When you sit down to enjoy a big plate of spring greens, do you stop and thank the nematodes for your dinner? How about the flagellate protozoa or the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi? They are hard to pronounce, yes, and hard to remember when you don't have a microscope handy. Without their largely invisible, yet crucial, functions in ecosystems, however, we couldn't sustain our food production for long. On the flip side, if we consciously tend to these micro-biotic 'livestock' in our gardening … [Read more...] about Mycorr-what? An Introduction to the Soil Food Web
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Seed Starting The lengthening days of late winter anticipate warmer temperatures soon to come. Springtime is just around the corner and you can get a significant head start on the growing season by starting seeds early. Whether you have a greenhouse or are limited to some extra counter or cabinet space, you can successfully start seeds for transplant weeks or even months before you could sow them outdoors. The process is both highly economical compared to buying fully grown … [Read more...] about Seed Starting: Techniques and Products for Success
We have ventured into uncharted territory--growing sweet red peppers under T-5 flourescent fixtures. Snake oil, you say? No way you crazy @@#$'s could grow fully developed sweet peppers under simple flourescents, you scream? The picture does not lie. The secret? 1) Good Seed Stock We obtained Big Red pepper seeds from Sow True Seed 2) Excellent Potting Soil We moved the healthy seedlings to two different types of soil--McEnroe … [Read more...] about From “How the “BLEEP” Did They Grow That?” Delicious Sweet Peppers Under the T-5’s
Last week, in the first installment of all things garlic, the discussion leaned towards picking the right varieties. Now, it's time to get dirty and put some cloves in the ground. 1)Mise en Place Some of the best ingredients for a garlic garden plot is alfalfa (hay, meal or pellets), bone meal or soft rock phosphate. Bone meal and soft rock both contain a good amount of the delicious phosphorous garlic gobbles up. I prefer soft rock since beneficial microbes (like mycorrhizae ) readily … [Read more...] about Garlic: Bane of Raccoons and Vamps Everywhere: Scene 2
Garlic is a gift to the world. The unwrapping of each clove endows more surprises than Christmases, birthdays, and strippers out of large cakes combined. Culinary speaking, a roasted clove endows a rich flavor to even the most paltry of dishes. Health-wise, ingesting even one raw clove a day adds powerful antioxidant weapons against the possible onslaught of cancer. In the garden, numerous bugs with greedy reputations will flee in droves at the mere mist of homemade garlic sprays. Farmers and … [Read more...] about Garlic: Bane of Raccoons and Vamps Everywhere: Scene I.
One of the most overlooked art forms in the garden is transplanting. Fresh faces to the growing plot assume the potted plant is pulled from its old home and introduced to a new home where dirt is filled in for comfort. Cocktail hour ensues thereafter. While there is some validity to this approach (especially the drinking part), it's good to time your transplantings correctly. There are plenty of age old methods associated with a successful plant migration to your … [Read more...] about The Tao of Transplanting
Nibbles, our regional groundhog celebrity, decreed (with Shadow advising behind the scenes) that Spring will arrive early this year. Great advice from an adorable rodent that loves to eat precious crops. Picture from www.fireflyfans.net Still, it's an excuse to ignore the icy hug of winter and prepare for the season of rejuvenation. If this is the first year for growing, or you have some questions about your land and how to best prepare it, here's some prep to get you ready for Spring … [Read more...] about The Groundhog Has Spoken Part 1
A harsh winter can spell mental doom for the avid gardener. A potent cocktail of cabin fever, kerosene fumes, and clothing with more layers than a decadent sundae can unravel the nerves. Snow loses its sled worthy status. It's once regal standing bumped down to mere eye irritant. How does one avoid these occasional lapses with sanity? And how can one deter from pining for the once abundant raised bed that presently looks like a tomb? Fortunately, a garden can be a 12 month hobby even … [Read more...] about Winter Wonderland my A..
Due to the growing number of plants in Fifth Season, we felt the need to give them a voice. Periodically, we will introduce a plant grown in our store, as well as the fertilizing and environmental techniques we use. Thus, the intro to our new page--"How the @#%& did the grow that?" Below is a sample of things to come. Enjoy! Plants retain their mystique for many reasons. Some provide nourishment that can't be replicated in labs. Others show off their beauty more arrogantly than a … [Read more...] about Introducing: How the @#$% did they grow that?
A successful clone can be one of the most rewarding experiences for a grower. Essentially, a gardener-turned-cloner steps into the triad role of surgeon, scientist, and anal retentive clean freak. Preparation is key (consult, "A Cut Above: Act I" for cloning mise en place) as well as a sanitary environment. Ready? 1) Once the prized plant has been selected, take a sharp clean blade and make a 45 degree cut across branches two to four inches long. Before putting the clone into the grow … [Read more...] about A Cut Above: Act Two.