As we head into the fall, it’s time to think about getting your garden ready for next spring and summer. A great way to revitalize the soil is to plant cover crops. Cover crops serve multiple purposes: they smother weeds, attract pollinators, control erosion, build up biomass/structure in the soil, fix nitrogen and other nutrients that would otherwise be unavailable to garden crops, and many are edible, producing seed that can be used to make flour. My former sustainable agriculture professor has put together a terrific DVD on how to use cover crops to keep your soil and garden healthy:
View a preview of it here:
It’s late August, summer is still in full swing but fall will be here before we know it, and with the cooler weather comes the second planting season, both for fall crops as well as ornamentals. But fall doesn’t have to be a ho-hum season in the garden. Check out my Pinterest board for plants that show off their colors in the fall, or berries in winter!
The second Garden Dude podcast is now up. You can find it on iTunes by searching for “The Garden Dude” under Podcasts. By using iTunes you can subscribe to the podcast and get each new episode automatically when it is posted. But if you’re the lazy type (and hey, aren’t we all lazy sometimes) you can click here to listen to it directly.
Discussed in this episode:
- Garden harvest update
- An exciting new cold hardy, heat/humidity tolerant lavender
- Plants that bloom in late summer when others are slowing down
- The mailbag – answering YOUR questions
- What is this “Garden chat” on Twitter and how do I participate?
Excited to announce that the Garden Dude podcast is now on iTunes! Just search for “the garden dude” and it’ll come up. I’ve started on the 2nd podcast and want to do a “mailbag” segment, so if you have any gardening questions you’d like me to answer, just email them to firstname.lastname@example.org and, depending on how many I get, I may answer yours during that segment!
What gardening topics do YOU want to hear about?
The first Garden Dude podcast is finally here! Granted, it’s not the ideal setup (audio quality isn’t exactly high definition) but it will do the job for the time being, until I can secure better equipment. This first episode is an introduction and “about me.” I have big plans for adding more content in the coming months, so stay tuned!
Click here to listen to the podcast
Following up on my last post about some very tenacious weeds around my yard, some fellow gardeners on social media were able to help me identify these weeds and tell me a little bit about them.
This is white mulberry, Morus alba. Native to China, it is a rapidly growing small tree that, as you guessed it, produces white-colored berries that the birds LOVE. Hence why it is coming up everywhere around my property. Good luck digging it up, a seedling only 15″ tall has a massive root system that goes very deep!
This is Mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris. It’s native to Europe and England where it grows along stream banks. The patch of it growing in my yard is a variegated variety. Thankfully, it’s very easy to pull up thanks to it’s very shallow root system.
Weeding is a routine and normal part of gardening, just like using the restroom. It just has to be done. Having said that, there are just some weeds so prolific and stubborn, they make you want to rip them out forcefully and throw them into a fire and laugh maniacally while they burn. Such is the case with these weeds that are trying to turn my yard into a jungle:
Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)
The only way to completely get rid of this ubiquitous weed is to get the entire taproot. And good luck with that, as Pokeweed has no problem growing up through just about anything…gravel, cracks in pavement or brick, you name it. The best I can do is just cut it down periodically and not let it produce berries, which are picked up and distributed by birds and animals.
(Uncertain of identity, but appears to be some sort of wild vine related to moonflower, in the bean family?)
This has to be the fastest-growing vine I’ve ever seen, and vines stretch for great lengths, wrapping around everything in sight. Again, I can manage to keep it restrained by pulling as much of the vine out as I can, but can’t yet find the roots.
(Another one I’m stumped on as far as the identity; it has a strong citrus smell to it and variegated foliage)
The good news about this one is that it is super easy to pull out, the colonizing stems come right out with no resistance. But it does form a dense thicket that spreads like bamboo. I tolerate it somewhat because of the interesting variegated leaves.
Again, not sure what this one is. Seems to spread by seed, forms small shrubs. Dense, tough root system makes it hard to pull up by hand, unless pulled when still small (less than 10″)
If you can ID any of these weeds, post a comment! Thanks!