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Organic Gardening Tips
Terra Viva Organics

Website & Terra Viva Update
Winter Gardening
Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden
Designing Deer Deterrents
Veggie Burgers Recipe

July is winter gardening month and we at Terra Viva Organics are determined to ensure that you do your winter planting! We've developed 2 specially priced kits to fulfill your winter gardening needs:

  • Winter Garden Kit - Includes all 14 varieties of winter vegetables which includes: Mizuna, Tatsoi, Giant Red, Greenleaf Beet, Scarlet Nantes carrot, Red Russian Kale, Rouge d'Hiver lettuce, Spring/Fall Mesclun Mix, Cherry Belle radish, Arugula, Oregon Sugar Pod snow pea, Bloomsdale spinach, Coriander (cilantro), and Echinacea purpurea. All 14 seed packets, regularly sold for $30 are on sale for $16.99 while quantities last!

  • Winter Greens Kit-If you've only got a balcony or container garden, these greens are incredibly easy to grow: Mizuna, Tatsoi, Giant Red, Rouge d'Hiver Lettuce, Arugula, & Bloomsdale Spinach. Regularly $15.00, now on sale for $8.99

Winter Gardening

by Arzeena Hamir
Organic Radicchio production Rouge d'hiver winter lettuce

The zucchini is starting to produce and summer salads are now a staple of evening dinners. It's tempting at this time of the year to put your feet up, relax and enjoy the bounty of your hard work. Yet by November, I'm often left wishing I had put in a little more effort in July so that I could harvest fresh food through the wintertime.

July is the ideal month to start a winter garden. A couple of weeks seeding and transplanting will result in a kitchen garden that will produce well into the springtime.

The first step is deciding what to grow. No need to restrict yourself to cabbage and Brussels sprouts, fall & winter gardening can include a variety of lovely edibles:

Vegetable Type Recommended
Varieties
Time to plant
Arugula all types July-early Sept
Beets Greenleaf,
Winterkeeper
early-mid July
Broad Beans Aquadulce,
Windsor
Oct-Nov
Cabbage January King,
Tundra
July-mid Aug
Carrots Scarlet Nantes,
Autumn King
early-mid July
Cauliflower Armado series,
White Rock
mid July
Cilantro all types July-August
Collards all types mid July
Corn Salad all types August-mid Sept
Fennel any bulbing type early-mid July
Garlic all types Sept-Oct
Giant Red Mustard all types August-October
Kale all types early-mid July
Kohlrabi all types mid July-
early August
Mizuna all types July-August
Overwintering Onions Walla Walla,
Buffalo
mid August
Pac Choi all types August-September
Parsnips all types early July
Peas early maturing types early July
Radicchio all types July-early August
Radish all types Sept-October
Rutabagas all types early July
Scallions all types July-early August
Spinach Bloomsdale,
Tyee
July-August
Sprouting broccoli Green, Purple
or White
early July
Tatsoi all types August-September
Turnips all types July-August
Winter Lettuce Winter Density,
Rouge D'hiver
July-August

The next step is to find room in the garden. Although my squash plants are filling in every inch of their bed, I can usually find space where my spring veggies used to reside. Often enough, there's now room since the lettuce and early spring greens are all harvested. If it's still too early to pull out your plants, you find a small patch in the garden and start a nursery bed. I enjoy putting all my seedlings close together like this so that I can keep an eye out on watering and pest problems. The other option is to start seeds indoors and transplant them later. If I know I won't be around to water during the day, I try to start seedlings indoors. I do get much better germination rates and it does save quite a bit of space.

Organic Mizuna Once the seedlings have been started and are in place, they usually don't need any special care until about September. As the nights begin to cool, draping some of the less hardy plants like the winter lettuce and cilantro with a floating row cover protects them from light frosts. On the coast and in mild winter areas, a floating row cover is enough to protect seedlings from mild frosts, up to about 30 F (-2 C). In colder areas, a plastic cloche or a cold-frame can be used to keep these vegetables cropping.

One thing to keep in mind about growing under plastic is that plants will require extra watering since they won't receive any rainfall moisture.

Once plants like Kale & cabbage are hit by a good frost, you'll notice a remarkable difference in the taste. Most winter vegetables use sugar as a natural anti-freeze. As temperatures become colder, they fill their cells with sugar to prevent water in their systems from crystallizing. It's another added bonus to growing a winter garden!

Arzeena Hamir is an agronomist and President of Terra Viva Organics. When she's not planting peas or picking zucchini, she answers questions about organic gardening at: advice@tvorganics.com. You can also read her gardening articles on Vegetable Gardening at http://www.suite101.com/


Attracting Butterflies to Your Garden

by Susan Ward
The main reason, I think, that so many gardeners are gardening organically now is simply for the pleasure of it. To be able to pick ripe fruit right off the tree or harvest vegetables and eat them without worrying about scrubbing all the poison off them first is a pleasure that only organic gardeners enjoy. And whether you're working or just sitting and relaxing in your organic garden, you can delight in sharing the space you've created with birds and insects. The organic gardener is surrounded by trills of birdsong and rewarded by dazzling displays of jeweled spiderwebs and butterflies.

Butterfly Gardening Butterflies are a magical presence that I certainly wouldn't want to do without, and only a pesticide-free garden can provide a habitat that welcomes them. Even organically acceptable pesticides such as rotenone, pyrethrin or BT (Bacillus thuringiensis, a biological control), kill butterflies and their larvae. Using techniques such as handpicking and water sprays to remove pests from plants instead and tolerating some holes in the leaves of your plants is a small price to pay for such lavish beauty. Vegetables can be protected by using floating row covers.

If you want to attract even more butterflies to your garden, you'll want to ensure that your garden meets their needs. Just like people, butterflies need warmth, shelter, food, and a suitable place to raise their families. An ideal habitat for butterflies is sunny, sheltered, and has a good variety of plants that will provide nectar and places to lay eggs.

Providing Shelter

Pick the sunniest spot in your yard for your butterfly garden; butterflies need sun to warm up after cooler, overnight temperatures. As butterflies need protection from wind, the location should be as sheltered as possible; an area with windbreaks such as hedges, groups of shrubs, walls, or fences is ideal. You can also create a windbreak by using a trellis covered with a vine. Pipevine or hops are especially fast growers; honeysuckle or clematis are lovely choices.

When butterflies aren't searching for food or mates, they love to bask in the sun; put some flat stones in your garden for sunbathing spots.

Water is also essential for butterflies. Birdbaths and open water are not good sources; they prefer shallow, muddy puddles. Making a "puddle" that will attract butterflies is easy; just dig a small, shallow basin, line it with plastic, and cover it with sandy soil and gravel. Damp soil or sand also provides butterflies with the minerals they need; that's why you sometimes see small flocks of butterflies gathered around a puddle after a rain.

Providing Food

Most butterflies feed on nectar, although some also feed on rotting fruit. The flowers that butterflies like have flat pads, umbels, cones or spikes and flower heads composed of tiny flowerlets; feeding on flowers like these is a big energy-saver as they don't have to move around so much to feed. Perennials such as yarrow ( Achillea spp.), bee balm (Monarda spp.), coneflower (Echinacea spp.), black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) and, of course, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) are butterfly favorites. A great many annuals, such as Ageratum, cosmos, marigolds, nasturtiums, heliotrope and sunflowers are also excellent sources of nectar. Herbs are butterfly favorites, both as nectar and larval food sources. Chives, catnip, lavender, thyme and mint are all good choices. Planting in blocks of color, rather than putting in a few individual plants will make it much easier for butterflies to find their food.

Attracting Butterflies in the Organic GardenAdult butterflies ready to lay eggs are attracted by plants that will feed their developing young. Many of the plants that are on butterfly-attracting lists are actually leaf-sources of food for caterpillars. Each species of butterfly has its own preferred host plants; the female butterflies search for particular plants on which to lay their eggs. When you see a butterfly flitting from plant to plant, briefly landing on a leaf here and a leaf there, it's actually tasting the leaf through sensors in its feet! If you want to attract more Black Swallowtails, for instance, plant fennel, dill and parsley, their preferred host-plants; to attract more Monarchs, plant milkweeds.

Many host plants are trees such as willows, birches and poplars that may already be growing in your yard or neighbourhood. Others are wildflowers such as Queen Anne's Lace, goldenrod and nettles. The key to creating a butterfly habitat is diversity; the more variety of plants you have, the more butterflies and other insects will be attracted to your garden.

One of the great advantages of organic gardening is the feeling such a garden creates. When you're working in an 'organic' garden, listening to the happy drone of bees or chitterings of birdsong, or seeing butterflies dancing around you, you feel at one with nature and yourself.

Sources

Beaurain, Bill (2000). Flowers and plants that attract butterflies [online]. Available: http://www.thegardenhelper.com/Butterflies.htm (May 16, 2000).

Boyd, Gillian. (1997). Gardening for butterflies [online]. Available: http://www.achilles.net/~ofnc/htbutter.htm (May 16, 2000).

Lindgren, Dale T., Spomer, Stephen M. and Greving, Amy. (1996). Nebguide: Butterfly Gardening [online]. Available: http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/horticulture/g1183.htm (May 16, 2000).

Stell, Elizabeth. (1995). Rodale's successful organic gardening: landscaping with perennials. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press.

Susan Ward is a freelance writer living in Comox, B.C. who has a passion for gardening. She is the Suite101 Editor for Gardening in B.C. and writes for magazines such as BackHome.


Designing Deer Deterrents

by Rebecca Green
Natural Deer Control

Deer are just about everywhere. As the human population has moved into wooded areas, problems with the native deer eating your garden are becoming more and more prevalent. If you are an animal lover who is striving to have a garden and live harmoniously with nature, do not despair. There are numerous humane methods and organic products available to protect landscape plants from deer browsing (i.e., deer eating your plants). The most effective methods are described below.

Design deer resistance into your landscaping

The most effective means of managing a deer problem is to use plants deer dislike. While it may seem like deer will eat just about anything, this really isn't true. Deer have strong likes and dislikes. They also seem to know which plants are poisonous to them. Unfortunately, many of the plants deer like to eat have become some of the most common landscape plants. However, there are dozens of readily available plants that deer will almost never eat, many of which are more beautiful and interesting than the more widely used staples deer find to be so tasty.

Add natural deterrents

If you have some mature plants that are all of the sudden being devoured by deer, or if you long for one or two specimens of a plant deer think of as candy, deer deterrents are possibly just what you need. While they may not be practical to use on every plant in your garden, they are very effective and relatively easy to use on a few select specimens. Deer will almost always stay away from plants that offend two or more of their senses. As such, if a plant not only tastes bad, but smells bad too deer will stay away from it and the general area it is planted in. The deer resistant gardener can us this to his or her advantage.

Some of the most effective and natural deer deterrents are: hot pepper wax, garlic oil, predator urine and fragrant soaps. Hot pepper wax is possibly the most effective deterrent available that works on the sense of taste. Deer hate spicy foods! Combined with a deterrent that offends the sense of smell, hot pepper wax will render your plants almost deer proof. Garlic oil, predator urine and fragrant soaps are all highly effective companions to hot pepper wax. When deer smell the urine of their natural predator, the coyote, they literally run for their lives. If a brave deer decides he or she needs a quick bite to eat before they start running they will think again once they bite into a plant covered in hot pepper wax. A deer would have to be on the verge of starvation to eat a plant covered in hot pepper wax, when the scent of his or her enemy is nearby and the food smells like soap or garlic. It just doesn't get worse than this for deer.

Add a physical barrier

Deer netting can be used in combination with sturdy wooden stakes to create a fence around large plantings or can be wrapped around individual plants. In addition, deer hate to walk on netting. As such, it may be secured to the ground to deter deer from entering garden beds.

Please remember, if deer are starving they will take extraordinary efforts to get to and eat your plants. As such, during extremely bad conditions, such as drought and/or a severe winter, the effectiveness of any deer deterrent or barrier will be less than optimal.

Rebecca Green is the Horticulturist and Founder of My Deer Garden (www.mydeergarden.com). My Deer Garden is a web site dedicated to helping homeowners understand their deer problem (called deer browsing). We offer some free garden plans, a plant database, gardening tips and the option to order a custom garden design just for you (developed with you interactively over the Internet). We specialize in the use of plants that deer generally don't eat. Additionally we sell a number of products to help prevent deer from eating your garden.

 



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