Dealing with Spring Rain in Your Vegetable Garden

Dealing with Spring Rain in Your Vegetable Garden

Organic Gardening, Organic Pest & Disease Control, Weather
"This Plant Requires Good Drainage" How many times have you read that on a plant tag you are considering buying? The most popular tune of organic gardening is "add more compost". The second most common (can you name that tune in ONE note?) is "likes good drainage" or "alfalfa doesn't like wet feet". Unless it is a bog plant most vegetable, food plants don't like their roots to stay wet, especially when it is really hot. There are some plants that truly thrive in a moist soil, like lettuce and cucumbers, but don't do nearly as well (thrive) when their roots are surrounded with water at all times. But most plants will not thrive in soil that is constantly wet. This is one reason raised bed gardening is so popular. Planting in raised…
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How to Grow Organic Beets

How to Grow Organic Beets

Growing Food
Botanical: Beta vulgaris Family: Amaranthaceae Beets are wonderful food plants to grow because they give a double bang for the buck. If you plant thickly, you can have plenty of greens while the young and tender plant is growing and they are most nutritious. And as you thin them out you leave room for the large bulbs to grow as the plant matures. It's an easy way to have a lot of young greens and still keep the remaining plants growing in the garden for a while longer to produce plenty of mature beet roots for later. Keep reading and learn how to grow organic beets. Beet Planting Secrets The way to make this work is to plant beets thickly in wide rows. I read a description of beet seeds...…
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It’s been a rough year

It’s been a rough year

Community, Gardening Humor
But not everyone is as lucky as I am ... (Okay, I couldn't resist a little humor) I got this email see, the chicken is what got me. The economy is so bad that I got a pre-declined credit card in the mail. I ordered a burger at McDonald's, and the kid behind the counter asked, "Can you afford fries with that?" CEO's are now playing miniature golf. If the bank returns your check marked "Insufficient Funds," you have to call them and ask if they mean you or them . [caption id="attachment_3464" align="alignright" width="292"] This chicken had a rough year[/caption] Hot Wheels and Matchbox stocks are trading higher than GM. Parents in Beverly Hills and Malibu are firing their nannies and learning their children's names. A truckload of Americans…
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Death of the Honey Bees

Bees, Farm Animals, Food Supply, Organic Pest & Disease Control
This is a reprint of a comprehensive article by Brit Amos. It is a sobering essay on the effects modern technology and biological chemistry is having on our food supply. GMO Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America Commercial beehives pollinate over a third of [North] America's crops and that web of nourishment encompasses everything from fruits like peaches, apples, cherries, strawberries and more, to nuts like California almonds, 90 percent of which are helped along by the honeybees. Without this pollination, you could kiss those crops goodbye, to say nothing of the honey bees produce or the flowers they also fertilize.[1] This essay will discuss the arguments and seriousness that affects the massive deaths and the decline of Bee colonies in North America. As well, it…
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Difference Between Frost and Freeze

Difference Between Frost and Freeze

Organic Gardening, Weather
Definitions of Frost & Freeze A frost is defined as a covering of minute ice needles, that forms on surfaces at or below freezing. Even if the actual temperature is not freezing, windchill can cause the moisture in a plant to freeze. A frost also has come to mean a brief dip in temperatures to freezing or just below, with or without ice crystals. With ice crystals, the technical name is hoarfrost. Black frost refers to a dry freeze without ice crystals, which kills vegetation, turning it black. A freeze, on the other hand, occurs when the temperature drops well below freezing and may or may not include ice crystals. The amount of time below freezing to warrant a freeze warning varies depending on geography. Freeze warnings are issued when…
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Flower Planting Schedule

Flower Planting Schedule

Flower Gardening
Planting Flower Seeds Recommended Not Recommended This table lists the recommended times to sow flower seeds for typical Zones 8-9. If you are in zone 7, for instance, go back a month, zone 6, a month and a half. If you don't know your zone, check the planting zone maps. And when buying transplants, remember to adjust for the age of the plant (about 1-2 months). This table is also available sorted by botanical name. Common Name Acroclinium (Helipterum)  African Daisy, Cape Marigold (Dimorphotheca)  Alyssum (Lobularia maritima)  Aster (Aster)  Baby's Breath, Gypsophila (Gypsophila)  Bachelor Button, Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus)  Balloon Flower (Platycodon)  Bellflower (Campanula)  Bells of Ireland (Moluccella laevis)  Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)  Blazing Star (Mentzelia)  Butterfly Flower (Schizanthus pinnatus)  Calendula, Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis)  California Desert Bluebells (Phacelia campanularia)  California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica)  Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)  Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)  Chinese Forget-me-not (Cynoglossum amabile)  Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla)  Chysanthemum (Chysanthemum)  Cockscomb (Celosia)  Coleus (Coleus…
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The Herb Cottage

Food Supply, Growing Food, Herb Gardening, Organic Gardening
Okay, I haven't been there in a very long time, but I was born in Texas, does that count? ;) I was delighted that Cindy offered us the opportunity to publish her article, Horseradish, Herb of the Year 2011 a well written and informative article on the history, medicinal uses, and cultivation of the horseradish root. So, I am perusing her website and she stole my heart with her newsletter archives all the way back to 2002... I gave up on the idea some time ago and simply decided to keep a blog, LOL. If you would like to find some great gardening information, especially in the southern Texas area you really should check out her site Best of all, Cindy has signed the Safe Seed Pledge that states, "I…
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Biggest Threat to the Entire Food Chain

Food Supply, Healthy Eating, Organic Gardening
We have all heard of Roundup by now, but did you know that Monsanto's glyphosate-based herbicide, is causing Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS), a serious plant disease, in many fields. Study after study shows that glyphosate is contributing not only to the huge increase in SDS, but also to the outbreak of numerous other diseases. Glyphosate is the world's bestselling weed killer; it was patented by Monsanto for use in their Roundup brand, which became more popular when they introduced "Roundup Ready" crops -- genetically modified (GM) plants that can withstand applications of normally deadly Roundup. But the herbicide doesn't destroy plants directly; instead, it creates a unique perfect storm of conditions that activates disease-causing organisms in the soil, while at the same time wiping out plant defenses against those diseases.…
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Farmers Are Flocking to Manure

Farmers Are Flocking to Manure

Farm Animals, Organic Gardening, Small Scale Farming, Soil & Compost
The closest thing I can find to a directory on getting local manure is CraigsList. I am sure if you look hard enough you can find a location or farmer in your area that will happily supply you with enough manure to use for home organic gardening Then, I ran across this article, Why Farmers are Flocking to Manure that throws out this common statistic... "It has taken us about 100 years to reduce soil organic matter to dangerously low levels from about 5 percent, on average, to below 2 percent." That blog article was adapted from the book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind" So they are running out of chemical fertilizer. Go Figure. And how fast could our commercial farming industry make the move to organic farming?…
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Botanical Name Flower Planting Schedule

Botanical Name Flower Planting Schedule

Flower Gardening
This table lists the recommended times to sow flower seeds (by botanical name) for typical Zones 8-9. If you are in zone 7, for instance, go back a month, zone 6, a month and a half. If you don't know your zone, check the planting zone maps. And when buying transplants, remember to adjust for the age of the plant (about 1-2 months). Recommended Not Recommended This table is also available as a flower planting schedule sorted by common name. Botanical Name Ageratum (Floss Flower)  Aguilegia (Columbine)  Alcea rosea (Hollyhock)  Ammi Majus (Queen Anne's Lace)  Antirrhinum (Snapdragon)  Armeria (Thrift, Sea Pink)  Aster (Aster)  Calendula officinalis (Calendula, Pot Marigold)  Campanula (Bellflower)  Celosia (Cockscomb)  Centaurea cyanus (Bachelor Button, Cornflower)  Centaurea moschata (Sweet Sultan)  Chysanthemum (Chysanthemum)  Clarkia (Godetia, Clarkia)  Cobaea scandens (Cup and Saucer Vine)  Coleus hybridus (Coleus)  Collinsia heterophylla (Chinese Houses)  Convolvulus (Convolvulus)  Coreopsis (Coreopsis)  Cosmos (Cosmos)  Cynoglossum amabile (Chinese Forget-me-not)  Dahlia (Dahlia)  Delphinium (Larkspur,…
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