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Mother Earth Gardener

Mother Earth Gardener

Winter 2019

Mother Earth Gardener is your complete guide to the rich past and traditional uses of time-tested edible, medicinal and ornamental plant varieties.

United States
Ogden Publications, Inc.
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4 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
trials and triumphs

THIS ISSUE MARKS my one-year anniversary with Heirloom Gardener. At this time last year, I mused about the process of gardening and how it’s akin to painting, and I admitted that during winter, I turn my creativity toward garden planning. This time around, I’m reflecting on how much of that planning came to fruition. I’m happy to say that a great deal sprouted and grew. Excess Roma tomatoes became sauce, mystery peppers were fermented into too-hot-to-eat condiments, love-in-a-mist reseeded as fall arrived, agastache established itself in my new pollinator bed, and a group of odd squash volunteered out of compost dumped from a secondhand worm bin. (It turned out to be ‘Tromboncino’ squash, an heirloom in the Cucurbita moschata species.) Careful planning does makes the toil worth it, and I do…

6 min.
feedback from our readers

MAKING A HOUSE A HOME More than 60 years ago, Tarleton State University exercised eminent domain and bought all the houses on our street in Stephenville, Texas. The college paid a fair market price to everyone, but my family had to move. Luckily, a local man was building a small frame house just a few blocks away, near the elementary school. Since I was just going into first grade at the time, the location was perfect for me; I could easily walk or ride my bike to school. Plus, our family of six was accustomed to small spaces; in the past, we had shared a single bathroom, so there were plenty of times we had to hurry so we could all take our baths with hot water and still be on…

1 min.
join the conversation!

Reader Lyn Hattie asked a question about using well-composted horse manure for seed starting, and her question inspired lots of advice about finding weed-free, organic starter mix around the home. CARROLL MCKINNEY: Make compost tea with it. Fill a bucket two-thirds full with manure, fill it with water, and let it sit for a day. Use the water on your plants and garden. Pour off the seeds that float up. DORRIE SOUTH MIGHTON: For seed starts, I create a half-and-half mix of peat moss and black cinder sand. We call it “breakfast mix”! If you don’t have peat moss, I’ve heard coconut hulls also work well. This mixture won’t have weeds, and has just the right amount of moisture and looseness for seeds. CHRIS SPIVIA: We also use a mixture of horse, steer,…

4 min.
inspired garden accessories

Wrap up your harvest with the Bee’s Wrap Variety Pack, a flexible assortment of reusable food wraps made with organic cotton fabric, and covered in a thin coating of beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. There are four different wrap sizes in this pack of seven that’ll cover everything from cherry tomatoes to a loaf of fresh-baked bread. The two small wraps easily bundle small fruits, such as a handful of grapes or a whole lemon. The two medium wraps are big enough to envelop a block of cheese or cover a bowl, while the two large wraps provide enough space for half a melon. The largest wrap completely covers a casserole dish or encloses a loaf of bread. Simply clean used wraps with gentle soap in cool water,…

3 min.
botanical bulletin

STARGUS MOVES INTO MEXICO Chemical fungicides used in commercial farming continue to be a source of pollution and stress on the environment. However, one of the international leaders in sustainable bioprotection, Marrone Bio Innovations, has announced promising news for crop protection. The company's bacterial biofungicide, sold as Stargus in the United States, has been approved for use in Mexico. The plant-friendly fungicide combats diseases in zucchini and other squash, cucumber, watermelon, and potato crops. It also controls downy mildews and late blight, common ailments in humid climates. The active ingredient in Stargus is a new strain of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, which is now known as B. nakamurai. This strain was approved for use in Mexico because of its low toxicity profile, making it a healthier alternative to the fungicides currently in use. Mexico is…

4 min.
new heirloom offerings for your garden

‘Purple of Sicily’ Cauliflower An early spring vegetable, cauliflower has risen in popularity as a low-carb substitute in a variety of dishes. If you want to grow your own, you’ll be happy to know that this Italian heirloom is one of your best bets: It’s both rich in minerals and naturally insect-resistant, which allows each head to grow to an average weight of 2 to 3 pounds. One gardener noted, “The leaves were large enough to swaddle a baby, and there was a purple head, which would grow to the size of a serving platter.” The purple florets turn green and sweeten when sautéed. In most Zones, you’ll need to start the seeds indoors, 4 to 6 weeks before your Zone’s transplant date. ‘Purple of Sicily’ will also germinate outdoors in moderate…