Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back to School And back in the garden.

The diehard gardeners of Vestal having been coming out to help cleanup and harvest food.  Official clubs will start soon.  Thank you green thumbs for all your hard work! 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Cover Crops

Summer's over and the garden is winding down. One of the things you can do to prepare your garden plot for next year is to grow cover crops. A cover crop will help reinvigorate your soil with valuable nutrients, and in some instances the roots will aerate the soil. During the rainy season, the crops prevent the water from washing away all the vital nutrients your warm weather veggies need. Planting a crop will also help the abundant life found in humus, a necessity for healthy soil. A cover crop can be a group of different plants or just one plant that will grow in your garden bed through the winter. A few weeks before you begin to plant in the spring, till the cover crop into the soil. One of the best things you can do for a successful garden is to till the ground, loosening the soil. The OHSU Extension published this handy pdf on cover crops that you can check out here. The Portland Nursery also has a great cover crop guide, found here. Photo Credit: djfrantic

Companion Planting: Edible Flowers

Flowers are often overlooked because they seem too frivolous for a community garden plot. I’m of the mind that flowers enrich the soul with their beauty and too much isn’t enough. But if they get in the way of my tomatoes, that’s another story. If you love flowers yet need a good reason to grow them, consider edible flowers.

Calendula, nasturtium, chamomile, violets and roses are some common edible flowers. Calendula is particularly good for the skin and chamomile is known for its powers as a sleep aid. Many herbs have lovely flowers to add to your garden space. Sometimes planting bright flowers around fruits, like strawberries, will confuse predators and save your produce.

Many flowers are compatible with companion planting as well as being edible. Definitely check one of the online charts before planting any flowers next to your vegetables. You never know what may inhibit the growth of a specific plant.

When your plants have gone to seed, consider cutting off the bolting flowers for your bouquet. While you can eat many of the flowers from bolting plants such as kale, you would also do well to just cut off a few stems and stick them in a vase for a bit of garden grown beauty.

Resources: Homecooking.about.com, NCSU, Zenfulneps.com

Photo Credit: Matsuyuki