Category Archives: gardening

Why Landscape Fabric Should be Avoided in a Garden

Landscape fabric causes ecosystem damage and limits functionality. There are better options for suppressing weeds.

Source: Why Landscape Fabric Should be Avoided in a Garden

There are better ways to keep weeds down and create a low maintenance space. Start by avoiding spacing your plants in an area covered with landscape fabric and imported mulch. Instead, choose eco-friendly and sustainable natural options to make your life easier in the garden.

  • Select a diverse range of plants suited to your location. Perennials and self-seeders will help to create a more affordable and low maintenance scheme that just gets better over time.
  • Combine plants to create areas of dense, layered planting, with less space for weeds. By choosing the right combinations of plants for your polyculture (which will not compete overly with one another), you can sow more densely, with a layered planting scheme.
  • Use ground cover planting to protect the soil and reduce weed growth. 
  • Line beds, borders, or pathways with spring bulbs or other plants to suppress grass and weed ingress into growing areas.
  • Choose organic mulches wisely to suit the setting, and ideally source materials from elsewhere in your garden or as close to home as possible. Thick organic mulches won’t eliminate weeds entirely but they can help to keep them under control, while adding fertility and conserving water in the soil.

Native plant gardening for species conservation

Declining native species could be planted in urban green spaces. Researchers from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU), Leipzig University and other institutions describe how to use this great potential for species protection. In their most recent study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, they recommend practical conservation gardening methods in a bid to restructure the horticultural industry and reverse plant species declines.

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Despite global efforts to protect biodiversity, many plant species are still declining. In Germany, this includes 70 percent of all plant species, with almost a third (27.5 percent) threatened, and 76 species are already considered extinct. Much of this loss can be attributed to the decline in natural habitats, in part due to increasing urbanization. Ten percent of the total area of Germany, for example, is settlement area.

However, it is precisely these settlement areas that hold enormous—albeit untapped—potential for nature conservation. After all, these areas include millions of private gardens, balconies and green roofs, as well as parks and other public green spaces. Researchers from iDiv, the Universities of Halle and Leipzig and other institutions propose using these potentially available areas for conservation gardening.

Source: Native plant gardening for species conservation

Maple Syrup Experiment Finale

Finished up th maple syrup experiment a few days ago. (I’ve been really lax about posting.)
I started real late, and only tapped the tree for 4 days, so didn’t get a lot, but, I ended up with a little over a quart of syrup. I boiled it down most of the way using some roasting pans on the gas grill. This took about 12 or so hours over two days. then finished it up inside on the stove.
Total cost was about $24, which is on par with buying organic maple syrup at NLC, and more expensive than regular maple syrup in the grocery store.
Probably the cost would have been less if I’d boiled it down over a wood fire. So, it was fun, and interesting, but not economical.
Here’s pics of the finished product.



More maple Sugaring

Pictures by request:

Here's my pitiful setup.
Here's my pitiful setup. The 2x4 is to weigh the lid down.

Another view (Yes, the kitty litter container was cleaned out real good before using it for this.)
Another view (Yes, the kitty litter container was cleaned out real good before using it for this.)

A blurry view of the tap setuo
A blurry view of the tap setuo

My container.  It's about half full.  I'll probably start boiling sap tomorrow. WOOT!
My container. It's about half full. I'll probably start boiling sap tomorrow. WOOT!

Maple Sugaring

That’s the technical term for collecting sap, and making syrup out of it. We have one maple on our property, and I thought I’d experiment with making syrup this year. I bought a tap and some tubing (to go to the bucket) today for $2 and change. The bucket was free (something I already had), and I’m storing the sap in a plastic tote until I get enough to boil down. I’m going to use the gas burner on my gas grill for that. We’ll see how it goes. I think it’ll be fun, and cheaper than buying real maple syrup at the store but more expensive than fake maple flavored syrup.
I’ll get back to you all on how it goes.
Here’s a tutorial on it.
And the book Maple Sugaring by Helen and Scott Nearing