Home & Garden

Time to pick strawberries!

Time to pick strawberries!

Strawberry season is upon us here in Maine for the 2012 season!  And it is important to get out there as soon as you can since the season is not expected to last as long this year.  We're actually ahead a little bit since normally the picking starts around the 4th of July.  So get out there and support your local farmers!  There are lots of pick your own options.  We went to Maxwell's Farm in Cape Elizabeth but there are others.  We will make strawberrry jam with these.  In case you missed it last here is a link to the story I did last year about making jam!  CLICK HERE!

Cover Crop - Alfalfa

Cover Crop - Alfalfa

Cover cropping is an important part of soil and garden health.  Every few years, say 2-3 years it's a good idea to let a garden plot rest from all the veggies you've been planting on it.  Part of that rest period involves planting a cover crop in it that does several things.  First of all it competes with weed seeds and helps keep them at bay.  Second, if you plant a legume like alfalfa or cow peas the roots will actually add nitrogen, a valuable nutrient, BACK into the soil.  Normally your veggies scarf up all the nitrogen they can find.  Finally when it's time to replant your garden you can till in this cover crop and it will add organic matter to the soil.  If you do this faithfully along with a healthy spreading of manure once a season you will never have to use chemical fertilizers!

Cover Crop - Alfalfa

Cover Crop - Alfalfa

Cover cropping is an important part of soil and garden health.  Every few years, say 2-3 years it's a good idea to let a garden plot rest from all the veggies you've been planting on it.  Part of that rest period involves planting a cover crop in it that does several things.  First of all it competes with weed seeds and helps keep them at bay.  Second, if you plant a legume like alfalfa or cow peas the roots will actually add nitrogen, a valuable nutrient, BACK into the soil.  Normally your veggies scarf up all the nitrogen they can find.  Finally when it's time to replant your garden you can till in this cover crop and it will add organic matter to the soil.  If you do this faithfully along with a healthy spreading of manure once a season you will never have to use chemical fertilizers!

Gravely With Cultivator

Gravely With Cultivator

I'm preparing a garden bed for a cover crop.  It has been so rainy that this area has been perpetually wet but I thought I would use the Gravely Model Li with a front mounted cultivator to aerate the soil a bit and see if I could get it to dry out.  Normally this implement is used to remove weeds between rows of crops but I think it worked pretty well for me!

Gravely With Cultivator

Gravely With Cultivator

I'm preparing a garden bed for a cover crop.  It has been so rainy that this area has been perpetually wet but I thought I would use the Gravely Model Li with a front mounted cultivator to aerate the soil a bit and see if I could get it to dry out.  Normally this implement is used to remove weeds between rows of crops but I think it worked pretty well for me!

Mulching Potatoes

Mulching Potatoes

After you have hilled your potatoes up a few times and you don't have any soil left in your rows to DO any more hilling it's a good idea to mulch them.  If you can afford it buy a salt hay type mulch which has little to no weed seed in it.  Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch and again it is ok to nearly cover the leaves of the plant.  The mulch keeps weeds out and moisture in and also prevents sunlight from reaching any tubers that may come to the surface.  If sunlight hits your exposed potatoes they will turn green and become inedible!

Mulching Potatoes

Mulching Potatoes

After you have hilled your potatoes up a few times and you don't have any soil left in your rows to DO any more hilling it's a good idea to mulch them.  If you can afford it buy a salt hay type mulch which has little to no weed seed in it.  Apply a 2-3 inch layer of mulch and again it is ok to nearly cover the leaves of the plant.  The mulch keeps weeds out and moisture in and also prevents sunlight from reaching any tubers that may come to the surface.  If sunlight hits your exposed potatoes they will turn green and become inedible!