Vegetable Garden: Understanding Soil

Day 9 of Garden Tribes' Boot Camp for novice gardens. Today it's all about soil--what it is, what it isn't, and how you make it work for you and your harvest. Before going any further you should know that if you are in a newly constructed house, the "material" surrounding the house may bear little resemblance to soil.... Continue Reading →

Sheet Mulching, or not, or how to save yourself a lot of work

Autumn is a great time to plan and begin to develop new garden beds for next year-- as though you didn't have enough to do. Sheet Mulching, or not, or how to save yourself a lot of work Sheet mulching is the process of layering lots of different compostable materials OVER your grass in order to create... Continue Reading →

A Few Fertilizing Factoids

"Feed the soil and the soil will feed the plants." Plants don't eat like you and I, they don't have big gobs that scarf down every fat and carb molecule in sight (oh, sorry, that's just me). There's something called the soil food web--a symbiotic relationship among all the elements of the soil, including microorganisms,... Continue Reading →

5 Tips To Understanding Plant Labels

So here's the 5 main things to understand when you buy plants: 1. Hardiness Zone 2. Average Mature Size 3. Sun Exposure 4. Watering Needs 5. Planting Instructions Hardiness zone. This can be unnecessarily complex: there are USDA Plant Hardiness Zones which includes Canada, and bases hardiness zones on average minimum winter temperatures; Plant Hardiness Zones of Canada,... Continue Reading →

Mulches Part II

Bark vs arborist's wood chips: Again, I defer to Linda Chalker-Scott: The Myth of Pretty Mulch pretty much 😉 says it all. Using bark mulch has too many disadvantages, whereas wood chips have few. So  this: ...is now this: As I've said in previous posts, my garden is my research field. So I'm going to try... Continue Reading →

Wood Chips in the Garden

Very quick post here. Having received a driveway-load of wood chips from a local tree service, and knowing that it's largely of the cedar-Thuja-Douglas-fir variety, I googled to find out if it was safe to use as garden mulch now, or should I pile it up in an enormous mountain in the backyard waiting for... Continue Reading →

Deomonstrating soil quality

Soil that sticks together nicely, but breaks up with just a hint of pressure. That's loamy soil with organic matter (compost) mixed in. Soil that doesn't stick together very well-- a little too sandy. This is garden mixture that I bought last year. It's OK, but doesn't have enough organic matter to support earthworms, so... Continue Reading →

A Primer On Soil Characteristics–Part 1

What's your soil like? Here are some of the possibilities: Clay-ish: rich in nutrients, but very fine particles, so it clumps together so much that there's no air spaces between particles. Doesn't drain very well. Sandy-ish: almost no nutrients, but very large particles, so drains very well. So well in fact it's hard to keep... Continue Reading →

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