Category Archives: Weed Control

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

When Bees Ignore Blossoms

As a rule, bees will snub flowers that are low in nectar and pollen. Even favored blossoms like cherries can be lacking and the bees are evidently able to detect (nobody quite knows how) blossoms with low levels of these important substances. Sometimes this is because other bees have already been there and done that. There is some evidence that foraging bees leave behind a scent marker that other bees can sense. A study done at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California found that when bees approached flowers, then flew away without foraging, the rejected blossoms had about half the nectar of an average bloom.

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Posted in composting, Early Crops, Easy Care Perennials, Growing Berry Crops, Pollinators, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Weed Control | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Beyond The Comfort Zone

Every year, I’m asked by many people what new plants I’ll be growing, or which I’m most excited about. It’s a favorite topic of mine, too; I mentioned a few such enticing plants last week, but there are definitely lots more I’d love to find room for. Lately, I’ve been thinking about where we are intrigued by novelty and where new ideas feel uncomfortable, perhaps even threatening. I’ve been noticing that even my most conservative friends enjoy trying something new in the garden, if not necessarily in other areas of daily life. Though many folks with a very limited range of acceptable foods will try almost anything involving chocolate or cheese or bacon… Continue reading

Posted in Health & Wellbeing, Sustainable Living, Weed Control | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

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