January 18th, 2010
What's Growing On:

Digging In
with Farmer D!

Into the Wild

While it may feel like bugs and critters in the garden is a dangerous idea, allowing the natural world to step into your gardening system has many benefits. There are relationships your crops and flowers have with other organisms that can greatly increase their health and overall productivity.

Treating your garden more like an ecosystem replaces the balance lost through agricultural methods like mono-cropping. This means letting weeds grow in some places longer than you'd typically feel comfortable and utilizing plants that attract the good bugs and creatures to fight off the bad.

Read more about how to attract beneficial organisms into your veggie and herb gardens at the Farmer D Blog.

Plant of the Week:
Dill is a short lived perennial herb used to make pickled and cured foods have that sweet/sour/spicy taste we have all become so accustomed to eating. The leaves are best used fresh; however, they can be dried. Dill is not only a delicious herb to grow and eat, it attracts lacewings whose larvae stage (commonly called aphid lions) feed on aphids, mites, and insect eggs. Planting dill in your garden attracts the lacewing adults to lay their eggs on the plants within your garden; protecting them from insect pests.
Read more about Beneficial Bugs!
Chalkboard Talk:
School Garden tips from Farmer Ashley
Ladybugs, butterflies, praying mantis, bats oh my! All of these creatures play an important role in gardening. Lead a discussion with your students explaining predation and its role in the food web. Most people think of large animals as predators, but students should be told that small invertebrates and bacteria kill many more butterflies than do larger vertebrates. Challenge your students to think of what ways butterflies can protect themselves from being eaten (looking like their surroundings, looking like something else, being toxic, flying away.)
Learn more about incorporating a Pollinator Garden into your curriculum.
Compost Corner
Keeping It Hot! Farmer D's Compost Tips
Stop Compost Munchers

One of the challenges of composting in urban areas is keeping unwanted critters from making a mess of your old food scraps. The easiest way to deal with pests in your pile is to keep them away from it. There are several kinds of composters you can purchase that are completely contained and do not allow pests entry to the decomposing foodstuffs. If you have an uncovered or free standing compost pile, a method for deterring invasion is putting your non-food materials such as leaves, grass, manure, dirt, etc. on the outside of the pile and putting the food waste in a pile on the inside. By burying the food material within the mostly non-edible materials, you are much less likely to attract hungry creatures.

Check out these great Composting resources! »

Farmer D Organics Garden Center - Now with 2 Locations!
2154 Briarcliff Rd. Atlanta, GA 30329
4050 Holcomb Bridge Rd. Norcross, GA 30092
Opening Hours:
M-Sat: 9:00am - 5:30pm
Sat: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Sun: 11am - 4:30pm
Call or email us for more information
(404) 325-0128

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