Political Commentary

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

From the Gardens Registrar: Plant Exchange June 3; Comfrey; Voles; Workday This Weekend

Hello Gardeners,

PLANT EXCHANGE JUNE 3 – On Sunday, June 3, starting at 10:00am, we will have an informal plant exchange at the Eagle Heights Garden, at the Arbor. If you have extra plants to share, or hope to pick up some plants you’re missing, stop in. Please note that the plants people bring have not been raised professionally, so keep an eye out for diseases. We’ll also have more free seeds for summer crops – summer and winter squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons.

COMFREY – Comfrey is another widespread weed in our garden, and many gardeners struggle to get rid of it. If it’s taken over your garden, the only way to get rid of it is to dig it up, over and over again, until it’s finally all gone. It has big thick roots that go deep. But unlike the wire grass and thistles, it’s actually an attractive and useful plant. It will be blooming soon, with large beautiful blue/purple flowers. The plant is sometimes grown as a decorative perennial, and has uses in herbal medicine. But its greatest use for organic gardeners is as mulch and compost. Because the leaves are high in nitrogen and potassium, and they break down very quickly, you can cut them and use them as mulch around your plants. Or you can add them to a compost pile. Here’s a link to the ever-useful Wikipedia, with a good article on comfrey and a few pictures: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comfrey

VOLES – One of the worst pests in our gardens is the vole. Voles are small mouse-like animals also known as meadow mice or field mice. They reproduce ferociously – one pair can produce as many as 100 offspring in a year. They eat insects and slugs, but unfortunately, they also eat just about every kind of plant. Fortunately, they have many natural predators, such as hawks, owls, and coyotes.  One of the best ways to deter them is to not give them habitat, by pulling your weeds and removing mulch from your garden. They don’t like feeding on bare ground – they prefer to be able to hide in vegetation. But many of us depend on mulch to protect our plants from weeds and reduce watering. (I’m not giving up my mulch.) Here are some other ideas about how to control them naturally: https://www.homeremedynation.com/how-to-get-rid-of-voles-in-your-garden/

WORKDAY THIS WEEKEND – We are tentatively planning a workday for this Saturday morning, June 2, 9am – Noon, at Eagle Heights. There will be two projects. Some gardeners will work to organize and control the weed pile, which has spread out beyond its boundaries. Other gardeners will start work on renovating a garden plot. I’ll send out the Doodle Poll link separately.

Happy Gardening,  

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