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Sunday, May 22, 2011

What we talk about when we pull weeds all day.



Around my block everyone is spending time outdoors, digging in, weeding, fighting  common pests.  In this watery world I live in, the biggest problems are slugs, birds, weeds and back pains.  Today, I'm right in this spot for a good part of the day, or until my sore muscles and aching back will cause me to return indoors to my easy chair.

A tender lettuce starter will be consumed by slugs in no time if I don't sprinkle eggshells all around and  provide netting to keep birds out.  Oh, I can use some commercial product that guarantees instant results. But, I'm concerned about  water quality, insects,  other animals that roam and feed on this land.  I just want to be able to taste this lettuce in a week or two, perhaps collect its seeds for another round.

The black cloth is porous, allows water through, but not light, thus protecting my tender shoots from invading weeds.  Here too, there are many commercial products.  My instinct is to resist any and all of them, especially in the light of what has happened to our seeds now that most of them have been engineered to resist herbicides. Imagine, a seed that controls its enemies!  But, the same seed cannot produce viable seeds. That is messing with the cycle of life and I want nothing to do with that.

To read about seeds and the progress we have made, and the problems associated with our commercial food production read Michael Pollan and go visit Sophie Munns at:

 Homage to the Seed


Happy gardening, wherever you are.


31 comments:

ellen abbott said...

seed that can't reproduce itself through engineering is one more way that we are kept dependent on agribusiness. can't even collect seed to feed ourselves.

Grandmother said...

Good for you. My daughter and her husband have a totally organic garden in the tropics! They agree with you about the importance of finding organic answers to challenges and then, harvest the seeds. They have a growing collection of them and are alarmed by their demise elsewhere.

Suz said...

Oh you bring up some interesting and scary questions....bless the organic farmers and gardeners
who else will protect the bird,animal and plant life
that sustains our bodies,minds, and souls?
But enjoy your labor today in the garden
be a warrior

Linda Myers said...

We try to do all organic also. Bothers me that modified seeds can't be used again. What's right with that?

ds said...

Love that tip about the eggshells; it's tough to compost in an environment as tightly controlled as the one I dwell within. Good for you for taking the truly organic root (pun unintended, sorry).
I love Mr. Pollan's philosophy. Will definitely investigate the website.
Thank you!

Brian Miller said...

nice...yeah thanks for the tip on the eggshells...we did ours last week and good thing as it rained all week...yeah genetic engineering of anything brings scary consequences...

Rachel Cotterill said...

I'm hoping to get back into my vegetable garden ready for the next season. Like you, we prefer organic and natural solutions.

KarenG said...

This post makes me homesick for my former large garden, fruit trees, flower beds, etc. Yesterday I did the gardening and it took me, my husband and my son 2 hours total. That included lawn mowing. Normally this time of year it's 12 hours and we're still not done. So I'm not too homesick, but sort of!

Marilynne said...

I love your garden talk and will give my hubbie a link to your blog so he can read it too.

Marilynne

Marilynne said...

I need to know more about eggshells. Are they to control the snails? How do they work?

Joani said...

I have a problem with slugs too. Didn't know about eggshells. The squirrels & now a chipmunk have been after my early girl tomatoes. They seem to leave the cherry tomatoes alone. My squash hasn't done too well...maybe too much water. In AZ once we have consecutive days of 100 degrees the growing season will pretty much be over save for melons, corn, and those kind of things. Cucumbers are doing really well. Can't wait for those...armenian cucumbers...I try to save seed from the year before....doesn't always work but I try. Happy gardening!

quilterliz said...

G'day Rosaria. I hope you get to enjoy that lettuce. We use homemade recipe's here to try to control slugs, caterpillars etc, usually they work. I have tried the eggshells in the past and have found them to work well.Keep up the good work. Take care. Liz...

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'm hopeless at gardening so I do admire you. I'm sure the lettuce will be lovely.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Our own gardens are our healthiest alternatives in this era of frankenfood. Your post reminded me of the times I helped my grandfather, who was a farmer, and who, in addition to his acres farmed, kept a personal garden that ran for about half a mile on the roadside part of his property. I've never eaten such delicious fruits and vegetables! Good for you for not using commercial preparations to keep pests at bay. I'll bet your harvests are/will be wonderful!

Cloudia said...

You look so happy with dirt under your dear finger nails!

Don't forget to 'come beach'




Warm Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

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yaya said...

Haven't gotten the garden going because of all the rain, but hopefully we'll get it in by the end of the month..next weekend! We just bought a book about controlling pests without chemicals...just trying to do our part in this world!

rosaria said...

Crumble eggshells and sprinkle on the dirt around each plant. You could also use copper wire for the same results. Our slugs, four-five inches slimy things without shells thrive in this wet weather and they hide under the fabric cloth.

I visit daily, and pick them out if I see them.

You could use paper cubes, the ones toilet paper is wrapped around, rub them with sand and slide these around the stems.

As it gets warmer, and birds and insects will visit, they will eat the slugs but also look for fruit.

For birds, you use netting, the same one your onions come in.

I save all this stuff and utilize one and all.

My rows of fava? I keep some of them without nets, to keep birds around until....

What About the Girl? said...

I didn't know about the eggshells!

Arkansas Patti said...

Haven't had any trouble with slugs but will keep egg shells in mind if I do.
Right now I have something eating the tops off my onions. Nothing else. May have to get out the Havaheart trap and so some relocating.

dianefaith said...

Didn't know about that anti-snail use for eggshells. I'll try it. I don't have them in the garden, but one corner of the house, the northwest, seems to entice them.

wvhiker said...

Slugs. Got them as well but I too have been using eggshells to help control them. Funny that living in suburbia that I actually have to keep the deer away. Squirrels don't bother too much and neither do the birds. I do have some heirloom tomatoes that I intend on harvesting the seeds from for next year. Most of everything else is hybrid varieties. Hard to get around though. I don't use sprays but will dust as I did last year for a hornworm infestation. We will can everything that we don't immediately eat for winter consumption. Good luck to all.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Doesn't it seem unfair, that we have to work so hard to get something to grow? Covers and eggshells and marigolds plant to eat nemotodes. Such hard work it is. And my body doesn't fair as well as it used to either.

Hilary said...

The whole process of agricultural engineering is crazy scary. I worry for future generations.

Granny Annie said...

Neither of us have backs strong enough to weed a garden so Ron puts down a blanket of carpet before he plants and then pokes holes in the carpet for the seedlings to go in. I works great.

A Cuban In London said...

Well, happy gardening to you, too. That was such a good post title. And also, good on you for avoiding chemicals, which might harm other insects and animals, not just the slugs. So many times, we forget about side-effects.

Greetings from Londom.

Kathryn Magendie said...

I don't like poisons and such - though here everything is wild and there is no planting, but in our gravel drive one day I caught GMR putting weed killer on the driveway gravel - I ran up and told him no no no no - I'd rather pull them out myself than have him do that, or find another way.

Love this post - lovely prose

Journeyin' Lady... said...

I'm not a gardener but enjoy reading about your experiences with slugs, eggshells etc. Good luck with your garden!

Marguerite said...

We used to have a slug problem, here, but they've disappeared all together with the 2 year drought that we've been in. Glad you're enjoying the outdoors!

the walking man said...

Just a quick Drive by HI Rosaria. Got to go get ready for tutoring now. Thank you for all you say and do.

Dentists West Hollywood said...

You're lucky you're even able to plant anything! My mom is in Oregon and hasn't been able to plant anything with the rain yet. It's always fun being in the garden, isn't it?

Abby

janis said...

ahhh my weekend plans♥
With all the rain we have had... I'm ready!