Monthly Archives: February 2020

Food Or Fodder

Yes, deer fencing that is both effective and long lasting is not cheap, but if we plan to grow and harvest much of our daily food, fence we must. It’s worth taking some time to investigate effective fencing materials and techniques, from double-fencing to peanut butter wire. Double fencing can trick (some) deer into thinking a site is inaccessible by creating a baffling space between two relatively low fences. Usually, this involves two five-foot fences five feet apart, a model both farmers and gardeners report (at least some) success with. A peanut butter fence partners electrified wires with bait, and according to the ICWDM,
“The peanut butter fence is effective for small gardens, nurseries, and orchards (up to 3 to 4 acres) subject to moderate deer pressure. Deer are attracted by the peanut butter and encouraged to make nose-to-fence contact. After being shocked, deer learn to avoid fenced areas.” Continue reading

Posted in pests and pesticides, Pets & Pests In The Garden, Sustainable Gardening | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Love And Lettuce

Another national epidemic concerns food safety, perhaps most notably with Romaine lettuce, which has been fingered in several recent E. coli outbreaks. Though the government investigation is still ongoing, there are multiple possible causes for E. coli contamination, from water passing through areas where livestock is grazing to field contamination from wild animals and birds (not to mention humans; many growers haven’t supplied field toilet facilities, but that’s changing). This fits right into my own ecological grief; when even organic produce may not be safe, what can we trust? Happily, there’s a simple solution: Grow your own. One great thing about greens is that they can be grown in very little space, and many will flourish in containers on a balcony or deck where garden space is limited. Continue reading

Posted in Edible Flowers, Garden Prep, Health & Wellbeing, pests and pesticides, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Designing A Dream Garden

Dream assignment time! I’ve recently been asked to design an herb garden to surround a small craft cafe, a place where visitors can drink herbal teas, taste herb salts, herb butters, and herbed breads. The menu will change often but will always offer fresh herb omelets as well as daily soups and salads. In the crafting classes, people can make lavender wands and herbal sachets, bath salts, hand lotions, shampoos and body wash. What’s not to love? I’m already angling for a day job when it opens, assuming it ever does; this delicious idea is the dream child of a very busy woman. That’s so healthy! There have been several studies showing that accumulating the materials for crafting can be every bit as satisfying as actually making the whatever. If the cafe part of this dream project turns out to be just a hope for the future, the owner will still have a marvelous garden, filled with beautiful, fragrant and edible plants. Oh, and a beautiful gazebo, of course. Right?
Continue reading

Posted in Cooking Schools, Edible Flowers, Garden Design, Health & Wellbeing, Native Plants, Pollination Gardens, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Queer Plants, Odd People

Clearly, the oddity factor is enormously appealing for collectors of all kinds, from plants to model trains to stamps to tea pots. For many gardeners, collector-itis starts with the gotta-have-them-all phase in which we seek out every mainstream-available type of whatever it is we are fixed upon. However, if we truly get hooked, we then start seeking out the oddities; rare and unusual forms, colors, textures, sizes. It’s only recently occurred to me that the gardening community’s delight in diversity isn’t mirrored in many other places these days. It seems that, just as we gardeners love and determinedly collect weird plants, we also, generally speaking, are able to appreciate non-normative people more than the culture as a whole. Could this acceptance be in part based on the fact that many of us are at least a bit non-normative ourselves? Asking for a friend… Continue reading

Posted in Plant Diversity, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , | 4 Comments