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Hey, you go through this every year!
You want to do something different but you can't come up with anything that really inspires you.
So, create a Butterfly Garden and add some beauty to your backyard paradise.
The beautiful blooms will attract even more beautiful butterflies. A butterfly garden will inspire and entertain you for hours as they feed and pollinate the rest of your gardens!
Visitors will be captivated! It will be the garden that everyone will want to come hang out in.
I think this may be the last of the Spring bloomers this year.
Last week it was nearly 90 degrees out and I even got sunburned!
Last night I had to go out and cover the raised beds because we got a hard freeze (well past the last frost date)
I believe summer is ready to start with a vengeance here in the Mid-South.
Bio-wash is one of a handful of bio-nanotech products that are gaining momentum and acceptance by farmers from coast to coast.
I'll not bore you with facts about nano-technology being used to engineer particles on a molecular size. Nor will I try to elucidate how it is all explained by Quantum Physics. All I want to bring to your attention is that there are a lot of farmers who are saying that it is the biggest advance in crop science of their lifetime.
Did I mention that it is ALL NATURAL?
While these may seem new to you and I, bio-nano engineered products have been in R&D for nearly two decades.
These nano-engineered products have been extensively tested with every major crop in the United States on hundreds of farms.
Here is the really important part: They are non-toxic, approved by the USDA for use in certified organic operations and are listed with the OMRI!
This isn't a couple fly-by-night sellers with a new magic elixir.
I just got some in last week and I am looking forward to doing my own testing this year.
What appears as some kind of white fuzz to the naked eye is revealed in this photo zoomed to 300%. The tiny thread-like tendrils you see here are called hyphae and they form the body of the fungus which is called the mycelium.
Mycorrhiza fungi form a symbiotic exchange with the roots of plants where nutrients are interchanged between plant and organism.
The hyphae are known to secrete enzymes and acids which break down organic material down into simple molecules that they can easily absorb.
You won't find this in the sterilized bag of potting soil from the bulk mart. These microscopic life forms are the building blocks of life and if they are lacking in your soil then you are going to have a sickly, weak plants that are vulnerable to disease and insects.
Starting seed indoors is a great way to give your tomatoes a jump start on the coming season.
It's February and for me that means that the time to start seeds is rapidly approaching.
In less than three weeks I will be planting my tomatoes by the light of a full moon. If you think that a full moon effects people you should see what it does for seeds!
The physical transformations are enough to entertain even the most ardent Twilight fan.
Our agrarian ancestors understood that there are cycles to Nature and used to pass this knowledge on to their children. (But then we all got educated)
Fortunately we can still check with The Farmers Almanac!
Feeling the Effects of the Holiday Diet?
Did you know that Wheatgrass is the most nutrient-dense plant known to man? I grow it so that I can juice it!
I am convinced that it is one of the best things I can do to rebuild healthy cells while enjoying excellent cleansing properties.
I got bored waiting to start tomato seeds so I decided to start a new crop of wheatgrass n the meanwhile.
So.. how did the Wheat-grass seed make out?
Have you ordered your seed yet?
I just got done ordering seed for this years raised bed gardens.
It is hard to believe but it will be time to start sowing organic tomatoes here in Zone One Climate in just a few short weeks! I have only one word for that...
HOORAY! I can't wait to get started!
What Climate Zone are you in?
What is the best time for your to start seeds indoors or out?
Find out your ideal time to start seedlings indoors and when the best times to transplant here
Don't forget all the other healthy and nutritious vegetables that are available for you to plant!
One of my favorite vegetables is cucumbers.
While they do not share the popularity of the tomato,can you imagine a salad without them?
Cucumbers are great to eat raw or with sandwiches when they are pickled.
P.S. Don't forget to order your seed!
Bokashi will allow you to compost any organic waste indoors using nothing more than a sealed bucket!
It is a process of fermentation that preserves all of the nutrients, minerals and trace elements contained in organic waste.
Once it is incorporated into your soil it quickly breaks down rapidly providing an excellent fertilizer for your organic vegetables.
Your garden soil is where it all begins. This will show you how to make the best of it no matter what kind of soil problems you currently have.
It is important to realize that in order to grow healthy vegetables you first must have healthy soil. This is the foundation of your entire garden so you want to make it as strong as possible.
Very few areas have naturally fertile soil, so the only way to get it is to do it yourself. Here is my step by step guide. It will save you time, money and a lot of aggravation in the long run!
It's time for a few lessons from an organic garden. When I look around at the current happenings in America I can't help but think we could be doing so much better if we could get past the emotional hyperbole and look at things truthfully.
Just a quick update on the recent experiment with ultrasonic fogging. In the article, "Aeroponics on the Cheap that I published here recently, I showed how I set up a propagation box for rooting cuttings. Here is what the roots are looking like today. The new roots are looking very good and I am pleased with the results. Read about the project here
"I love the smell of nectar in the morning"
It has been a busy day out in the garden collecting tomatoes but the weather was just perfect! I don't know how much longer that I am going to be getting these Heirloom Arkansas Traveler off the vines but it sure is a nice way to spend a late October day.
The average lifespan of a butterfly is only thirty days. Small butterflies may only live for two weeks while Monarchs can live up to nine months.
Aeroponics is an advanced method available for rooting cuttings. This unit also doubles as a cloning chamber.
Table top units that will hold a dozen or so plants or cuttings cost nearly $400, depending on manufacturer.
Larger systems that hold 70 plants or more can quickly run in the thousands of dollars! However, the results are nothing short of spectacular! There are many videos online available demonstrating their operation.
What I chose to do in this experiment is to build a new aeroponics system that supplies a mist that is so fine, that it is better described as Fog. Traditional misters produce a droplet size of 70 microns, but this unit will produces a fog with droplets of only 5 microns. in size.
While rooting cuttings has already been done with this method, what is unique to this experiment is that this unit is not using any circulating fan, tubing or pump. Total cost? Under $130 retail and I can place 30 holes plants or cuttings.
These sweet potatoes are the result of an experiment with my daughters. Finding that some had sweet potatoes had sprouted in our pantry, we cut the tops off and planted them in hydroponics bags and used a mixture or sand and compost. We will have a nice little harvest for Thanksgiving!
WHAT! Something was eating my soybeans! That is not the way to start the day. The sun is shining, you’re minding your own, just walking through the garden and there it is! Damage to the leaves, stem or the vegetables!
Learning to Root Cuttings is probably a lot easier than you think. I want to show you how simple and inexpensive it is to create your own custom landscape from just a few plants you may already have on your property.
All it costs you is an investment in time and before you know it you have increased your property value by thousands of dollars and for next to nothing!
The early morning rain did not deter this Lady Bug. She just sat down, closed the shutters and let it run off her back.
In a few hours after it has dried off she will be back at work devastating aphids like Spartans destroying an invading horde.
Typically an infestation of aphids will go undiscovered by most gardeners until it is too late.
Aphids are like little vampires that hide underside of leaves. A few won't be a bother but when there are no natural predators they will continue to breed unabated as they suck the life out of your plants!
When you are out in the garden in the early morning or late evening making your normal rounds, be sure to make it a point to look underneath a good sampling of leaves as you walk along. You may be surprised at what you find!
Unless you have beneficial insects in your garden you will need to spray at the first sight of aphids or other pests with a good organic pesticide. I am partial to EcoSMART because it will not damage even the most sensitive of vegetables. Mark your calendar or set a reminder on your smart phone. Three days, spray again. When I say "spray" I am referring more to a light "mist" over the plant foliage. (If you can see it running off the leaves you are using too much!) That will take care of most small problems.
But you are going to keep checking and stay on top of it. Right?
This is but one of the many nocturnal visitors that may visit your garden in the dead of night. While you are snoozing away this moth can swoop in and drop dozens and dozens of eggs. She is like a miniature C-130 loaded with an invasion force. You won't be the wiser until something is eviscerating your foliage or boring a whole in a vegetable. Then you will wonder, where in the world did this come from?
My daughter Kaitlin, spotted this insect walking across the driveway and wanted to know if it was a stink bug. I told her it was best not to find out and just let him keep on walking. (I knew she was contemplating squishing it) He retreated unscathed but not until after he struck a pose and gave me a good shot of his flat black carapace and contrasting orange antenna. But what captivated my attention at first were his white eyes.
Every organic gardener will at some point discover some sort of insect that has stopped by and decided to have a snack at the expense of some of our vegetables. There are several types of common garden pests. Some that fly, some eat leaves, some bore into the plant and some are even underground.
I came across this character earlier this week. He was in the process of relieving my soybeans of a few of their leaves. Needless to say I was not all that thrilled with the prospect of crop damage before harvest. To make it worse, it appears he brought a few of his friends.
Not being one who is inclined to accept defeat, I went to the garage and mixed up a fresh batch of Essential 1-PHE for my sprayer. Essential 1-PHE is an organic insecticide that provides nearly instant knock down of most pests and it lasts. Problem solved.
I have not seen any further damage to my soybean leaves the last few days nor have I seen anymore uninvited guests.
Since I had tomatoes blossoming nearby I used a small hand held pump sprayer to minimize 'drift'. I don't want to spray in an area where I need as many pollinators possible. Since I have already had an attack I will make a note on my calendar to spray every two weeks as a deterrent against future attacks.
Not to self; If I had been spraying regularly it is unlikely that I would have had any damage to my crops to begin with.
Now then, about that caterpillar!
I have not been able to identify this guy. I even consulted a local university and there was nothing even close listed.
If you able to identify this caterpillar, please send me a link or drop me a line and let me know. I would appreciate it!
Growing potatoes is a lot easier than some other garden plants. They are not as finicky or persnickety as tomatoes. They don’t need to be staked up and they are not deterred by the heat and humidity here in the Mid-South.
There is one caveat however, they don’t do well clay, but then again what does? So if you live in a region where there is clay and no topsoil, then you are going to have to build a raised bed or get creative if you are going to cultivate these delicious tubers. Here's what I did this year.
Read the full article here growing potatoes
I have fought with this one particular species of weed for years. Every time I think that I have eliminated the last one,... Well you know how that story goes, right?
Little did I know that this weed has a beautiful yellow flower (when it escapes extermination and gets a chance to bloom) I am re-examining the whole weed issue.
I got a question this week from a reader regarding the best soil mix for hot peppers. Since this is a time of year many of us are starting seeds I decided to share it with everyone.
Seeds are best started in a special starting mix usually made of sphagnum peat moss, perlite, vermiculite or a mixture of each.
It also addresses soil pH which never seems to get the attention that it deserves.
Soil pH regulates the uptake of nutrients as well as the quantities
Missing the mark on this may not show up until later in the season when it is too late to address.
Serenade Garden Disease Control is an easy to use concentrated fungicide that is safe for use in organic gardening or organic farming operations. Serenade is a true organic product approved by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) for organic growing operations and is listed with the Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI) so you know that it is safe for your garden!Some of the most well known golf courses in America have trusted this product for years to control many common diseases that attack turf so you know you can rest assured that it will be just as effective at your home. This is a great product for use with your roses but it is just as effective with your heirloom vegetables and your flower gardens. Serenade Garden Disease Control even works for your ornamentals, shrubs and trees. In short, it takes care of anything that grows on your property.
Essential 1-PHE (Plant Health Development) is an organic pesticide that not only provides fast knockdown power but strong residual protection as well. This product is made exclusively from organic components and there are no toxic chemicals used. Neither are there any hazardous components used as fillers. This is another quality product from ICT Organics and is perfectly suited for organic gardeners and organic farming operations.
This specialized mixture of three oils, Garlic, Castor and Cedar oil. It also includes White Pepper and Citric acid. While it sounds a bit like a the ingredients of a salad dressing this combination is lethal to insects. Yet it is approved for usage under the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) and is classified as a “minimal risk pesticide”.
Agra-Cycle a local non-profit organization that promotes sustainable agriculture, is now distributing USDA NOP approved and OMRI listed Organic products to Memphis and the surrounding Shelby County area of Tennessee.
The Detail Shop, located at 7601 Highway 64 in Memphis, is the first local business to partner with Agra-Cycle in support of organic gardening and sustainability.
Howard Reed, owner of The Detail Shop and a long time gardening enthusiast, has partnered with Agra-Cycle to offer these products at his business.
They currently are stocking many of the products that we have been featuring on here on Organic Gardening Blog such as:
Liquid Corn Gluten A preemergent by ICT Organics that is easily sprayed on! Say good by to those heavy bags and spreaders!
SuperCal 98 A 98% pure source of calcium carbonate that raises pH faster than anything else without increasing Mg levels (and none of the toxic fillers)
Surround WP Provides a protective barrier against pest damage and reduces sun damage and reduces heat stress on plants.
All these items and more are on the way and will soon be available!
Agra-Cycle is currently busy expanding their website to offer these products online, but for now The Detail Shop is the only retail location that these products are available. Visit The Detail Shop for directions and store hours.
Organic Nutrient Tea (ONT) is one of the most powerful forms of fertilizer available for organic gardeners and organic farming operations. Sometimes called Earth Beer or Terra Cervesa, organic nutrient tea is brewed to provide an incredible diversity of nutrients in a dense liquid form for easy application.
Organic Nutrient Tea is much more intense than compost tea products because of a wider range of available nutrients and minerals. Compost quality can vary tremendously between batches and thus quality of the resulting tea is can be suspect. With organic nutrient tea, fish meal is fermented under strict protocols so there is little variation from one batch to another. The same applies to the kelp that is used. Together these ingredients supply a wide range of nutrients, minerals and micro flora to rejuvenate your soil and provide the essential nutrition your plants need to flourish.
Avenger Weed Killer is a very powerful non-selective weed killer that is effective for use on broad leaf weeds and annual grasses. This is a very fast acting product, you will have visible proof of results in 2 hours or less! The emulsified formula makes it very easy to see where you have already applied it.
This product is safe for organic gardening and organic growers alike. Avenger Weed Killer is an approved product for organic farming operations by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) is listed with the Organic Materials Research Institute (OMRI) and registered with the EPA.Made from d-limonene a concentrated citrus oil it is deadly to weeds yet friendly to the environment. Unlike acidic weed killers that use industrial strength vinegar, this will not negatively affect your soil's pH level.
Organic Gardeners have widely embraced corn gluten meal as an effective pre-emergent for use in their gardens or flower beds. The main drawback however is the weight! Not only is it heavy but it is cumbersome to lug around a big bag and try to load your spreader. That weight also increases the cost to ship.
All that is now a thing of the past with the introduction of Gluten-8 Liquid Gluten Meal from Earth Harvest Organics. Gluten-8 is a liquid fertilizer that combines the effectiveness of granular CGM with the ease of a sprayable liquid to combat broadleaf weeds and annual grasses.
In my previous post I teased everyone with the prospect of organic gardening products coming to Memphis. Well that is only a matter of a few days away!
Agra-Cycle, Inc. A non profit organization promoting sustainable agriculture right here in Memphis has been working hard to bring organic gardening and farming supplies to the Memphis area. However, being funded solely by volunteers and private citizens they have not had the resources to rent a retail facility that is located in a good business area.
Recently a business on Highway 64 in the Wolf Chase area of Memphis has partnered with Agra-Cycle and will be stocking their products at their store. I will be writing extensively about this in the days to come as well as releasing product information as it becomes available, so be sure to bookmark us and check back. The expected opening date is slated for March 26th.
Memphis is known for a lot of things, but organic resources is not one of them! But that might very well be changing in the very new future. (crossing fingers)
The victory garden resurges in popularity in light of economic recesion that is looking to be around for a while.
Bokashi Bran will allow you to compost any organic waste indoors using nothing more than a sealed bucket. It is an excellent way to increase organic matter, an essential part your organic garden
I thought she was referring to the poinsettia I had set out for some sun, but as I followed the path of her pointed finger I was surprised to see that the daffodils were starting to bloom. I had not even realized that they had come up.
When the Farmers Almanac said that we were going to have a mild Winter, I didn't realize just how mild they meant!
Phil may not have seen his shadow up in Punksatawney today, but down here in West Tennessee he would have needed sun screen and pair of Raybans!
OMB Watch reports that 36 percent of all Honey Bees between September 2007 and March 2008 were wiped out. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that the production of one-third of the nation's food is dependent on pollination by honeybees.
Pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables.
Now some are claiming that Bayer Crop Sciences pesticide "Clothianidin", sold under the brand name "Poncho" is responsible. In fact the EPA has covered up the reports for years which clearly define the risks with this pesticide.
I've obtained a copy of this report. Read it for yourself then you decide.
One of the nice things about having your own Blog is the ability to go off topic when you want, today is one of those times.
After sharing about my surgery and subsequent heart attacks I've heard from more than a few readers that have gone through some deep stuff the last few years. This is for you kind folks. There have been some incredible breakthroughs in medicine recently. I wrap up this piece with an interview with Suzanne Sommers who banked some of her stem cells and was was able to regrow a breast lost to cancer. It is my intent that you are able to experience a bit of Hope as well.
Winter has turned to Spring here in the Mid-South!
Spring is a magical time in the garden. It is a time of rebirth and new beginnings
Do you have your gardens all planned out for this year?
I got my soil test report, now what?
Over the years I have seen dozens of soil reports with every imaginable reading.
Some charge up to $49 to analyze test results and write customized recommendations
I have developed an easy to follow guide that will allow you to do it yourself!
numbers from your soil test report and match them up with the guide and follow the directions. It's that
P.S. I really want you to succeed with your organic garden!
So I have decided to offer my guidelines for FREE to every new subscriber
*limited time offer
Become a subscriber and automatically be entered into
Take me up on my RISK FREE offer Learn how simple it is grow a healthy organic garden and achieve your optimal
This offer exclusive to new subscribers to the Organic Gardening For Life newsletter.
Are dandelions weeds?
Are they homeopaths?
Remember, chemicals kill more than just pesky weeds.
Is it too late to save the pollinators?