Can you really fail at gardening?

>> Sunday, March 23, 2008

An old adage I recently remembered about gardening is: first year sleeps, second year creeps & third year leaps.

As my perennial garden awakens from its first year sleep, anticipation takes center stage. Did I protect it well enough from the many mood swings of our north-central Utah winter?

April 20, 2007 is considered the birth date for my perennial garden, so according to this dictum this garden is about to wake up and begin crawling. Sort of anti-climatic since I want so much to see what it will look like in full bloom.

Several plants are beginning to show some sign of survival such as this Chrysanthemum Shasta Daisy Alaska.

And these Crocus.

Some, like this Dianthus Agatha, never lost their foliage, much to my surprise.

And still others, like this Nepeta Walker's Low, are a little slower to show any signs of life at all.

Having almost all of my experience in vegetables, and therefore starting each year anew from seeds, it never ceases to amaze me how roots can sit just below the soil’s surface mere inches from the frozen snow above and retain the energy necessary to continue their life cycle.

You see, I am no stranger to loss when it comes to growing flowers and herbs. And the memory of those disappointments won’t go away. Two one-year-old Butterfly Bushes that couldn’t withstand my overzealous trimming one spring, this really broke my heart. Two Clematis, one Niobe and one Hania, that couldn’t take the overly hot location I placed them in. One Hydrangea Parzifal, a bigleaf type having very large mophead blooms with what I expected to be a deeper shade of blue due to our alkaline soil. It was planted in a location that turned out to be a bit too sunny and dry. Borage, Spirea, Alyssum, Armeria, Astilbe, Basil, Echinacea, Heuchera, Hosta, Impatiens and Viburnum. All cut down in their prime due to my misunderstanding of what they could tolerate.

So if by loosing I am supposed to learn, then I must have learned a lot. The answer to whether or not these lessons will take hold will not be fully known until the end of this year. More anticipation.

I am not discouraged however, for there will be many opportunities to succeed or fail again. And again.

The thought occurred to me that nature was trying to teach me about what will grow here. I only need pay attention and try not to force it. Nature always wins in the end and the most beautiful lesson of all is that even when I fail it becomes a lesson.


Can I rent your yard?

>> Saturday, March 15, 2008

I can pay you in produce.

Wally Satzewich and Gail Vandersteen of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan started renting their neighbors yards when they realized that small-scale urban crops fetched a far higher profit than did the large-scale vegetable growing operation they had on a 20-acre farm north of the city. Most people don’t use their yards to their fullest potential and Wally and Gail are taking advantage of this unused ‘farmland’ themselves.

Vandersteen says, “They think it’s too much work, but the truth is, this is much less work than mechanized, large-scale farming. We used to have a tractor to hill potatoes and cultivate, but we find it’s more efficient to do things by hand.” You may be asking yourself how can this be more profitable?

Their savings over large-scale farming comes in operation costs. The city provides irrigation, there is always plenty of compost around, the urban setting repels pests, and the market is not far away. On such small plots as are found in urban lots, typically ¼ to ½ an acre, all the harvesting can be done by hand. And because the plots are usually unused anyway, rental costs are minimal. Many people volunteer their backyards in exchange for fresh produce and those who want money, charge very little.

What a wonderful way to help the environment too. More plants will of course attract more insect and wildlife. The added value of a ready-made garden plot could increase your property value. Maybe if enough people see what can be grown in their own yards they will be more inclined to carry on for themselves. This leads to less transportation of food to market.

Wally and Gail sold the 20-acre farm and now Wally operates Wally’s Urban Market Garden which is a multi-locational sub-acre urban farm. It is dispersed over 25 residential backyard garden plots in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, that are rented from homeowners. The sites range in size from 500 sq. ft. to 3000 sq. ft., and the growing area totals a half acre. The produce is sold at The Saskatoon Farmers Market.

Wally and Gail created a company called SPIN, Small Plot Intensive based on minimal mechanization an maximum fiscal discipline and planning. Their concept inspired Philadelphia’s Somerton Tanks Farm.

This concept is catching on because the idea is so simple that it can be done everywhere. It’s true, gardeners can be made as well as born.


Is Gray water okay for plants?

>> Friday, March 14, 2008

The News & Observer of North Carolina reports that since the drought has gone on for so long now, it is okay to use gray water to water your pansies and grass. The leftover water from washing your dishes and your car is okay to re-use. However, piping water from your bathtub or shower is still against the law and considered a health risk.

They used to claim that re-using any gray water was illegal and a threat to public safety. But when you can’t get it naturally, then you have to adapt to new ways.

"If water's clean enough to bathe your child in or wash your dishes in, it should be clean enough to put on your flowers," said Bill Ross, secretary of the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Water has been on the minds of our southeastern friends a lot since last years drought turned into this years drought and now they have to get serious about conservation efforts.

The Southeast's worst drought in more than a century is forcing parched states and communities into crisis measures to conserve water and fight for more. The entire region is accustomed to plentiful rain from tropical storms and hurricanes but they are about to enter their second straight year of drought.

Small towns in North Carolina have already had to suffer from shuttered car washes and outdoor watering is completely banned in Atlanta. Georgia's top water official, environmental Commissioner Carol Couch, says industrial and commercial water users very likely will have to make "across-the-board reductions" next.

Maybe they can follow North Carolina’s example.

Now is a good time to learn about the alternative substances to replace the more toxic cleaners and chemicals around the house. Items such as vinegar, baking soda, borax, and ammonia.

Those of us who camp have known about environmentally friendly soaps for years, so now would be a good time to break it out of your backpacks and camping supplies and throw out your other not so friendly soaps.

Here’s a site that offers some examples of ways to stay clean and green with environmentally friendly soaps.

Oh, and if I were you I'd keep that gray water away from my vegetables and fruits.


Next Winter, I’m growing color

>> Thursday, March 13, 2008

Color in winter. Sounds like a nice change to the usual white, brown, black, and grey. After seeing this all winter I’m planning on adding some plants that actually produce color in the snow.

One of my favorite flowers is Iris, so naturally, I thought I would start here. After consulting the mother of all search engines, Google, I find that Iris reticulata is the earliest of all Iris, blooming in January in some gardens. Great, might be what I’m looking for.

It’s a beautiful blue, shorter than all the other Iris at 5”-6” tall, but that’s okay as long as its colorful, and it blooms it winter. But does it actually bloom in the snow? Despite what some reports say, I only found this one photo of it in snow. I searched through ten pages of photos on Flickr to find this one, thanks to Green Destiny. I am not told what zone the plant was grown in or when it bloomed but since there is snow there is hope that I can have some color in my part of the world.

This Iris goes by several names: Dwarf Wild Iris, Rockgarden Iris, and Netted Iris.

According to Paghat’s Garden, “Iris reticulata blooms late winter or early spring, in shades of blue & purple. In some gardens they bloom as early as January, but for us, this wild natural form begins flowering at the start of the second week of February & is done by mid-March”. Paghat, for those of you who don’t know, is Paghat the Ratgirl of Puget Sound in “old Charlestown” overlooking Sinclair Inlet Washington State. Paghat’s garden is USDA zone 8 and I am USDA zone 5 or 6 (I still haven’t gotten a definitive answer). I’m not sure how useful this information will be for me, so I think I will keep searching.

Here’s another dwarf Iris, Iris danfordiae. Wouldn’t this bright canary yellow go great with a bunch of deep blue Crocus? One caution I learned from the plant expert is that if left in the ground the bulbs will break up into tiny bulblets which may not bloom the next year. Disappointing. I’ll probably shy away from these unless I want to dig them up each year. Doesn’t sound very “low maintenance” to me. And I’m definitely into low maintenance. I found this beauty at van Bourgondien.

I know that there are several bulbs that will come up in the snow, such as snowdrop, glory of the snow, winter aconite and crocus, but these come up as winters snow is leaving us and I want to try some plants instead of bulbs.

Hellebore is one of the most popular perennial winter flowers and depending on the variety, can bloom anytime from December through March, or later. The flowers are various shades of green or cream to bright white or rose-pink. Not much of the color I’m looking for. I chose this photo because it looks more like its namesake ‘Christmas Rose’ and actually is colorful. These grow 18”-24” tall so they stand right up and broadcast their color very well. But, no pictures of Hellebores actually in the snow.

Pansies are early bloomers. Usually purple, blue, yellow, white and various shades and mixtures of any or all these colors. No photos of pansies in snow either. I find articles saying they grow in winter, but where is the proof? ‘Universal’ pansies were bred to flower in the short days of winter; they are tolerant of cold, wet and windy weather and they have the ability to stay compact and not stretch and flop over when mild weather eventually arrives. ‘Icicle Pansies’ were developed for northern and Canadian gardeners, bloom until winter's deep freeze, but don't die. They'll lie dormant until very early spring, when they bloom again! (Whisper: where are the photos of pansies in snow?)

Finally, a flower in the snow! A Primrose! I never would have guessed that primroses bloom this early. This photo was taken by lorelei and posted on the weather site I start every day off with, Wunderground. Primroses are nice looking plants with their thick almost leather-like leaves more like a succulent or cactus without the thorns. They are usually blue but can be found in yellow, too.

There are other flowering plants claiming to bring color to the winter garden, but I’m beginning to think there aren’t any flowers that actually grow in the snow. Maybe gardeners, in their haste to get away from the dreariness of winter, are stretching it a bit when they say we can have color in winter. We have plants that herald the arrival of spring by popping up as the snow recedes, but I don’t find many that grow in the snow.

Plants like lungwort, moss phlox, heartleaf brunnera are early bloomers. There are early-blooming shrubs: February daphne (March-April), Vernal witch hazel (January-March), Spring heath (March), and Winter jasmine (March-April). One site, the Independent, gave me a list of early bloomers that I had never heard of but none of them bloom in the snow.

I guess I got my hopes up too high. I’ll just have to resign myself to seeing only white, brown, black and grey next winter too.


Finally updated my links to Fellow Gardeners

>> Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I apologize to the many wonderful bloggers out there for not showing you on my list of 'favorites'.

When I began using Google Reader to keep up to date on all of your writings and photos, I neglected to add some of your links to my blog.

When I went to do so, two weeks ago, I discovered that Blogger would not allow me to scroll down in the Page Elements editor. I sent a request for help and realized many people have experienced the same problem. Blogger still has not fixed the problem.

Finally, this morning I read another person's request to Blogger to fix the problem and he had explained a band-aid fix. After following his instructions I was able to update my favorites list.

Hopefully, none of you have felt slighted, if so, I apologize again and will attempt to keep up on it in the future.

Happy Gardening to all.


Snow mold. What, me worry?

>> Saturday, March 8, 2008

Most of the snow has finally receded, except for the north side of the house. What it left behind is a little distressing. After searching the internet for possible explanations I learned that it could be snow mold. Looks pretty nasty doesn't it?

I grew up in Indiana, where we have snow for much longer than they do here in Utah, but I don’t remember ever seeing this kind of stuff.

What I learned from Snow Molds in Lawns by Cynthia Ash is:

“Snow mold is a fungal disease that appears in early spring as the snow melts. There are two types of snow molds, gray and pink, that become active under the snow cover. Gray snow mold (also called Typhula blight) is caused by Typhula spp., while pink snow mold (also called Fusarium patch) is caused by Microdochium nivalis.”

“Gray snow mold survives hot summer temperatures in the soil or in infected plant debris as sclerotia, resistant fungal structures, while pink snow mold survives as mycelium or spores in infected plant debris. Fungal growth begins in the winter, beneath a cover of snow on unfrozen ground. Growth can take place at temperatures slightly below freezing and may continue after snow melt, as long as the grass remains cool and wet. Gray snow mold activity stops when the temperature exceeds 45° F or the surface dries. Pink snow mold activity may continue during wet weather in the fall and spring, as long as the temperature is between 32° F and 60° F.”

She goes on to explain that the symptoms first appear as circular, straw colored patches when the snow melts in the spring. I didn’t see any circular patches. It was more or less free-form in that it was spread over this section of lawn, about ten foot by twelve foot without actually being circular.

I took photos on March 1 and over the course of the next few days the patch does not appear to be spreading, which is how snow mold behaves.

Maybe the grass is just naturally brown from lack of sunlight. Since the lawn is in its normal dormant state this time of year I should expect to see brown, but this is the first year I have seen a difference in the shade of brown.

Another contributing factor to snow mold is excessive applications of nitrogen fertilizer in the fall. I did fertilize the lawn but I don’t consider it excessive.

To add to the mystery, snow mold does not appear every year.

So far, nothing has convinced me one way or the other that this is or is not snow mold. Should I worry anyway? Probably not.

One good thing, the damage caused by snow mold is seldom serious. Besides there is nothing that can be done for it now. I just have to wait for the sun to warm up the soil, which I am sure will be any day now.

To prevent snow mold in the future, or at least minimize its damage:

# Avoid excessive applications of nitrogen fertilizer in the fall.

# Continue to mow the lawn at the recommended height until it is no longer actively growing. The taller the grass, the more likely it will mat down and encourage snow mold development.

# Rake up leaves in the fall.

# Manage the thatch layer to avoid accumulations of more than ½ inch.

# Spread out large snow piles to encourage rapid melting. Use snow fencing to minimize snow accumulation in problem spots.

Throughout the year I mow my lawn to about 4” tall to prevent the summer heat from drying out the soil and during the cooler months I gradually lower the blade to about 2”, so I don’t think the grass is tall enough to cause concern.

I always rake up the leaves, you just gotta love that free compost material.

Thatch should not be a problem because the lawn is aerated every year. Maybe I should do it more often? I don’t know.

The final caution to prevent snow mold is spreading out large snow piles to encourage rapid melting! I don’t think so. Sorry, but I’m not that dedicated to my lawn.

The bottom line is that if it is snow mold it will soon disappear and will not cause any significant damage.

Besides, I have bigger things to worry about, like when am I going to be able to plant my garden!

Cynthia Ash co-authored a pamphlet put out by North Dakota State University covering lawn disesases.


Bring back the Victory Garden!

>> Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Found an interesting website article on Victory Gardens at Kitchen Gardeners International.

The site advocates for bringing back the WWII era Victory Garden as a means of addressing the problem of childhood obesity, inactivity, addiction to highly processed food with empty calories, and the use of fossil fuels to grow and ship our food.

Of course, those of us who have our own vegetable gardens already know of the benefits of growing our own, and although we may not refer to them as Victory Gardens, they certainly do offer the same benefits.

I’m not talking about the successful PBS program of the same name. The original Victory Garden concept came about during World War I as the need for rationing supplies to support the war effort created shortages for civilians back home. Vegetables, fruits and herbs were planted at private homes in the U.S., Canada, and England as a means of lessening the pressure on the public food supply. The idea also was used extensively during World War II. It was a time when everyone pulled together for the common good.

In our global economy, the concept of a true community garden has become foreign. It seems the concept of common good has become foreign as well. There are an estimated 10,000 community gardens in cities around the country where people, who may not have the room in their own backyard, can claim one of many plots and grow their own food for their own consumption. A community garden would be dedicated to growing food for those unable to afford a healthy diet. Sure we have organizations like America’s Second Harvest, the Nation’s Food Bank Network, to help fight against hunger. But we tend to only participate in this charity around the holidays when volunteers come to the grocery store to remind us to give. Hunger is a daily problem. Wouldn’t it be better if we could give more nutritious food than the occasional can of beans?

The American Community Gardening Association is dedicated to showing us how to start and maintain a community garden. On their website you will find a useful map to help locate a community garden near you. There are others:

City Farmer’s Urban Agriculture Notes in Vancouver, BC;

Food Share in Toronto;

Gateway Greening in St, Louis;

Green Thumb in New York City;

Maricopa County Cooperative Extension in Arizona;

and others.

Benefits of community gardens/Victory gardens, besides feeding the needy, are: they improve people’s quality of life by stimulating social interaction, give our philanthropic nature a much needed boost, encourages self-reliance, exercise, fresh air, produces nutritious food, prevents the chosen site from going unused or from becoming another paved over development, an opportunity to get children involved to develop a sense of community and sharing.

When we grow our own food, in our own backyard, we are promoting the victory garden idea. And when we give our extra produce to the food bank we are keeping the spirit of the victory garden alive.

It is in our nature to want to help others, so if we could help someone else start their own garden and be there to help when they encounter problems and pass on our extra produce to those less fortunate, we become a de facto community garden. I love being a part of this blogging/gardening network and feel good about doing my part in bringing back the concept of ‘common good’. Thank-you to all of you who are doing your part.


One year blog anniversary

I finally made it to one year! I wouldn't trade this past years experience for anything.

Through blogging this past year I have come to understand so much more about gardening than I could from just reading about it.
Reading about gardening helps you to ‘know of’ generalities about gardening, such as,
terms like annual and perennial,
the difference between a bulb and a bareroot,
Fall is the best time for planting,
soil has more impact on plant health than just watering and fertilizing,
not all insects are pests.
Actually getting into the garden and working it shows how things interact and helps you to learn such things as
feeding the soil really is more beneficial than just feeding the plants,
mixing flowers with vegetables and herbs attracts beneficial insects to help you keep plants healthy,
growing a variety of shrubs, trees, grasses, and flowers helps support a greater variety of wildlife, and why that is important,
losing a portion of your crop to insect damage is so much healthier than trying to keep everything by destroying every insect you see and eventually ourselves,
being a part of nature by working with it rather than just watching it go on around you is healthier for your body, mind and soul.
Writing about gardening helps you focus your intellect in order to understand why we are dependent on a variety of wildlife just as they are dependent on us. And how much impact our little garden has on the world.
Gardening can’t help but make everyone a better environmentalist. It illustrates how using chemicals to keep a ‘greener’ lawn or grow ‘bigger’ tomatoes really does more harm than good, just like we have been told for years.
My fellow blogging gardeners have presented so many wonderful new tricks and ideas to help rookies like myself succeed. I realize after just one year of perennial gardening that I had been previously only working at gardening and now, after being able to create some beauty of my own, I realize that I can indeed begin to call myself a gardener, still a novice, but a gardener just the same.
This yearlong experience has made me hungrier than ever to learn more of this fascinating lifestyle. I thank each and every one of you for helping to make this possible. Hopefully, this blog will be viewed as a source of inspiration and knowledge so that I can do my part to help someone else.
Happy Birthday Utah Valley Gardens from a blogging neophyte who deeply appreciates being a part of this great and wondrous world of gardening and blogging.


Garden Bloggers Geography Project, My Garden

>> Monday, March 3, 2008

Jodi, of bloomingwriter, has asked everyone to post something about where we garden. I currently garden in Riverton Utah, a small town of 30,000 at the far south end of Salt Lake Valley between the Wasatch Mountains to the east and the Oquirrh (pronounced ochre) Mountains to the west.

This is a photo of the Wasatch Mountains from my backyard. It is much easier to see this time of year without the trees in full leaf.

And, this is the Oquirrh Mountains from the front yard. They are pretty well obscured from the backyard by fruit trees.

What I like most about living in Utah is the availability of hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, and fishing available within a very short drive from home. Also, the community action network here is very extensive covering everything from getting food and shelter for the needy to co-op food purchase programs.

Hiking here is quite the challenge because almost all of it is mountain hiking. Hiking elevation changes of anywhere from 500 feet to over 2,000 feet makes for some pretty challenging hikes.

Of course we have what is billed as the greatest snow on earth and there are no fewer than thirteen mountain ski resorts within three hours drive.

Lake Powell, in Glen Canyon, is a six hour drive and offers house boat rentals by the day, week or month. It is truly wonderful to pull up to a seclude beach in your houseboat and barbecue, swim, fish and jet ski without seeing anyone for days.

Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, both within four hours drive from home, offers hiking and camping experiences that begs to be taken.

If you love to fish, Utah is heaven. Utah has what can only be described as the most excellent trout fishing in high mountain lakes and streams. We have trophy lake trout, tiger muskie, striped bass, walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, crappie, channel catfish, etc. My wife and I love to fish and do often. We have not yet tried flyfishing but there is no shortage of opportunities here.

Salt Lake City has one of the most vibrant music scenes of any city I have ever lived in! Everything from Folk, Jazz and Salsa to Reggae, Blues and Classical concerts to attend year round.

Park City is host to the annual Sundance Film Festival.

We have five brewery venues in town where you can get some of the best hand crafted beer available.

With all of this ‘outside distraction’ it is a wonder that I get any gardening done at all.

We average an annual rainfall of just over 15”, this coupled with the fact that it is not uncommon to reach as many as ten 100 degree days every summer, makes watering the garden a bit of a challenge.

Creating a beautiful, wildlife friendly perennial garden has been one of my dreams for many years. Seeing so many successful gardens over the years and through these blogs has inspired me to finally start one. Last spring was my first attempt and I am anxiously waiting to see how it faired over the winter.

These are some of the better photos I have of one of my plots.

Utah’s climate isn’t one of the most hospitable to garden in, especially for a beginner, but, as the song goes, ‘if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere”.

Thank-you, Jodi, for the opportunity to show-off where in the Gardening World I am.


Know your plants habits

>> Sunday, March 2, 2008

Getting enough information on plants requires some work. You don’t ever want to purchase a plant based solely on what one source tells you.

Luckily, I have not yet put a plant in my garden that is aggressive enough that I have to give it more attention than anything else in preventing it from taking over its neighbors. Mint is like this. I know mint is an aggressive spreader and therefore it is only grown in containers. If I want to place it in the open garden, I will simply cut a hole in the bottom of the container and plant it, still in the container, in the ground.

I don’t know enough about all plants to know their aggressiveness and potential for crowding out everything around them. I don’t know which plants demand the extra attention required to keep them in bounds.

In researching for vines to cover up my ugly chain link fence, and my neighbors uglier habit of piling junk in his yard, I am learning that it is very difficult to get enough information to make an informed decision. I am not going to name websites that fall short of giving enough information, it is virtually all of them, but when I was gathering information on what vine will fulfill my need, I would find that a flowery description on one site was countered on another site by learning the plant was considered invasive, or poisonous.

I don’t want invasive or poisonous plants in my yard. I don’t want to have to take the extra time to fuss over one plant to keep it in bounds and I don’t want them creating friction with my non-gardening neighbors by giving them something to cut back several times a year.

Maybe it is just the nature of vines and I should learn to have to deal with it, the same goes for shrubs. But I believe that if a site is going to play up the virtues of a given plant, they should also tell you of its bad points, like being on a list of invasive plants. Knowing whether or not the plant is poisonous is a major plus for children and pets.

Here is a prime example of how one site describes Akebia quinata (Chocolate vine) as a beautiful, fast growing vine that produces spicy scented, brownish-purple blossoms that hang like pendants. The vine sounds like exactly what I want. But upon further investigation I learn, from another site, that this woody perennial plant, that can be grown as a twining vine or a groundcover, forms dense growth that crowds out native plants. Now the attractiveness of this vine is beginning to fade. It is reported as invasive in six states. The site lists it as found in 16 eastern U.S. states, while on the original site, where I first found it, I am told it grows in my USDA growing zone. I am in Utah (not an eastern state, for those of you who are geographically challenged). This plant, I am told, naturalizes in warmer climates, like mine. If I were to grow this plant here, I would be contributing to the spread of a highly invasive vine that grows up to 40 feet per growing season! I don’t want that on my conscience.

For a horror story concerning this particular plant see Just Another Pretty Face.

The bottom line is don’t trust everything you read, gather information from several sources and then make an informed decision.

In learning this lesson today, I vow that in the future, when I report any information on any given plant, I will try to present as much information as I can about that plant. I will try to find out if it is considered invasive, or poisonous, or only survives in eastern states. It was very disappointing to think that this plant would grow here and then to find out it is only found in the eastern U.S. and even further disappointing to learn it would have become a full time job trying to control it.

This is a case where USDA growing zones and lighting requirements can be misleading. I may have voiced this opinion before but I think it is worth repeating. Growing zone 5 in the western states is not the same as growing zone 5 in the eastern states.

My search for a colorful vine that has berries for the birds and flowers for beneficial insects and hummingbirds and is not invasive continues. Let the buyer beware!


EcoCity Farm, a new direction for agriculture

>> Saturday, March 1, 2008

(Photo courtesy of Rivendell Organics)
Here's an interesting hybrid setup of aquaponics and vermiculture to grow vegetables.

The idea is to use live fish and crustaceans, raised in large tanks, to produce fertilizer for the vegetables.

According to Andrew Bodlovich and Hogan Gleeson, creators of the ecoCity Farm, a farm the size of a city block can feed up to 300 people with no waste, little water and minimal effort.

The wastewater generated from the population is filtered through a patented “bio-converter” which mineralizes any compound that could be dangerous to plant or fish health (e.g. bacteria, feces). The bio-converter works with vermiculture – colonies of waste-eating worms that turn undesirable compounds into plant-ready nutrients. Water, filtered through the worm treatment nourishes the vegetables. The veggies use up the minerals and nutrients from the fish water, effectively filtering it to its original, clean state. This newly plant-filtered water is sent back to the fish tanks.

See Eat. Drink. Better. blog for more details.


Updating my blogroll

I am in the process of adding more blogs to my blogroll and Blogger is experiencing a problem with the Page Elements feature.

Since I have been using Google Reader to keep up on all my favorite garden blogs, which has saved a ton of time over checking them all daily to see which ones have updated, I am afraid I have neglected to update my blogroll.

Wouldn't you know when I went to update it this morning, Blogger won't let me!

I apologize to anyone who has visited my blog and discovered that their blog is not among those listed. I am checking my list to make sure I don't miss anyone.

There are so many, I hope I have room for them all.


Weather rollercoaster

Winter just will not go away quietly.

Yesterday we had a beautiful day, sunny 58F, after weeks of highs in the 30's this constitutes a beautiful day.

All of the snow has finally melted and we are predicted to get another inch this afternoon!

Plus, wind gusts up to 45MPH!

Boy, the weather variations on this side of the Rockies can be downright drastic.

Here's a bright spot! First flower of the year. Crocus always seem to wake up earlier than everyone else by at least a couple of weeks.

According to the old saying "If March comes in like a lion it will go out like a lamb" and vice versa.

If the lion looks like this, what have we got to worry about?


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