Organic Gardening

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2/26/2015

Allegheny Spurge 

In many cases, I've discovered the Asian counterpart of our native plants to be much showier, more robust and in many instances more floriferous than our native species. Take Claytonia, for example. Our native Claytonia virginica and Claytonia caroliniana are very early, beautiful little plants. But, although their flowers are lovely, they're very small and the entire plant is extremely ephemeral. On the other hand, Claytonia Sibirica has thicker, more deeply veined foliage and flowers for months.

One major exception to this rule is Pachysandra procumbens. P.p. is an East Coast member of the Buxaceae (Boxwood) family and is commonly referred to as "Allegheny Spurge". It's superior to the more commonly used (Asian) Pachysandra terminalis in virtually every respect.

The Asian Pachysandra terminalis is a very aggressive, stoloniferous thug in the garden. And although this can be a benefit if you want to fill in a very large area super fast, its well behaved American cousin, P. procumbens, is a clump forming groundcover that fills in an area slowly, but much more elegantly.

P. procumbens is hardy in most areas of the US, probably into zone 4, maybe even 3. In  zones 7-10 or during mild Winters elsewhere,  it stays evergreen. In colder areas it will be a herbaceous perennial.

In the early spring, P.p. shoots up really cool spikes of pink and white fragrant flowers that last for a week or two. Soon after the flowers have set seed, the first vegetative shoots poke their heads through the soil and their dark green leaves begin to unfold. In deep shade, the foliage remains a dark, luxurious green all summer. The more sun that the plants get, the lighter their leaves are. I planted a row in full sun as an experiment to test the plants extremes. The plants in the sun were healthy and productive, but the leaves were paler in color, some with an almost chloritic appearance. This is definitely a dappled to deep shade plant.

In the late summer to early fall, P.p. reminds us of the approaching Autumnal equinox by "opening its windows to let in more light". This effect takes its form as beautiful silvery mottling on the leaves that I can only compare to snowflakes in the respect that no two leaves are alike. Oh the joy of jumping around on the ground like a frog from plant to plant, trying to select the most striking patterns. In the end, they're all brilliant and unique.

P.p. is a very easy, but slow plant to propagate. You can take stem/leaf cuttings in the early spring, but rhizome divisions are quicker and easier. On a mature rhizome, there many "joints.” If you make a complete cut at each joint, leaving the plant above it with a few good roots intact, you will have several 2-4-inch pieces that you can pot up or lay out in a flat and cover with about a 1/2 inches of soil. Root pieces taken in the early spring, while the plants are still dormant, will produce new plants ready for planting the same season.

All in all, it's difficult to find a better, all around, more useful, adaptable ground cover plant than Pachysandra procumbens.


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2/25/2015

 wood flats

The weather will soon give way to temperatures warm enough to plant in our gardens and we need to have transplants ready, which means starting the seeds ahead of time. Although I start most of my seeds in the cold frame, rather than in flats, I thought I’d share what I did when I used flats. If you feel you don’t need to worry about flats because you have plenty of plastic food containers coming into your home that you can use, you might want to rethink that. What are you buying in those plastic containers? If your diet consisted of mostly whole foods prepared at home, those containers wouldn’t be a resource for you.

I would like to encourage you to make your own seed starting flats from wood. When I made the switch to wood flats I used scrap wood we already had, cutting it to the dimensions I needed on our table saw. If you don’t have a table saw, or a ready supply of scrap wood, you might be able to acquire a pallet or two to take apart. It would be nice if the boards on the pallet were the same as the height of the sides you want on your flats. However, unless you need everything to be the same size, you can work with some variation. I had old 1/2-inch plywood that I used for the bottoms, but you can put multiple narrow strips (such as pallet boards) for the bottom, if that is what you have to work with. Plywood does not work as well for the sides. It tends to come apart.

If you are working with many flats, it is nice if the footprint is the same — the length and width. If your flats are large, having some half that size would work--two would fill the same footprint. It makes it easier when using and when storing. Having flats of varying depths, however, can be handy. If you are starting seeds that won’t be in the flats too long, a shallow depth, say 2 inches, would suffice. If your seeds will be in the flat longer, or if you want flats to transplant into, you will need deeper flats — maybe as deep as 6 inches.

I built a three-tiered stand with lights to hold the flats when starting seeds. The shelves were made from ¾-inch plywood that was coated with the type of polyurethane you would use on boats. Wood flats will be damp, but I did not have trouble with them leaking water, unless I over-watered, of course. I put the wood flats directly on the plywood shelves. Depending on the surface you will be using, you might want to cover it with plastic, at least until you know the amount of moisture you will have under the flats.

I followed the guidelines in New Organic Grower and in How To Grow More Vegetables for my early wood flats. You can read about that experience at Homeplace Earth. It was great to use the directions in those two books as a starting point for building my own. I learned what I liked about the size of both designs and would have worked more toward building a quantity to the dimensions that suited me the best if I had not stopped using flats for most of my seedlings. I discovered that I could plant seeds directly in the cold frames to start and didn’t need to bother with the flats at all.

No matter what, there are always new things to learn and experiment with. I hope you give wood flats a try. They will last a long time and you won’t have a build-up of plastic trash in your garden shed. No doubt, you will find other uses for your wood flats when they are not holding soil and seedlings.

Cindy Conner is the author of Seed Libraries and Grow a Sustainable Diet and has produced DVDs about garden planning and managing cover crops with hand tools. Learn more about what she is up to at Homeplace Earth.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



2/23/2015

There are many articles about pollinator friendly flowers, but what about herbs? Herbs have many uses medicinal, culinary and even ornamental. They can be grown in containers, draping over walls and planted in drought tolerant landscapes and in the shade. Herbs are excellent choice for planting on hillsides to keep weeds smothered. Unfortunately, they are not usually considered to be part of the flower garden or landscape for our pollinating friends. With the many new varieties and old favorites available there is an herb out there for any use to beautify your garden.

Monarda or Bee Balm is a full sun perennial that most gardeners are familiar with. The bright red flowers of this plant are iconic. Though with recent introductions, there is a myriad of colors available. There are varieties such as ‘Lilac Lollipop’, with soft lilac colored blooms to ‘Coral Reef’ that has a mellowed orange hue. These new introductions can grow to approximately 24” in height depending on the variety, enjoying the same conditions as the parent plant. Deadheading will keep this plant producing blooms thought the growing season.

C

Hyssop is a very hardy, ancient herb mentioned in the Bible, “Thou shalt purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean,” verse 7 Psalm 51. It is a shrubby perennial that grows to 20 inches tall. This perennial is not really particular about soil and prefers full sun to partial shade. The lovely little blue flowers are a pollinator favorite.

Sage is a wonderful addition to the pollinator garden. There are so many scents, leaf variations and flower colors to this plant. Sage is a plant that prefers full sun and a basic soil. Two of my favorite’s sages are ‘Honey Melon’ and ‘White’. ‘Honey Melon’ is annual, bushy plant that has small red flowers that continuously blooms throughout the summer months. It has a pleasant tropical scent. It is used for culinary purposes. ‘White’ sage has attractive soft, white foliage with white flowers. Not only will the bees appreciate this plant, but so will the nocturnal pollinators.

'Honey Melon' Sage

Rosemary is a culinary plant that has numerous varieties from the prostrate ‘Irene’ to the culinary, woody stemmed ‘Barbeque’. Unfortunately, living in zone five, I did consider rosemary to be an annual. Happily, all that has changed with the introduction of cold hardy varieties such as ‘Arp’, ‘Hill Hardy’ and ‘Salem’. Rosemary requires full sun, average soil and not a lot of water. Rosemary is a good choice for a container plant.

Winter Savory is a wonderful, perennial, pollinator friendly plant that is complementary to the garden as well as the palate. Hardy zones 5 through 11, it requires full sun and well drained soil. This plant will be covered in white flowers, attracting all the beneficial pollinators while repelling unwanted pests. It has a nice flavor in cooking, and can be used as a salt substitute.

Thyme is another herb with many varieties to choose from. Thyme is a great plant for rock gardens, ground cover or difficult drought tolerant situations. Depending on the variety the flower color can range from white to magenta. The variegation and textures of the leaves can complement the flowers in your garden. The scents can vary as well- lemon, caraway and orange.

Borage is an annual herb easily grown from seed. Once established it will seed itself. It is long blooming plant, which makes it a wonderful food source for the bees when other flowering plants have become scarce. It grows in full sun to part shade and likes a fertile, well drained soil. Borage flowers are blue or white and are edible.

When growing herbs for medicinal or culinary uses please do your research. Just because it is oregano, it does not mean that it is for human consumption. Need more information on the plants mentioned in this blog? Like us on Facebook.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



2/21/2015

Crop rotation is an important factor of organic gardening. It’s just as important as composting and cover crops. By not following these simple steps of crop rotation the soil will require more input from the gardener. Soil-borne pests and diseases, low-to-no vegetable yields, and a reliance on store-bought products can all become a reality inside the vegetable garden. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way.

The good news is this garden is organic and the reliance is on the self. Here is how and why to rotate your vegetable crops to rely on your Self.

How to Rotate Vegetable Crops

Our yard is tiny, 43-by-21 feet tiny, not all of it is in the sun, and we have two female boxers who like to think it belongs to them. Therefore, our space is limited for gardening. We do have four, 8-by-4-foot vegetable plots located in the sunniest area. This is perfect for this simple form of organic crop rotation we found in the Encyclopedia of Gardening published by the American Horticultural Society.

The easiest way to follow crop rotation is to have four distinct areas in the garden. Each area will be home to one family of crops each growing season. By making a garden plan at the start of the season, it will be easy (and only become even easier) to know exactly where each crop will be planted at any time of the year.

Four Important Crop Families

Brassicas (Cabbage Family). Brassicas include everything from broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, and rutabagas to radishes, turnips, bok choi, oriental mustards, and mizuna greens to name a few. Given our one, 8-by-4 foot plot for brassica we like to keep it simple. After multiple failures growing romanesco, we have decided to grow spring and fall harvests of dwarf broccoli and kale this upcoming season.

Legumes and Pod Crops. Legumes and pod crops include all the many beans and peas and also okra. After multiple seasons of growing beans we have decided to switch it up this season by growing spring and fall harvests of two types of peas.

Alliums (Onion Family). Alliums include all the types of onions and also garlic. Bulb onions, pickling onions, welsh onions, oriental bunching onions, leeks, scallions, and shallots. And any other type of onion one can think of. This is where I am the least experienced. In fall we planted garlic and we have yellow onion seeds that just arrived in the mail.

Root, Solanaceous and Tuberous Crops. Roots, solanaceous, and tuberous crops include potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, parsnips, also eggplant, celery, sweet peppers, tomatoes, and taro to name some. To simplify things inside my own head I like to refer to this plot as only roots. That is because we enjoy growing potatoes and carrots so much.

Now with a general idea of the four crop families and what specific crop falls into each family, the only thing left to explain is how to move these four families from one garden plot, or section of the garden, to the next. This is easy. In the exact order I have mentioned them in.

I even came up with an acronym for simple crop rotation - BLAR. Brassicas, legumes, alliums, and roots. Each garden season every family of crops is rotated clockwise to a new plot. Brassicas are moved to last season’s legume plot. Legumes are moved to last season’s allium plot. Alliums are moved to last season’s root plot. And roots are moved to last season’s brassica plot.

Every fourth gardening season you will be right back where you started. This is how it only becomes easier and easier to remember what goes where each year. Even organizing many varieties and planting successions of crops becomes easier. But other than ease, why is it so important to rotate vegetable crops from season-to-season?

Why Rotate Vegetable Crops?

By following these simple crop rotation methods any potential build-up of soil-borne pests and diseases will be filtered out and the need to rely on non-organic herbicides, insecticides, or fungicides will never be necessary. The Encyclopedia of Gardening lists nematodes, clubroot, and onion white rot as some examples of soil-borne pests and diseases that will build-up if proper crop rotation is not followed.

Some other benefits of crop rotation are improved yields and workability of the soil, a reduction in soil crusting and erosion, and the recycling of plant nutrients, according to the USDA.

Potatoes cover the soil allowing few weeds to grow. When you plant onions after potatoes less weeding takes place. Peas and beans have the ability to fix nitrogen in the soil. Brassicas require high amounts of nitrogen to grow. When you plant broccoli after peas, the broccoli thrives from the extra nitrogen leftover in the soil.

Different plants require different amounts and types of nutrients. If broccoli is planted in the same location year after year the soil will require high inputs of nitrogen brought in from outside sources. More and more nitrogen will be needed. Eventually clubroot will become a major problem and chemicals will be required to combat that. Now nitrogen and chemicals become necessary. Next thing that happens is a reduction in broccoli yields. As you can see, not rotating vegetable crops will result in catastrophe.

This means one thing to me. An increased sense of self-reliance properly balanced with a decreased reliance on marketed, non-locally produced, store-bought items. Nature works if you work with her. If you push her, she’ll push you back. By practicing crop rotation, by composting, and by planting cover crops nature will know harmony and you will too. With that comes bountiful harvests and joy to share.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 


2/21/2015

Father and kids feeding ducks 

When I testify at hearings on proposed backyard chicken ordinances, the opposition always brings up, as one of the arguments against hens, the notion that chickens spread disease. In the past, I’ve scoffed at this because they don’t spread disease—any more than any other animal.

Now, things have changed. And, it’s up to us, as thoughtful hen keepers, to do what we can to help abate the spread of Avian Influenza.

Pacific-Flyway

Five states, located in the Pacific Flyway (where wild waterfowl migrate) have had recent incidences of waterfowl and/or backyard chickens testing positive for Avian Influenza. Those states include, California, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Idaho. The other states in the Flyway, that have so far dodged this bullet are, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming.

In my home state of Idaho, the Department of Agriculture recently confirmed the H5N2 strain of the Avian Influenza virus in three falcons from a private, non-commercial flock outside of Boise. The falcons were exposed to the virus after contact with a wild duck. Additionally, a small backyard poultry flock in in the same area was identified as having chickens positive for H5N2. That flock was immediately put under quarantine and the birds were depopulated. Ultimately, the state quarantined a six-square mile area in two counties until the threat passed and no new cases arose.

The bottom line is: if you free range your chickens and migratory waterfowl have access to your property/yard, your flock is at risk for Avian Flu. “If backyard hen keepers would take steps to prevent wild ducks from intermingling with their backyard chickens, it would significantly decrease the spread of the avian flu among domesticated flocks,” said Dr. Bill Barton, Idaho State Department of Agriculture. Wild waterfowl—specifically ducks, are vectors (meaning they carry the virus, but don’t succumb to it) pass along the virus. They do this through their dropping and their secretions (eyes, nose and mouth).

Wild wood duck 

Flocks that free-range in areas where migratory waterfowl have access are at highest risk. Cautious backyard chicken keepers should construct some sort of barrier between backyard flocks and wild duck populations. Also, if you live in an area where wild ducks gather, such as along neighborhood walking paths or in neighborhood ponds, practice biosecurity measures with your walking shoes. Don’t tread where your hens tread, if you’ve walked where ducks have walked. The risk is too great. Also, it’s absolutely necessary to practice thorough hand sanitation when handling backyard flocks.

Fortunately, at this writing, the outbreak doesn't pose risk to humans practicing sound hygiene. For your flock’s sake, KNOW THE SYMPTOMS: (including but are not limited to), coughing, sneezing, respiratory distress, decreased egg production, swelling of the head, comb and wattles and sudden death. For more information on the H5N2 virus contact your state Department of Agriculture.

Ithaca Chickens Free Range 

Photo of wood duck by Bob Young

Pacific Flyway photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page. 


2/21/2015

Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement spotlights 18 Oregon farms and farm supporters who are committed to a return to ecologically sound agricultural practices. This group reflects the diversity of people, both young and old, who are reshaping our state’s food system and reclaiming our right to eat well. In their stories you will hear how they came to be where they are, learn something about the challenges they face, and share their happiness at the successes they’ve enjoyed thus far. The following profile has been excerpted from Planting A Future. Read Adaptive Seeds Work to Reclaim Our Seed Heritage, Part 1 for more information.

Planting Garden Side House

Sarah and Andrew eventually founded Adaptive Seeds in January 2009, and then in November of that year, they reached an agreement to lease the property at their current location, which they named Open Oak Farm. But it’s hard to make a living as a start-up seed company, so Open Oak Farm began a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership to generate the revenue they needed to keep their farm afloat. The CSA worked out, and though it was a lot of work, it supported the initial growth of the seed business.

Now, five years later, Andrew and Sarah believe it’s time to take the plunge. They have terminated their CSA and made Adaptive Seeds their full-time commitment. But I guess the question is whether one hundred percent annual growth over a five year period is really enough to live on. It sounds good, but what does it mean in actual numbers?

Sarah admits some nerves… “this is the year that… I don’t want to say make it or break it, but yeah, that’s kind of what it is. And if it doesn’t work it probably means an off-farm job for one of us.”
Andrew remains resolute, “We’re trying to figure out where the money we made in our CSA is going to come from. The good part is that we’ll have that much more time to spend on the seeds, which we really needed to make the seed company flourish. And I believe if we’re smart and a little bit lucky and really, really tenacious, we will be able to make it work.”

Sarah adds, “But it’s one hundred percent dependent on the retail price point, right? If you’re a gardener you’ve probably noticed in seed catalogs that a pound of something will go for like $60 wholesale while a gram will retail for $3.50. Right? So that’s like a thousand seed packets… okay, not a thousand but there’s something like 450 grams per pound, so do the math. If you can sell retail by the gram then you’re making significantly more money.”

“Or at least you’re not losing as much money,” adds Andrew.

Sarah continues, “When we first got into the seed business, we were really disgusted by that math. And now that we better understand what the overhead and the loss and the risk is, we’re not feeling any better about it. It’s like a farmer getting five cents for a loaf of bread and the bread costs four bucks. That’s what the wholesale seed world is like.”

Andrew feels that it may be even worse than that. “Fundamentally, like many things in our society, it’s about money and who controls it. It’s like comparing mass-produced commodities to artisanal products that you know where they came from and that they’re actually high quality.”

Andrew emphasized that he and Sarah believe in producing seeds that people can save and reuse. But in the mainstream seed industry, most of the quality has been pushed off into hybrids, because they offer proprietary control. Individual companies control those seeds so farmers and gardeners can’t save them. At the same time, the open pollinated seeds which people can save have been purchased by large corporations that are allowing them to degrade into commodity status so they won’t compete quality-wise with their money-making hybrids.

Amazing Backyard Garden Farm

The end result of these practices is that many of the traditional, open pollinated seeds are such poor quality now that they won’t flourish in the field and they lack the nutritional profile they once offered. The Adaptive Seeds model is designed to reverse this trend.

“Our goal is to try to bring the value back to open pollinated and heritage seeds,” explained Andrew. “To steward them up to their potential and make them thrive and produce better. Because it’s kind of sad where the seed industry has gone, and it’s time to try to put it right again.”

Another key focus of Adaptive Seeds is their emphasis on the regional adaptability of their seeds. In fact, that’s where their name comes from. When seeds are planted and plants are grown in a specific type of environment, the plants that do the best job of adapting to that environment produce the best vegetables. Naturally, the seeds those plants produce will have the best chance of succeeding when they are planted in a similar environment.

In order to carry out their goals, Andrew and Sarah understand that they’ve first got to make the business work, which includes making a profit.

Sarah, as ever, takes a practical view of that issue… “I’ve been thinking about how many more thousand dollars we need to make this year over last year. And asking myself how many hours of filling little seed packets does that translate to.”

Andrew, the entrepreneur, explains… “We have an operation that probably shouldn’t be growing this fast, because it’s really hard to finance and prepare for. And we’re trying to self-finance it. It would be great to be in a position to not have to worry about cancerous growth every year, but we have to get to a critical mass as soon as possible to be a sustainable operation. We are close.”

Then Andrew, the former philosophy major, expounds, “You know, this discussion is getting into the nitty gritty details of the business, which is kind of weird, but it’s definitely part of it. It’s an undervalued part of agriculture. I think a lot of people will get into farming thinking it’s for the lifestyle, when the lifestyle is what falls out in the end. You have to have certain conditions in order for you to have that lifestyle. And having a business that works and knowing how to produce the food and knowing about your efficiencies and knowing how to market it and all that stuff is how you get to the lifestyle… but people think that you just have a lifestyle. Of course, all the things that get you to the lifestyle are actually part of what the lifestyle really is.”

And Sarah concludes… “Now I would like to go for a walk.”

And that’s all part of being adaptive. Being able to adapt to whatever life and the market and any particular pursuit throws at you. Just like Sarah and Andrew. 

Read Adaptive Seeds Help to Reclaim Our Seed Heritage, Part 1.

Order your copy of Planting A Future: Profiles from Oregon’s New Farm Movement.

(Top) Photo by Lisa D. Holmes: Sarah Kleeger displays some recently harvested cabbage seeds.

(Bottom) Photo by Lisa D. Holmes: Andrew Still makes some plant selection decisions in a row of coreopsis.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.



2/13/2015

 Leeks Fresh From Garden, Dehydrated And Frozen

This is the time of year when home gardeners are making their final seed selections for planting in their garden, ordering their choices from colorful seed catalogs. When deciding what to plant in your garden consider adding leeks to your garden. Leeks, which often hide in the shadows of their more famous allium cousins, can actually make gardening easier this year. They are delicious, low maintenance, take up very little space in your garden, are beneficial to other garden plants and preserving them is a breeze.

Leeks grow best in full sun, and prefer a fertile soil in a well prepared bed. Your leek transplants should be at least 1/16 inch in diameter, at least six to seven inches tall. Plant them mid to late Spring in the garden. Harden off your plants before planting. Ready the planting bed for your leek transplants by creating a trench approximately five inches deep. Take some of the soil, and crumble one inch of the dirt on the bottom of the trench. Softening the soil will help to ensure good root growth. Plant the leek plants six inches apart, leaving at least three inches of leaves above the soil. Every six weeks after planting, pull soil around the stalks to encourage blanching. Leeks are usually ready to harvest in three months. When harvesting your leeks make sure to dig up the leeks and not to pull them. You take the chance of tearing them apart or ruining the root system if you are planning on re-planting your leeks. There are a few varieties like ‘Lexton’ or ‘ Bandit’ that are Winter hardy. We live in zone 5 and have gone out to the garden with at least six inches of snow on the ground and dug our leeks. They were fresh and delicious.

Two of the more advantageous benefits of growing leeks are economical weapons called companion planting and crop rotation. Companion planting is the practice of interplanting various plants in the garden to repel pests. This is easily accomplished with leeks because they are high in sulfur content. Sulfur is one of the oldest known pesticides, and when leeks are planted in abundance, they can prevent the development of disease and fungus around other vegetables. Minimize insect and disease problems and you will have a healthy plant that can ward off many problems. This delicious member of the allium family could serve as a border around the garden. Interplanting with leeks also keeps weeding to a minimum because they can be planted closely together. Crop rotation is another possibility that can help deter soil pests. Because leeks are abundant in sulfur content, they could possibly leave trace amounts of this element in the soil. This could discourage harmful soil pests.

Leeks can also be preserved by freezing and dehydrating. To freeze leeks , wash leeks thoroughly and cut off the root. Chop leeks and spread out on a cookie sheet and put into the freezer. This will prevent the leeks from freezing together. When frozen place in a freezer bag. To dehydrate, clean properly, chop up leeks and place in your dehydrator. When finished drying place the leeks in a clean dry jar. Remember to put all unwanted leek scraps on the compost pile.

Need more information on any plants mentioned in my blogs? Check out our Facebook page at The Plant-It Earth Greenhouse And Gardens.


All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.









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