalk
the squash lasted longer this year but eventually was smitten by that

when you see these eggs on the squash leaves then slit open the stalk
and remove the larva

or plant winter squash or butternut squash which are somewhat
resistant to the boer
or plant pumpkins and eat them when they are small

good luck

the organicgreen doctor


  1. Thank you so much for the gardening advice! We are re-vamping the garden this winter and now I know what to do :)

  2. I really want to grow green beans this year. What is your advice on green beans?

    1. sent you a email
      in central texas plant them in late march early april
      the ogd

  3. thanks for reading this blog
    in central texas plant cole crops such as broccoli in late september or october and again in january