|Dear Reader,I have a confession to make.Â After the last newsletter touting the benefits of no-dig methods of cultivating aÂ new garden bed, I spend most of 2 weekends digging.Â I just love digging; it allows me to be in direct contact with the soil, to feel its fertility and texture.Â One benefit of gardening for 25 years is that the tines on my garden fork has worn down to a mere 5 inches.Â That is a perfect depth to turn the soil and get rid of the dandelion and grass and it is not so hard on my back.|
With so much to do and such unpredictable weather, April can be a trying month for gardeners.Â It is a time to pace yourself and not overdo it with all the demanding tasks.Â I try (but often fail) to keep a balance betweenÂ the active and the more contemplativeÂ aspects of gardening.When I am not digging, planting and watering, I like to wander around looking, or sit and sense what the garden needs from me.Â Often, I do not know where I will put a plant or vegetable until I have spent some time with the various possibilities.Â I try to keep in mind that I am creating a sustainable ecology inwhich humans, animals, plants and microbial soil life all live and thrive together.Â That is the theme of my article this month. Â Â Â Â
If you have been using the Bountea compost tea, you have probably wondered what was in the Bioactivator.Â In the spotlight section, I explain a little more about the ingredients and intention behind the bioactivator and why it is so effective.Â There is nothing like it on the market, so we have to keep some of it secret!
Look for the special 10% discount on theÂ 12 Gallon Refill.
Have a wonderful early spring, and take a few moments each day to really enjoy the fruits of your garden labor.
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|April Garden Tasks|
This is very busy month in the garden.Â More seeds to sow and lots of transplanting to take place.Â Be sure to get the potting soil and Humisoil you need.
Tip: With all those seeds and delicate transplants, water regularly and protect plants from both frost and too much early sun.Seeds outdoors:French sorrel,Â peas and pod peas.Â Start peas in damp paper towel in a plastic
Seeds indoors: cucumbers, melons, gourds, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash if not directly seeded in the garden at a later date. Start tender annuals like nasturtium indoors for early flowering.
Vegetable transplants: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower.Â Place floating row cover immediately over plants of cabbage family. Larger transplants will resist flea beetle damage better.
Roots: asparagus, potatoes
Ornamentals: move volunteer perennials seedlings, cutback late summer blooming shrubs like buddleia and blue mist spirea, Russian sage.Â Harden off shrubs and perennials purchased as container plants, prune winter kill from roses, prune lilacs by harvesting blooms and cut out dead stalks
After May 1
Plant sunflowers seeds outdoors.
Bountea Compost Tea:Â If this is your second application of the Bountea, just make a simple brew without the Root Web or M3.
Tip: Trees, shrubs and perennials tend to like a more fungally dominated soil.Â To create a special fungal compost tea, brew the Bountea at a lower temperature (55F — 65F) for 48 hours.Â Add live brewers yeast at a rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon of Bountea to further raise the fungal count.Product SpotlightÂ -Â Bountea Bioactivator
BioactivatorÂ is a blend of special ingredientsÂ
developed byÂ John EvansÂ during 15 years of experimentation.Â The bioactivator includes simple sugars and proteins to nourish and grow beneficial bacteria.Â It also has specific plant products and humates that greatly facilitate the development of fungi.Â These are blended with minerals and proprietary ingredients designed to create aÂ particularly rich and resilientÂ microbial environment.When the Bountea brews, the Bioactivator activates and nourishes the microbes available in the Alaska Humisoil.Â Humisoil has billions of microbes in every teaspoon and the bacteria can double in population every 20 -30 minutes.Â By the end of the brewing cycle of 18 – 24 hours the Bountea contains countless numbers of useful tiny organisms.
|Growing the Sustainable Way|
For many years, I tried to garden more or less conventionally – and failed. My vegetables were mediocre; 50% of my plants and trees died within two years. Only when I got turned on to the Bountea compost tea system and began to understand the importance of building a sustainable foundation of living soil ecology, did my garden begin to thrive.Now the garden is full and the soil gets more fertile and abundant each year.Â I grow bigger healthier cabbages and bigger healthier cabbage worms.Â Birds flock to eat the multitude of insects
and seeds, keeping the populations in check. Bull snakes hunt the chipmunks. The compost pile writhes with immigrant red worms.Â And all of this arises from those tiny busy organisms in the soil.To create a sustainable garden, works with nature not against it. Respects all life and particularly the living ecology of your garden.Â You are creating something of lasting benefit, not only for yourself but for all life into the future.Â Â SustainableÂ means using the least resources in the most efficient way in order to maintain the balance of life in your garden.Â The benefit is that your garden needs less and less and yet gets better and better.
Sustainablility is more an attitude than a program. Look and listen to how nature does things and take that as a cue. Here are a few suggestions:
Waste nothing.Â Everything in nature is recycled and transformed into something useful. I put all organic material (and I mean all) through my shredder to make compost.Â I use a gray water system and drip irrigation so that none of that precious resource is wasted.Â Â Water well and sparingly.
Work with the sun.Â All energy comes from the sun – it is free and it keeps coming. Use natural light whenever possible. Get out in the sunlight yourself. Trap it in a greenhouse or under transparent protectors and feed it to your plants.
Cover the naked soil.Â Nature does not like bare earth; it hides itself with vegetation and fallen leaves.Â Use mulches of organic matter — compost, straw, leaves, grass clippings but not too much redwood bark, please.Â Sow radishes or fast growing annuals.Â Crowd your plants a little.Â Use floating row covers.
Support diversity.Â Look at the natural world — it is rampant with diverse living organisms. I plant over thirty varieties of vegetables because I love the differences in taste and texture.Â Avoid the monoculture of big expanses of lawn or evergreens.Â Mix it up; plant in circles, squares and rows with lots of companion varieties.
Give more than you take.Â Life is a gift that can never be fully repaid. Add more life to your soil than you take from it. Use manures, compost and compost tea to build your soil and nurture your plants.Â The more carbon based humus in your soil, the less carbon dioxide in the air.
Sustain yourself.Â Nature does not exclude you. You are a living organism and have similar needs for nurturing as your plants. Take care of yourself so that you will have many more years of gardening.Â Without you, your garden cannot exist.
David Wann:Â The Zen of Gardening.Â
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Care for theÂ soilÂ and care for theÂ EarthÂ withÂ BounteaÂ gardening products.