Plants: When to Hold Them, When to Fold Them

...itus says, “all things are flowing.” The best gardeners I know don’t suffer the attachments to plants that I do. They are much more ruthless. If a tree is in the wrong place it gets cut down. If two plants are too close together, one gets ripped out. What Pierce’s disease looks like. I’m trying to get the hang of this lack of attachment. This fall I get to rip out a grape vine that has graced our entrance ar...

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Physalis pruinosa a.k.a. “Ground Cherry”

...na). Physalis pruinosa is part of a genus Physalis of the nightshade or Solanaceae family, which includes edible plants such as tomatoes and potatoes, and psychotropic plants such as datura and tobacco. Many plants of the nightshade family combine edibility and toxicity–Physalis pruinosa has edible fruit that tastes something like a cross between a pineapple and a tomato, with the rest of the plant being poisonous. The Physalis genus, which...

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Root Knot Nematodes, Meliodogyne spp.

...odes and not all are garden pests. However, the root knot nematode is a very annoying pest indeed. Above ground, plants are stunted. Below ground, the little guys are sucking on the plant’s roots and robbing it of nutrients. This weakens the overall root system, starves the plant and allows entry points for fungus and disease. Bad stuff. I have had plants that mysteriously won’t grow. No amount of fertilizer, water or sunlight seems t...

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Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

...g things, we now have a beautiful flowering mullein plant (Verbascum thapsus). Verbascum thapsus is one of those plants that most people think of as a weed. Native to Europe and Asia, Verbascum thapsus was introduced to North America because of its many medicinal uses, almost too many to list. Most commonly used for respiratory problems, it also makes both green and yellow dyes and doubles as a fish poison! Tradition holds that it also wards off...

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More On Preventing Plants From Falling Over

Mrs. Homegrown’s post on her storm-flattened flax patch reminded me that I had a photo I took while taking John Jeavons’ Biointensive workshop earlier this month. In front of Jeavons is a bed of fava beans, also notorious for falling over in the slightest breeze. The randomly strung network of twine will support the fava as it grows. You can see from my own fava bed below that I could have benefited from this low tech solution: Whi...

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Saturday Linkages: Talking Plants, Microbes, Groundcovers, Shaving Rituals

Maybe Prince Charles was right after all: British scientists reveal plants really do talk http://bit.ly/Lr30hj Finally, A Map Of All The Microbes On Your Body http://n.pr/M2V5FQ   Groundcovers for gaps: http://ow.ly/1NEm0w Unique Shaving & Grooming Rituals from History and Around the World | The Art of Manliness http://artofmanliness.com/2012/06/07/shaving-rituals/ Handlebar Bicycle Hanger Suspends Your Ride from the Wall | Designs &...

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Saturday Linkages: Beer Caps n’ Plants

Beer cap floor via Dude Craft. DIY Beer Cap Bathroom Floor http://www.dudecraft.com/2013/04/beer-cap-bathroom-floor.html … Lecture on stone-wall building, with miniature stone wall built: http://boingboing.net/2013/04/02/lecture-on-stone-wall-building.html … Plants! Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land http://j.mp/12r218m Transmitted light photos of houseplants: http://plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/2013/04/excepti...

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Favorite Plants- New Zealand Spinach

New Zealand Spinach, Tetragonia tetragonioides. When the lettuce wilts in the heat, caterpillars and aphids destroy the kale and your swiss chard is plagued by powdery mildew…. there is New Zealand spinach. It is not a true spinach but is in a genus all its own. The leaves are triangular in shape, and very succulent. They grow on long, rambling stalks. The seeds are triangular as well and the plant will reseed if you let it. It tends to...

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Deadly Nightshade vs. Black Nightshade

...h ripe berries and vegetative parts tacking these compounds. Shilling et al. (1992) therefore concluded that the plants are probably only poisonous to indiscriminate feeders such as livestock who might consume the whole plant. However, these plants are browsed and used as fodder for animals without any detrimental effect in some areas, and Rogers and Ogg (1981) suggested that the development of toxic levels of these alkaloids is dependent on thei...

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Resilient Gardens

..., I think, will have to do more and more with identifying and perhaps even breeding tough-ass, locally adapted plantsPlants that are known survivors can form the backbone of your garden. Each year you can try to plant tender favorites, exotics, delicate plants of all sorts, whatever you want–and if the roll of the weather dice falls in your favor, you may harvest those plants. But that backbone of tough plants will be there, so you...

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