LITFM is your weekly guide to the world of organic gardening practices. It is our goal to make gardening accessible for all while promoting good land stewardship and sustainable practices by providing honest and balanced information backed by verifiable scientific fact.
Monday, July 6, 2015
Welcome back to another episode of Lost In The Farmer’s Market. This
episode will be posted late simply because of the Holiday weekend.For those not in the USA, this weekend is
Independence day which is a celebration of the end of the American Revolution,
and the series of events that led up to it and came immediately afterwards. I hope
that all you readers out there have a happy and safe 4th of July.
First off we have the above image. This is a picture of the ‘turning
area’ at the headquarters. It high lights one of the points of confusion
between northern and southern gardens. In the south, the number of pine trees
means that the cheapest available mulch is what is called pine straw.At the store it might cost 3-5 dollars per
bale, but if you have pine trees you get it for free. As far as mulches go,
pine straw is light, cheap, and if it’s harvested from long leaf pines it lasts
for roughly 2-3 years. Mulch acquired from bark, or chipped hard wood by comparison
lasts 1-2 years on average depending on type. The point of mulch is twofold;
firstly it limits or stops erosion by water by acting as a physical barrier to
hold the soil in place. Secondly, mulch acts as a slow releasing soil
improvement since mulches from pine straw, bark or wood chips all eventually
decay leaving behind organic materials that help improve topsoil quality. In
the picture above a lot of moderate quality pine straw has been used to cover
what was bare sand soil. In doing so, the soil beneath the pine straw can only
erode at a limited rate. This means that even with restricted vehicle traffic,
the erosion issue in this area has been successfully abated at the cost of
using 204 cubic feet of pine straw. Eventually the pine straw will break down
and need to be patched or replenished but until then it looks good. For note,
if you notice there is no pine straw under the truck. This lack of pine straw
there is intentional as pine straw still contains pine resin and potentially
can still catch fire if exposed to a source of heat such as a hit vehicle
engine. Also, this is why I balk at the use of Rubber mulch; it does not break
down and only leaches zinc into the soil making it a poor choice for
residential use in the garden.
But speaking of soil and such with the entry into the month of July, it
is now that we must keep a wary eye on our nightshade crops for that summertime
scourge known as blossom end rot. Blossom end rot is a ‘disease’ that actually
is a nutrient deficiency. For some reason in the peak of summer members of
the nightshade family, particularly tomatoesmight start getting blackened bottoms on fruits while they are in the
green stage typically. The long-term solution to this problem is to use a
little fast-acting lime, oyster shells or, eggshells. The short term and
fastest solution is to crush one regular strength antacid tablet in a cup of
water and apply the mixture to the single effected plant and repeat process for
each other affected plant. Why this
nutrient deficiency strikes is unclear. It is known that bloom end rot will
attack potted plants even if they are growing in new potting soil and plants
planted in your garden beds with equal opportunity. It seems to strike
different plants every year and with no set pattern. It’s one of those
summertime vigilance things that all of you out there should pay attention to.
But don’t worry, here’s the good news, garden photography!
So here we have an improvised irrigation system for one of the figs.
This fig came into my possession in fall of last year, I don’t outright recall
the person’s name but they were moving had this brown turkey fig potted up in a
16” pot and could not take it so it was offered to me. I carted the bush away
brought it home and it the cold weather set in before I could get it planted.
As seen in earlier images it was finally planted near the growing trays so it
could make use of the fertilizer runoff and be much easier to maintain. The
bucket is an old brewing vessel that proved unneeded. Inside of it is a layer
of large stones and a single small hole was bored in the bottom so water or
fertilizer placed inside drips out slowly right at the roots of the target
plant. The lid is weighted so it cannot blow off and the old non-functional
airlock ensures air exchange. With a two-gallon capacity if can mimic a good ½”
to 1” rain depending on climate conditions roughly speaking.
In this image some of the surplus rudbeckia have decided to bloom, I
think they’re one of the Indian summer types I sold last year. They were in bad
shape when planted and I didn’t expect them to survive winter.
In this image we have a mix of three types of cone flower, some
Echibekias which are a rudbeckia-Echinacea hybrid and in the upper left the
leaves of perennial cabbage.
I think this is a Sumerina Yellow Echibeckia, the last image had an
Vaccinium ashii – Rabbit Eye Blueberry
It’s that time of the year and the blue berry crop is off the charts
already. My four bushes are so loaded with berries they’re bent over from the weight.
I’ve already harvested a pound and a half.
Lilium sp. ‘Rio Negro’ – Asiatic
Honestly, they’re dark pink! With a name like Rio Negro I expected dark
red or, a darker shade, but then I’m not complaining at all.
Lilium sp. ‘Purple Prince’ –
Ok so this Asiatic lily is at least sort of purple it’s not nearly as
flamboyant as Rio but still very nice. Obviously this is an overdue post, so there is no farmers market info
attached, stay tuned for this week’s post where I’ll include the plants list
and introduce you to a garden plant you may not have considered before.