August 2008
In This Issue
August Garden Tasks
Cover Crops and Green Manures
Quick Links
 Dear Reader,

The first weeks of August have been very hot and dry here in Colorado.  Plants wilted under the blazing sun – flowers came and went in a few days, leaving the garden looking tired and washed out.  Even when rain arrived last week, the soil remains parched a few inches down.

Roland in the gardenThis is often a hard time for gardeners; it is easy to become discouraged when you see your favorite plants suffer.  I find myself resisting going out in the heat for a day or two and then I miss something essential – like the bean seedlings have all been eaten by a hungry rodent.  I need to get the energy up to replant and this time, pay a little more attention.

As with last month, the main tasks are simply keeping the soil moist and clearing crops as they mature.  The heat and sunlight may have stressed out the soil food web so it is a good time to make a batch of dilute Bountea Compost Tea and foliar spray all the plants in the cool of the evening (see article on foliar spraying).

For those of us who want to get a jump on preparing the soil in the fall, the article this month is on using cover crops and green manures.  Now is a good time to decide which is a good crop for your soil and get those seed packets to hand.  As the weather cools, the season starts anew so be sure to order all those cooler weather seeds so you can have greens through fall and into the spring.

I have a number of visitors asking how I construct my 10 ft x 20 ft greenhouses for as little cost as $300.   Check out the article, Build your own Gothic Greenhouse on our new articles page on the Bountea website.  The pictures should be up in a week or so.

The 12 gallon Bountea Refill is still on special until the end of the month — order while you can.


Roland Evans
Organic Bountea

August/September Garden Tasks

Early September is the start of the cool weather growing season!  Pretend it is spring and start planting.  See last months article, Sowing Seeds in Summer for more suggestions.

Seeds outdoors: beets, lettuces, chard, spinach, radishes, mesclun, mizuma, mustards, turnip tops, for fall crop.  Sow spinach, broccoli and collards under cover for early spring cro

Ornamentals: Plant peonies. Divide daylilies and late-blooming perennials. Dig tender bulbs to save.  Prepare areas to plant spring blooming bulbs.


Bountea Compost Tea:
  Bountea can help plants cope with the stress of too much summer heat and sun, particularly when it is sprayed on the foliage.  Apply Bountea diluted 10:1 in the evening covering as much leaf surface as you can.

Bountea Big Bloom B3 is still in the planning stage and should be available in October — a bit late for this season!


Cover Crops and Green Manures

Cover crops are not a new idea.  Farmers have known for hundreds of years that the soil stays in place and remains healthier when it is clothed in green.  Naked soil is vulnerable.  The fragile network of minerals, humus and soil life can be destroyed by flood, drought, heat, wind and the sterilizing effects of ultraviolet light.

Cover crops help stabilize and protect soil, acting as a living mulch.  Because they crowd out weeds, a low growing cover crop like clover can even be inter-planted with vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes or grape vines.

As well as soil protection, cover crops do double duty as soil nourishers.  That is why they are called green manures.  The roots of the legume family of peas, beans, clovers, alfalfa, and vetches, have a special relationship with nitrogen fixing bacteria.  This allows the plants to take in nitrogen from the atmosphere and transport it into the soil.  There it can become available as a food for the next crop in line.

Other more leafy crops such as rye, buckwheat, barley, etc are fast-growing producers of green leaves and spreading roots.  The roots break up the soil and create pathways for air, water and microbial life.  Once leaves are incorporated into the soil, they provide excellent food for the soil food web, creating a range of plant nutrients as well as soil-building humus.  In as little as two weeks after being turned over, green manures start acting like a healthy dose of compost – and that without all the heavy lifting and carrying.

Which varieties of cover crop you should plant depends on your specific needs. Read more 

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Organic Bountea
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