White Sweet Clover

White Sweet Clover

Soil & Compost
Sweet clovers (both white and yellow) are excellent soil-builders because they have a deep taproot that extends through the soil profile which takes up nutrients and minerals that can be used by crops. What is the difference between white (Melilotus alba) and yellow (Melilotus officinalis) sweet clovers? The biennial yellow sweet clover takes two years to produce a flowering plant. The first year, the yellow sweet clover grows in a rosette. After a vernalisation period it produces a shoot and flowers. It can produce up to 2.5 tons of dry matter and can grow up to 24 inches. If conditions are favorable, it can reach up to 8 feet in the second year. Below ground, its tap root can extend down 5 feet by the end of spring. White clover…
Read More
Yellow Sweet Clover

Yellow Sweet Clover

Soil & Compost
Melilotus officinalis or Yellow Sweetclover was the king of green manures and grazing legumes in the South and later throughout the Midwest in the first half of this century. Sweetclover is used as a cover crop most commonly now in the Plains region. This cool-season biennial is an expert at mining insoluble minerals like potassium and phosphorus from the lower levels of the soil and bringing them to the surface. Its long tap root also helps loosen hard, packed soils. Says SARE... Within a single season on even marginally fertile soils, this tall-growing biennial produces abundant biomass and moderate amounts of nitrogen as it thrusts a taproot and branches deep into subsoil layers. Given fertile soils and a second season, it lives up to its full potential for nitrogen and…
Read More
Hairy Vetch

Hairy Vetch

Soil & Compost
It is said that few legumes match Vicia villosa or "hairy vetch" for spring residue production or nitrogen contribution. Widely adapted and winter hardy through Hardiness Zone 4 and into Zone 3 (with snow cover), hairy vetch is a top nitrogen provider. The cover grows slowly in fall, but root development continues over winter. Growth quickens in spring, when hairy vetch becomes a sprawling vine up to 12 feet long. Height rarely exceeds 3 feet. Its abundant, viney vegetation can be a benefit and a challenge. The stand smothers spring weeds, however, and can help you replace all or most nitrogen fertilizer needs for late-planted crops. Hairy vetch ahead of no-till corn was also the preferred option for risk averse farmers in a three-year Maryland study that also included fallow…
Read More
Crimson Clover

Crimson Clover

Uncategorized
Trifolium incarnatum, the botanical name for Crimson Clover means "blood red". Crimson clover is a cool-season annual (in southern states) that is relatively easy to grow and is more tolerant of poor soils than other clovers. A benefit of crimson clover is it is relatively inexpensive. It is less than half the price of perennial clovers, but quite productive. Crimson when plowed in after the spring, provides an excellent source of nitrogen for a summer planted crops. Requirements Soil: Loam, neutral, well-drained, adapts to soil of low fertility Climate: Any, but not winter hardy north of New Jersey Planting Per acre: 30 pounds Per 1000 square feet: 1 pound Seed Depth: 1/2 inch Season Sow: Fall or Spring Turn under: Spring or Fall See Also... Grow Your Own Nitrogen Green…
Read More
Alsike Clover

Alsike Clover

Soil & Compost
Alsike clover is a nitrogen fixing legume from the Fabaceae family, the same as alfalfa, with the same ability to glean nitrogen from the air and store it in the roots, as most legumes are famous for. Alsike clover is rarely used as animal feed, as it grows close to the ground making it hard to harvest. Erosion control and cover crop is what this legume's is valued for. The roots are spreading and broad, holding soil in place while breaking up hard pan and clay soils. Requirements Soil: Heavy loam, tolerates poor drainage and acid soil Climate: Not adaptable to hot, humid climate Planting Per acre: 8 pounds Per 1000 square feet: 1/4 pound Seed Depth: 1/2 inch Season Sow: Spring or Fall Turn under: Fall or Spring See…
Read More
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...…
Read More
Tomatoes – Pests and Disease

Tomatoes – Pests and Disease

Growing Food
Although tomatoes are relatively easy to grow, there can be problems with a variety of tomato pests and disease. The most common tomato pests and disease Aphids - I wouldn't use pesticides when there is such an easy way to kill them. An organic way of dealing with them is to spray with soapy water. Greenhouse whitefly - use the same methods as for aphids. Potato cyst eelworm - rotate planting so tomatoes (and potatoes) are not planted in the same place every year. Tomato Mosaic Virus - symptons are mottled yellow curled leaves sometimes with brown steaks on the stems. The only thing to do is to destroy the entire plant including roots and fruit. Don't put it in the compost, it is better to burn it. Pototo Blight…
Read More
Starting Tomatoes from Seed

Starting Tomatoes from Seed

Growing Food
There are many advantages seed planting your own tomatoes Starting tomatoes from seed is a very rewarding experience. Watching them grow from a tiny (and tomato seed ARE tiny!) seed into a towering plant full of the most delicious taste experience ever is tremendously fun! It may have a few days of hard work involved, depending on how many tomato plants you decide to grow, but still, fun! You can eat them within minutes of picking them so they are as fresh as possible. You can grow them without using chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Even if you do resort to chemicals, you know what you have used and you can ensure you don't use them when the fruit is on the plants. You can grow tastier and better varieties than…
Read More

Beat High Prices by Growing Your Own Tomatoes

Growing Food, Organic Gardening
It's easy,very inexpensive and they taste better too so lets get started! STEP 1: Which tomatoes should I grow? If you have a long growing season then you would want to go with an indeterminate variety which grows all summer long. If your growing season is short then you would go with a determinate variety which produces its fruit quickly (in as little as 85 days or less) and ripens all at once. Step 2: Now that I have bought my seeds what do I do with them? Six to eight weeks for the end of winter I line up little paper cups filled with peat moss and put one seed in each cup. I then place them in a sunny window sill and water almost daily as peat tends…
Read More

Let It Rot: Five Guidelines For Composting

Organic Gardening, Soil & Compost
Compost is what is left over when organic matter decomposes. Organic matter can be things like vegetable scraps, leaves, mown grass and any other garden waste. This material will decompose without any assistance at all, though you can help it along and enjoy the benefits of compost faster if you wish. Because it doesn't contain a high level of essential nutrients, compost is not considered an actual fertilizer. Instead, it is treated as a soil conditioner or amendment. Compost does supply many good things to the soil. It attracts beneficial creatures like earthworms and it improves the soil composition. Cold composting is basically just making a pile and letting it sit in the bin. This takes longer than hot composting. Hot composting is when you take a shovel and turn…
Read More