|Â November/December 2010
|Â Dear Roland,
The winter is a quiet time in the garden – a time of rest.Â Yet, as the year closes, theÂ holiday demands and activity often mean we rush around more.Â Cold weather and our instincts keep reminding us to slow down.Â Maybe we should make an Old Years Resolution: listen more closely to that quiet voice inside.Â Get out of synch with Nature and we invite sickness.
In my own life, the post
Fire demands are powerful.Â There is too much to think about so my
mind swirls and over-heats.Â I try to listen to my own advice and
take extra time to be quiet.
weekend, with the help of a good friend, we placed over 80 black
plastic bags of leaves on my charred mountain garden and greenhouse
beds.Â The leaf bags will protect and insulate the fire-dehydrated soil.Â Moisture from snow and rain percolates under the bagsinviting the worms back up to the surface.Â They will rebuild the soil as we rebuild the houseTheÂ barrage of seed catalogs through the mail is exciting and a little sad:I doubt I will have the time or energy to plant much next year.Â Still you never know – so I will pick out a few favorite seedÂ friends.Â Â The article below suggests some tips on how to makeÂ the difficult choice between different seed varieties.Our new Fungal Activator is now available on the website at 10% off.Â WhenÂ Fungal Activator is used instead ofÂ Bioactivator to brew Bountea, it creates a fungally dominant compost tea.Â This is particularly beneficial for plants with woody or fibrous stems such as trees, shrubs and even tomatoes. Keep using the Bioactivatorfor all fast-growing leafy plants.I will be back in January.Â Have a wonderfully peaceful and generous holiday and New Year.
PS:Â My father decided not to die this year and is back home walking his dog Teasel and puttering around his conservatory.
|Winter Garden TasksÂ Protection is the key word for winter.Â Build some plant protectors to cover any greens that you hope to harvest in
or February.Â Mulch all the soil with bags of leaves (see above),
compost or anything you have to hand.Â Defend the bark of your
fruit trees from deer and rodents with plastic tubing or paper
wrap.If you have a dry spell that is above freezing for a
few days, soak the ground around your trees and shrubs.Â Roots
need to be kept moist to survive.
Bountea Compost Tea:Â Unless you live in the South or are growing in a greenhouse, it is not useful to treat frigid soil with Bountea.Â However, your indoor plants, live Christmas tree and poinsettias would be very grateful for a dose of plain Bountea
The seed catalogs arrive and I start to drool.Â I leaf through Totally Tomatoes coveting the many hundreds of gorgeous types available.Â The Fedco and PineTree catalogs are my standbys but I sneak peek Italian seed varieties at Gourmet Seeds, or unusual oriental vegetables online at Evergreen Seeds.Â Those do not even scrape the surface; the choice is overwhelming!Every year (this year excepted) I am tempted to purchase too many packets of seeds.Â In a previous article I described my 60-40 rule:
at least 60% tried and true varieties with 40% new packets for interest
and fun.Â For the beginner or the small gardener, it is best to
have a simpler seed purchasing strategy: two or three different
each of those vegetables your family likes to eat most.Choosing Seeds
faced with almost unlimited seed choice, it is important to whittle
down your options.Â Here are some questions to help you choose:
- What varieties grow consistently well in your garden?
Always keep at least one good standard reliable variety each
year.Â Purchase it from the same seed merchant – the same name does
not mean the same seed.
- What do your gardening neighbors grow and recommend?Â Each micro-climate supports certain varieties better than others.Â Always ask the most experienced gardener.
- What is your growing zone and number of days between frost dates?
If you have a short growing season, choose varieties with the least
number of days to maturity.Â If you want to spread your harvest,
plant varieties with different growing lengths.
- Does your seed merchant specialize in seeds for your particular growing zone?
If you are a Northern gardener, purchase form a Northern seed
merchant.Â If you are in the South, choose a Southern
merchant.Â Local seed suppliers may be best.
- Are the seed packets good value?
Some companies charge a lot more for the same packet of seed.
Ignore the beautiful pictures and look at the price.Â Check how
many seeds are in the packet (by gram or seed number).Â It is often
better to buy less seeds at a lower price than more seeds that may go
- Are you concerned about Montsanto’s drive to monopolize and control seed varieties?
Know that most hybrids and many other seeds are provided to seed
merchants by giant corporations.Â Choose smaller seed merchants
(not the big catalogs), look for organic seeds and check their seed
growers if you can.
- Do you want to save seeds from your plants?
Hybrid varieties are cultivated so that they do not breed true.
Choose heirlooms if you want to become seed independent.
- Do you expect to use seeds from the same packet next year?
As the packets arrive, put them in a sealed plastic bag with some
silicone dessicant in the fridge or freezer.Â This will greatly
extend the lifetime viability of those seeds (see Storing and Saving Seeds).
when you have made the best choices you can, probably you will have
more seeds that you need.Â Join a gardening group that does seed
sharing and swapping.Â Then you know none of those precious bundles
of life will go to waste.
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the Bountea way.