Garden Wisdom Blog

How to Grow a School Garden in September

category: Articles and Instructions category: Garden Resources category: Organic Growing

How to Grow a School Garden in September

It’s September. The kids are back in school and the you can’t keep up with the number of zucchinis that just keep coming. But seeings as this is back-to-school time, it’s a good time to consider the future of a garden that operates on a different schedule: How to grow a school garden. School begins in September, but many gardens don’t get going until the spring. A school garden doesn’t need to limited to a few months at the end of the school year. Greens are your go-to crops for cool fall planting. Want a fresh garden salad for Thanksgiving?...

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Fertilizer Blend

category: Articles and Instructions category: Garden Resources category: Organic Growing

Fertilizer Blend

Many people ask us for the “Mary’s Mix” complete organic fertilizer blend recipe. For smaller gardens, it may be more economical to purchase some premixed 4-4-4 Complete Organic Fertilizer from Gaia Green. We love this product, and use it in our trial gardens. But for big gardens, small farms, and for determined do-it-yourself-ers, here is the classic blend that Mary Ballon used to print in the West Coast Seeds catalogue. She always included the footnote that “actually it’s Steve Solomon’s Mix and I have been using variations of it since 1983.” Chemical fertilizers combine other byproducts of the petrochemical industry...

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Raised Garden Beds

category: Articles and Instructions category: Garden Resources category: Organic Growing

Raised Garden Beds

Building raised beds for your vegetable (or herb, or flower) garden requires an investment of work plus the cost of materials, but they will reward you in the coming years in a number of ways. Raised beds are usually built out of lumber, but a wide variety of other materials can be used, from bricks and stones to recycled plastic sheets. The premise is simply to contain the soil within some sort of frame that holds the soil above ground level. Whether you’re starting your garden for the first time this spring, or expanding an established plot, it’s worth considering...

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All creatures great and small eat seedlings

category: Garden Wisdom category: Insects

All creatures great and small eat seedlings

Organic gardeners share one challenge that has many faces – how to nurse newly emerged seedlings along to the point when they are strong enough to defend themselves. Because seedlings are so tender and tasty, and low to the ground, they are easy pickings for a host of animals, from the very tiny to the enormous. Everything from wireworms and millipedes up to racoons and deer are perfectly happy to chomp on your veggies, sometimes eradicating a whole bed of newly emerged plants. Every spring I receive a host of emails asking, “How to I protect my seedlings from [insert...

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Nitrogen fixers

category: Articles and Instructions category: Garden Resources category: Garden Wisdom category: Soil Talk

Nitrogen fixers

Here’s a bit of geeky plant science for you. David Bradbeer at the Delta Farmland & Wildlife Trust sent me this great image of the roots of white clover. You can plainly see bumps along the roots that are called nodules. Over millions of years, the plant has evolved a symbiotic relationship with certain species of soil-dwelling bacteria called Rhizobia. This group of bacteria has the ability to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and “fix” it by metabolizing it into ammonium, which is a nitrogen compound that the plants can make use of. The plants benefit by using this extra...

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