Just like humans, plants have a social network, or web, that they use to communicate with each other. There is literally a fungal internet in which information-carrying chemicals travel through the network to other plants. The information sent is used to help the other plants connected to the network cope with insect attacks, pathogens, and drought stress. The source of this underground network of communication is mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizae is a thread-like fungus that grows … [Read more...] about The Fungal Internet: Mycorrhizal Fungi & More
As popular interest in organic gardening continues to grow, the way in which we approach our system of food production is slowly beginning to shift. Industrial farming appears to create an abundance of food, but at what cost? It largely bypasses soil biology, it is puffed up with fertilizers that are artificially high in NPK’s (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) which are derived from petroleum and hence, are unsustainable requiring ever greater input. Even more troubling, excess nitrogen and … [Read more...] about Organic vs. Non-Organic Approaches
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
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..
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.
A seasonal stereotype festers every time fall begins its crisp dance of falling leaves. Summer persuades most minds that it is the only season for growing. It's hard not to blame anyone for the thought. A feast of red ripe tomatoes, glistening cukes, and the age old implementation of the three sisters adorn the summer plot. However, once the wind alerts the nose that humidity must exit, most growers pack it up until next spring.The other problem that attaches is that alot of fall seeds must … [Read more...] about Fall 2.0: Not Just For Pumpkins Anymore
The neverending quest for the perfect seed starter or propagation super soil used to be as daunting as seeking out the Holy Grail. The mercurial rise of innovative gardening coupled with cutting edge scientific soil research has recently produced a cornucopia of first rate soils. One of the best on the market is Premier Pro-Mix BX (call Fifth Season Stores for availability) with Mycorise Pro. Premier is basically a peat based mix with perlite (for aeration) and vermiculite (for water and … [Read more...] about Friday Favorites: Premier Pro-Mix BX with Mycorise Pro
We tend to look at funguses by first showing it our upturned nose. They can wreak havoc on a garden virtually overnight. Unsexy villains like powdery mildew, verticullium wilt, and the ever punctual early blight can transform a mild-mannered gardener into a curled up ball of whimper. Amidst this rogue's row exists funguses that actually benefit the plant and the soil. Perhaps the best known are mycorrhizae, a Samaritan fungus that creates a symbiotic relationship with the plant. Mycorrhizae … [Read more...] about Mycorrhizae–The Happy Joy Sharing Fungus