Barefoot in the Garden

Glorious Leaf Mould

Leaf Mold is the organic material left behind after leaves have undergone fungal decomposition. Leaf mold is the term used to describe the result of only decomposed leaves that haven’t had any other ingredients added. Letting leaves decompose separately from other organic matter yields a wonderfully beneficial soil conditioner that is dark brown to black, crumbly textured soil amendment with a pleasant earthy aroma. Leaves mixed in with compost take longer to decompose via aerobic bacterial action than other organic materials…

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Companion Planting with Leeks

Leeks are part of the Allium family. For the purpose of companion planting, leeks should generally be treated like onions. Leeks are related to onions, garlic and chives. They prefer full sun though partial shade is tolerable. They require moderate water and nutrients. Companion Plants should have similar soil, sunlight and watering requirements as well as an additional attribute such as pest or disease suppression, flavor enhancement or so forth. Leeks, chives, onion and garlic all emit a pungent aroma…

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From the Medicine Garden: Indigenous & Medicinal Lion’s Ear

Leonurus leonotis aka Lion’s Ear is an annual indigenous plant that grows very tall very quickly and likes full sun. Flowers occur in globes which are slightly prickly to touch with thin leaves immediately underneath. Flowers are orange and tubular with four stamens with white filaments.  The stem is very rigid and square. Lion’s Ear is common in fallow fields and is drought resistant and water wise. It likes a well drained soil but I have found it not to…

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Introducing our Medicinal, Herb and Indigenous Garden

Every garden deserves a wild place. Ours is filled with indigenous plants, medicinal herbs and healing plants. It wraps itself around the far corner and along the back wooden fence; closest to where we sit under the shade of the big bottle brush tree that is so often filled with birdsong. It is still new – everything lovingly placed with intention in carefully chosen places. All of these plants will act as companions to our entire garden as they attract…

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The Medicine Garden: Mother-in-Law’s Tongue to Relieve Earrache

A few years ago I attended a talk and demonstration by Master Herbalist, Peter M Von Maltitz who shared some of his (vast) knowledge of medicinal plants and herbs with us. It was fascinating and I took copious amounts of notes. He told us that in Nature, the problem is often the solution. A good example of this would be stinging nettle. It irritates the skin with thin, spiny bristles while at the same time it contains compounds in the…

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New Garden, Dew Drops & Spiderwebs & Good Ol’ Manure ~ May ’17 Round Up

    The Seasons are changing. The nighttime grows colder, longer; quieter. Morning’s coming later; creeping in with the mists of the sea, over the wetlands towards Our Garden. The chickens sleep in a bit longer now. So does Merlin, aka Blue, the resident peacock. The horses don’t seem to mind or even notice: like old friends of Time, they do not even rise to greet each other anymore. They just carry on, as usual, knowing they share an unspoken…

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Friends & Foes of Onions

Onions are shallow growers, making them excellent companions to deep rooted vegetables. The best onion plant companions are members of the cabbage family because onions naturally repel pests that love cabbage family plants, such as cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, and cabbage maggots. Cabbage family plants include: Broccoli Kale Brussel Sprouts Cabbage Kholrabi Onions deter aphids and Japanese beeltes which means you can use them as companions to plants that often suffer from these pests. Other companions to onions include: Tomatoes…

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What’s The Deal With Dynamic Accumulators?

The term “dynamic accumulator” is often heard in Permaculture circles and is used to describe plants that have long tap roots that allow them to draw up nutrients and minerals from deep in the ground. These nutrients and minerals are stored in the leaves of the plants which are later “chopped and dropped”  or naturally die back or fall to the ground around the base of other plants, allowing them to release the stored nutrients as they decompose, making them…

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A Lemon Tree Guild

We love lemons and believe every garden should have a lemon tree. Lemon trees are quite hardy and established trees can tolerate drought conditions remarkably well. The cuticle layer that makes the leaves so shiny is what helps to conserve water. We have inherited a lemon tree on our new garden plot that has not been watered in over 6 months, during a very hot summer drought: and it is still blossoming and baring fruit! We have had to prune…

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7 Tips for Pruning a Lemon Tree

We have been blessed with a lemon tree on our new garden plot. It has not been maintained for quite some time but it still blossoms and bares fruit. We decided to give it a prune to get rid of dead and broken branches, as well as to train the branches to grow out and up and not into the middle of the canopy: air flow and sunlight filtration are important. We will also be planting Comfrey and other Lemon…

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