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36 High Mowing Organic Seed

Organic Gardens Today would like to thank

For the back page photo. You can view his remarkable photos on his Facebook page by typing “Ken Owen Wildlife Photography” in the search box or visit his website

The Grandiflora Hydrangea, Hydrangea paniculata, is a common American garden plant and highly valued for its vigor and bloom dependability, especially in late Summer / early Fall. Organic Gardens Today is a publication dedicated to gardeners who strive to garden the organic way. Articles are property of their respective authors. Views expressed in the articles are not necessarily those of the Editor or magazine. Please contact the writers directly for reprint permission.

Organic Gardens Today © David Daehnke 2013


From The Editor Welcome to the Fall edition of Organic Gardens Today Fall is the time of year when we begin to prepare for the long cold winter months ahead. Getting your gardens and lawns ready for winter also means preparing for next springs’ blooms and dreams. Putting in the extra effort at this time will certainly guarantee success for the next growing season. Most people put their gardens to “bed” by cleaning up the leaves, removing expired plants, and that’s about it. Instead of thinking short term, think long term. Maybe your garden needs to have the pH adjusted. Now is the time to lime so the lime can adjust the pH for next spring. Or your soil isn’t teaming with “the good stuff” - microbes and beneficial organisms that are plentiful from a top dressing of compost. When planting spring bulbs, before you drop them in the hole, sprinkle a little bone meal to help the bulbs become established before the winter arrives, and I’m sure you will see the difference in the size and health of the blooms. The other item you can address now is when you clean your gardens of expired annuals and dormant perennials, note any bare spots or holes in your garden that could use some attention. Write all of these areas into a notebook or garden journal taking notes of growing conditions such as sun and moisture, and next spring you can take this notebook with you to your garden center and make intelligent choices for your garden. We as gardeners are “foolish” when it comes to plants. Think about how garden centers greet you when you arrive: Everything that is in bloom is right when you walk in. The big blooms immediately pull at our gardening hearts and we end up buying three or four before we know where we are going to plant them. When we have our notebook with us, we can see what types of plants we need for a certain location and buy intelligently. Even worse is now many garden centers begin their end of season sales trying to move plant material off of their lot. They do not want to hold a lot of plant material that may not make it to next spring, so they sell it for what they paid for the items to break even and not lose any money. I’m not saying not to buy, but when you know what you need and the conditions for it to grow, your money spent will go farther AND the plants will survive and flourish better. Some of this may seem like a lot of work, but remember planning for your garden will only provide proven results, less wasted dollars and less problems in the years to come. with your If you like what we have accomplished with Organic Gardens Today, please family, friends, coworkers and fellow gardeners. We rely on word of mouth to spread the word about the magazine, and I thank you in advance for sharing us. If you go to our website, and you can click the “Share” button to share the website with your friends on any social media platform.

David Daehnke, Editor



MEET OUR WRITERS DAVID DAEHNKE, THE GARDENING GURU, EDITOR David is a seasoned gardener and lecturer, helping both the novice and experienced gardener. His fun and informative lectures are widely requested throughout the Northeast. Over the past 12 years, David has successfully managed three public gardens as Executive Director, but his true love is communicating proper gardening practices and creating gardens of beauty. He received his B.S. Degree in 1984 in Ornamental Horticulture at Delaware Valley College. David is widely known from his radio show “The Gardening Guru” on WGHT 1500 AM. He is a horticultural consultant on his Internet Web page, AL BENNER Married to Deena Seligsohn Benner. Twin boys - Owen and Coleman 6 years old. Too many interests, too little time... Grew up in New Hope Solebury, PA. Attended college at Delaware Valley College in Doylestown, PA - BS in Ornamental Horticulture. Received an MBA at LaSalle University. Owner of three web businesses:,,, A founding partner for a self-sustaining residential real estate project in Costa Rica - Founder of - national supplier of deer fencing systems - company sold in Dec. 2006. STEPHEN SCOTT Stephen is the co-owner with his wife Cindy of Terroir Seeds, an heirloom seed company that not only provides quality garden seeds but helps customers improve their gardens and skills with a wealth of information not found anywhere else. From his experiences in gardening, rangeland and habitat restoration Stephen has found that it’s not just about the seeds; the highest quality seeds are great, but there is room and need for more, much more. Stephen has discovered a cycle to gardening that is not being addressed much today- soil education and awareness of its role and importance; the important role of quality seed and how they interact with the soil; the critical importance of micro-organisms that feed us all that many are not aware of; how to prepare the food grown from the garden and how it can all tie in together to markedly increase our healthall from our home garden. Visit their website at MAUREEN FARMER Maureen Farmer is master gardener and the founder of The Farmer’s Garden website ( The Farmer's Garden is an online place to make in-person connections between gardeners across the US. Gardeners and want-to-be gardeners can search and post free classified ads to share excess homegrown produce, tools, or gardening space with people in their area. Food banks can post wanted classifieds for surplus food. She is an avid gardener and also a former Board member of Urban Oaks Organic Farm in Connecticut. 6

MEET OUR WRITERS KEN OWENS As a founder of Nature's Expressions, Ken Owen's design and illustration talents have been instrumental in their growth. With over 32 years of experience in the landscape industry, Ken enjoys taking on unique challenges, and turning them into success stories. His favorite type of project is multi-level outdoor living spaces. His B.S. degree in ornamental horticulture from Delaware Valley College helps him choose the perfect planting for every type of soil, climate and maintenance condition. His love of the outdoors and his passion for nature photography help him notice beauty in every landscape. Visit his website at LORRAINE FOLEY Lorraine Foley ( is a gardener and garden writer with many years experience working with organic methods. She has a degree in horticulture and a . This award explores the Masters in conservation value of habitats and ecosystems. Lorraine specializes in designing and creating gardens that are wildlife friendly as well as being simply beautiful. Her passion for herbaceous borders is based on experience and a deep love of plants. Her garden is designed with an eclectic mix of ornamental species of trees as well as dense herbaceous borders that’s attractive to pollinating insects. She grows fruit and vegetables for her family using only natural methods. For more information on wild life friendly gardening, visit

Are you a gardening ‘expert’ that would like to write for us and help share the organic principles the magazine conveys? Whether you have a gardening degree from a college or you are “dirt” educated, send me an e-mail with the subject and article you want to cover. I will review and see if we can use it in the next issue. Please remember that the magazine will be online on or about the first day of the new season, so please address your article for the upcoming season and make sure it is sent at least two weeks before the publication date for formatting.

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can become accustomed to the house conditions before Winter sets in. * Wisteria vines that have refused to bloom may be root-pruned at this season. This may not prove to be successful on every plant, but it is worth a try. * Daffodils should be planted in September if possible. They need to develop a good root system before the Winter sets in. * Tulips need not be planted for several weeks, but it is wise to place your orders now for the bulbs before they are out of stock. * Crocuses, snowdrops, chionodoxas, scillas and other small bulbs should be planted as early as possible. * Hyacinths and daffodils to be forced for Winter color should be potted and plunged into a cellar or trench for root making.

* This is also a good time to set out plants of the Christmas Rose, in a partially shade area. * If radishes are started in a cold frame at this time, they will be ready to eat before snow comes. * Many ornamental trees may be planted successfully in the Fall, with the exception of magnolias and tulip trees. Larches and other trees that start their growth early in the Spring should always be set out in the Fall. Fall is also the best time to plant lilacs. * Don’t forget that newly planted trees need an abundance of water, especially heading into the Winter. This applies to evergreens as well as deciduous trees.

* Reseed bare spots in your lawn as soon as possible in * Strawflowers or everlastings should be picked just as September so the will be established before the Winter the bud begins to open, tied loosely in bunches, and per- sets in. mitted to hang head down for several weeks while they * Ornamental figures in the garden can be cleaned of dry. lichens by washing them with soap and water and a * Plant a tree peony for a change. The best time to set brush. Make sure to thoroughly rinse the statue afterwards. them out is during the next few weeks. Bone meal is a good fertilizer for them. Remember to give them a little bit of cover for the Winter. * Gourds for Winter decoration should be picked before the first frost. The stem should be cut two inches above the fruit which then can be brought in the house to dry. * Bleeding heart can be safely divided in the Fall. * Divide and plant peonies this month so they will have time to become established before the first frost. Again, a handful of bone meal is just what the plant ordered. * The herbaceous border can be remade at this time of year, with the exception of the Fall flowering perennials. Make sure you add organic matter to the hole before replanting. * Purchase ferns and other house plants now so they


* Marigolds, calendulas, and nasturtiums may be dug up and planted in pots and brought inside for indoor blooming. * Take in houseplants promptly, repotting them if needed in a good compost mix. Move them in stages as not to stress them during the transition. * Give evergreens, rhododendrons and newly set out perennials a thorough soaking of water, but do not water newly planted bulbs. * Amaryllis plants that have been growing outside all Summer should be allowed to dry out (their dormancy period) then placed in a dark place until the new growth starts.

Home Grown Gardening Tips (continued) * Tulip planting may be started as soon as the bulbs arrive, although mid-October is early enough. * Bulbs planted this month should be mulched lightly, but not until after the ground freezes. * All roots and bulbs that need Winter storage, such as dahlias, tuberous rooted begonias, caladiums, cannas and gladioli, need to be taken in when the frost has cut the tops down. * When they gourds have dried, they should be washed and then may be painted, waxed or decorated to suit your needs. * For early Spring blooms in the garden or rock garThe yelden, plant Winter aconite, low buttercup-like blossoms will open two weeks ahead of crocuses. * Warm season ornamental grasses are in full bloom at this time of year. Note which ones you like now for Spring planting.

* After the hardy chrysanthemums are through flowering, most gardeners cut them back to within a few inches of the ground, but you can also leave them standing for winter interest. * Plant paper white narcissi about November 15 for bloom on Christmas Day. If there is not much sunshine in their growing location, they will bloom later. * You can put a little covering on the perennial beds if the ground freezes hard. If the ground is not frozen, wait until December. * Clean away all dead foliage from around the rose bushes and hill the soil around tender types such as hybrid teas and polyanthas. * Hyacinths to be forced should be potted by the end of November. Be sure that the soil is well soaked before they go into the cellar; otherwise the roots will not start to grow. An occasional watering may be needed, so keep a watchful eye on them.

* Clean all foliage from around peonies and delphini* Cull apples and wormy fruits that are lying under the ums where disease has been present to help prevent the trees. Dispose of these in your trash, not your compost, disease from reoccurring next year. to get rid of insects and diseases next year. * Garden ferns are readily divided and transplanted at * All trees and shrubs should receive plenty of moisture this time of year. before the ground freezes. * Lift tender summer perennials from the garden and * Make sure to start your own compost pile this season. store in peat moss in the cellar. Don’t waste the leaves, recycle them into compost! * For a succession of tulip blooms next spring, you can plant the bulbs at different levels in the soil. * Finish planting tulips, at least in the northern part of the country. * All classes of rose bushes can be set out in the next few weeks. Plant them with the “knuckle” an inch or two below the ground. Protect the roots from drying before planting, and water well once they are planted. * Work a trowel full of bone meal around old rose bushes before they are covered for the winter.

* The flavor of parsnips is improved by letting the roots stay in the ground until spring. * A surface application of composted cow manure around rhubarb will help keep older plants producing. * The vegetable garden should be turned over in the fall, especially before a cold night, to freeze any hibernating insects. * The strawberry bed should be covered with straw, pine needles, or peat moss once the ground has frozen.


Home Grown Gardening Tips (continued) * Raspberry plantings will also benefit from an application of composted cow manure at this time.

* Remember that evergreens will still lose moisture during the winter months from those evergreen leaves. An application of an anti-desiccant will help slow this down.

* Clean up all diseased and insect infested foliage and fruit from the garden to prevent further spread next year.

* Do not allow your lawn to go into winter with too much top growth. Two inches is plenty; more can facilitate such diseases as pink and gray snow mold (Fusari* There is still time to move and set out deciduous trees um nivale and Typhula incarnata). and shrubs, but it is too late for evergreens. * Get cold frames ready now so they can be started first * On warm days, give another thorough soaking to rho- thing in spring. dodendrons and newly set evergreens.

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The Saudi Arabian food chain has been widely contaminated with GM ingredients, according to a new study. The findings include controversial StarLink maize banned for human consumption in the US over ten years ago. The study published in the journal Applied Biochemistry and Biotechnology earlier this month found that genetically modified StarLink maize, allowed for domestic animal feed only in the US, has been contaminating Saudi Arabian products. StarLink is a trade mark for a type of GM maize manufactured by Aventis Crop Science at the time when it was going through the American apparatus. Later it was bought by Bayer. Back in 1998 the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the maize for domestic animal feed only, so the company manufacturing StarLink decided not to apply for separate approval for human and animal consumption. Nevertheless, residues of StarLink maize were detected in taco shells in September 2000, indicating that it had entered the human food chain. Following the findings all genetically modified food was recalled causing widespread disruption to the corn markets in 2000 and 2001. Aventis then withdrew its registration for StarLink maize varieties in October 2000 and promised it would no longer be produced. Despite these assurances, aid sent by the UN World Food Program and the US to a number of Central American nations was found to be highly contaminated with StarLink corn. 80% of the 50 samples tested came back positive for StarLink maize and Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador were all compelled to refuse the aid, according to the journal Green Med. For more information, click this link:

Did you know that indoor air is generally more polluted than outdoor air? That’s right. Indoor air has a higher concentration of gases and particulates, due to inadequate ventilation and a variety of pollution sources inside the home like cleaning products and pressed wood furniture. Since people typically spend at least 80% of their time indoors, this is being recognized as a serious threat to people’s health. The best way to combat indoor air pollution is to open windows and doors when possible and to minimize products that emit toxic pollutants. Another way is to bring nature inside for some help. Besides being beautiful and relaxing, houseplants are effective at removing ozone and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which make up a large portion of indoor air pollution. . Removes formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene. Native to the rainforests of central and south American, this plant needs a shady spot. . Removes formaldehyde. A very tough vine that grows to massive proportions in its native habitat. In the home it prefers bright, indirect light and moist soil. . Removes formaldehyde. This pretty vine is a bit more difficult to grow, preferring cool, moist and humid conditions which are not typical of a home. . Removes benzene and formaldehyde. Can produce colorful flowers when placed in direct sunlight. . Removes benzene and trichloroethylene. Like the chrysanthemum, it needs direct sunlight to produce its pretty flowers. . Removes formaldehyde. A striking, low-maintenance plants that thrives in low light and more humid conditions. Read more at



● Broccoli ● Brussels sprouts ● Cabbage ● Collards ● Kale ● Mustard greens ● Parsley ● Radish ● Spinach ● Turnip ● Leeks Just because summer is over, you don't have to stop gardening. Plant the following vegetables toward the end of summer or in early autumn, depending on the number of days from seed to harvest. Frost hardy really means frost tolerant. These vegetables will be fine after a frost, but may not necessarily withstand a hard freeze.

● Peas

Semi-hardy vegetables can withstand light frosts (29 to 32 degrees F) late into fall and through winter in milder climates. ● Beets ● Carrot ● Cauliflower ● Celery ● Bok Choy ● Endive ● Arugula ● Rutabaga ● Swiss chard

As the temperature gets cooler, frost hardy vegetables to convert starches to sugars. This increase in sugar causes ● vegetables to taste sweeter, ● greater resistance to frost. Sugar is a really small molecule that permeates the water in plant cells and keeps it from forming crystals when temperatures drop.

● Lettuce Temperature is not the only factor affecting plants during a frost event. The further plants or their parts are ● Radicchio above the ground, the more likely they are to be damaged by frost. The ground is often still warm in early fall and will radiate some warmth toward plants that are close to the ground. Humidity may also help protect Hardy vegetables tolerate hard frosts (25 to 28 degrees plants from frost. Humid air holds more heat and reF). The hardiest are kale, spinach, and collards. These duces the drying effects of frost. Air movement also has greens may survive temperatures in the low 20s and an influence on frost damage. When wind blows during high teens. They taste best when they've matured in cool cold nights, it sweeps away any warm air trapped near weather. structures or the ground, eliminating or lowering their ● Mache


leaving them in the ground until you're ready to eat them.

insulating capabilities.

Some plants of the same species will survive and other may not depending on the micro-climates in your garden. For example, a wall may protect them from damaging wind or may continue to radiate heat towards them after sunset. You may also try protecting tender plants from light frosts with row covers or blankets. Mulch beets, carrots, leeks, onions, radishes, and parsnips for harvest later in the fall, but before the ground freezes. Light frost makes leafy greens and root vegetables sweeter, so it's worth


We don’t turn our compost, partly from being busy and not wanting to invest in machinery or equipment, also partly from research, reading and talking with those who have learned how to create some incredibly rich, Having been gardening for 15 years and composting for earthy compost that looks like highly fertile soil. Most almost as long, we quickly realized that with our climate compost tumblers are too small for our needs and a and native soils, improving the soil’s health and quality tractor or turning equipment is an expensive purchase were one of the most important things we could do to for the occasional use. help our garden. We are located in North-central Arizona, which is a semi-arid high grassland environment. Our compost piles will age for at least a year before Historically there would be 18 – 20 inches of moisture being added to the garden. We have learned that the per year, but we have been lucky to see 10 – 12 inches slow aging is more beneficial to the decomposition in a good year over the past 20 years. There is almost process as well as not losing nearly as much nitrogen to always a south-westerly breeze which pulls moisture off-gassing as happens with the hot and fast methods. from any unprotected ground. The soils are really varied Another benefit is the decomposition is much more in structure with many different types in close proximity thorough, destroying weed seeds, pathogens and any to each other. It is not uncommon to have a good prounwanted chemicals much better in a slower compostductive soil with a caliche or high sandy soil within 20 – ing setup. In our climate, we need to water our compost 50 feet. Our garden is a good sandy loam, with decomoccasionally to keep it going. This is easy to gauge, as posed granite about 30 feet to the east and a heavy clay the rich earthy smell goes away when the moisture level caliche soil 20 feet to the west. drops. We water about every 2 weeks on average during warmer weather. Good, aged compost has helped us build the health and fertility of our soil and overcome many of the challenges In our research and education of how to make great we face in our garden. It improves the soil structure, compost, we consistently saw traditional, proven methbrings the micro nutrients and biological life to the soil, ods from different countries, climates and approaches along with earthworms and larger soil dwellers. Mulchthat worked. Many of them were very similar, adjusted ing the compost helps to retain needed moisture and to adapt to the particular environments of where they brings the soil moisture level from about 2 inches down were used. The French intensive method used 3 feet of to the surface of the soil/mulch interface. We use a fresh horse manure and straw to heat the cold frames combination of straw and wood chips for our mulch. over the winter in Paris, then were pulled out and added to the compost piles to finish decomposing. In the fall the aged compost was added back to the growing beds for the upcoming winter. The Russian dacha gardening tradition shows how continuous composting and mulching with wood chips will improve the soil, overcoming both heavy winters in the north and drought conditions in the south. Another thing that we found is that European traditions and older American traditions applied compost thickly, about 3 – 4 inches at a minimum, while modern gardening applies it rather thinly - like expensive imported marmalade on toast – and then wonder why they don’t get the results they expect. There is much we have learned that we have applied to our approach in creating great compost, along with observations and education we have sought out along the way. We are happy to share some of our experiences and knowledge about compost.

Another thing that we found is that European traditions and older American traditions applied compost thickly, about 3 – 4 inches at a minimum, while modern gardening applies it rather thinly - like expensive imported marmalade on toast – and then wonder why they don’t


get the results they expect. After the year of aging and decomposing, our compost looks and smells like rich dark soil. This is especially pleasing to see in comparison to our pale tan native soils! Once we apply it to the garden beds, we mulch it with several inches of straw, watered well to keep it in place. Recently we have begun experimenting with wood chips as mulch, with good results. The wood chips help retain and gain moisture better than the straw, with the added benefit of attracting earthworms faster. The wood chips act like a layer of permeable insulation, attracting the cooler and moist early morning air that sheds its water when it meets the warmer temperature of the soil. This moisture travels into the soil and is retained. It is surprising to see and feel how moist the soil is under 2 – 3 inches of wood chip mulch when there has been no rainfall or drip irrigation at all! Our approach to making the best compost possible is to combine or “stack” techniques, similar to the bio-tech industry, but it is much more effective with no worries about future side-effects! We will walk you through the different techniques we use and why we use them.

We have used straw bales as the container for our compost system for years, but have recently started using shipping pallets to more effectively utilize the composting area. The pallets are almost 3 times as tall as the straw bales and will give more compost in the same footprint. Wood chips are put down first, about 3 – 4 inches thick. These help retain moisture at the bottom of the pile before it seeps into the soil, as well as helping to attract earthworms and adding nutrients as they break down. We will scatter wood chips throughout the pile as we add horse manure. The nitrogen of the manure helps in the breakdown of the lignin in the wood chips, creating richer and more fertile compost.


Our two horses provide the bulk of the manure, along with the occasional load of cow manure. We are careful to get our cow manure from non-feedlot sources to avoid any contamination from antibiotics, glyphosate or industrial chemicals. This has supplied enough finished compost for our 14 thirty foot long raised bed garden that is our home and trial garden for our heirloom seed business. We apply compost twice a year, mid fall and early spring. Straw is used to mulch the top of the pile and provides aeration as more manure is added to the top. About 1 – 2 inches of straw is added across the top about every two feet of depth. This is continued as the pile grows in height. As the straw bales that make up other bins start to fall apart, they are added to the new piles. Milk is diluted 50/50 and sprayed on the pile to help feed the microorganisms and jump starts the decomposition process. The amino acids, proteins, enzymes and natural sugars that make milk a food for humans and animals are the same ingredients in nurturing healthy communities of microbes, fungi and beneficials in your compost and garden soil. Raw milk is the best, as it hasn’t been exposed to heat that alters the components in milk that provide a perfect food for the soil and plants, but any milk will work. Using milk on crops and soils is an ancient technique that has been lost to modern industrial agriculture. Molasses adds readily available sugars to the compost that will skyrocket the microbial activity, with the addition of needed mineral content. We use one cup of molasses to a gallon of water and spray onto the pile once it is about 1 – 2 feet tall.

Coffee grounds are added routinely as the pile builds to obtained in larger quantities directly from the manufachelp with moisture retention and buffer our alkaline turer. soils. Traditionally, coffee grounds were seen as an acidic addition but recent research shows that coffee grounds act more as a buffer, moderating either an acidic or alkaline pH toward a more neutral one. In arid regions coffee grounds can be added up to 25% by volume of the pile. They are a good nitrogen source to help keep the decomposition going as well as being a natural earthworm attractant! Sourcing the coffee grounds comes from local coffee houses, restaurants, Starbucks, etc.

Trace minerals are added such as Azomite or Elemite to increase the available mineral and trace elements that are often low in today’s feed. This helps the decomposition of the pile, is absorbed in the charcoal and carries over to help feed the garden soil. Once the compost pile is at the top of the bin, we cover it with a generous layer of straw and build a new bin. Then we pretty much ignore the active pile except for watering when it needs it. Every couple of months we Hardwood lump charcoal or Bio-Char is added as the check the pile to see how it is progressing, and see how pile grows to help the compost in many ways. The most much it has started to drop in height. Once the pile is obvious benefit is to add carbon to the soil. Charcoal finished it will have dropped about 1/4 to 1/3 of its has a lifetime benefit of several hundred years, as shown original height. by Brazilian university studies on the Amazonian “Terra Preta” sites in the rainforest. It must be hardwood lump This system has evolved over several years to the present charcoal and not briquettes, which are processed with one and has continually produced better and better chemical fire accelerators, sawdust and other industrial compost. This approach may sound like a lot of work, waste. We like to crush it to about the size of a grain of but with the system set up there is very little additional corn to increase its surface area and effectiveness. work after cleaning the horse pens. We usually get a full wheelbarrow of fresh manure every other day, and we Charcoal acts like a sponge for the first 6 months or so, rotate the addition of minerals, charcoal and wood chips absorbing minerals and nutrients from the surrounding on top of the wheelbarrow load which is then dumped soil or compost while it “charges” or “activates”. After onto the pile, putting the additions underneath the load. that it becomes an active beneficial component of the Once we have about 2 feet above the last straw layer, we soil, providing housing and food sources for the microadd a few inches of straw. The scent of the active pile is bial communities. Mycorrhizal Fungi will colonize charthat of a handful of rich fertile earth, so we gauge when coal and help to monitor the surrounding soil health, to water when we can’t “smell the earth” as we walk by. moving nutrients around as needed by plants. It was The additional time needed to add to the nutrients range previously thought that mycorrhizae would only colofrom the time it takes to add a couple of shovelfuls of nize the roots of plants, but it has been found that they wood chips or a scoop of Elemite to the wheelbarrow, to will also inhabit charcoal. This will help them live a couple of minutes to crush a few handfuls of charcoal. throughout a winter when little root life or activity is present. The charcoal is sourced in 40 pound bags from buying clubs such as Costco or Sam’s Club, and can be


No matter what your scale, from backyard home gardener to small acreage, these concepts can be scaled up or down to suit your particular needs and animals. Look to your neighborhood or community for feedstock and supplies for the compost pile. Most horse owners will be happy to give away their excess manure, as most do not compost it and it becomes a waste management issue. Some farms will have excess straw or broken bales that are not useful for them but would be excellent feed for your compost pile. Good composting - like much of good agriculture takes a certain amount of patience and observation, letting Mother Nature work her miracles on her schedule. Think about how nature decomposes and composts leaf litter in the forest or grasses in the pasture, they aren’t “done� in 30 to 60 days! Once the cycle is established, you will always have some great compost becoming available for the next feeding of your garden soil.


The sign is promoting our upcoming September 29th Farm Getaway that now includes a group bike ride along the Dyberry through 8,000 acres of state game lands the morning of the event. Camping on the farm for those attending the event is also welcome either the Saturday night before and/or the Sunday night following. One key element of the day will be a hands on training session that will demonstrate exactly how we built our earthen wood-fired oven. Farm pizza with our own ingredients is included. For additional information and to sign up, please visit: We would also appreciate you sending this on to anyone you think might be interested in joining us.

Well we've had some nice growth on our plants in the high tunnel greenhouse structure, but so far it is all green in color as our tomatoes have yet to ripen. Same goes for peppers and melons. Seems that the erratic weather this growing season has posed a challenge for some of our crops. Not our peaches however, as even after thinning them well earlier this summer we still had some large limbs snap and bend to the ground on our largest tree - nature's way of pruning we figure.

Dave continues his efforts to repair the solar power pump that was damaged during the flood, and replacement electric fence was recently ordered so that the sheep can be moved at some point to an upper pasture so the lower pasture that is on higher ground can recover from their browse.

Tyler and Katherine recently headed back to school for their final years at U. Kentucky and UVA. We were sorry to see them go, as the experience was a good fit all around for the farm and our apprentices. Prior to leaving, Katherine took some more photos of our last couple of camper workshops for Pine Forest Camp, and she completed a two sided promotional sign intended for hikers and bikers that frequently pass by our farm. Fallen farm wall stone has been getting collected and piled down near the house for the foundation of dual purpose structure that will store wood in fall and winter, and act as a maple syruping evaporator stand in early spring. The cabinets and work surface counters in the barn have been completed for the kitchen area and are awaiting some type of recycled counter top. Our heirloom sweet corn has done very well this year and the earliest ripening variety, "Ashworth" will soon be harvested - some will be sold, and some will be blanched, removed from the cob, and then frozen. We will be using our new vacuum sealer for freezing vegetables as they come in.


have the opportunity to grow our own, delicious and nutritious organic food - albeit in a flood plain where nothing comes easily. Until next time, enjoy what's left of summer!

Amongst and beneath the corn stalks are the two other siblings of the "three sisters" - squash and pole beans. The beans climb the stalks and "fix" nitrogen from the air back into the soil for the corn, and the winter squash fill in below, keeping the soil shaded, moist and free of most weeds. This planting method was utilized by native people in North America for thousands of years. Our sweet potatoes did very well as has our cover crop of sunflowers and buckwheat that was planted for us by Roger Hill. The staff has been making quite a few pickles from our cucumbers, and has also pulled onions to dry out for storage. The upper pasture has filled in nicely with clover, and a lot more firewood has been harvested and stowed away in the basement and under the overhang behind the barn. Clearing of autumn olive has been going on down along the Dyberry near the swim hole. This will allow for more favorable access to the stream, additional pasture/hay area and improve camping possibilities along the stream. It is a time of year when the fruits of our labor start to ripen and it is a time to realize how fortunate we are to


REVIEW: Paul Gautschi brings his views on soil building in a common sense manner, sprinkled with his religious views. Even if you are not religious, Paul’s views on creating a successful garden by feeding it the natural way cannot be denied. “All around us, everything is growing beautifully with no work,” he says. “We work hard to fail.” What Gautschi did was copy nature… topping the soil with organic cover and letting it break down underneath. No stripping the land, no tilling of the soil. “Exposed soil only happens where man has been,” Gautschi says. “The ground is a living organism, and vegetation is like the skin that protects it… Take the cover off, and the soil becomes vulnerable.”

Directed and Produced by: Dana Richardson & Sarah Zentz Soundtrack by: Tony & Jenn Hooper, Elijah Sussman, Brent Richardson DVD DETAILS Running Time: 103-minutes Bonus Features: ● Frequently Asked Questions w/ Paul Gautschi's Answers ● Paul demonstrates "How To Prune Your Fruit Trees" ● Paul Sharing the Importance of Seed Saving ● Meet the Filmmakers ● Trailer

Straw, grass clippings, leaves and manures are all examples of good ground-covering materials, but what Gautschi likes best is wood chips. And as everyone knows, wood chips are readily obtainable. Just call your local tree company or arborist and they will have a truckload at your doorstep by week’s end. Paul’s philosophy is very sound and I am sure that you will learn something that will benefit your garden. Mulching your garden will increase the beneficial organisms, will break down in time and feed your soil and will also help retain moisture during the hot summer months. When you watch the movie, just don’t be overly convinced that your garden will change into a highproducing vegetable factory overnight. It takes time for the wood chips to break down and enrich your soil. Remember that wood chips are brown, aka high carbon material, and for a quicker breakdown you will need to add a green, aka high nitrogen source such as grass clippings. This will quicken the process the first season and get your soil to a starting point. From a agrdening stand point is is a good watch to remind you how simple it is to garden successfully when you follow Mother Nature’s plan or as Paul puts it “God’s plan”.

After years of back-breaking toil in ground ravaged by the effects of man-made growing systems, Paul Gautschi has discovered a taste of what God intended for mankind in the garden of Eden. Some of the vital issues facing agriculture today include soil preparation, fertilization, irrigation, weed control, pest control, crop rotation, and PH issues. None of these issues exist in the unaltered state of nature or in Paul’s gardens and You can either purchase the DVD or watch the movie orchards. “Back to Eden” invites you to take a walk with for free at Paul as he teaches you sustainable organic growing methods that are capable of being implemented in diverse climates around the world.



Kate Newkirk displayed her corsages made from garlic bulbs and a mix of green culinary herbs, explaining that this was a good way to use smaller garlic bulbs. Move over orchids! by Jean English

Kate Newkirk used small garlic bulbs and fresh green culinary herbs to make corsages. The Exhibition Hall The 30th Common Ground Country Fair offered yet was loaded with gorgeous crafts and fascinating fruit another chance for old and new friends to gather and and vegetable varieties as well as some interesting growshare tricks of the gardening trade. No matter how ing techniques. Leave it to the Waldo Organic Growers many fairs the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) puts on, no shortage of exciting (a local MOFGA chapter) to come up with a seedling shelter made from a Pendaflex file drawer frame covered new information ever exists. with recycled sheer curtains from a thrift shop, held onAs gardeners Nikos Kavanya and Jack Kertesz talked to to the file frame by clothespins. These metal file frames should become more abundant for recycling in the garfairgoers about interesting plants and practices in the Common Ground vegetable garden, they were especially den as documents are increasingly stored electronically. excited that three vegetables -- varieties of kale, collards The covered frames can protect seedlings from sun, wind, frost and insects. and a chicory-endive cross -- had reseeded themselves and overwintered with no protection, emerging from the The Waldo Organic Growers showed how to protect snow this past spring. garden seedlings from sun, wind, frost and insects by For less hardy crops, fairgoers showed strong interest in covering a recycled Pendaflex file drawer frame with the season extension devices displayed in the gardens. A recycled sheer curtains from a thrift shop. Clothespins hold the curtain on the file frame. hoop house made from PVC conduit with wood supports ensured good growth of eggplant, peppers and tomatoes in the summer and could extend the harvest season for greens and carrots in the fall and spring. Wire frames or frames made from rebar (reinforcing concrete wire) can be bent over crops and covered with plastic to protect them from frost. Kertesz showed an even simpler, wooden A-frame that could cover a small bed of crops. Smaller hoops made from rebar and covered with plastic offered the quickest way to protect Swiss chard and other vegetables from cold weather. (Rebar is concrete reinforcing wire, a wire mesh with 6-inch-square openings. It’s easy to bend over rows of crops.)

CR Lawn of Fedco Seeds toured the vegetable tables in the Exhibition Hall with an engaged group of gardeners. One highlight was the ‘Schimmeig Striped Hollow’ open pollinated tomato, grown by MOFGA’s farmer in residence, Clayton Carter. Gardeners heard that this meaty variety makes good salsa and makes a beautiful presentation in a salad. Gardener extraordinaire Adam Tomash exhibited the beautiful pale purple and white streaked ‘Listada de Gandia’ eggplant -- his favorite eggplant for taste, available from the Seed Savers Exchange.

As the Common Ground Fair came to a close, one farmer was seen recycling decorative corn stalks by Kavanya had a tip for deterring deer: String a single line feeding them to a couple of appreciative, good-natured goats -- a fitting treat after their weekend of entertainof fishing filament from stake to stake so that it drapes ing and educating fairgoers. Everyone left the Fair satisslightly above a row of greens, beans or other vegetables. When deers' whiskers touch the filament, they’ll be fied. spooked and leave the garden. Walking through the Common Ground Farmers’ Market was a feast for anyone looking for new varieties or for new ways to use old varieties. ‘Batwing’ pumpkins, perfect for Halloween with their decorative, deep green and orange coloring, were featured at some booths.


Re-Wilding our Open Spaces By Lorraine Foley They are everywhere! It’s just a matter of looking. I mean wild flowers of course. Along our road verges and neglected spaces lies a tapestry of colour and texture. Each summer I pay to have our open spaces on the estate mowed weekly. The landscapers do a terrific job and even remove the cuttings so we are left with a plain of emerald green. This year, the open spaces are cut less frequently and the results are amazing. We have a wild flower meadow as a consequence of poor nitrogen levels and wild species of flowers and grasses. Species include red and white clover, mustards, poppies, speedwell and sheep sorrel.

Let’s look in detail at the relationship between flora and fauna. Red clover is a great food source for all bumblebee species. Sheep sorrel produces a tall spike of seeds which finches gorge on each autumn. Yorkshire Fog grass hosts many varieties of moths and butterfly eggs. Allowing grass to grow tall provides an important breeding site for insects that in turn become food for birds. This habitat is a reservoir for pests and their nemesis, namely predators. The complex relationship within grass often spills out into the garden, producing beneficial biological controls like ladybirds and hoverflies that reduce the need for pesticides.


are a treasure for wildlife. Wouldn’t it be Such great if some patches of open spaces were let run wild?

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I believe it was Confucius who said "Find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life." As a landscape designer and passionate wildlife photographer, I am blessed by the fact that each day I go into work, I get to do and share what I love. As a designer, my job is to really understand the client’s wants and needs so I can develop an appropriate plan for their site. Through the design process, one of the questions I always come to is whether or not they appreciate birds and wildlife viewing. To some, it is not important but to others, it is an important element of the design. I have found that clients that like birding tend to lean more towards a more natural design verses a formal, structured one. Obviously, a natural design is much easier to incorporate the crucial elements needed for attracting wildlife.

as host plants for the caterpillars and puddling areas where they can get the important mineral nutrients. It seems like common sense, but knowing the specifics and doing the research on the species you’re trying to attract will dramatically increase your successful viewing. As humans, there are necessities we need just to maintain life. Food, water and shelter are the basic of these. It’s the same in the animal world. They need a consistent source of food, water and shelter as well, in order to raise the next generation of their species. So now that we have identified the need, let’s look at these elements and talk briefly about how they can be incorporated into the design.

Obviously food and water are essential. So how do we attract birds? Provide food and water! Think of your yard as a fly-in restaurant. The better the servings, the better the viewing. If your neighbor has all the great birds in their yard, well I guess they must have a better menu! Birds will go to where their needs are met without a lot of effort (sound familiar?) Provide different types of food. Seeds for the seed-eaters (feeders, perennial flowers), Nectar for the hummingbirds (feeders, annual flowers), and Berries for the non-seed eating birds such as Robins, Mockingbirds and Cedar Waxwings (trees, shrubs).

Now, I will be focusing primarily on birding but the elements of creating a backyard habitat will be appropriate for all forms of wildlife. The more specific the design, the more specific the wildlife you will attract. For instance, if you want to attract butterflies, then plant flowers and shrubs that butterflies prefer as well


Water is critical to life as we all know. I have found that if you could do only one thing to your yard to attract birds, adding a source of fresh water would be best way to increase activity. It could be as simple as a bird bath, a small fountain or garden pond. The sound of water is a powerful attractant. By keeping water moving it will keep it from stagnating (no mosquitos),

seeing your results, a backyard that is full of movement, sounds and life!

freezing in the winter, when birds have a hard time finding fresh water, as well as broadcasting like an ice cream truck throughout the neighborhood. Lastly, cover and a place to raise the young are critical to birds just as our homes are critical to us. By providing nesting areas and places of protection from predators and weather (dense evergreens, brush piles, dead tree branches), you will be developing the desirable neighborhood the birds are looking to move in to. Nesting boxes and bird house can be specific to the type of bird you want to attract provided they’re normally found in your area. I am not sure the “build it and they will come” statement necessarily applies here. You may have a hard time trying to attract Bluebirds in an urban area where they are not typically found just because you put a Bluebird house out. Regardless, you don’t have to be a biologist to start attracting birds. Just get started with the basics mentioned here! You’ll figure it over time. You’ll see what works and what doesn’t. Half the fun is figuring out the process, the other half is




By David Daehnke Following both World War I and II, veterans' hospitals made increased use of gardening as therapy in the treatment and reeducation of disabled soldiers. Volunteers from garden clubs brought the delights and benefits of their hobby to thousands of men recovering from battle.

come up next week, or what will they plant next year. Looking ahead to the future is extremely important in fostering a healthy, positive, mental state especially in seniors.

I personally believe that gardening as therapy has a public gardens place in all health care facilities throughout the United States. Given the opportunity, disabled people find the activity of working with plants a joyful experience. At Van Vleck House and Gardens in Montclair, New Jersey, we had a developmentally disToday in the US and Canada hundreds of hospitals abled high school student named Michael coming on a and public gardens work with plants to provide a powweekly basis for a year, and you could see what an imerful form of therapy for patients with emotional and pact this made, not only for Michael, but also the staff physical disabilities. Horticultural therapists in North and myself. Michael came to Van Vleck House and America work in a wide range of settings, from nursing Gardens (where I was Executive Director) and had a homes to prisons, schools to hospitals, even public smile from ear to ear that was very contagious. He gardens. They try to ease mental and physical distress would count down the days until he returned because he and provide creative, recreational and vocational activi- could see the end result of his hard work. Just because ties for people who often have very few such outlets. he had physical limitations, that did not stop what was Gardening with disabled individuals can show surprising in his heart, which is his love of plants and the outdoors. results both in improving motor skills and in reducing stress. Twenty minutes of watering and tending plants Another example I can recount for you is when I was produces visible calm. asked to come to a developmentally disabled school for children to create a garden for them so that they would be able to see nature work and raise a few vegetables and flowers for their classroom. We were fortunate enough to have the assistance of students from their local high school for the day, and to be quite honest, whenever I work with high school students, I know that our future is in good hands. These young adults not only assisted in the hard work of creating the garden, but also became friends with the students, laughing and As a therapy, gardening is unique in that a living me- smiling with them. There was an true connection with these disabled students, and I couldn’t have been prouddium - plants - are used. Disabled people get a handson connection with the natural environment and life cy- er seeing this come to fruition. All of the students from cle. By caring for plants individuals work with a product the high school told their teacher they wanted to come back on a regular basis to help weed with their new firmly anchored in reality. Participants realize that they have an effect on something else that is living. Changes friends. in behavior, emotional expression and reliability have Gardening is a tremendous hobby. It relaxes you occurred. Some disabled gardeners feel a reversal of when you are mad, cheers you up when you are sad. A dependency when they see that they can function independently, and actually garden for themselves. This can good friend of my calls gardening “dirt therapy”, since it can help you forget a tough day at work and any other bring about a tremendous improvement in feelings of problems you may be experiencing. This is true for disself esteem. abled individuals. Getting outside, doing something with their own hands without assistance is very uplifting By introducing horticulture to disabled individuals a and builds the “Can Do” spirit within these individuals. new interesting hobby takes root in their lives. Group It also helps you to understand that having the biggest gardening activities promote social interaction. Changes car or house isn’t what life is all about. in outlook take place as participants wonder what will


Helping out your friends, neighbors and those in need is the single most important thing you can do. If you would like more information about horticultural therapy and how you can get involved, please visit their web site Share the joy of gardening with those around you, especially the physically challenged. Somewhere at sometime someone shared the joy of gardening with you. Now it is your turn. Trust me; your rewards will be greater than theirs.

David Daehnke is widely known as “The Gardening Guru� and can be heard on WGHT 1500 AM ( David is also available for lectures. Please visit his web site, for more useful organic gardening information.


Send Us Your Photos!

Send us your photos of your garden, prized plants, fruits and vegetables! We would love to showcase your hard work!

There is only ONE Gardening Guru, David Daehnke! David has over 30 years of experience in the horticulture field, from running his own landscaping business, Executive Director of three botanical gardens, and having his own radio show for 18 years. He wants you to be the best gardener you can, teaching simple, smart, organic gardening practices which are safe to you, your family, your pets and OUR environment. David is a well-renowned speaker, lecturing to garden clubs, civic organizations and businesses with a fun and informative style. To schedule David for your next event or visit to learn more about safe organic gardening practices, visit his web site at:



OGT Magazine Fall 2013  

Learn about Frost Hardy Vegetables, Composting, For The Birds, Re-Wilding our Open Spaces and much more

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