Category Archives: Soil

Backyard Permaculture

One important consideration for all who are thinking about creating a more natural garden where insects and critters are welcome is the fact that all critters need water, food and shelter. Unless we have natural ponds or streams, we may need to provide shallow bathing bowls and keep them clean and full of fresh water. Food will be abundant wherever we offer a diversity of plants but providing food and shelter means allowing some visible “damage” to plants we may hold dear. It also means leaving much of the garden undisturbed in winter, when butterflies, frogs, toads and other creatures are hibernating. If you tend toward neatness over the natural, this may be painfully difficult, so one way to ease into a new way of caring for your garden might be to allow sweet disorder to reign in areas you don’t have to look at every day. Keep you entry and walkway as neat as you please and comfort your tidy self with the knowledge that letting go of a little control now will pay a dividend of flourishing garden life in the future Continue reading

Posted in composting, Garden Prep, Growing Berry Crops, Health & Wellbeing, Nutrition, pests and pesticides, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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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