Here’s a few short items pulled from the web this fall, most related to gardening news previously addressed, one even fresh plucked. Feel free to suggest links and add further information to any of our posts (and don’t forget corrections!). Help make this a conversation. And thanks to those who have!
A local worm rancher responding to our post on the uses of straw bales in gardening, says we missed one. He suggests that bales make good worm corrals in the winter, keeping your worms working, if ever so slowly in the cold weather, and keeping them from burrowing out of the pile and into the ground. Bales make good insulation, no doubt about it; these days, they’re even used to build green homes. As the bales break down the following spring and summer, they can just be added to the compost pile or used for mulch. We looked into it further: some gardeners build complete worm systems out of hay bales. Hay bales… the gift that keeps on giving.
New York Times food writer Mark Bittman has finally weighed in on the Stanford study that found, among other things, that organically-grown produce may be no higher in nutrients than conventionally grown produce. Your usually modest and self-effacing Planet Natural Blogger is proud to note (call it bragging, if you like) that Bittman says what we said earlier: that the reporting on the study led to an unusual number of misleading headlines. As always, it’s enlightening to read the comments at the end of the column. What some people won’t say!
A small farmer we know who lives off-the-grid and out-of-the-way in an area not served by country trash removal says our recent column failed to mention the best method to destroy disease and blight-carrying vines to assure that they won’t affect the garden: burn them! We gently reminded him that that’s not an option for most people who live in or nearby cities or other areas where outdoor burning is banned. He reminded us that every pound he has to haul away from his farm to the dump costs him money and that simply dumping the vines in a far-off corner of his property won’t do the job considering how little it takes for a breeze to carry mold spores just about anywhere. He also reminded us that it’s perfectly legal to burn where he lives, as long as certain precautions are taken. The debate continues.
Now is the time to aerate your lawn, especially if it’s tightly compacted and in need of improvement. Aeration gives roots room to spread, helps soil absorb water and compost (you are spreading compost on your yard, aren’t you?). It also gives oxygen a way to work into the soil. Is your lawn especially problematic? Unless you’re replanting it this fall, aerate it again in the spring.
Eric Vinje founded Planet Natural with his father Wayne in 1991, originally running it as a grasshopper bait mail-order business out of a garage.
Eric is now retired, but is still a renowned gardener known for his expertise in composting, organic gardening and pest control, utilizing pesticide-free options, such as beneficial insects.
Eric believes when you do something good for the environment, the effects will benefit generations to come.
2 Responses to “Gleanings, Seedings, Weedings”
I just read your post quoting Mark Bitterman’s comment about organically-grown produce possibly being no higher in nutrients than those conventionally grown.
I am a naturopathic doctor with a keen interest in food’s healing and health benefits. I experiment on animals…including myself, my husband, my pet rabbits, dogs and cat.
Freshly sprouted or harvested vegetables have a higher energy potency which is transferred to our bodies through the digestive process. This is an important aspect of healing…introducing more energy than is necessary to simply survive. The closer we get to the garden, the healthier we are on all levels:body, mind and spirit.
As our bodies process food we use not only the vitality potential (the fresher the greater) but the organic (meaning plant based) components. If genes have been spliced, seed chemically treated or synthetically created, the plant and it’s product carry particles that the body can not recognize during the digestive process. These will generally be stored in soft tissue (fat cells or connective tissue).
This why many people with joint problems have been found to have diets high in corn products. Corn is one of the first plants involved in chemical gardening.
In response to burning the disease and blight stricken plants, I heard that burning didn’t kill the spores and that they could still potentially become airborne. I understand the need to burn, but maybe try and make sure that the fire is well away from the area that you intend to plant.