Category Archives: Gardening

The War On Weeds

In any war it is important to have a strategy and that includes the gardener’s “War On Weeds”. I don’t think it is possibly to have a garden that is perpetually weed free, so I don’t know that it is possible to truly win the war. I am going to share some tips, though, that might help you win some of the battles.

The Plan Of Attack

We have learned over the years that pulling weeds when the soil is moist is the best approach. When the soil is dry the roots are reaching deep into the earth searching for water. This makes digging them difficult and pulling them next to impossible. When the soil is moist the roots are relaxed and can be pulled out much easier. Weeding in the morning when the soil is moist or after a rain will make your work much easier.

Keep Your Enemy In Check

Most plants will reproduce by forming flowers or seed heads. In order to keep the plants from multiplying (often exponentially) remove the weed before it forms flowers or goes to seed.

Know Your Enemy

Being able to identify the type of weed and how it grows can be most helpful in ridding it permanently from your garden. Plants that are annuals and are pulled or cut before they go to seed should be gone for good. Other plants that are biennial (taking two years to mature) or perennial (come back every year) will need to have their entire root removed otherwise they will continue to grow back. Some perennial’s, like Canadian thistle and sow thistle, have roots systems that run horizontally under ground. When the shoot/plant is pulled and detached from the horizontal root it will, in a quest for survival, send up several more shoots. (A loosing battle.) However cutting the shoot/plant at ground level will deprive it of the ability to perform photosynthesis. That particular shoot may grow back and need to be cut another time or two before the plant (root) dies.

In the past we have had much success in getting rid of thistles from lawn or field areas by mowing the area throughout the summer. This year as I weed my prayer garden I am on a mission to eradicate thistles, so I am cutting them with the intention of coming back once a week to cut any that are starting to grow back. Wish me luck!

Happy gardening! 🙂

55 Things # 22 – Dirt Don’t Hurt

Click here to learn more about my “55 Things” and here to view previous posts in this series.

Gardening season is upon us, and yes, we have been busy playing in the dirt. Tilling and planting began nearly two weeks ago. My husband planted potatoes and cabbage after the threat of frost and freezing temperatures was presumably over. He has since, in between rain days, planted tomatoes, eggplant, squash and pumpkins, sunflowers and buckwheat. There are still seeds to go in the ground but we are off to a good start.

Weeding has also begun. I spent some time pulling weeds in the asparagus patch and about three hours on Wednesday weeding the garlic bed. Weeding the Prayer Garden is next on my list.

The contrary among you may argue that the title of this post,  Dirt Don’t Hurt, is misleading because there are ways that dirt can be harmful to us. That I will concede. Now that I’ve got you here though I would like to share some ways that dirt may therapeutic.

Grounding or Earthing

Grounding or earthing refers to the simple act of placing our bare feet on the natural ground, such as dirt, sand or grass. By doing that, we are in direct contact with the Earth. While the proposed science behind it is explained in this article some of the heath benefits are said to be reduced inflammation, reduce stress, improve mood, reduced pain. Personally I don’t care how it works I just know that it feels good to go barefoot in the cool green grass or on a sand beach.

Antidepressant Microbes In Soil

A while back a Rory, a fellow blogger included this interesting article in his gardening series. The article explains that “The soil microbe mycobacterium vaccae has been found to mirror the effect on neurons in the brain that drugs like Prozac can provide, but without side effects.” It also suggests that the benefits may be gained either topically by having your hands in the soil or by inhaling it while working in the garden.

All this time I’ve been using the term “garden  therapy” I never thought that there may be some science behind it I just knew that I find working in the garden enjoyable and I feel good when I do it.

Bacillus Subtilis Probiotic

It was right around the time I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease that I began including probiotics in my diet daily. Largely I was doing this by eating and drinking fermented foods such as yogurt, sauerkraut, and kombucha. There did seem to be a connection between my poor digestion and some of the other symptoms of the PD, and probiotics did have some positive effects.

Bacillus subtilis is a probiotic that is derived from the soil and as this article explains is able to endure extreme conditions such as heat, dryness, humidity and acidity. It is said to improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, suppress harmful pathogens, strengthen the mucosal biofilm and enhance the growth of other probiotic strains.

Several months ago my husband came across  this information which describes studies being done on bacillus subtilis in relationship to PD and positive results that are being seen. This got my attention. This particular strain of probiotic is not one that is included in the many probiotic supplements that I found on the store shelves. I did find one blend at a nutrition store that contained it but beyond that it is easier to find online.

I have been taking bacillus subtilis supplements for a few months now and have noticed several benefits to my health.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to “Play in the Dirt” this summer. 🙂

55 Things #10 – The Moon

Click here to learn more about my “55 Things” and here to view previous posts in this series.

The nearly full super moon was only intermittently visible through last night’s cloud cover. It is the first of three super moons that we will see this spring. The March full moon is also known as the worm moon, named this by Native Americans, since this is the time of year that worms begin emerging from the ground. Learn more about it here.  I attempted to take some photos but since my photography skills’ are lacking they are not nearly as impressive as it seeing it in person.

The following photos are unedited and are posted in sequence as taken. I am not sure what happened in the second photo, but while I would like to think that I captured some stunning other-worldly event, I suspect there is some type of technical explanation.

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While the actual full moon will occur tonight (March 9) the thick cloud cover will prevent us from viewing it. I guess I will have to try again in April.

This awareness of the full moon did remind me of a gardening method that we have talked about trying in the past but have not yet done. Since we have not yet started planting, I think this is the year to try planting by the phases of the moon.

This article from explains what types of plants should be planted during each phase of the moon.

  • First quarter moon cycle (new moon to half full) – Things that are leafy, like lettuce, cabbage and spinach, should be planted.
  • Second quarter moon cycle (half full to full moon) – Planting time for things that have seeds inside, like tomatoes, beans and peppers.
  • Third quarter moon cycle (full moon to half full) – Things that grow underground or plants that are perennials, like potatoes, garlic and raspberries, can be planted.
  • Fourth quarter moon cycle (half full to new moon) – Do not plant. Weed, mow and kill pests instead.

The article also says that while several studies have shown evidence that gardening by the phases of the moon can have positive effects there is no actual proof that it does.

In order to at least start planning for planting I found this handy chart which tells the date of that the moon enters each phase throughout the year. Planting season will begin soon. 🙂 Wish us luck.

Did you get to see the full moon? Have you ever planted by the moon?

Thanks for reading.