Summer Heat and Organic Gardening

Summer Heat and Organic Gardening

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost, Weather, Year Round Gardening
It was nice while it lasted. The spring, I mean. If I had been one step ahead, I would have had everything planted sooner. Who could have known that it was actually May in March? I mean... really. I really didn't want to tell you all the drivel you can find on a zillion other websites about how to "Beat the Heat" of summer in your organic garden. We all know, mulch is our friend. Period. Water deeply and less often. "Easy." Water in the morning. "We know." I hear you all chime. My friend Theresa Roman had an interesting twist this year... umbrellas for shade. If it is wilted, water? There are two schools of thought. During high heat watering must be thorough and deep. If you can't water…
Read More

The Garden of Ethics

Organic Gardening
America's environmental wake-up call is increasingly evident in our own backyards, especially when it comes to our gardens. Through more conscientious gardening such as organic methods, native plantings, and a renewed interest in growing our own food, we're restoring a critical link with the land and even, with ourselves. For too long, and for too many of us, our link with the land has been lost. For millions of years, and as recently as a hundred years ago, most people lived off of and with the land. But in the blink of the geological eye, we went from relying on a sustainable relationship with the land to practically severing the alliance completely. Today, some of us are returning to our roots--and creating new ones. We're regarding land as a precious…
Read More

Organic Gardening and Bugs

Organic Pest & Disease Control, Soil & Compost
I have focused on the soil for the last (large) number of years always hoping to get it just right, to have an exceptional year. Truth is, as I re-examine this idea, I have begun to realize that I want to validate something; many things. Time spent. Composting. Hauling off every single bag of leaves and grass clippings I have found on every curb I drive by. Tediously pulling and fighting bermuda grass. Reading and studying. Hours spent poking through every single inch of the many gardens' soil I have started, nurtured and left behind. Perhaps a better mulch would be the secret. Maybe crop rotation would prove to be the secret ingredient, even for the home garden. While you won't fool the insect pests for one minute, the soil…
Read More

Blossom End Rot

Organic Gardening, Organic Pest & Disease Control
Tomatoes grown in containers and indeterminate (vining) heirloom tomatoes can be more susceptible to Blossom End Rot (BER) that is caused by an inability to adequately uptake calcium from the soil. This condition is more likely caused by fluctuating moisture levels rather than a deficiency of calcium in the soil. But, it can also be caused by an excess of nitrogen, a pH out of range of 6.5 (ideal for calcium uptake), or water logged roots that don't have proper drainage. If your fruit begins to get the telltale tan to brownish spots on the bottom, pick off and discard the affected tomatoes. Then make sure the plants are well mulched with dried grass clippings, straw, black or red plastic, or an extra layer of finished compost to reduce moisture…
Read More

May Garden Calendar

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Year Round Gardening
Wow... May already. Where did the time go? The gardening calendar for May provides a list of recommended food growing tips and <sigh>gardening chores. As I mentioned in the last calendar update, April and May, about growing organic food, more people garden in April and May than any other time of the year. Winter is over, the hot months of July and August are not pounding you.... it is just a fabulous time to be outside. The date of last expected frost has come and gone (for most). Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden's date of expected last frost. Okay, okay, I said all that last month, I realize, but if you are far north, you are still waiting.... I realize.  So you northerners (I'm in zone…
Read More

How To Improve the Soil in Your Garden With Sheet Mulching

Growing Food, Organic Gardening
[caption id="attachment_815" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, a Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious, Easy-to-Grow Edibles"][/caption] Is your garden typically riddled with weeds by mid-summer? Are you looking for an organic method for improving the fertility of your soil? Interested in learning inexpensive techniques for maximizing your garden's water retaining properties? Master organic gardener Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables and coauthor of Edible Forest Gardens, has the perfect solution for you: sheet mulching! Sheet mulching combines soil improvement, weed removal, and long-term mulching in one fell swoop. This technique, also known as lasagna gardening, builds organic material and smothers weeds at the same time, so they never get a chance to grow!. Nine Simple Steps to Sheet Mulching, adapted from Eric Toensmeier's Perennial Vegetables Mow…
Read More

April Gardening Calendar

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Year Round Gardening
The gardening calendar for April provides a list of recommended food growing tips and <sigh>gardening chores. If you haven't started your organic gardening adventure yet, it is HIGH time! April is a wonderful time for growing organic food. More people garden in April and May than any other time of the year. Winter is over, the hot months of July and August are not pounding you.... it is just a fabulous time to be outside. The date of last expected frost has come and gone (for most). Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden's date of expected last frost. Early in the month there is still time to plant the cool season vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, lettuces, greens and onions. (if you haven't already!) Corn and beans…
Read More

Eudrillus Eugeniae

Soil & Compost, Vermicomposting
Eudrillus Eugeniae, more commonly known as the African nightcrawler, originated in tropical areas of West African and have adapted in additional tepid areas all over the globe. It is a cherished composting worm for its worm manure known as worm castings or vermicast which is equal in size and structure to mice dung. This worm casting contrasting to others for the most part when using the correct bedding material can in point of fact be used in a fertilizer or seed spreader to cast out onto ones yard. The development of plants and their roots has revealed some amazing results due to the biological composition as well as the number of beneficial aerobic microorganisms using castings. Employment of this product has in addition been revealed to make plants, whether flowers,…
Read More

March Gardening Calendar

Flower Gardening, Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Organic Pest & Disease Control, Soil & Compost, Year Round Gardening
The gardening calendar for March provides a list of recommended food growing and gardening chores and tips. It is time to venture outdoors for some serious organic gardening! The biggest focus this month is, "When can I DO something?" If you have been asking yourself this question, the answer is a LOT! March is the month to really get started growing organic food. First thing you really need to know is the last date you can expect frost in your area. Consult the growing zone maps to determine your garden's date of expected last frost. To prepare soil for spring planting you need to know some things about your garden's soil. Do you know your soil type? Your soil's pH? Need to identify your soil type? You can also learn…
Read More
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?…
Read More