Category Archives: Weed Control

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

Big, Bold Tomato Flavor

For even fuller, brighter flavor, you can also feed tomatoes with kelp extract and a mild (5-5-5) organic fertilizer. If tomato stems break before the fruit has a chance to ripen fully, the problem may be linked to using inadequate water-soluble fertilizers, especially when tomatoes are grown in pots. Liquid seaweed extracts help strengthen weak stems by supporting steady plant growth even when cold nights follow warm days. Kelp combines micronutrients and trace elements with plant hormones and growth stimulants that promote root growth, improve stem and foliage density, and increase chlorophyll production. Kelp extracts also contain traces of sea salt. This turns out to be yet another key to amazing taste. In fact, a single dose of salty seawater (1 cup of seawater per quart of tap water) can improve tomato flavor in particular. Continue reading

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Moving Day. Again.

As I settle into the house, I’m already thinking about what to do out of doors. If full-on gardening is limited (which it certainly will be, thank you Bambi), I can still have some of the more compact Rugosa roses, as well as hardy herbs like rosemary, sage, lavender, and thyme. I can see stinging nettle rising from soggy patches of ground, and I recall that their long, snaky roots are ripped up most readily in spring, so I’ll put on long gauntlet gloves and go after them before the grandkids get stung. We can make tea with the nettles, then replace them; blueberries might be happy, as well as hydrangeas (though some deer eat both sometimes). Continue reading

Posted in Garden Prep, Gardening With Children, Pets & Pests In The Garden, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Weed Control | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Beating The Winter Blues

As I weed and edit in my garden, I find myself leaving a lot of what definitely looks messy. Those battered, fallen logs often shelter slumbering bee larvae and sagging plants can be protecting butterfly cocoons. I’ve found dormant frogs nestled in heaps of old leaves and little bats hiding in deep cracks in leaning dead trees. However, while some kinds of mess looks naturalistic, others just look like crap. As I age, I’m experiencing the twin pulls of appreciating order and valuing the wild. I do get daily pleasure and satisfaction from Continue reading

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