Subscribe to gardening adventures by Email --> gardening adventures

 

Today’s harvest included some interesting carrots (Danvers), baby tomatoes, and one small pepper that toppled over a pepper plant. Cara has renamed this variety of carrots “the voluptuous dancer” which seems much more defining than Danvers. Carrots with multiple taproots or forks like these occur for several reasons. Most likely they are associated with rocky or heavy soils. Digging and the addition of compost helps to alleviate this problem.

Today’s harvest included some interesting carrots (Danvers), baby tomatoes, and one small pepper that toppled over a pepper plant. Cara has renamed this variety of carrots “the voluptuous dancer” which seems much more defining than Danvers. Carrots with multiple taproots or forks like these occur for several reasons. Most likely they are associated with rocky or heavy soils. Digging and the addition of compost helps to alleviate this problem.

Cover crops explained
At the edible landscaping workshop, Ms. Maruskin also explained cover crops. Now, I have to admit I’ve never given this term much thought. I knew that farmers would often plant a crop during the fall to help cover during the winter and early summer but never stopped to wonder why. Cover crops are chosen because of their allelopathy. Rye, clover, sorghum, and vetch are a few that are commonly used. These plants produce chemicals that inhibit growth of other groups of plants. They truly help cover the tillable agricultural space as the seasons change. In addition to warding off potentially unwanted plant species, these cover crops also manage soil fertility/quality, water, pests, diseases, biodiversity, and wildlife.

Cover crops explained

At the edible landscaping workshop, Ms. Maruskin also explained cover crops. Now, I have to admit I’ve never given this term much thought. I knew that farmers would often plant a crop during the fall to help cover during the winter and early summer but never stopped to wonder why. Cover crops are chosen because of their allelopathy. Rye, clover, sorghum, and vetch are a few that are commonly used. These plants produce chemicals that inhibit growth of other groups of plants. They truly help cover the tillable agricultural space as the seasons change. In addition to warding off potentially unwanted plant species, these cover crops also manage soil fertility/quality, water, pests, diseases, biodiversity, and wildlife.

It’s called soil… not dirt.
Dirt is something you get on your pants or need to sweep up in your house. It’s misplaced soil. Soil on the other hand is an amazing living part of our earth. It consists of rocks, minerals, and decaying organic matter. It holds water. It supplies essential nutrients to plants. Soil also is a shelter for many tiny organisms as well as some larger ones (like our earthworm friends).
Don’t let the word dirt obscure the truth about soil. Soil is amazing and we can’t live without it.
Here’s our soil that we’re proud to have in our teaching garden.

It’s called soil… not dirt.

Dirt is something you get on your pants or need to sweep up in your house. It’s misplaced soil. Soil on the other hand is an amazing living part of our earth. It consists of rocks, minerals, and decaying organic matter. It holds water. It supplies essential nutrients to plants. Soil also is a shelter for many tiny organisms as well as some larger ones (like our earthworm friends).

Don’t let the word dirt obscure the truth about soil. Soil is amazing and we can’t live without it.

Here’s our soil that we’re proud to have in our teaching garden.

My name is Alexis and I heart soil…

The Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) has released a sticker that allows you to show others  your passionate love of soil. These stickers are an easy lead in for you to profess your love of soil to friends, family, colleagues, and strangers on the street. Place them anywhere and everyone. Shout it from the rooftops how much you love soil. Okay, here’s how you get them!

Send your request for stickers to tmoeller@soils.org. Please include your name, address, quantity requested, and how you will use them. I received mine in a couple of days! For more information about the “I Heart Soil” project visit, http://www.iheartsoil.org/.

Let’s start a compost conversation…

Let’s start by talking about compost itself. What is it? How is it created? Is it useful or just some environmentalist invention?

Webster’s defines compost as “a mixture of various decaying organic substances, as dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil.” Perfect! So we know, its a combination of things that break down over time to create soil. The simplest way to explain it is taking things that are solid and tangible like orange peels and apple cores. We give these things the right environment to break down over time and eventually they will create “soil”. This “soil” or compost can be added to containers, gardens, raised beds, etc… to help provide nutrients to your growing vegetation.

It also is a great way to close the loop. Something is grown, we eat it, and then reuse it by making compost. This compost will help grow food (or flowers) again.

Here is a picture of our compost demonstration area in our teaching garden. This compost allows us to keep three different piles of compost. The pile on the far right is the most recent. This is where we add new material. After a couple of days (sometimes weeks), we move the compost one bin to the left. This is when things we recognize (peels, cores, leftovers), start to break down and not look like those things anymore. The last bin on the left is compost that is ready to be used in the garden.

We’ll soon talk about different ways to compost as well as what things can be put into compost piles (and what things should be left out).