Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deadly Late Blight Emerges

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Stawberry Pots Forever

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Demand Better

The damn oil leak in the Gulf will eventually impact all of us, not just the unfortunate residents of the coast. The damage is significant. We are all going to pay a hefty price. And as this story continues to unravel, I suspect the idiocy in the lack of preparation, the greed for money and lack of environmental concern will become more pronounced.
Eleven workers lost their lives, the real human tragedy often overlooked in the aftermath, when the first explosion on Deepwater Horizon rig rumbled at 9:56 pm on April 20th. It was the first of three explosions and 11 workers lost their lives, their bodies never recovered. The workers were from small towns in the region, many had families. Lives have been forever shattered.
May they rest in peace: Donald Clark, Newellton, LA; Stephen Curtis, Georgetown, LA; Blair Manuel, Eunice, LA; Gordon James, Baton Rogue, LA; Roy Wyatt Kemp, Jonesville, LA; Karl Kleppinger, Jr., Natchez, MS; Dewey Revette, State Line, MS; Aaron Dale Burheen, Philadelphia, MS; Adam Weise, Yorktown, Texas; and Jason Anderson, Bay City, Texas.

Fossil fuels are dangerous and an environmental hazard waiting to blow up in our faces. None of us are immune. Recently, on June 3rd a Marcellus Shale gas well malfunctioned near Clearfield, Pennsylvania, sending a plume of polluted water and natural gas spewing into the atmosphere for 16 hours before the well was controlled.
The Marcellus Gas Shale deposit are rich and cover a large area of the eastern United States, including Pennsylvania and New York. The rich deposits promise to bring economic good news to many of the small communities, similar to the small Gulf communities. But at what cost?
It is not the first time a Marcellus Gas well threatened the fragile environment and there have been previous fish kills and polluted waters in the drilling process. In the Clearfield incident, initial investigations indicate blowoff relief valves malfunctioned, similar to the Deepwater Horizon incident.
The company drilling the Clearfied well was EOG of Houston, Texas. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources has suspended and restricted the company from drilling anymore wells in Pennsylvania. No one was injured in the incident and allegedly no environmental damage was discovered. But the danger remains as other companies continue to drill for gas.

June 19 is listed as national SolarDay, a day set aside to promote clean solar energy. Governments and fossil fuel energy companies will not act effectively until homeowners and citizens begin to learn and about and use solar energy a renewable, non-polluting energy source. Money talks, everything else walks. The technology is here and will get better, learn more, take action to help the environment, the fossil fuel binge needs to end. No customers, no money no drilling; go green for the children's sake.
For more information, check out the link above for SolarDay. Many states now have programs and rebates to become involved with solar power. The time has come to retire the old fossil fuels. Enough is enough.

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Brandywine Tomato
early May:

This heirloom variety is respected for being one of the best tasting. They are also hardy. This past week, I started to plant mine. The seeds were sown in an old flower box and covered with an old clear plastic garbage bag and left outside. It snowed and on several occasions the temps dropped to 25 degree F. It didn't seem to phase the seedlings.
Brandywines are a potato leaf variety and are beginning to ripen in mid-August. I'm not exactly sure who first gave me the seeds; it has been a number of years ago and every year I save a new batch.
Last week:

The Dirty Dozen non-organic Vegetables:

Celery is number one for ranking on the list of vegetables which contains hazardous pesticide residue. To learn more, read this article with links. Eat healthy this summer and learn about the celery substitute.

More Outdoor and Garden Updates:

Got a late spring start with the vegetable garden? July and August can be a good time to plant a fall garden and still get a good harvest.

Aphids being a problem? Read some natural controls to aphids.

Slugs and Snails? There's been a lot of rain and the critters are all over. Here are some actions.

Grasshoppers bugging your garden? Read about these natural controls.

Need a good plant for a shady and moist area? Here is a suggestion and it will be Christmas year round.
Or how about this woodland favorite?

Darn Mosquitoes? Natural Controls

Good Blogs to Read

On Your Way to the Top

Urban veggie Garden

New York's Southern Tier

Simply Snickers

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

The "Dirty Dozen": Celery in the lead

Lovage is a good herb to have around. The flavor is very similar to celery and the leaves, stems, and roots can be used in many recipes. It produces a rather large flower and seed head. The dried seeds taste just like celery seed.
Perhaps, it is time to start eating more of this herb, or planting it following the recent release of a study by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit environmental group. According to their list of the top 12 “Dirty Dozens” vegetables which can the most pesticide residue, non-organic celery ranks NUMBER ONE. According to this report, if you eat non-organic celery, you could be consuming 67 different pesticides.
Something to think about when you think your eating healthy eating raw veggies on the vegetable tray.
Washing and peeling doesn't eliminate these harmful substances found in non-organic vegetables and fruits, according to the study based on data from the USDA. So, if your eating fruits and vegetables from non-organic sources every day, you could be slowly poising yourself and family.
The looming question remains the cumulative effect of eating habits, medications, water and other environmentally toxic substances which are deem “healthy” on our health.
Some of the most persuasive arguments, I have heard for raising your own organic crops or buying from organic growers in your local area. Sure pulling weeds, weather, bugs, and other gardening headaches are troublesome, but when compared to the health benefits, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the answer.
The EWG has a download available for shoppers, as well as other recommendations. It is really an eye opener and informative.
The others on the “Dirty Dozen” list on non-organic fruits and vegetables which contain high amounts of pesticide residue ranked in order are: peaches, strawberries, apples, blueberries, nectarines, bell peppers, spinach, kale, cherries, potatoes and imported grapes.
For more information on lovage and it's uses, please click this article.

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The Upside Down Jalapeno Hanging Basket -the project

The garden fad is topsy turvy tomatoes this year. One can be made inexpensively at home as well as a upside down jalapeno hanging basket. Memorial Day is generally sort of a kick-off time for vegetable gardens and planting can take place for most of June. Pictured is an attempt at a topsy turvy jalapeno basket, planted on Memorial Day weekend. It's not “hung” yet; I think the plant needs to get a little larger. It was a smaller left over pepper plant from a seed tray.
As usual, the some of the garden is late but it will all get done before Labor Day.


A good vegetable garden plant. They are attractive to look at and good for many beneficial insects. They also can used as a trap crop for aphids. Pictured is a movable garden planted and the nasturtiums are just beginning to germinate. It will be moved around the garden to trap aphids away from veggie they like to eat. Once the plant is full of the tiny insects, the planter will be moved to a different location and sprayed with water. The aphids don't like that, fall off the plant (they don't hurt the narturtium), and break their legs. Read more about aphid control, here.


Normally not considered a common, every year pest for home gardeners, grasshopper could be a problem this year particularly in the mid-west and west. There are some rangelands in the western states which are experiencing quite a cyclic problem this year.
For vegetable gardeners, if the grasshoppers are becoming a problem, there are some natural and organic solutions to manage the insect.

A Bumblebee on Chives in Bloom

Chives are good for kitchen use and a nice plant in the garden. The bees also enjoy the flowers.

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Blogs to Read

On Your Way to the Top

Urban Veggie Garden

Simply Snickers

New York's Southern Tier