Category Archives: Garden Prep

Aiding & Abetting Carbon Draw Down

Clearly, the bigger our property, the better we can help build soil humus levels and improve carbon storage, but even landless apartment dwellers can help. All of us can get involved with local and regional projects where knowledge about soil sequestering may be missing. Community gardens, local farms, land trust use, public land use, school districts and local and regional parks can all benefit the earth through better soil stewardship. Most will need encouragement to do the needful, and that’s where you and I come in. Continue reading

Posted in composting, Easy Care Perennials, Garden Prep, Health & Wellbeing, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Healing The Planet Together

Last week I visited several gardens where soils were powder dry after the long baking summer. Watching desiccated soil puff off a shovel like dust in the wind, I was reminded of the dustbowl days when foolish and ignorant farming practices destroyed native plants and soils. One highly productive thing we can do to help repair the ecological damage to our precious world is to amend impoverished soil. Healing treatments include deep mulching with aged compost and/or digested dairy manures, both of which help to renew soil tilth and texture as well as the nutrient balance. This fall, heap weary beds high with fallen foliage, shredding the larger leaves by running over them with a mower. A foot of leaves isn’t too much for empty or new beds, and it’s not too much for empty bays between larger shrubs or areas around trees. Do not till in these amendments; tilling is now considered an ultimately destructive practice. Just layer them on, autumn and spring. Every. Single. Year. Continue reading

Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Health & Wellbeing, pests and pesticides, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Weed Control | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Time To Plant Cool Season Starts

Long considered peasant food, kale boasts dozens of beautiful, tasty forms that can be harvested pretty much year round. Over the past decade, kale won a place in the trendiest of kitchens, especially in gorgeous forms such as Beira, a Portugese Sea Kale with large, tender leaves of jade green ribbed in ivory. The thick ribs are as crisp as celery, while the leaves, sliced into chiffonade, are delicious in soups and stir fries. Brilliant grass green Prizm won awards when introduced in 2016 and no wonder; the almost stemless, super curly, cut-and-come-again leaves are excellent raw or cooked. I also love Oregon-bred Dazzling Blue, partly because I like the song (thanks, Paul Simon) but mostly because it’s amazing; blue-green foliage with bright pink ribs tastes as sweet as its lacinato parents. Continue reading

Posted in fall/winter crops, Garden Prep, Planting & Transplanting, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Milkweed Magic

The warm season butterflies live for just a few weeks, long enough to lay more eggs. The spring cycle repeats twice more before the autumn-born fourth generation appear in September and October. These are the travelers, living for as much as 8 months and voyaging as far as Mexico. This still seems little short of magical to me. Years ago, my family spent summers on Cape Cod in an old artist’s studio. The windows were warping with age, and mine couldn’t quite shut, so a trumpet vine had wiggled its way into my bedroom. There was a chrysalis on one wandering arm and I was blessed and fascinated to watch a Monarch emerge in a matter of seconds from its little case. It flexed its wings, which expanded in the sunlight, then flew off through the open window, sparking a lifelong delight in the natural world. Continue reading

Posted in Easy Care Perennials, Garden Prep, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Winterizing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment