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Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Just say no

So-called “Roundup-ready” seeds — for crops that can withstand the non-selective herbicide glyphosate — have become popular in conventional farming because farmers can spray entire fields with Roundup to kill a variety of weeds but not the crop. Much easier than cultivating or spot-spraying. But as with many “advances,” we now are finding unforeseen consequences.
There are two ways to protect your family from being exposed to an overdose of glyphosate: Grow your own food using organic methods, or buy organic. I do both.
Read about the science of this important aspect of food safety.

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The weather has been relatively warm and sunny lately, so I decided Earth Day would be a good time to start spring planting, somewhat earlier than usual.

Harper supervises planting in the early-season bed on Earth Day.

Harper supervises planting in the early-season bed on Earth Day.

I also wanted to introduce my new garden helper, Harper. She is a 3-year-old yellow lab I adopted on March 31 from BrightSide Animal Center, where I serve on the board of directors.
She’s a good dog, but I have to watch her in the vegetable garden. She likes to eat the asparagus as soon as it comes up!

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Renee Shepherd is the owner of Renee's Garden.

Renee Shepherd is the owner of Renee’s Garden.

As I prepare to order seeds for the 2015 season, I wanted to pass along a tip. If you are perusing garden catalogues deciding what to order, please consider Renee’s Garden. Why? Renee Shepherd has been committed to organic gardening for more than 25 years. She selects seeds that germinate reliably and varieties that are easy to grow. And, she will donate 25% of your purchase price to the Central Oregon Master Gardeners Association — which provides free, research-based garden information in Deschutes, Crook and Jefferson counties in Oregon — if you enter FR663A in the coupon code box at checkout. Thank you, Renee!

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Still harvesting beautiful tomatoes in late October -- amazing!

Still harvesting beautiful tomatoes in late October — amazing!

Growing vegetables is not easy in the high desert climate of Central Oregon, where nights are cold and days are dry and windy. But this summer we’ve had the most favorable weather conditions I’ve seen in the past 10 years: very warm nights all summer, and that’s persisted into late October. Still harvesting tomatoes, chard, raspberries, strawberries, green beans, winter squash. Have yet to dig potatoes and carrots. This has been the harvest that won’t quit. But today irrigation will get blown out for the winter, so time to do final harvest and start cleaning up.

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Yet another truckload of weeds ready to go to recycling center.

Yet another truckload of weeds ready to go to recycling center.

For the past two weeks I’ve spent at least two hours a day weeding. I’ve filled seven pick-up truckloads that I’ve hauled to the recycling center and there’s easily that amount still left to pull in the coming two weeks. For me that’s the worst aspect of organic gardening. I use mulch, I use weed-barrier cloth, I plant densely to try to crowd out weeds (but not so densely as to compromise air circulation), I use drip irrigation rather than overhead watering, I use organic pre-emergent granules. I’m sure those techniques help, and the problem would be worse if I didn’t do those things, BUT … it’s a never-ending battle.

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