Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rally for the Right to know

Rally for the Right to Know | The Non-GMO Project

There will be a "Rally for the Right to Know", if  GMO's are used in the food your eating. The "Millions Against Monsanto" rally is a nation-wide event scheduled for Saturday, March 26th., organized by the Organic consumer Association. The Rally is about demanding labeling of GMO's so one can make a conscious decision when buying their food.
The main rally will occur on the White House Sidewalk in Washington DC, with many demonstrations simultaneous across the country. There might be a Rally close to where you are. If you don't know if one is happening close to where you live you can find out on the page I have linked above. You also can find out more at the Facebook page from 'Millions against Monsanto' they have an Events Linked List at their discussion site.
I will be at the Rally in Salem, Oregon and I hope some of my readers will be joining us in telling this White House
"We have a right to know what is in our Food"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In Love with new garden tool

When I first started gardening, way back then in late 1980's it didn't take long before I came across my good old Newspaper Pot Maker. I never liked the Jiffy Pots, I think they kill more vegetables then they grow for you and plastic pots, back then, weren't recycled, also I didn't want to waste our money on buying plastic pots to grow vegetables. So when I came across the Paper Pot Maker it was Love at first site.
What couldn't you love on that thing? It forced you to recycle the newspaper! Back then they didn't even recycle Newspaper where we lived, nope there was no recycle pick up at our town. You could get the best soil mix you could get your hand on, or make your own instead having to rely on whatever they put into those Jiffy pots. Okay, you could do that with plastic pots also, more messed up roots when you transplant, since you plant the whole pot and all. What is not to love!
For a few years I lost my way, I admit, I got lazy, I got plastic pots and filled them with dirt. I tried all the newest growing pots, growing systems trying to find the one that just might be the best growing system ever invented.
I never found it, I think it doesn't exist or maybe I just had it all along. Paper pot!
Nevertheless I think I have to retire my good old paper pot maker.
No, not what you, I didn't fall of the wagon.

It is just simple, I found the best new Tool for growing my vegetables..........A better Paper-pot Maker!

It is much simpler to use then the older model and makes pots about 7.5 x 7cm wide instead 5.5 x 5.5 cm as the old one that are also much more solidly built. I tweaked the instruction a bit because it was easier with less cutting involved and made for even sturdier pots.

start out with a half page of newspaper

                                                  Fold about 2/3 over lengthwise

fold a edge over about 3/4 to 1 inch on the folded edge, with the last third cut in so it is not folded over

 roll the paper pot along the edge, but keep
 the open edge loose

like you see in this picture

This is probably the most tricky part. You grasp the paper at the bottom
and twist it together and push it into the hole at the bottom of the pot

Like that. Now push the paper pot, with the pot maker in it
down on a surface, to seal and flatten the bottom nicely

                                                                                Almost done!

Twist the wooden pot maker out of the paper
and fold the edge that sticks out on top to the inside, that is
what makes the pot sturdier and holding together better then the old.

                         Voila! You just made yourself a paper pot

You can get the Paper pot maker here, it comes in two sizes

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Companion planting charts

I have been busy reading over the winter and finding more information about Companion plantings, Inter-planting of vegetables and flowers, and rotations in the vegetable plants.
Companion planting is based on the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted close to each other so that some cultural benefit like pest control, disease prevention, nutrient support and higher yields, can be utilized by the plants growing together. Knowing what plants can be planted together helps to utilize your beds better, because you can plant denser, the technique comes from the Bio-intensive garden philosophy. It also helps with the succession planting, because you use the space around larger or later plants, planting quick maturing and smaller plants between them. Granted it takes much more planning to do it successfully and to make the planning easier, I came up with the idea of making a chart. Which I will tape into the lid of my seed box to have it always available when planting outside.

There is a lot of information out there in books and the internet but I found many of the charts lacking for my use. Most of them gave you some but not enough information. Some of the information I didn't need. I just don't need to know when I am outside planting, why I plant them together, just give me what I can plant together and what I need to know for the task. Many of the online charts usually just cover the basic vegetables. Many didn't even give you all the kinds of vegetables one could grow together, keeping their information very basic.

For a gardener that goes for the unique and unknown vegetables to add to the common available ones basic just doesn't cut it. I am such an information hog, I just needed more!
So I decided I would learn as much as I could about companion planting and then put what I have learned into a chart, utilizing all the information I found.
The Kitchen Garden Grower's Guide: A practical vegetable and herb garden encyclopedia

 Some of the best information I found in the book I got last year
The Kitchen Garden Grower's Guide by Stephen Albert

This book is so full of the basic information to help you grow your garden and covers many more vegetables then most garden books I have come across and the best is it is all in a simple Encyclopedic format.

So here are the charts I made. They are large and I had to break it into 2 files. If you click on the picture it should pop up into a larger file. I probably will keep adding more information to the charts as I learn more about companion plantings of some of the newer vegetables I am getting. I also added some basic fertilizing and bed preparation information but didn't add the herbs and perennial vegetables into the chart, because I have my herbs in a separate herb garden area close to the vegetable garden and the perennial vegetables aren't planted in the raised garden beds in my garden.

Chart number one from Arugula to Eggplant

Chart number two from Endive to Turnips