|April 3, 2008 19:51 - Green Gardening Is Here And Now
"There’s plenty to do; here’s where to start" and if you follow Dr Frank Gouin's advice you will start up your lawnmower and run it through the garden. The idea is to cut back your perennials and grub out the weeds all in one go. Ornamental grasses should be treated with the hedgetrimmer using several cuts so that the trimmings can be left to act as a mulch. After a stern admonition that you should never roll your lawn, there are more detailed instructions on pruning roses and buddleia. Read more..
"Keeping your garden "green" is harder than it might sound" says Dean Fosdick. "There's the pesticide. The emissions from your mower. The invasive plants that drink up all your water". So here's what you have to do - Think organic, save water and reduce emissions. And on that third point he means "exchanging that noisy, smoke-belching power mower for a mechanical push mower". Three more tips make "green gardening a breeze". Read more..
Big seed companies selling to gardeners seed that came from agricultural rejects is not the treatment that you want to receive as a customer. Ann Lovejoy charts the rise of specialist seed companies that select seeds suitable for the local area. She concentrates on the Northwest and describes several of her favorite varieties including heritage seeds. Read more..
April 8, 2008 12:57 - Edible Landscaping, Tomatillos And Whimsey.
"Drive around any residential neighborhood in the country and you're bound to see the same, standard landscaping theme -- a few shade or flowering trees, a green lawn, and some foundation shrubs around the house. But it doesn't have to be that way. Imagine having a yard that looks beautiful and produces fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs for you without a lot of extra work. That's edible landscaping" says Charlie Nardozzi. In fact what he is describing sounds very much like the traditional English cottage garden where flowers and vegetables are grown side by side.
Continuing the edible landscaping theme Terry Wolfley describes tomatoes as the "roses" of the vegetable garden. He then goes on to discuss their little known relative the tomatillo. Detailed instructions for cultivation, harvesting and cooking are included. All very interesting but unless you live in an area where the day and nightime temperatures are high enough for tomatillos it might be easier to stick to the "roses". Read more..
I've just added a new ebook to my Garden Books page. High Density Gardening by Ric Wiley shows you the easiest way of growing fresh and healthy vegetables. His method is guaranteed to produce a plentiful harvest from only a small area, with no back-breaking digging, minimal effort and only a few hours of work a week. For anyone who has been thinking that they would like to grow some vegetables but were not sure where to start this would be an excellent choice. Read more..
"Gardening whimsy: Little touches that can make a garden more enjoyable" is the title of this piece by Terri Jo Ryan. Here you will find a veritable catalog of ideas to add that little extra touch. Ornamental grasses, whirling butterflies and a royal blue birdbath are just a few of the suggestions. Read more..
Isn't it amazing what you hear on the radio sometimes? There's a popular gardening program on the BBC called Gardeners' Question Time and someone came up with the strange idea of creating an anagram of the title. Germinations Requested, Radio's greenest men quit, Germinated Questioners, Question re Garden Mites, Seeds in rotten quagmire, Trees dream in quiet song and, possibly my favorite, Gnome requires a dentist. I suppose it's one way of whiling away the time when it's raining. BBC
April 17, 2008 10:52 - Green Lawncare, Worms And An Encyclopedia
"During the coming mowing season, about 800 million gallons of gas will burn to trim American lawns. According to EPA estimates, lawn equipment produces as much as 10 percent of all air pollution". Although I have always tried to avoid using pesticides on my lawn, the pollution caused by using a gas powered mower is a problem that I had not registered until recently. In this piece Ann Lovejoy spells out in detail the problems that current methods of lawn care cause to the environment. But there is another way. Two companies in Seattle now offer a safe and sustainable alternative to conventional lawn care. Read more..
In a recent post I mentioned the Bokashi system of composting. This technique can be used to recycle all non-liquid food scraps, including dairy and meat. The only problem is that you have to purchase special bokashi starter. An alternative that does not have to involve buying equipment or product is worm composting. This can be organised in a small container kept under the kitchen sink as Molly Day explains. Read more..
Pat Rubin has produced "An encyclopedia for this gardening cycle". In alphabetical order he lists quick tips to help you with the coming season. From A - Annuals, Aphids and Amend your soil all the way to Z - Zucchini. Plentiful, but when you don't grow it, you miss it. Pay special attention to K - Kipling says: Gardens are not made by sitting in the shade and saying "how pretty." There's also a link on the page to an interesting article "Looking at weeds in a different light". Read more..
And finally a reminder that the April issue of Garden Ramblings
has now been published and is online.
April 24, 2008 10:58 - Unusual Weeds, Locavores And Composting Slugs
The common description of a weed as "a plant that is growing in the wrong place" took on new meaning for me when I noticed this press release from New Zealand. The Agapanthus is one of my favorite summer flowers. Unfortunately it does not seem to appreciate the conditions in my garden and so often fails to flower. The opposite is true in the northern parts of New Zealand where it has become such a problem that it will be banned from sale, propagation and distribution in the Auckland region from 1 July, 2008. Read more..
"I don't want to give up a nice green lawn, but I would like to know about natural alternatives to commercial fertilizers and pesticides" writes Jan H. from South Brunswick. Bill Hlubik who is a professor and agricultural and resource management agent at Rutgers University provides some helpful tips. These include using compost and encouraging earthworms. He also joins the chorus of those telling us that we should give up our gas powered mowers. Read more..
It seems that the latest fashion in Salt Lake City is to become a "locavore". Kathy Stephenson reports that people all across America and in Utah are embracing the idea of "eating local." One way is to shop at a farmers market, but the real answer is to "find a sunny spot in the backyard and grow an organic garden". Now is the time to make a start and she lists ten steps that will enable you to enjoy fresh and tasty produce from your backyard. Read more..
The garden pest that is top of my hate list is the slug. Every year I wage a constant battle with these pests that cause so much damage to young plants in particular. "But they do have some redeeming qualities" says Mike McGroarty. "They are actually beneficial creatures who recycle organic matter and help build soil. Think of slugs as tiny composters" he adds. He does concede that when slugs start causing damage to your plants then it is time for them to go. He suggests putting out boards or damp newspapers overnight to attract them. In the morning lift the boards and empty the slugs into a bucket of soapy water. Do this for a few days and the slug population will be significantly reduced. Source: One Minute Gardening Bits Newsletter