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Winter Gardening Tips | The Garden Glove
  • Start some seeds indoors to have plants ready to put out in the garden after last frost. Now is the time to grow those plants from seed you can’t find at the nursery. Your indoor seed growing station can be as complicated as a deluxe indoor greenhouse with lights, or as simple as a re-used egg carton on a windowsill. Some easy plants to grow indoors from seed include most sun loving annuals and such perennials as Shasta Daisy, Black Eyed Susan, Coneflower, Coreopsis and many ornamental grasses. Growing perennials from seed can save you hundreds of dollars, as the average 4 inch pot perennial sells for $3-$6, and a packet of seeds that might produce 100 plants averages $2.
Kale - Lacinato | Sprout it

Lacinato kale is also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale. An Italian heirloom variety that dates to the 18th century, it has large, bumpy (but not curly), dark blue-green leaves. Kale is a cold-hardy and resilient member of the cabbage family. In the fall, frosts will actually improve the taste, bringing out a sweet, nutty flavor.

Fall propagation of fruit trees and bushes -

Propagation of trees and shrubs is an easy, inexpensive way to grow your food forest. Hardwood (dormant) cuttings can be the slowest cuttings to root, but they are much less fragile than softwood (spring) cuttings, and some fruit trees, bushes, and vines are best propagated from hardwood cuttings in the fall or winter.

A partial list of those plants which you may want to consider propagating from hardwood cuttings at this time of year include Grapes (which are best done from hardwood cuttings), Currant family (including Gooseberry), Elderberry, Quince, Plum, Fig, Pomegranate, Mulberry, Kiwi, Saskatoon, Viburnums (such as American high Bush Cranberry), Evergreens (true hardwood cuttings are taken after 2 hard freezes- before that you have a semi-hardwood cutting), Roses, and Olives.

Support Your Local Goat Herder | Bacon's Rebellion

by James A. Bacon

A common reed plant, known by the scientific name of Phragmites australis, introduced into the United States in the 18th century from Europe, has invaded the eastern marshes of North America. Like many invasive species,Phragmites out-competes native marsh plants. When the reed establishes expansive mono-cultures, plant diversity declines precipitously. And when plant diversity declines, so does the diversity of insects and the rest of the food chain dependent upon the plants.

Over the past five years, land managers and private organizations have treated more than 80,000 hectares of marsh with herbicides at a cost of $4.6 million per year to control Phragmites. Mowing and burning the plant hasn’t proven economical, given high labor costs. And insect control often does greater damage to native strains than to the invasive plant.

In desperation, the marine science and conservation division of Duke University tested a new technique for controlling the plant: grazing goats. At a fresh water marsh in Beltsville, Md., the scientists penned goats in enclosures where they had little but Phragmites to eat. While the goats didn’t eradicate the plant pest, they substantially reduced its biomass — from 94% of ground cover to 21% on average — allowing native species a better chance of competing, investigatorsconcluded.

Across the country, government authorities are discovering the virtues of goats for clearing unwanted brush, even tending lawns. The hardy ruminants have an appetite for plants that other animals shun.

There is a small but active goat industry in Virginia. The Virginia State Dairy Goat Association lists 33 members. Jack & Anita Mauldin’s Boer Goats page lists 34 goat farms. My impression is that most goat products fall into the organic or artisanal agriculture category — goat meat, goat cheese, goat milk, maybe some goat wool. But perhaps the most interesting enterprise is Goat Busters, based in Afton, which specializes in land clearing. As its website says, “Goat Busters is quite simply the most environmentally sensitive method to clear land or control invasive species vegetation ever, short of going out and hand-pulling each and every little weed.”

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