The "Serious" Vegetable Gardener

Defined as:   +/- 1000 square feet under cultivation

Well, ok, there aren’t all that many unserious gardeners, but what we’re trying to describe here is someone who has around 1000 square feet under cultivation. You have to be either serious or delusional to attempt this size garden, especially if you are trying to grow naturally.  This growing template is designed with this size of garden in mind.  It has some unique problems – it is big enough to demand a lot of attention and care, but not big enough to justify a lot of powered tools or a lot of different input materials for fertility and pest control.  These characteristics guide how and what we recommend.  But as always, our programs emphasize soil fertility and vitality first; that is the basis for plant health (and fewer problems!).

Organic Vegetable Plan

1000 Square Feet

This program was developed using materials mainly available through our Earthwise Website – similar materials may be substituted as you think appropriate.  See Comments/Notes to right for expanded product descriptions and notes – then follow links for more detailed information and buying opportunities.  This is only a guide – local conditions (soil, water, sunshine, temperature zone, etc.) will dictate the exact amounts and timings of any inputs to the garden.  Additional products or techniques may be needed for insects and diseases that are especially hard to control in any given year.  But in our experience, this program will get you a long ways toward your goal of safe, healthy, and nutritious produce.


Drip or Sprinkler Irrigation – 1000 sq ft

Before planting – broadcast application, incorporate in soil


5 –  1 cu ft bags (about 40 lbs each) of well matured Compost (source locally, if possible)

25   lbs  Chicken Manure Pellets

10   lbs Azomite or other natural trace mineral product


Before or at planting – drench (in or near rows or beds)

2  qt          Liquid Fish – *Brown’s, Aqua Power, or Dramm (see note)


Apply in or near rows or beds with hose-end sprayer – every 2 weeks – start at 2nd week of growth

1  pint       Liquid Fish [Brown’s, Aqua Power, or Dramm]

4 dry oz  *Chilean Nitrate (Allganic, 15-0-2, water soluble) (see note)


Foliar Applications (every 2 weeks)

Use pump-up sprayer with 1 gal water minimum – start at 4rth week of growth

(You may also use hose-end sprayer set to about 2 oz per gallon)

2       liq oz         Nature’s Source 3-1-1 [oilseed extract]

1       liq oz        *Biorepel [garlic oil] (see note)

1       liq oz        *Biomin Cal/Boro Light (see note)

0.5    liq oz        *Ecotrol Plus (see note)

1       liq oz        *Biomin Booster (see note)


(see below)

Soil Tests – it is a good idea to take a soil test at least every three years.  Interpretations can vary, so ask around and use a reputable lab.  Taking an expensive soil test that actually tells you something every 3 or 4 years is cheaper than getting a questionable test and being led astray by the results and/or interpretation.

Chicken Manure Pellets provide long lasting nutrition and many brands are considered safe for vegetable crops by US Organic Certification agencies.

Azomite is a natural, mined material that is rich in essential trace elements such as cobalt, selenium, nickel, and more.

Fish Hydrolysate (cold processed, with natural oils intact) is the most desirable type of liquid fish for plant health.  It serves as a fertility agent, soil microbe food source, and general soil and root tonic when drenched on the soil surface or injected through the irrigation system.


Chilean Nitrate contains major nutrients that often run short late in the growing season, especially on cucurbits and other multiple fruiting crops.

Nature’s Source is a fermented oilseed extract which contains major nutrients and other compounds associated with seed vitality.

Calcium and Boron are extremely important to the structural integrity of the plant, blossoms and fruit.  They are also important to the proper functioning of the plant’s natural immune system.  They are often in short supply from flowering to harvest.

Ecotrol Plus – essential oil blend for pest control

Biomin Booster – an amino acid chelated multi trace mineral package