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Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

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growing garlic [Nov. 25th, 2011|02:26 pm]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

I'm about a 90% organic gardener. I use neither chemical fertilizers or pesticides on anything I grow, and buy organic plants when I can, including certified disease free organic seed potatoes. Two big exceptions are blueberries, I've never been able to grow them without adding iron sulphate to acidify the soil, and garlic. Organic seed garlic is so expensive, that it would be cheaper to just buy organic garlic all year round rather than grow my own. So each year I pick up a healthy batch of garlic at the supermarket, seperate the cloves and plant the largest ones, using the rest in cooking over the next week or so.
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Fall planting on onions plants? [Aug. 25th, 2011|06:02 pm]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

I've been reading a bit about the idea of planting onion transplants in the fall. I've never done this before. Has anyone had any luck with this in zone 6\7. I'm in Maryland.
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the secret to awesome leeks [Aug. 21st, 2011|07:39 pm]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

I read this tip in Eliot Coleman's Winter Harvest Handbook last winter, and decided to try it out this year.

Instead of planting leeks a couple inches deep, and then hilling up around the plants as they get taller over the growing season, he basically pushes a 1-inch-diameter dowel about 9 inches into the ground, drops a plant (with its roots trimmed to 1") into the hole, and moves on. He wrote that this technique eliminated the time-consuming, messy hilling, and produced leeks that were beautifully and uniformly blanched for market.

The photo below shows the result of my test. I used an old broom handle as my dowel, marked at 9" from the end with a sharpie marker, to make my holes. Super easy!! My plants probably should have been a bit larger--I lost a few more than I normally would have when soil fell into the holes and covered the whole plant. Those plants that survived did not seem to mind being planted so deeply:

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Insect eggs? [Aug. 20th, 2011|12:14 pm]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

Thinning out a newly planted bed, seeded with beet, carrots, parsnips and rutabagas, I notice a great number of small round eggs. The were round, beige, and 1/8 to 3/16 in diameter. My first thought was that they must be cricket, wasp or grasshopper eggs since those were the only large insects that I've seen in the garden. I googled all three, and none of their eggs looked like these. Anyone have any idea what they might be?
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li-lacking [Aug. 9th, 2011|08:10 pm]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

In search of kind gardener souls to offer a tip with these poor lilacs! They've had some bad prunes in their time. I'd like to help them out! The art of pruning is still pretty new to me, and I am a bit stumped (har har har) in this case.

What we have: Several 8-foot-tall 20-year-old lilacs in a line along a fence. They pretty much just consist of thick stumps and hundreds of shoots (1 to 3 years old). Here's a very scientific diagram to demonstrate!


What we want: A hedgey kind of shape, for neighbor shielding. Ideally 5-10 feet tall (taller than the fence but shorter than the gutters, because they love to clog the drainpipes). I'd love to teach them to grow in a flat-ish line (as opposed to spreading out all over everywhere), so they aren't creating quite as much shade as they are now. But above all, I'd love for these trees to be happy and healthy. I want to take over pruning duties from now on, because the neighbor lops them all off to 4 feet every year when they creep into his yard. Hence the current shape.

Help? Feel free to point me to a google search or an article or something if that's less annoying than spelling it out for me. :) Thank you!
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Three Sisters Bed Update [Aug. 1st, 2011|05:51 am]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables


The corn in the mound is definitely richer in color and taller. i was in an accident and was not able to get the squash in, but i do have pumpkins planted around the base. and my beans aren't climbing beans. i planted sunflowers close, too.

i'm not sure if i planted enough corn. there are 2 rows to the right of the mound and a row of another type of corn to the right. not sure if that was a good idea, but it was all kind of an experiment.
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The Family Farm Defenders [Jul. 11th, 2011|12:02 pm]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables
[Current Location |the farm]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

The Summer 2011 issue of "Defender," the newsletter of the Family Farm Defenders is out: http://familyfarmers.org/?page_id=375!
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Chicken manure? [Jul. 10th, 2011|07:10 am]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

When I started gardening 40 years ago, dried chicken manure was widely available in garden centers, and home improvement stores. As I recall it was about twice the price of cow manure, and much richer. It had to be used sparingly, except in the compost pile, but was excellent to use with leaves when building a pile in the Fall. These days I rarely see it, and then only in small bags at a high price. Where does it all go?
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Someone should ask this question once a year [Jul. 3rd, 2011|10:47 am]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

Usually once a year someone asks the community what there favorite gardening book is. I'm grateful for this question, since many of you introduced me to John Seymore last year.

For me, the most useful gardening book I ever read, and one that I still follow, was the 1985 edition of John Jeavons "How to grow more vegetables..." I'm starting over with a new garden, and I finally have enough compost to follow his initial recommendation for fertilizing a first time double dug bed. That is, a yard of compost, 100 pounds of aged manure ten pounds of greensand, ten pounds of rock phosphate, a pound each of dried kelp, black wood ashes and bone meal. Its a lot of effort, but it sure does work.

So what is your favorite gardening book?
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Melons! [Jul. 3rd, 2011|04:49 am]
Organic Gardening - Flowers, Fruits, Vegetables

 I grow watermelons. I've been growing them since April. I would like to know when do the melons come to be? What do I do when the flowers dry away?

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