The old kitchen garden, with its neat, straight rows of vegetables, has faced any number of challenges in recent years—raised beds, intensive gardening, square foot gardening, succession planting—all turn their backs on the conventional layout of neat rows of carrots, peas, or potatoes.
Enter polyculture, which turns its back not only on rows, but on the whole idea of a vegetable garden at all. Not that you shouldn’t grow vegetables, but in a polyculture, they’ll be mixed up together, and there may well be herbs and flowers in the mix as well.
David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth have just published What’s Wrong With My Vegetable Garden?: 100% Organic Solutions for All Your Vegetables, from Artichokes to Zucchini. For them, as for many organic gardeners, half the solution lies in prevention, and a key to prevention is polyculture. When they talk about putting the right plant in the right place, they mean not just giving it the soil, light, and water that it needs, but the growing companions as well. Continue reading
The manure problems—pollution and contamination—that I reviewed in my last post occupy the first part of this podcast, and if that were all we covered, you too might be inclined to crawl under your desk and stay there.
A quick recap: Rather to the surprise of many an organic gardener, even organic manures can cause problems: phosphorus can contaminate surface water, while nitrogen can leak into ground water and can also form nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas almost 300 times as powerful as carbon dioxide. Continue reading
The incredible thing about interviewing Judy Owsowitz is how much she knows. This is true of just about everyone I interview, and I always learn something, but in a way it’s more startling when the topic is one that I actually think I know something about, such as starting seeds and caring for the seedlings. Continue reading
Hover mouse over photograph for name and photo credit. Many more photos below!
Four guests, representatives and owners of one organization and three companies that sell heirloom and organic seeds, tell us about a few of their many seeds: new ones, undervalued ones, and personal favorites. But first, I hold forth at greater length than usual about some of the terms that you’ll encounter when perusing catalogs or websites in search of organic and sustainable seeds.
Okay, I have a confession: I am not a seed catalog addict. I do not pour over new arrivals, cultivars, and varieties, or old favorites, tried and true heirlooms, prolific producers, dependable bearers of heavy yields, whatever. Truth to tell, I didn’t really care.
After doing this week’s show, I do.
Meadow Zelenitz-McCracken, The Bozeman Chronicle, Jan. 14, 2012
I had to blink once or twice when I saw this photo in Saturday’s paper. I mean, that 65 pound monster was grown here in Bozeman. By a third grader. I bet it outweighs her.
You can read the article in the Bozeman Chronicle, or join me in my room, where you’ll find me sobbing under my bed. The aptly named Meadow grew not only the largest cabbage in this year’s Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program, but the largest ever grown in the program.
Clearly, Meadow has a great future as a gardener. Me, I’m going to retire.