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August 2, 2022

Paula Campbell
Posted 8/2/22

This has been a challenging gardening summer. It has been so dry, hot, and humid I have spent more time than usual watering and weeding. Because of the blistering heat and humidity, I have to do my …

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August 2, 2022


This has been a challenging gardening summer. It has been so dry, hot, and humid I have spent more time than usual watering and weeding. Because of the blistering heat and humidity, I have to do my garden chores at night when it is somewhat tolerable outside. Things that I have planted are doing well mostly because I have been using a good organic fertilizer and making worm casting “tea”. If you are not familiar with worm castings- it is a very basic all liquid fertilizer that is made by seeping worm castings (or worm manure) in a bucket of water.

At this stage, some methods suggest adding a quarter cup of molasses to the water and then the castings to add more microbes to the soil but I have never done this. I let mine sit for about twenty-four hours then use the resulting “tea” to water and give my veggies an extra nourishing boost. The worm casting tea is great for your grass and flowers as well. You can also use the castings as you would a regular fertilizer and just sprinkle it around the base of the plant or add it to your soil and it will amend it beautifully. You can buy a bag of worm castings at any of the big box stores and it’s relatively inexpensive and, with food prices going through the rafters, it’s sure worth a try to harvest some fabulous veggies for your dinner.

Speaking of gardening, just a reminder about the phenomenal programs at the Cornell Cooperative Extension in Liberty. They are the best resource for information on soil, site improvement, plant selections, plant care, sustainable practices, pest control and composting. They hold workshops all throughout the year. On their website they have a section on Food Gardening with over five links to resources and information on popular topics such as vegetable varieties and growing guides, getting the most out of your garden soil test and something called “Vegetable MD Online” a Factsheet on Common Diseases. For me, the most section of interest is The Cornell University Library Guide on “Seed Saving.”

Seed saving lets you select four particular qualities you might want to grow again by selecting seeds from fruits or plants with the most beautiful blooms, the best tasting fruits and vegetables, the largest, or the earliest ripening to ensure these same qualities in your future plantings. If you are going to have some watermelon this summer be sure to buy one with seeds, so if it’s delightful- you can plant the seeds and have another one next summer.

There are some other resources for getting seeds besides buying them. There are hundreds of seed libraries, and people hold seed exchanges with other gardeners in their community and using the same concept of the Little Free Book Libraries, some communities have built Little Free Seed Libraries (coming to the Barryville Farmers’ Market in the Fall). Seed saving not only saves money it is important for our local habitat. By saving seeds each year plants become more dependable by adjusting to their environment and is key for food crop dependability and resilience.

Many people are unaware that there is a facility called the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (the Doomsday Seed Vault located underground 430 feet below sea level) in the permafrost above the Arctic Circle. It is the world’s largest secured seed storage facility and was built and opened by the Norwegian Government in 2008. It now has over 900,000 varieties of seeds with a capacity to store 4.5 million seeds brought from every country in the world that can be accessed in case of a man-made or natural disaster. I love to garden and only wish I were better at it. It never ceases to amaze and assist me in my life .

As Alfred Austin, the author of several organic gardening books says, “The glory of gardening is hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.”


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