Category Archives: fall/winter crops

Battling Weeds With Rodents And Beetles

Once summer harvesting ends, cool season cover crops can restore soil health in the veggie patch. Deep mulches of compost or aged manure can nourish tired beds, but cover crops can do even more. Where new beds or lawns are planned, cover crops can eliminate the need for destructive tilling, acting as living mulch to restore soil fertility and reduce winter erosion. Recent research shows that cover crops can also reduce weed seed numbers by providing cover for seed-eating beetles and rodents.

Ick? Not really; both critters consume significantly more weed seeds when cover crops provide shelter and protection from predators. Purdue researchers found that when beetles and rodents had cover crop protection, the weed seed burden was reduced by as much as 400% compared to fields without cover crops. Surprisingly, the soil cleaning effect continues even when rodents eat high numbers of the beetles. Continue reading

Posted in fall/winter crops, Garden Prep, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Weed Control | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Saving All the Bees

Nectar is not the only attraction in a well stocked garden, so don’t get bugged by bugs. Having a haze of insects hovering over your beds will just about guarantee you a host of birds (even hummers need protein as well as sweet desserts) as well as butterflies. Housing helps too; many grasses (especially stipas) are butterfly friendly host plants, while roses offer building material to leaf cutter bees along with their pollen and nectar. That’s a large part of why I tidy now, in late winter and early spring instead of in autumn; putting off the work protect and supports native pollinators and when I finally get around to it, there’s a lot less to do, since so much as self-composted in place. Continue reading

Posted in composting, Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, fall/winter crops, Garden Prep, Pollinators | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Potato Dumplings Italian Style

Print PDFMaking Fabulous Gnocchi I was recently longing for gnocchi but feeling too lazy to make my own. Our local grocery stores offer a pretty surprising assortment of gnocchi, from dried to frozen or “fresh”. My first sample was pretty … Continue reading

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The Ancient Art Of Braising

Print PDFFirst Sizzle, Then Slow And Low For those of us who try to eat something fresh at every meal, the cole family is definitely our best friend in winter. When the markets are full of imported produce, it’s especially … Continue reading

Posted in fall/winter crops, Health & Wellbeing, Recipes, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment