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Archive for the ‘Companion Gardening’ Category

This is a slide show I created last year and shows some of the seedlings that I started and grew and this reminds me I need to do the same for this year….  Slide show    Make sure to watch the original view and turn up your speakers!

Something that came to mind as I was looking back at my notes and pictures from last year was a simple reality that alot of folks are intimated by gardening and hesitate just because they have never gardened before and…… there is so much different information out there it can be confusing.  So I thought I would help by suggesting a few plants to grow for the first time gardener.  These were easy for me to grow and gave me inspiration and a desire to try other plants!  A few herbs that work well are Basil, Dill, Cilantro and Borage.  Marigold and Zinnia are great flowers to add to a border or include them in your garden as companion plants.  The vegetable plants I suggest are Spinach, Pepper, Tomato, Squash and Cucumber.

Dig up an area that receives a good amount of sunshine during the day and make sure to keep your new garden watered.  As you experiment with growing you will look into different varieties that interest you and those that  you enjoy cooking with.  You will also find yourself searching out more and more information on soil, preserving and techniques that you want to try.  Start out simple in the beginning …

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I have added a “Herbs” page to the blog and listed herbs that I know for sure I will be planting.  I received Richters 2009 herb catalog and there are a TON of herbs listed, so I am sure I will be adding to the list!  I actually planted some herbs last night indoors and they are under the grow lights.  I always start my seeds too early, but with herbs you can actually use them – they don’t get leggy like the tomatoes and peppers that beg to be planted outside (no, I haven’t started those yet).  The herbs will help me focus on eating healthier since that is one of my resolutions.  Here’s what I planted: thyme, summer savory, oregano, basil – lemon sweet dani, parsley, marjoram.  I have a sheet of plastic wrap over the containers to keep the moisture in since that seems to be one of the biggest problems growing at this time of year; the soil dries out very quickly with the dry air in the house.  I will keep the plastic on as long as possible but watch that mold doesn’t start to grow.  I will be sending my seed order off to Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds today – what a spectacular catalog they have this year … it’s Beautiful!

I also added a Recipe page to my website and hope to post those healthy recipes I come up with.  Researching grains is one of my newest ambitions and I actually bought Buckwheat pancake mix today to see what it tastes like.  I did grow buckwheat as a companion crop last year and it grows very easily – so I may be growing a whole lot more to harvest for eating.  To those who are receiving the Luffa seeds I plan on posting to the forum some information on growing them (there is a blog post here also; search Luffa).  I added a calendar function to the forum also so we can add events going on around us that others may be interested in.

Looks like 2009 is shaping up just dandy!  Happy New Year!

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It is rather early to start seeds for the 2009 growing season, but I get so lonely without any gardening going on and since I have all these grow racks with lights I should use them, right?!?  So I did start some Marigold seeds – the ones I am giving away free and they took about 6 days to start sprouting up (not all but a few have started).  I do remember last year when I planted the garden outside saying to myself I need to start the marigold earlier since I use them as a companion plant to attract the bees and also to ward off those bad bugs.  So when I was transplanting the marigolds outside last year they weren’t even close to flower stage, but come this spring I bet I have plenty of bright flowers blooming!

marigold-sprouts Marigold seed sprouts

I also started Spinach under the lights – this I can harvest indoors all winter long and once again these are the seeds I saved from my spring crop .. they are great growers!!

spinach Spinach seedlings – 3 days after planting!  The onion seed I saved seems to be a winner also!  The sprouts started popping up and it’s only been a week since planting.  I am figuring the onion bulb will be a nice size come spring and I hope to have a good harvest.

onion-seed-sprouts Onion seeds sprouting

I have been planting Lavender from seed and transplanted quite a bit down south and it will take another year before flowering so a thought occurred to me this past weekend.  I should take cuttings and try to root them in water and save myself a year of grow time.  Not sure it will work, but it sure is worth a try …

lavender-rooting Lavender cuttings

And so the Gardening continues ……

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Yesterday I decided it was time to pull the corn stalks out of the garden. I was hoping for another harvest of corn from the second set of ears but I can see that is not going to happen – I did save a few mini corns and will let them dry and I may incorporate them into a fall craft. I am still waiting to see what the blue corn I planted is going to do. There are 4-5 small ears on a stalk … thing is – they ain’t Blue, so not sure if they need time to change color?

 Mini corns – blue on top

At the beginning of the season I let one of the first ears of corn dry – I left the kernels on the cob and after about 2 weeks they came right off. I will be saving these as seed for growing next year.

As I was pulling the corn stalks I noticed growing up along one of them was a strand of beans! I had planted 2 rows of beans alongside the corn according to the theory of growing corn, beans and squash together as companion plants. I thought the beans never germinated but I guess there was one strong survivor! So I left him growing on the corn stalk thinking I may keep those bean seeds to plant next year.

 

I am Very Happy to report that the spinach seed I saved earlier in the season has sprouted! I planted a few rows just recently for a fall crop and they are growing!! I will plant a few more where I had the corn and should be all set with spinach!

 Spinach growing from saved seed!!

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I can’t believe I actually caught this on camera, but I did and it sure tells the tale of activities in the garden!  I have posted about Companion Gardening and Good Bugs (Beneficials) in the garden and the bad bugs.  Not to long ago I showed the damage the Imported Cabbageworm did to my Sunset Kale plants … posted on July 8th .  The adult to these damaging bugs is the White Moth that flutters around in great abundance here.  So today I visit the garden with camera in hand and I spot a White Moth and it looked stuck!  Stuck enough where I could grab it and make history of it, BUT I stopped!  I looked closer and it was stuck in a cobweb made by a beneficial spider under a cucumber leaf.  Check this out …

  The white moth in my garden The spider is dining on another bug with the white moth in the background – sure is a cool looking spider … white and black!

 The cobweb is difficult to see in the photo, but the spider did a Great job for Deb’s Gardens and I thank him!  Also I found a rather large toad the other day in another part of the yard as I was pulling weeds and I moved him into the garden and he Stayed!  I bet he is eating tons of bugs so I thank the toad too!

  Toad in the garden

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We had a huge storm last night and it went on and on … I thought it would never end!  The gardens did need a good drink so that was Wonderful, but sure enough the Slugs are back!  Slugs have to be one of the most disgusting bugs of all time .. they just are.  I will be scattering crushed eggshells under most of the plants.  This is suppose to deter the slug since the eggshells have sharp edges and they just won’t go there.

  Slug … so gross!  Crushed eggshells to whoop his slimy self!   Ok…. so I photoshot the slug and decided to snap some shots of other bugs that were buzzing around – now keep in mind, this is only one day and maybe a total of an hour.  Can you image the pictures of bugs I would have if I camped out in the gardens for a day!

 Another bad bug .. the cucumber beetle, striped

  Daddy long legs .. he’s a good guy!

 I notice all the different colors and varieties of dragonflies … they are amazing and a Good Bug!

  A fly … this one is visiting the onion bloom, but I did notice a whole lot more this year especially on the buckwheat white flowers.  I would guess they are good guys in the garden.   The Hover Fly … next photo is definitely a good guy!

  Ladybugs are good in the garden and it appears they are having a Good time while there!

  Although very colorful, this redbanded leafhopper is bad news in the garden!

  Spider and next is the Wasp .. both good guys for your Garden!

 

Nature is amazing and beautiful !

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I have had several harvests of Spinach and it will be finished producing soon – some has gone to seed.  I have to say I had much more spinach last year .. it must be the weather.  I am going to save some spinach seed for the first time and see how that goes.  Also several marigold flowers have dried up so I cut them off and will save these seeds also.  I have had success saving marigold seeds in the past.  Everything seems to be doing well even with all this pounding rain we have had – except the pole beans never germinated.

  Spinach

 Spinach gone to seed

Here are the marigold seeds I will save for next year or maybe even plant again this year since it is still early in the season

 

Finally, the peas are producing!  I have two different sections planted and this was the first one planted.  The second area will be several more weeks before we see any peas.

I am working with Companion Gardening and have planted Corn along with buckwheat which is suppose to ward off the corn earworm.

 

The zucchini and yellow scallop summer squash took off this past week.  I have them mulched with grass cuttings.  I have also used pine needles in some areas.

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