Category Archives: Green Manure

The Summer Is Here!

The Summer Is Here!

Today is the first day of summer! So happy summer! It’s the longest day of the year (or the shortest if you live on the other side of the world).

Summer is…

  • a time for home made and carted popsicles.
  • swimming pools or swimming holes.
  • firefly lanterns and sleep outs.
  • lemonade on the porch and watermelon in the fridge.
  • secrets with friends.
  • daisy chains and banana bikes.
  • pirates and princesses.
  • grandparents and cousins.

It’s the first day. What are you going to do with your summer?

Make it paisley!~KeriAnne

Comfrey, and the Livin’ is Good!

Comfrey, and the Livin’ is Good!

In a rather neglected part of the yard, over by the treeline of the woods, I have three Comfrey plants that seem to like their arrangement. I like them there as well. They have pretty lavender and white flowers and they will come back next year even though I’ll cut them down to two inches this year.

As a Green Manure, Comfrey is a workhorse. As a natural fertilizer, it will be your “go to” plant food. You may even come to depend on it as you do your Aloe or lavender. This hardworking, often overlooked plant can really do wonders in the garden, and in the home.

I grow Comfrey for three purposes: compost, herbal medicinal, and as a nice border.

 

Comfrey Border by the woods.

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Throwback Thursday: Mustard

Throwback Thursday: Mustard

You may be hard pressed to find a more “Throwback” plant than mustard.

It’s been used and written about for ages. I love it for about a dozen reasons. (No worries, I’m not going to name them all).

  1. Mustard is easy to grow.

Pop a little seed in the ground, water, wait. Ta Da…mustard. I grow it for the greens, most of which are given to my in laws that adore them. My oldest son and I tolerate them but like I said, mostly they are given away to Roger and sold at my veg table. I don’t have any trouble getting rid of all I grow.

Mustard...easy to grow.

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Stuff You Missed in Botany: Symbiosis

Stuff You Missed in Botany: Symbiosis

With all the talk of the Three Sisters planting, I couldn’t help but think that the appropriate Botany topic this week should be symbiosis.

From the Ancient Greek syn (together) biosis (life). As the German Mycologist Heinrich de Bary said, “the living together of two or more unlike organisms.”

For the purposes of a gardening blog, I’m going to focus on how different plants, growing together, help each other and fulfill the symbiotic relationship.

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Lucky Clover, and Other Green Manure

Lucky Clover, and Other Green Manure

Happy Leap Day! Don’t you feel lucky to have been given another? Luck always makes me think of clover, four leafed of course. Clover makes me think of...leprechauns?…Ireland?…nope. Manure. Green Manure of course.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the Green Manure issue. I’ve used just one of the myriad of cover crops. Only the Red Clover. You may be asking, “Why? Why have you not taken advantage of a centuries tested approach to extending the fertility and productivity of our growing spaces?” The answer would be one word. Ignorance.

I simply do not know enough about cover crops to warrant sewing my gardens with fava beans or Buckwheat every year. It seems to me that cover crops may be a farmer’s tool not as much a gardener’s tool.

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Phat Tuesday! pH Levels. Oy Vey!

Phat Tuesday! pH Levels. Oy Vey!

pH levels and what to do about them.

I am not a scientist. I do not play one on TV. However, my degree was in Library Science, which has enabled me to find out some of what scientists know.

Unfortunately, some of the information I was able to find seemed to be written in a foreign language of which I am not familiar. I speak Geek, but I wouldn’t say I was fluent in it.

Here’s what I was able to distill about pH levels.

  1. pH levels are a measure of the acidity (sourness) and alkalinity (sweetness) of soil.
  2. A numerical scale is used to express the pH level. The scale goes from 0.0 to 14.0, with 0.0 being most acid and 14.0 being most alkaline. 7.0 is considered neutral.
  3. It seems that pH levels are not a measure of soil fertility, but instead is an indication of the availability of access to the the nutrients. For instance, soil may contain adequate nutrients and yet plants may not be able to access those nutrients because of an unfavorable pH level.

What does that mean for gardeners? I think of it this way. I have four kids, they have four different values of nutritional needs in order to function properly. However, all four have different tastes and preferences. In order to make sure they get what they need, it may be necessary to make it palatable for them.

For example, all four need vitamin C. I could put out four glasses of orange juice for them to drink. But if Ryan doesn’t like orange juice, he won’t drink it. Meghan is on a diet so she leaves hers as well. Jonathan doesn’t like the pulp so his goes untouched. Patrick loves orange juice and drinks all four. Three of them did not benefit from the available juice or receive the vitamin C they needed. One of them is going to need the restroom in about 20 minutes.

Scenario #2, Necessary nutrient: Vitamin C

Ryan loves hot and spicy anything and loves vegetables. I give him a salad with jalapenos and sweet red peppers and tomatoes. Vitamin C delivered.

Meghan is on a diet. I give her half a grapefruit. Vitamin C delivered.

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