Category Archives: Garden Prep

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

Homemade Biscuits And Standby Soup

Last week I had a request for tall, curving branches needed for an art project. It turned out to be an annual Day Of The Dead display at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art. Each year, a remarkable artist, Araceli Cruz, weaves magical displays combining memorabilia with leaves and flowers under arching branches. This year, Araceli will work with the Friday Tidy to create an outdoor version at the library, which we’ll decorate with garden gleanings, from empty bird nests and fallen foliage to seedpods and bundled twigs. I think this charming, loving tradition will become part of my own gardening style, combining as it does the natural and ephemeral, the spiritual and the down-to-earth in the deepest way.
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Keeping Cool When The Heat Is On

While we’re outside helping plants and critters stay alive, it’s important to keep our own cool. Cover your head with a wet bandanna before putting on your broad-brimmed sunhat and your noggin will stay pleasantly cool for about an hour. Wrap crushed ice in a bandanna and tie it around your neck for even longer relief. When I did a lot of gardening for others, I’d keep an ice cooler in my car with zip bags of gloves, socks, and shirts so I could change into cool, dry clothing every few hours. (This works great at the beach too.) After you shower, hang your damp towel on a drying rack and let it cool off the air in an overly hot room as it dries. A wet sheet draped in front of a fan can do the same thing on a larger scale. At night, fill your hot water bottle with crushed ice and snuggle with it for a chilling experience. Tuck it down by your feet to keep them cool all night.
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Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Health & Wellbeing, Planting & Transplanting, Recipes, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Vegan Recipes | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer Transplanting

Print PDFMaking Smooth Summer Moves I’ve recently been asked to advise on the moving of a long established garden. My first response was to wait until autumn, but sadly, that isn’t possible. Generally speaking, summer transplanting of mature woody plants … Continue reading

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