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Clay soil and no-till seem incompatible to many gardeners. But no-till farmers in the last five years have discovered a secret biological tillage weapon: forage radishes! Read on, clay soil gardeners, this could be the magic tool we need to loosen our heavy clay soil…

tillage radish

Easy to see where the hard pan is on this daikon radish. Photo courtesy of Kevin Elmy http://www.friendlyacres.sk.ca


Written on Tuesday, February 25, 2014 in Building Soil

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Written by Cristina da Silva

What is good soil? Many gardeners would jump in and say loam, that elusive perfect mix of clay, silt and sand. In the real world, however, our urban soil is less than perfect. What can we do to make our soil sing?

Brampton Garden

Written on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 in Building Soil

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Written by Cristina da Silva

At the end of every month, #groundchat has a roundtable discussion of soil in the news. January has been an active month.

Frost quakes has heaved its way to the top of pile.

Torrential rains has caused landslides in Indonesia.

Scientists, studying global warming effects, predict a disturbance in the balance of soil nutrients in drylands.

 Join us on Friday, January 24 on Twitter at 2 pm ET/ 1 pm CT/ 11 am PT


Written on Thursday, January 30, 2014 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

During the 2014 Master Gardener Technical Update, Keynote speaker, Lorraine Johnson, advised us to avoid buying root vegetables if we thought the soil that they grew in was contaminated. But are root vegetables the only suspects?

 

Lorraine Johnson 2014

Written on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

This week on #groundchat, guest host Sarah DePass, @StarkBrosCares, chats about protecting fruit tree roots during cold snaps. A very timely topic for NE US gardeners, and Eastern Canada. It has been a real winter this year.


Written on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 in #groundchat News

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Written by Cristina da Silva

“Soil is a biggie in the vegetable garden,” says Charles Hunter, Curator Instructor of Vegetable, Rose and Herb Gardens at Niagara Parks Commission Botanical Gardens & School of Horticulture. Hunter was speaking at the Toronto Master Gardener Technical Update at the Toronto Botanical Garden


Written on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 in Building Soil

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Written by Cristina da Silva

After a heated #groundchat roundtable discussion last week about the connection between soil and nutrient-dense food — based on Monica Nickelsburg article’s Peak soil: Why nutrition is disappearing from our food — I have come to several conclusions.

vegetables

Written on Tuesday, October 29, 2013 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

Nothing frustrates me more than the marketing machine pushing a product and product information that is either misleading or clearly not true.

 At this time of the year, it is all about spring-blooming bulbs! The marketing/merchandising of bulbs is a big business…but it has competition in the stores with Thanksgiving and Christmas merchandise. This pressure to sell has created a monster: pushing the sale of bulbs way before it is the right time to plant. 


Written on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva

The great thing about going to corporate events is that you never know what stories, people or ideas will pop up. For instance at the end of August, I visited the Stokes Seeds Trail Gardens on a joint President’s Choice/ Stokes Seeds event in St. Catherines, Ontario. It turns out that the most engaging story for me was meeting Niagara College Coop student, Caitlin Ayling.

Caitlin Ayling, Stokes’ Horticultural Co-op student, Niagara College.


Written on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 in Soil People

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Written by Cristina da Silva

 

“Disease prevention must be the primary goal since no chemicals cure a Phytophthora-infected plant, “ says Penn State Extension.  Most extensions and other gardening information sites state similar things. But there still are Extension sites and horticultural companies, advocating the use of fungicides. Who are we to believe?

 

<—  ?  —>

 


Written on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 in Plants & Soils

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Written by Cristina da Silva