Category Archives: Soil

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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Amazing Annuals

Petunias have come a long, long way since the days when they came in red, pink, or muted purple. I’m crazy about velvety Black Magic petunias, especially partnered with Surfinia Heartbeat, whose gentle white petals are each marked with a baby-ribbon-pink heart (seriously). The Crazytunias have boldly striped or parti-colored petals in vividly contrasting colors, like a floral mardi gras constume, while the Glow series do indeed have a gentle glow about their more muted shades. If you like things on the hotter side, the Hells Bells gals are brazen blazers in a sizzling range of fiery tints.
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