It is so easy to be discouraged when faced with a garden that is being overtaken by weeds. Keep your garden productive and relatively weed-free by cleaning out the weeds every so often. Cleaning your garden by weeding is one of the keys to keeping your crops productive and your enthusiasm strong. Here are some great weed-prevention strategies, and simple techniques for a relatively weed-free garden. 1. Starting at the beginning, don’t deeply-till the garden. Plowing or deep tilling buries weed seeds that are lying on the surface and then brings them back up. Let buried seeds stay buried. Most seeds germinate only in the top two inches of soil. Before you plant a new garden, till the soil shallowly to encourage the surface weed seeds to sprout, then water the area if the soil is dry. The combination of air, moisture, and exposure to light will stimulate weed-seed germination. Wait a week after tilling and then hoe or till shallowly again to eradicate all the newly germinated weed seedlings before you plant. The more times you repeat this pre-plant weed-reduction technique, the fewer dormant weed seeds you will have lurking in your garden beds. Once the upper-layer weed seeds are exhausted (it takes a number of years, so be patient), very few new weeds will appear unless you bring them up from below… or let weeds mature and drop new seeds. 2. Don’t allow weeds to go to seed. Nature is prolific. Each plant can produce an enormous number of seeds. There is an old saying “One year’s seeding means seven years’ weeding” and it holds true. Weeds produce an abundance of seeds and the results of this carelessness are exponential. The more seeds you have, the more weeds you will have. But the results of a little weed control also are cumulative. If weed plants are removed from the garden before they go to, seed, their thousands of seeds won’t be added to the garden. No more seeds, no more weeds. And, as the years go by, fewer and fewer seeds will be left in the garden to germinate. 3. Eradicate weeds while they are small. Tiny, newly germinated weeds are the easiest to kill. A sharp hoe, lightly scraping the soil surface is the most effective way to control small weeds. This allows you to work shallowly and not disturb the roots of the plants you want to thrive. That minimum effort yields a maximum benefit, curing the weed problem, while making a tidy garden. And a well-kept garden may motivate you to spend more caretaking time there. Larger weeds can be hand-pulled and left to dry out on the soil surface. Any weeds that are going to seed should be destroyed or thrown away. To make the job easier, pull weeds after a good rain or watering. Try to keep the area surrounding your garden weed-free by tilling a path or mulching a path around the planting zones.
Keep your sharp hoe in or near the garden and use it for a few minutes each time you are there to keep your crops weed-free and your garden a place you will enjoy.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.png00Rebecca Hansenhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.pngRebecca Hansen2023-11-10 14:04:462023-11-10 14:07:24Great Techniques for a Weed-Free Garden
Starting your vegetables and herbs indoors from seed is easy and very rewarding. By starting indoors you give yourself a jump-start on the growing season and you will be ahead of the game when it is time to start planting outdoors! The back of your BBB seed packet will have the basic information you need to know to ensure you have successful germination.
Here are a few tips to remember to kick off your seed-starting efforts.
Plastic pots are best for starting seeds as they retain moisture more easily compared to terra cotta or other clay pots. If you don’t have traditional seed-starting containers available from your local garden center you can use recycled yogurt cartons, salad containers, or any other plastic container you find in your recycle bin! You can also make your own wood seed starting trays or your own newspaper pots. No matter what type of container you use make sure it is clean and sterile.
Proper drainage is essential. Make sure there are holes in the bottom of your seed starting container to allow for good drainage. If you are using a recycled plastic item you can drill or poke holes in the bottom by using a screwdriver or nail. Excessive moisture trapped in a pot can lead to damping off and other fungal diseases. Ew!
Soilless seed starting mix. Really we mean it! If you want good germination start your seed in a soilless mix. The key is that when your seeds germinate and have at least their first set of true leaves you must transplant them to the next pot size up and into regular potting soil. Or, you need to start feeding them with a half-strength fertilizer. The soilless mix is essentially sterile with minimal nutrition which is a perfect medium for your plants to germinate in. Less chance for contamination or other weird diseases to set in!
Moisten your mix. Pour your soilless mix into a bowl. Moisten it with water so that it isn’t soaked, but is nicely damp. Fill your seed starting pot or tray up ¾ of the way full with your damp soilless mix. Gently press the seed into the soil approximately two (2) times the depth of the diameter of the seed. Then lightly cover your seed with more of the soilless mix. Gently press the soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact.
Identify each pot. Even if it is only 2 pots we highly recommend that you mark each pot with the name of the vegetable and the date planted. You can use wooden craft sticks, left-over popsicle sticks, or any other object that sticks up and beyond the soil that you can write on.
Water gently. We can’t tell you how many times we have washed away seeds and newly born seedlings by watering too hard! We recommend watering from the bottom by placing your seed starting container in a dish or basin filling it with water 2-3 inches and allowing the moisture to be drawn upward. If just the top has dried out use a spray bottle or a child’s watering can with small holes. And if you don’t have either, while pouring out the water (gently!) put your hand in between the water and the soil to break the fall of the water before it lands on the seeds or tender seedlings. Water daily and remember, gentle!
Cover! Immediately cover your pot with a piece of saran wrap or a plastic bag to help retain the moisture. If you have a garden dome then place the lid on top. Keeping your seed evenly moist until germination is essential.
Temperature. Most seeds require temperatures of 65° to 75°F to germinate. The back of your BBB Seed packet will tell you the preferred germination temperature for your seed. Place your seed containers near an existing heater, on top of the stove (pilot lights can be very warm at night!) or use a space heater with the proper precautions to raise the ambient temperature as needed. Heating pads designed specifically for plant use can also be placed directly under the seed containers which will encourage germination.
Good Light. Plants require at least 12 hours of daylight. If you are starting your seed where light is poor or during a time when there is less than 12 hours of light per day we recommend growing lights. If sowing your seed indoors, place your seed containers in a sunny, south-facing window and give the container a quarter turn each day to prevent the seedlings from overreaching toward the light and developing long and weak stems.
Acclimate Your Seedlings. Before you transplant your seedlings outdoors they need to be hardened off or acclimated to direct sunlight and fluctuating temperatures. It is best to do this over a three-to-five-day period by placing them in direct sunlight during the morning only on the first day, then increasing their time outside by a few hours each day until they are strong enough to be transplanted. Don’t feel rushed. If unexpected weather or wind arises, keep them indoors. Nothing is more disappointing than spending all of your time growing your precious seedlings to then having something go wrong when you put them outside.
If you have any questions at all about how to start your BBB Seed please do not hesitate to email us at email@example.com. We look forward to answering any questions you might have!
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Take a moment to look at the locations where you want to place your containers. Consider such things as sunlight (strength and time) and wind. If you have pots with sun/heat-loving plants, arrange them to shade your pots with those plants that need less sun and heat. Tall plants or plants that vine can be trellised to grow vertically and provide a natural barrier for tender plants. Make sure to anchor trellises and containers with tall plants, to keep them from getting blown over. If you plan to place your containers on a covered porch or balcony or any place that receives limited sunshine, you should select vegetables and flowers that don’t require as much. Leafy greens, snap peas, Chinese mustards, and kale will do quite well in these conditions, but tomatoes, and peppers, probably not.
When growing your garden in containers rather than a garden plot, it is just as important to choose varieties that will be able to reach maturity in your growing season. If you have a short growing season, check the maturity dates on the packages and plan to start some seedlings in the warmth of the indoors to get a jump on the growing season.
These varieties are not practical for container gardening due to their size or length of growing season (At the end is a list of vegetables/plants that will do well in containers.):
Watermelon and most cantaloupes (although there are some midget varieties that can do well)
Large Pumpkins and winter squash
Head cabbage (except as microgreens)
Mammoth sunflowers (except as sprouts or micro greens)
Beefsteak type tomatoes
Garlic bulbs/full sized Onions
Make sure to prepare your containers and pots properly, to give your veggies the best chance possible. You will be surprised by how much those little seedlings will expand, and there is as much growth below the soil as there is above the soil, so don’t squeeze them into tiny containers. Any type of vessel can be used, just keep in mind the size of the plants and the location. Terra cotta pots are inexpensive but dry out more quickly than others, metal tends to get quite hot in the sun, and plastic is versatile and lightweight.
For Container Gardening, start your long-season varieties, indoors, in good quality starting soil or soilless mixture. Seedlings should be kept consistently moist (not wet) and exposed to fairly strong light, sunlight, or florescent, for at least 10 – 12 hours each day as soon as sprouts appear. This will keep them from getting leggy and looking for light. Seedlings that are sown more closely together can show more vigor as their roots symbiotically help each other extract nutrients from the soil. As the first true leaves appear, choose the strongest seedling starts that you will need for your containers and clip off the remaining which gives the strong ones some space to expand. Transplant to pots and containers shortly after the first true leaves appear. When transplanting to your containers and pots, make sure to space the seedlings according to the package directions for each type of vegetable.
Here are some plants that do not like to be transplanted. Instead, start them in individual moss starter cubes or use homemade newspaper pots or toilet paper tubes that can just be set into your containers at the appropriate spacing.
Beans Squash Burnet
Chinese Cabbage Borage Chervil
Cucumbers Caraway Pumpkins
Melons Coriander Dill
Root crops (except beets, turnips, and celeriac)
Make sure that your container has drainage holes in the bottom. Place a couple of layers of newspaper in the bottom of the pot to keep soil from falling through the holes, then place a 1-inch layer of moss on top of the newspaper. If you don’t have a source for sphagnum moss, coarse gravel will work. Fill the container with good, rich pre-moistened, potting soil, leaving room at the top. Pat it down firmly to fill in the spaces but do not pack hard. Take your young transplants (holding by the leaves or root ball, not the tender stem) or degradable seedling pots, one at a time, placing each on the top of the soil. Spread out the roots, and sprinkle more pre-moistened soil over the roots, covering them completely. Use enough soil to bring the level up to just under the first leaves for most seedlings. Do not cover the crown on plants such as lettuce. The plant’s first leaves should be at the level of the top of the container. Pat the soil gently, firming it over the roots and young stems. Water your containers when the soil feels dry in the top few inches. Continuously wet soil suffocates the roots and encourages bacteria and fungi to grow. Usually, we water when we have time or are home, but watering when needed instead of on a schedule is usually best. Avoid wetting the leaves as much as possible. Try to use tepid water and if you are using chlorinated tap water, allow it to sit overnight exposed to air to dissipate the chlorine which can damage plants and kill beneficial soil bacteria.
Fertilize with low doses of good quality organic fertilizer every 7-10 days.
Don’t be shy about removing plants that are past prime or are beginning to bolt. Removing these will leave spaces where you can plant another round of short-season varieties and ones that prefer to mature in the cooler weather of fall. Lettuces and other leafy greens are good for this, maybe another round of snap peas, beets or radishes, arugula, and bunching onions. Mustards and kales and fennel love the cool days of fall
……………………………………………………………………………….. Design – Container Gardening can be beautiful
Create groupings with your pots and experiment with variations in height, by placing some containers on concrete blocks or other empty containers turned upside down. This adds visual appeal and at the same time maximizes the space available. Groupings also help to make the job of watering a bit easier. Pick a particularly spectacular container plant to be the visual focus and arrange other not-so-pretty container plants around.
Make your containers a bit more decorative by planting different varieties together in one pot. Use the spaces under taller plants to place smaller herbs and leafy greens. Some vegetables live in harmony with one another, some are actually beneficial to each other and some hate each other. Mix colors and textures and think about including edible flowers tucked in around the edges. See the article, Flavorful Flowers. Check each variety on our website to see if your combinations will work together. Here are some examples:
• Lettuce does well with beets, bush beans, pole beans, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, onions, radishes, and strawberries. You can also plant your lettuce at the base of young sunflowers for a little shade.
•Celery, dill, onions, and potatoes are great companion plants for cabbage. Planting clover with your cabbage will keep insects away and chamomile will improve the flavor. Cabbage does not like strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, rue, grapes, or pole beans.
•Cauliflower is compatible with basil, beans, dill, garlic, hyssop, lettuce, mint, onion, rosemary, sage, and thyme. It does not like grapes and rue.
•Plant your peas with bush beans, pole beans, carrots, celery, cucumber, eggplant, parsley, radish, spinach, strawberry, sweet pepper, tomatoes and turnips. Keep your peas away from chives, and onions.
•Tomatoes grow well with asparagus, basil, beans, carrots, celery, chives, cucumber, garlic, head lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, peas, peppers and marigold. Basil will repel flies and mosquitoes from your tomato plants while also improving their growth and flavor. Beebalm, chives, and mint will improve the health and flavor of your tomatoes. Keep potatoes, fennel, dill, cabbage, and cauliflower away from your tomato plants.
VEGETABLES/PLANTS THAT DO WELL FOR CONTAINER GARDENING:
Beans (Pole and Bush types)
Direct sow into containers when night temperatures reach 60 degrees F, 6“ minimum soil depth, full sun, and harvest in mid-late summer, Provide a trellis or climbing structure Beets – Direct sow into containers in early spring and late summer, 6” minimum soil depth, full sun to partial shade, harvest early summer and again in fall Carrots (Nantes, Round, or Finger-type are best for containers) – Direct sow into containers when night temperatures reach 60 degrees F, 8” minimum soil depth, full sun, harvest in summer through fall. Cucumbers (vine or bush-types) – Direct sow into containers when the day temperatures reach 70 degrees F or start indoors and transplant, 10” minimum soil depth, full sun, harvest in summer, Provide a trellis or climbing structure for vine-types. Eggplant – Start inside 8 weeks before temperatures usually reach 80 degrees F for your area, then transplant to your container, 10” minimum soil depth, full sun, and harvest late summer. Leafy Greens (Swiss chards, Collards, Kales, Mustards, Asian Greens, Pak Choy) – Direct sow into containers when the nighttime temperatures are above freezing, or, start indoors 3-4 weeks before and transplant, 8” minimum soil depth, full sun to partial shade, harvest late spring through winter. Lettuces and Salad greens – Direct sow into containers after Spring’s last frost date, or start indoors 4 weeks before and transplant after hardening off when about 2 “ tall, sow seed again in early fall, 6” minimum soil depth, full sun to partial shade, harvest spring through early summer and again in fall. Onions, Garlic, Leeks – Direct sow into containers after Spring’s last frost date, 6” minimum soil depth for bunching onions and young (green) garlic, 8” for Leeks, full sun, harvest summer to fall. Mounding soil up around the base of bunching onions and leeks will encourage long white stalks. Grow garlic in containers to use the green shoots and any small bulb growth. Peas – Direct sow into containers when the soil is no longer frozen, Soaking the seeds overnight will speed up germination, use an inoculant (a beneficial bacteria that enables the roots to use the nitrogen pulled from the atmosphere and stored in nodules on the roots), especially when planting into containers with new potting soil. 8” minimum soil depth, full sun, harvest in late spring to early summer with secondary fall crops possible, Provide trellising for vine-types or cages to support bush-types. Peppers – Plant seeds indoors, keeping at 80 degrees F for about 2 weeks, starting 10 weeks before nighttime temperatures remain above 55 degrees and daytime temps reach at least 70 degrees. Transplant into containers after hardening off, 8” minimum soil depth, full sun, and harvest in late summer. Potatoes – Plant disease-free seed potatoes in a large container (30” deep, 20” across) filled 1/3 full of potting soil, 5-6 “ apart, and cover with 2 inches of soil, When plants are about 6” tall cover the bottom half with potting soil, continue doing this as the plant grows until reaching the top of the pot. Full sun, harvest summer to fall. Radishes – Direct sow into containers when the soil is no longer frozen and every other week till late spring, 4” minimum soil depth, full sun to light shade, harvest all spring and second harvest in fall. Spinach – Direct sow into containers when the soil is no longer frozen, replant first of August for fall, 6” minimum soil depth, full sun to partial shade, harvest in spring, early summer, and fall. Squash (zucchini, yellow summer, yellow crookneck, patty pan, mini pumpkins) – Plant seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before the spring last frost date, transplant into sunny, warm containers, and cover with a row cover for several days, 10” minimum soil depth, full sun, harvest summer to early fall, pick when young and small, provide trellis and support for vines. Tomatoes – Plant seeds indoors keeping them at 75 degrees F for about 2 weeks, starting 6-8 weeks before Spring’s last frost date, transplant at least once to another larger pot when they have 3 sets of true leaves burying them up to the first set of true leaves, keep in good light, 12” minimum soil depth, full sun, harvest late summer and fall. Herbs – Herbs are mostly perfect plants for container gardens, being small and not fussy.
Sharing plants is a simple joy in life. Sharing plants and making money, well that’s even better. Read on to learn how to share your plant starts for profit.
My happy group of gardening buddies first got to know each other because of our great avarice for more seeds. We had all joined a local gardening email list so we could talk more about plants and gardening, but the more we spoke with each other, the more seeds and plants we wanted. Every time someone mentioned a new variety of tomatoes or annual flowers or ground cover, we had to have one of those.
The first year, we decided to meet in person and share seed packets. Armed with dozens of recycled envelopes, we doled out tiny seeds to each other, taking home three Cherokee purple tomato seeds or six cosmos seeds. This quickly became confusing and chaotic and required so many tags in our seed trays. So the next year we decided to become more economical. We’d each buy a packet of seeds and grow out all the plants…and then swap our plant starts. We definitely got more plants than we would have grown on our own and we each had unusual varieties you can’t buy in stores.
But the third year of our avarice proved to be the year we figured out that we could get as many seeds as we wanted…and they practically paid for themselves. All we had to do was start our seeds and sell 2-month-old plant starts to each other and to the other greedy gardeners who envied our ever more diverse gardens. We learned that anyone can sell healthy organic heirloom tomato starts, especially if you have pictures of last year’s garden.
You can try your own mini plant exchange and sale. We price our seedlings cheap ($1 or $2 at most). I can afford all the heirloom tomato plants I want if I just sell three seedlings for $1 from each seed packet. Throw in some herbs and flowers and soon the plants barely fit in the car. Our little group now has a giant plant sale every May where everyone brings their plants to sell to each other, but thanks to free advertising on Craigslist and neighborhood electric poles, we also sell our humble little plants to the public.
Avarice never ends, of course, and now we have to grow more plants so we can make money so we can afford backyard greenhouses. Last year our small group of about 12 home gardeners sold some $4000 worth of plants that they started in closets and on top of refrigerators just two months before. Not enough to get rich, but enough to buy more seeds, build hoop houses and season extenders, and have a load of precious organic sheep manure delivered to our gardens.
So enjoy your seed shopping and think about swapping some of the plants you start with others. We learned that while there is no end to avarice among gardeners, there is also no end to generosity. It is a great joy to have an abundance of little plants to share with friends and strangers.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.png00konabirdhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.pngkonabird2022-11-18 18:14:002022-11-21 22:30:52How to Share Your Plant Starts for Profit
It snowed yesterday. It’s going to snow again today. This makes me so happy because it means I get a vacation from work. My gardening business is a lot like a teacher’s schedule. Work like crazy most of the year then I get a wonderful interlude to catch up on the rest of my life. Working in the garden may come to an end during Colorado winters, but eating usually continues and we continue to make lots of food scraps that any gardener would hate to waste.
When I lived on acreage, I did all my food composting by sending it through the chickens. The backyard chickens loved food scraps and eagerly ran around when I brought the compost bucket. Even if it was just onion scraps and things they didn’t like to eat, they relished scratching it around and mixing it with the coop bedding and poop. Spring compost in the making.
Without chickens, there are still ways that you can compost in winter and capture your kitchen scraps:
1. Use your regular compost bin
I empty mine to about ¼ full of compost in progress with lots of worms. I fill it all the way to the top with dry leaves and sort of hollow out the center. The leaves don’t freeze solid and all winter I drop the scraps down the middle of the leaves. The leaves provide some insulation and the food scraps and leaves at the bottom of the pile are warmed enough by the earth that a tiny bit of composting keeps happening even when temps get well below freezing. The earthworms are slow but still keep working and reproducing.
2. Compost in a protected sunny spot
Keep a plastic (black if possible) bin against the house on a sunny side. I started with the bin half full of partially finished compost that hopefully has some worms already busy in it. The center, next to the ground, will stay unfrozen so the worms will stay alive. The compost probably won’t process much over the winter except on sunny days. You may need to secure it against raccoons or other varmints.
3. Make a trench
This takes a bit of planning before the cold weather arrives, but produces amazing results and saves time and labor. Dig a long trench right in the garden…about a foot deep and a foot wide. Leave the soil heaped right next to the trench with a rake nearby. I left the excavated dirt on the side of the trench. Every time the indoor compost bin was full, I just took it out to the garden and dumped it into the trench. If things weren’t too frozen, I pulled some of the excavated dirt on top of the food scraps. If there was snow on the ground, I just put the scraps on top, and eventually, it fell into the trench.
This process attracts all the worms to the trench. Some composting takes place in the Fall but most decomposition happens in early Spring. By early May, when it’s time to plant tomatoes, the compost is broken down enough that I can transplant my tomatoes directly into the filled trench that is crawling with decomposers and happy earthworms. If it was a very cold winter and the compost isn’t finished, just plant right next to the trench. Some people like to compost in trenches all year. They set up a three-year rotating system where they compost one year, plant the next and use the area as a walkway the third year. Pretty clever!
4. Make a windrow
John, the Worm Man, Anderson in northern Colorado keeps his worms happy all winter by setting up short windrows of compost, food scraps, and worms. He throws old carpet or tarps over the top. Periodically, he lifts the carpet and puts new scraps on top of the piles. The worms slow down in winter but keep working and reproducing. For small households, just make a pile on the ground and cover it with a tarp. The tarp keeps moisture and some heat in. Just slip the food under the tarp. Worms show up. This doesn’t work so well if you have raccoon or mice and rat issues.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.png00Sandy Swegelhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.pngSandy Swegel2022-10-28 03:57:142022-11-21 21:09:254 Ways to Compost in Winter
A cover crop is simply a dense planting of quick-growing plants that protect the soil and can provide many nutrients to the soil. The most common cover crops are grasses/grains such as Winter Rye. The other favorites are legumes such as clover, vetch, and peas that fix nitrogen in the soil. When the green cover crop plants are tilled into the soil it is called a “Green Manure” crop. These terms are used alternately. You can plant cover crops; during the growing season to keep weeds at bay, in the fall to overwinter adding nutrients and protecting the soil, or in the spring for areas where you will be planting later crops.
Why plant cover crops?
They hold the soil in place. Providing protection from wind and water erosion. The dense planting provides weed suppression. Winter Rye actually has allelopathic properties that inhibit other plant growth. Cover crops enrich the soil by nitrogen fixation from legume plant species and add organic material for helping the soil structure and providing food for beneficial microbes and worms. Cover crops help to reduce garden insect pests by attracting beneficial insects and bees and bumblebees are attracted to the early blooms of some of the species.
Protecting the soil is very important. Planting a cover crop is like a living mulch. The roots hold the soil in place and penetrate deeply into the earth, bringing moisture, nutrients, and airway down into the depths. The leaves shade the top of the soil keeping the top from desiccation from wind and sun, and allowing the microbes and earthworms to continue to enrich the soil. Allowing annual cover crop species to just die in place and cover the soil aids in this process and during the winter helps to hold the snow on the soil. It is important to mulch to cover the soil even if you are not using a cover crop. Just use leaves, newspaper, or cardboard covered with burlap or netting to hold it down. The worms love decaying leaves!
Cover crops help to combat weeds firstly by sheer numbers. Cover crops need to be planted thickly. Weeds love bare soil! Planting a cover crop in the fall to till under in the spring is a good way to get ahead of the spring weeds. Try to get a fall-planted cover crop for spring tilling in at least 1 month before killing frosts in the fall. Use a spring-planted cover crop to combat weeds in areas between rows of crops or in orchards. Cover crops are effective whether you till or not. They can just be mowed off and in cold winter areas, most annual cover crops die on their own and are a good mulch in place even when dead.
Clovers and legumes enrich the soil by taking up atmospheric nitrogen in nodules in their roots. They are able to achieve this because they are a host to a bacterium, Rhizobium. The relationship between these plants and Rhizobium is symbiotic, meaning they are mutual beneficiaries. The bacteria are fed by the plant and the plant is fed by the bacteria. Plants cannot use nitrogen the way it exists in the atmosphere. Rhizobium converts atmospheric nitrogen into a useful form for plants and animals to utilize. Rhizobium takes up residence in the plant’s root system and forms nodules. Clover and other legumes are susceptible to this type of bacterial “infection” and that is why these plants are great fertilizing plants.!
Yes, it is still very cold and very dark but nothing fills the heart in the dead of winter than planning for spring. What should you be doing now that will keep those spirits up? Plan your vegetable garden and herb garden!
1. First of all, take a look at those vegetable and herb beds and decide what and how many varieties you want to plant next year. Do you want to start those peppers a bit earlier this year? Did you plant tomatoes there last year – rotate tomatoes every 3 years if at all possible to avoid depleted soil and issues with many diseases. What do you want to grow more of this year? Anything you want to try that’s new? What did you and your family really love? Want more tomatoes or basil for pesto or tomato sauce? [4 Tips For Keeping Your Basil Productive and Pesto Secrets] Were there any epic fails? Maybe it’s time to move on to buy those at your local Farmer’s Market and devote the precious real estate to something else.
2. Speaking of soil, this is a great time to start adding mushroom compost in a nice thick layer that can work its way into the soil during late winter freeze and thaw cycles and heavy periods of moisture. You can also cover the compost with a layer of seed-free straw that was grown organically.
3. Peruse the seed catalogs and websites. It is so fun to read those descriptions and they all sound wonderful but be aware of your space and climate when choosing seeds. Take stock of any seed that you saved from last year and organize and assess any leftover seed packets. Seed viability goes down over time. Onions, corn, parsnips, parsley and leeks should be refreshed every year, but tomatoes and lettuce can go 4-6 years and still germinate. Check out these charts if you have questions: https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/1999/4-2-1999/veggielife.html/
4. Gather up your seed starting supplies and order more if needed. Dust off those grow lights, check the heat mats and make sure they still work and clean any seed starting containers that you plan to re-use with a weak bleach solution. Again, assess what worked and what didn’t in prior years. Did lettuce seeds that were direct-sown in the garden elude you? Try starting them indoors under a plastic dome which helps retain moisture until they are fully germinated.
5. Did friends and neighbors share anything they learned with you? Maybe it’s time to get everyone together for a Happy Hour, swap saved seeds and talk about their gardening experiences.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.png00Mike Wadehttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.pngMike Wade2019-01-04 05:00:032021-02-09 10:32:25DREAMING OF SPRING
What do you think of when you imagine a classroom? Do you think of rows of desks, educational posters, a whiteboard with a professionally dressed teacher at the front? There may be a few toys or tablets with games designed to teach kids their alphabet or basic math.
That traditional classroom is useful for certain things, like learning grammar and division, but it is really inadequate for teaching kids about the world they live in and interact with every day. This is especially true with food.
Most kids, especially those from low-income or urban areas have very little understanding of what food actually is or where it comes from. Kids learn through their senses, so when they aren’t given the opportunity to actually see and touch and understand how food comes from the earth to their plate, it is hard for them to have a deep understanding of the food system and it is harder for them to make healthy choices. Ketchup has no connection to a tomato and the tomato has no connection to the earth.
That is why school learning gardens are such a powerful education tool. These outdoor classrooms can be installed either on school campuses or remotely and provide a unique, hands-on opportunity for kids to learn lessons in nutrition, science, and community while getting a tasty, healthy snack right from the garden!
One of the biggest organizations pushing for school learning gardens is Big Green. Started by Kimbal Musk, food entrepreneur and brother of Elon Musk. Big Green installs learning gardens at low-income schools across the country.
They provide dedicated garden instructors, so teachers aren’t being asked to do more than they already are and kids are getting information straight from the experts. Started in Boulder, Colorado (BBB Seed’s hometown), Big Green has built learning gardens at over 378 schools in seven states.
At BBB Seed, we are dedicated to educating people of all ages about the benefits of eating healthy, protecting our pollinators, and gardening with organic methods. To get educational materials sent straight to your email, make sure to sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of the ‘home’ page.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.png00Sam Dollhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.pngSam Doll2018-08-24 15:17:422021-02-22 13:15:48Back To School
There are nearly 4,000 species of native bees in the United States alone! With the exception of bumblebees, nearly every native bee species in North America are solitary. They come in a variety of shapes in sizes, from enormous carpenter bees to the tiny Perdita genus.
Unlike European honeybees or bumblebees, solitary bees are stingless, do not have a queen, live in a colony, or make honey and wax. Instead, female solitary bees build tunnels to use as nests, where they lay their eggs in a series of chambers packed with a pollen and nectar “paste” for their young to munch on when they hatch. Since males will hatch and emerge from the nest first, the mamma bee will lay the females in the deepest portion of the nest and males in the front.
Around 70% of solitary bees are known as “mining bees” because they tunnel underground to build their nests. The other 30% of bees are cavity-nesting bees and will nest in anything from hollow or pithy stems to dead wood, or even abandoned snail shells!
Native bees are incredibly important pollinators. Unlike honeybees, which carry pollen in a “pollen pouch” on their legs, native bees are a bit less tidy, covering their whole bodies in pollen to carry it home. This messiness means they lose much more pollen as they go flower to flower and it actually makes them much more efficient pollinators. Some plants actually need native bees to be pollinated at all! Squash and gourds and any other members of the Cucurbita genus all rely on very specialized Squash Bees!
These bees are pretty neat! Here are some tips for Making your garden a native bee paradise!
1. Preserve and manage nesting sites
One of the most important things you can do to help protect your local native bees is to make sure that your yard is full of potential nesting sites. For mining bees, leave sunny patches of bare earth for nest sites and try to avoid laying down anything that could be a barrier (like landscaping cloth, gravel, or mulch) for bees accessing or emerging from potential existing nest sites. Also, leave unused areas of your garden with old wood, stones, or branches undisturbed as a cavity-nesting bee haven.
You can also install a bee hotel in your yard. Often made from wood or bamboo, these hotels are great for cavity-nesting bees like the Blue Orchard Mason Bee or Leafcutter Bee! You can build one yourself or buy them from reputable suppliers like our friends at The Bees Waggle.
2. Make your garden a bee buffet
To ensure that your garden is a Mecca for bees of all shapes and sizes, you need to make sure that there is a diversity of forage as well. Plant a mix of perennials and annuals so that you will have a mix of different blooms at the same time throughout the entire growing season. Also, try to have blocks of color in your garden so bees can easily find their way to the flowers they like over and over again, without having to hunt all around for them. Of course, native bees like native plants, so make sure to dedicate a portion (or all) of your garden to wildflowers. The Xerces Society has a variety of region-specific plant guides for pollinators that can get you started toward planting for native bees.
We did the hard work for you and made our Bee Rescue Wildflower Mix that will provide great season-long forage for both native and honeybees!
3. Lay off the pesticides
Pesticides can’t discriminate between the bad and good bugs. These insecticides pose a particular danger to mining bees since they are often applied to bare ground areas around structures that are ideal nesting sites for these bees. These insecticides also pose the risk of washing into other areas of the garden and contaminating nest sites.
Neonicotinoids, or neonics, are systematic pesticides that live inside the plants that they are trying to protect. These have been particularly harmful to our various pollinator species because they work their way up through the plant into the nectar and pollen that various pollinators are attracted to. Flowers with neonics applied are actually luring bees and other insect pollinators to their deaths!
One of the most important things your can do to protect native bees is to learn! Take some time to watch all the bees that visit and live in your garden. Visit the Xerces Society website and use their identification guides to try to figure out which bees you are seeing. Most importantly, SPREAD THE WORD! Educate your friends and family about all the bees that don’t make the nightly news and how vital they are to our future!
Check out these resources for more about pollinators and how you can help them
The Bee Lab – An incredible research lab at the University of Minnesota run by Dr. Marla Spivak, MacArthur Fellow and Distinguished McKnight Professor in Entomology
The Pollinator Partnership – Nonprofit dedicated to promoting the health of pollinators through conservation, education, and research.
https://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.png00Sam Dollhttps://bbbseed.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/BBB-Seed-logo-with-tagline-2023.pngSam Doll2018-06-22 12:18:192021-02-10 14:31:28Gardening for the Native Bees: 4 Easy Tips For Making Your Garden Solitary Bee Friendly
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