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cover
Growing Great Garlic:
The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers
by Ron L. Engeland
Buy This Book!!!
(See review below )
Also available from Territorial Seed Co.(see Gardening Links page)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series)
Susun S. Weed; Paperback; 
Buy New: $11.66

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

naturalfamilyhome.com 
 

Organic Gardening
On this page you will find......
NEW Growing Fruits and Vegetables In Containers - Okay, all you Urban Homesteaders! Here's some gardening ideas to make the most of what space you do have.
Weeds In Your Garden? -- Bite Back! - A frugal approach to gardening...eat your weeds instead of throwing them out!
Composting Information - It's never too late to compost! Check out these helpful links.
Composting with Worms - Find out how worms can help you!
Gardening On A Budget - Gardening doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.
Gardenless Gardening Containers - Creative ideas for container gardening pots.
Home Remedies for Fungus Gnat and Damping-Off Control Don't let these problems bug you!
Gardening Catalog Review - A local favorite that can be enjoyed by all.
Book Review- You, too, can be Growing Great Garlic! Read here to find out how.

 
More Gardening Articles
Here's another page of great gardening articles! You'll find articles such as.....
Growing Gourmet Garlic
Container Herb Gardening for Beginners
......and much more!
Organic Gardening 
Links & Resources
Check here to see if we have what you are looking for.

Plants That Attract Beneficial Insects 
http://www.farmerfred.com/plants_that_attract_benefi.html
 

Composting Information
It's never to late to start a compost pile. Below are some websites
that will help you get started.

Composting is Simple
This is Organic Gardenings webpage on composting. It's a short
article that gives step-by-step directions for making compost
using leaves.
www.organicgardening.com/feature/0,7518,s1-5-21-113,00.html

The Compost Resource Page
This website is all about, you guessed it, composting! They also
have composting forums! Great place to discuss dirt,worms and
kitchen scraps with other composters!
http://www.oldgrowth.org/compost/

The Master Composter
Tons of information on this site! There certainly is not just one way to do it. Go to their Compost Pile section and find step-by-step instructions for building a compost pile. Also look at the Compost Ingredients section for details about all the many ingredients that you can compost and what their organic value is. Very helpful site.   http://www.mastercomposter.com/
 

Compostion With Red Wiggler Worms
Composting with red worms is finally becoming more popular. This website has a great article to help you get started with worms. You will learn everything you need to know!
http://www.cityfarmer.org/wormcomp61.html#wormcompost

Why Worms?
The tiny redworm, principally the species Eisenia fetida, is a powerful resource in waste reduction. Capable of consuming up to its own weight daily in organic waste, worms are now in use in the U.S. and around the world at landfill diversion sites, converting yard trimmings and other organic waste into worm castings--worm "manure"--which is a highly-prized soil amendment. Some sites are currently using 100,000 to 500,000 pounds of worms to convert tons of composted waste into vermicompost--a highly valuable product, sold to nurseries, landscapers and home/garden centers. 

Earthworms in soil provide abundant benefits in increasing water infiltration, soil structure, and nutrient cycling. To read more about this and also find out why the worm industry is expanding go to this webpage: http://www.vermico.com/whyworms.html

To purchase worms and worm castings click here:
http://www.vermico.com/


Growing Fruits and Vegetables in Containers

By Kim Noblin

If you thought containers were only for flowers, think again! 
You could be enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables grown on your 
porch or patio in containers and hanging baskets.  Here are a 
few ideas to get you started:

1.  Strawberries  - Strawberries are easily grown in containers. 
Plant them in barrels, tubs, hanging baskets or strawberry jars. 
Plant in early spring and place them where they will get at least 
6 hours of sun each day.  When the season is over, don't toss them 
out.  They can be overwintered by covering with straw or move the 
container into your garage or basement.  The next year's harvest 
will be bigger and better.

2.  Tomatoes - Who doesn't love the taste of home-grown tomatoes?  Plant tomatoes in a container that is a least 16" deep and 20" 
wide.  Be sure to stake or cage the plants to encourage a high yield and to keep them from flopping over.

3.  Carrots - Carrots and other root vegetables will grow well in 
containers as long as the pot is deep enough.  Be sure to choose a 
container that is twice as deep as the length of the carrot at 
maturity.

4.  Salad Greens - Arugula, endive, leaf lettuce, and mustard are 
great choices for containers.  Imagine being able to open your door 
and harvest fresh salad greens!  Keep soil moist and be sure to
fertilize every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer at half 
strength.  You should be able to get four or five cuttings from each plant.  Replace mature plants with new ones to keep your salad supply growing.

5.  Herbs - Herbs are easy to grow in almost any type of container. 
Suggested herbs are:  basil, chives, cilantro, dill, margoram, mint, 
oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme.  Harvest as 
soon as there are a fair amount of leaves on the young plants.  Cut off leaves as you need them, but never cut more than a third of the foliage at any one time.  Constant trimming of the leaves for use in your kitchen will help keep the plants bushy and productive.  Many herbs are perennials and can be overwintered by moving the container into your garage or basement.

Take good care of your container grown vegetables and fruits by 
providing plenty of water, sun, and fertilizer as needed.  You'll 
enjoy the fruits of your labor all season long!

Copyright © 2004, Kim Noblin

About the Author:

Kim Noblin is the editor of HerWorldOnline.com - 
http://www.herworldonline.com , an online magazine with articles and
ideas for everyday living.


Gardening on a Budget
by Arzeena Hamir

Once the buzz of Christmas has passed, the task of paying off bills can leave many gardeners on a strict budget. Gardeners who need to make frugal decisions at this time of the year can take heart in a number of alternatives that will not only lower the cost of gardening, but will also enhance the pleasure! Here are five steps every budget gardener should follow:

Plan ahead

Make a list of what you'd really like to see in your garden and stick to it. There's no use growing winter cabbage, regardless of how lovely it looks in the frost, if no one in your family eats cabbage. A list will also keep you under control when you see the end-of-season sales and are tempted to purchase something on a whim. In addition, if you plan exactly where plants are going to go, you won't make last minute mistakes such as placing sun loving plants in the shade.

Start a compost pile

It's surprising to see how many gardeners haven't constructed their own compost pile and still pay to have their grass clippings and leaves hauled away and then, in turn, purchase fertilizers every year. Compost is free food for the garden! It helps break up heavy clay soils, absorbs water in sandy soils, and encourages microbial life, thereby decreasing that chances of any one disease becoming rampant in the garden.

Compost piles don't require anything fancy. The walls can be made of
recycled 2 x 4s, chicken wire, or even hay bales. All that you need is
access to the pile and enough space to turn it every now and again.

What can you put in the pile for free? Grass clippings and leaves are a great choice since you probably have your own source as well as your
neighbours'. Check with local tree care companies to see if they have any wood chips to give away. Coffee grinds from the local café make excellent compost, as does shredded newspaper. Don't forget to include your vegetable scraps and egg shells. Once you get hooked on composting, you'll even start going after the local barber for hair, and even saving dryer lint!

If you're an apartment gardener or are cramped for space, a great
alternative to a compost pile is a worm bin. The requirements for a
successful worm bin include a good size container, usually a Rubbermaid bin, about ½ lb of red wiggler worms, shredded newspaper, and then a steady supply of kitchen scraps. The resulting "worm casts" make excellent fertilizer for garden & potted plants. For more information, City Farmer has this article on worm composting:
http://www.cityfarmer.org/wormcomp61.html#wormcompost

Recycle

Many of the expenditures that gardeners make for containers and equipment can be cut down by re-using items you already have at home. Margarine tubs, yogurt & cottage cheese containers and egg cartons are fantastic for seed starting. Old gardening boots, wheelbarrows, and toolboxes can make whimsical substitutes for expensive outdoor containers. Window frames can be converted into cold frames and plastic milk jugs and pop bottles can be used to make a mini greenhouses or hot caps.

Start from seed when you can

One packet of tomato seed is often equivalent to the price of one tomato start yet you get the potential of at least 30-40 plants in each packet. While it may take longer and require advance planning, starting the majority of your plants from seed can be a big savings, especially if you're using recycled containers. No need for expensive heat mats - the top of the VCR or water heater is ideal. Fluorescent tubes make a suitable substitute for expensive grow lights and can be rigged up under a table or on a shelf in the garage.

Don't forget to try to save your own seed during the season. Not only will you save on the seed purchase the following year, but you'll also be able to select seed from plants that you know did well in your climate. Most communities now arrange for seed swaps in the early spring where you can trade your excess seed for new varieties. Make sure that you save seed from non-hybrid plants.

Choose plants that keep on giving

In the vegetable garden, climbing peas, tomatoes, beans & squash tend to provide more produce than their bush equivalents. If you're limited in space, growing these plants vertically can be very successful. In addition, plants like zucchini are notorious for their yields. Trade with neighbours for food you didn't grow.

Among the flowers, try growing multi-purpose plants to get more bang for your buck. Many flowers like bachelor's buttons, violas, calendula, pansies, & roses are edible as well as beautiful. Yarrow, alyssum, fennel, cumin, & coriander all attract beneficial insects as well.

Find a friend

Not only can you share ideas with a gardening buddy, but you can also share the costs and make it cheaper for both of you. Very few of us require a whole packet of seed for the gardening season; most packets contain 40-100 seeds. Why not split the packet with a friend or else trade seed for a variety you didn't buy? A gardening buddy is also a great person to share tools with. If you've got a fantastic hoe and your friend has an excellent pitchfork, why double up?

Sharing with a gardening partner will also allow you to purchase certain inputs in bulk. If you require potting mix, why not go for the bale size instead of the small packages? Compost, if you can't make your own, is much cheaper if purchased by the yard and shared with a friend or two.

Joining a garden club is a great way to meet gardening enthusiasts if no friends or family are willing to team up with you. Most clubs also hold plant exchanges or sales where you can get plants for a real steal.
-------------
Arzeena is an agronomist and gardenwriter for Organic Living Newsletter. Subscribe to this free e-newsletter at http://www.tvorganics.com


Weeds in Your Garden? -- Bite Back!
c.1999 Susun S. Weed

I always say the gardener's best revenge is to eat the weeds. I've been doing it for thirty years and can testify that my health and the health of my garden has never been better. Here are a few hints for gardeners who'd rather eat their weeds than hate them (and for non-gardeners who are adventurous enough to try out nature's bounty).

View your weeds as cultivated plants; give them the same care and you'll reap a tremendous harvest. Harvest frequently and do it when the weeds are young and tender. Thin your weeds and pinch back the annuals so your weeds become lushly leafy. Use weeds as rotation crops; they bring up subsoil minerals and protect against many insects.

"Interplant" (by not weeding out) selected weeds; try purslane, lamb's quarters, or amaranth with your corn, chickweed with peas/beans, and yellow dock, sheep sorrel, or dandelion with tomatoes).And, most importantly, harvest your weeds frequently, regularly, and generously. 

Overgrown radishes, lettuces, and beans are tough and bitter. So are weeds that aren't harvested frequently enough. Give your chickweed a haircut (yes! with scissors) every 4-7 days and it will stay tender all spring, ready to be added to any salad. If you forget a patch for two weeks, it may get stringy and tough and full of seed capsules. All is not lost at this stage. The seeds are easy to collect – put the entire plant in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and use the seeds that fall to the bottom of the bag – and highly nutritious, with exceptional amounts of protein and minerals. 

Unthinned carrots and lettuces grow thin and spindly, so do unthinned lamb's quarters, amaranth, and other edible weeds. Wherever you decide to let the weeds grow, keep them thinned as you would any plant you expect to eat. Here's how I do it: In early spring I lightly top dress a raised bed with my cool-method compost (which is loaded with the seeds of edible weeds). Over this I strew a heavy coating of the seeds of lettuces and cresses and brassicas (cultivated salad greens), then another light covering of shifted compost.

Naturally, weed seeds germinate right along with my salad greens. When the plants are about two inches high, I go through the bed and thin the salad greens, pull out all grasses, smartweeds, cronewort, clear weed, and quick weed (though the last three are edible, I don't find them particularly palatable) and thin back the chickweed, mallows, lamb's quarters, amaranth, and garlic mustard and other edible wild greens.

Keep those annuals pinched back. You wouldn't let your basil go straight up and go to flower, don't let your lamb's quarter either. One cultivated lamb's quarter plant in my garden grew five feet high and four feet across, providing greens for salads and cooking all summer and a generous harvest of seeds for winter use.

When a crop of greens has bolted or gone to seed in your garden, you pull it all out and replant with another crop. Do the same with your weeds. We eat the greens of garlic mustard all spring, then pull it out just before it bolts (making a horseradishy vinegar from the choicest roots) -- often revealing a generous crop of chickweed lurking underneath.

Here are some of my favorite edible weeds:

• Burdock (Arctium lappa) Roots of non-flowering plants harvested after frost make a vinegar that is deep, and richly flavorful as well as a world-renowned tonic. Petioles of the leaves and the flowering stalk are also edible; for recipes see my book Healing Wise. 

• Chickweed (Stellaria media) Young leaves and stalks, even flowers, in salads. Blend with virgin olive oil and organic garlic for an unforgettable pesto. Add seeds to porridge.

• Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis) Leaves eaten at any time, raw or cooked, but especially tasty in the fall – not spring!. Roots harvested any time; pickle in apple cider vinegar for winter use. Dandelion flower wine is justly famous.

• Garlic Mustard (Alliaria officinalis) Year-round salad green. Leaves used in any season, even winter. Roots are harvested before plant flowers. Seeds are a spicy condiment.

• Lamb's quarter (Chenopodium alba and related species, e.g. Chenopodium quinoa). Young leaves in salads. Older leaves and tender stalks cooked. Leaves dried and ground into flour (replaces up to half the flour in any recipe). Seeds dried and cooked in soups, porridge.

• Purslane (Portulacca oleracea) The fleshy leaves and stalks of this plant are incredibly delicious in salads and not bad at all preserved in vinegar for winter use.

• Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) Leaves add a sour spark to salads. Cooked with wild leeks or cultivated onion and potato they become a soup called "schav." 

• Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) Young leaves cooked for 40-45 minutes and served in their broth are one of my favorite dishes. Seeds can be used in baked goods, porridge.

For more information see my book Healing Wise

Written by: Susun S. Weed, POBox 64, Woodstock NY 12498 1-845-246-8081  Visit Susun's website at http://www.herbshealing.com/index.htm
Reprinted with permission


 
Gardenless Gardening Containers
by Heather Jackson

If you are a gardenless gardener, planning to grow your own herbs, flowers or vegetables your first consideration is finding something to grow them in!

Container gardening doesn't have to mean pre-made hanging baskets,
terracotta pots or store bought window boxes.  Let's get creative and drum up some great ways to re-use existing containers.

As well as re-using what would otherwise go in the recycle bin (I hope) you will also save lots of money and create some uniquely beautiful not to mention functional containers! 

Large gallon olive oil cans make excellent containers.  Take of the top with a can -opener, remembering to flatten sharp edges and poke a hole in the bottom for drainage. The graphics on these oil can's make very attractive looking containers. Large plastic water or juice bottles are even easier!

Simply cut off to the desired height and poke a whole in the bottom for drainage and voila! An instant, free, container ready for planting. 

What if you don't like the look of a cut off gallon milk jug? Paint it.
Spray paint works really well - especially these speckled or stone paint effects you can find at the hardware store. Remember to slightly sand the outside of the plastic bottle - this will help the paint adhere. 
Any old left over paint from a redecoration in your home will work well -gloss or exterior paint works best. Let your imagination run wild and paint your own patterns or designs. If this container is for use out doors, best apply a coat of varnish. 

Small plastic water bottles (the 9 fl oz kind) are great for new cuttings or established seedlings.  Simply mark off the desired height cut around with kitchen scissors and remember to poke a hole in the bottom for drainage.

If it's a window box you're after, take a large water bottle - the ones that sit on their sides with a tap.  Mark it to the desired height, about 5-6 inches and cut.  Instant window box.  Put two together for an extra long window box.  Great for herbs as well as flowers.

Any of the above mentioned plastic containers can be cut down to about 1 ½ inches to make a drip tray.

If you want you're your milk jug container to fit on top of the same milk jug drip tray simply take a wine cork, cut into 3 even slices and place evenly inside the drip tray.  This will raise the container slightly above the bottom of the drip tray providing air circulation and making it fit! Paint or spray them both with the same paint effect for a well-coordinated set.

Just about anything waterproof can be used as a container.  If you are using something glass, ceramic or anything you can't poke a hole in the bottom of, remember to put an inch or two of broken pottery, stones or large gravel in the bottom for drainage. 

These are just a few ideas, I am sure if you rummage around under your kitchen sink or in your garage you'll find many other "plant pots" waiting to be transformed.  That broken teapot, old bucket, fruit bowl you never use, the possibilities are endless...

Heather Jackson - the gardenless gardener
Container Herb Gardening for Beginners
http://www.containerherbgarden.com/
 

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Catolog Review  by Tony Frohnauer
Territorial Seed Company
http://www.territorialseed.com
I buy most of my seeds from Territorial Seed Co. in Cottage Grove, Oregon. They put out a great catalogue for the year round gardener. While their theme is for the Pacific Northwest I feel many of the seed varieties will grow and produce well in most regions. Packed with a large and diverse vegetable seed and plant section they offer fruit (seed and plants), flowers, herbs and a big section titled "The Gardener's Tool Shed" offering everything from tools and books to greenhouses, with literally hundreds of items inbetween. An excellent company with great products and service. I've been a very satisfied customer since the early 1980's. Check out their website and request one of their catalogs!
 
 

Book Review by Tony Frohnauer
Growing Great Garlic:  The Definitive Guide for Organic 
Gardeners and Small Farmers  by Ron L. Engeland
I love garlic!! It's a very important medicinal herb, highly sought after seasoning, popular cash crop and easy to grow! What more could 
one ask for?! Well one thing more to ask for is this book. After a very small harvest in 2000 I was forced to (moan, weep) buy garlic in the grocery store. I decided I needed help. So I bought Ron's book and, like duct tape, I wondered how I had managed for so long without it. Written in an easy to understand style, Ron will take you through botany, history, varieties and all the growing requirements of garlic. Any gardener, large or small, from Canada to Florida using this book, will also be "Growing Great Garlic!"

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Outdoor Decor.com has awesome stuff!
Exquisite, distinguished and
creative accents for your home, yard and garden.Sculpted copper water sprinklers, unique sundials, birdbaths, birdhouses, patio furniture, rain guages, garden stakes, hammocks, stepping stones (one shaped like a sand dollar!) and Tea Lanterns are just some of the wonderfully unique items you will find at Outdoor Decor.com
 
 


Square Foot Gardening
by
Mel Bartholomew
A great book for the suburban gardener.Square Foot Gardening
presents a new
way to garden in less space with less work. The author also has a
video which makes a perfect companion for his book.(click on book to see reviews)
 
 


The Postage Stamp Garden Book : Grow Tons of Vegetables in Small Places
by Duane G. Newcomb and
Karen Newcomb
Many gardeners complain that they are short on both time and garden space. The Postage Stamp Garden Book solves both of these problems.(click on book to see reviews)
 
 
 


Western Garden Book, 2001 Edition

by Kathleen Norris Brenzel (Editor)
The newest edition of this excellent gardeners reference book. The contents are tailored for the Western region of the United States. The encyclopedia
section is very comprehensive. You are sure to find any plant you're looking for. (click on book to read reviews)
 
 
 
 

Lasagna
Gardening:
A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens : No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!
by Patricia Lanza
Lasagna gardening discusses the method of layering mulch materials to provide a nutrient-dense base for healthy gardens. It is a time-saving technique that helps to eliminate weeds and preserve water.(click on book to read reviews)
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