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Tulsi (Holy Basil) Type Comparisons

How does one disambiguate a subject so complex?  Holy Basil, a plant that is gentle and healing to body, mind and spirit should bring happiness, not confusion! The commonality of all types (species/cultivars) is that the leaves may be eaten fresh, used in cooking, or best yet picked, dried, and made into tea. Taxonomy:  Vana Tulsi (a tree basil) is Ocimum gratissimum….

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Growing Wasabi from Seeds

    Wasabi is an evergreen perennial in the Mustard family, albeit one of the more sensitive and reclusive mustards on Earth.  The plant is native to Japan and cultivated there extensively, often grown in pure cold water of stream or spring. We find that the plant can readily be grown in good compost, as well.  If watered frequently…

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Echinacea species comparisons

Our 9 native American Echinacea species come from distinct habitats yet adapt readily to cultivation in the organic garden. Echinacea purpurea is often considered to be the prettiest, and is also most adaptable to a wide range of soils and temperatures.  Echinacea angustifolia is the most northerly ranging, the smallest and really the toughest, as well.  Echinacea paradoxa is the largest,…

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Mother Earth News Rags or Riches

Writing for “Mother Earth News” has always been attractive to me. It is the quintessential do-it-yourself homesteading rag, read by 390,000 people, which is a lot. My most recent article “Medicinal Herbs for Difficult Growing Conditions” was published in the April/May 2017 issue. I wanted to inspire fellow gardeners to make good use of challenging environments such as shade,…

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The Art of Direct Seeding

What could be more convenient? Sow your seeds directly in the garden at just the right season and watch them come up and develop right where they belong! Here are a few tips to make your direct-seeding experience as successful and convenient as it should be. What is it? Direct-seeding is sowing in place. One cannot “direct-seed” in a pot,…

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Growing Tulsi (Holy Basil) Indoors

  Tulsi grows best in the summer garden or in a greenhouse environment.  Lacking these conditions, a solarium or very bright south facing window may be adequate.  Growing Tulsi during the winter will require grow lights.  You can purchase T-5 grow lights online that will work quite well.  Keep the light 18 inches above the top leaf, and keep the light…

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Tomato Growing Tips

One almost avoids giving instructions on growing tomatoes since there are so many tomato growing aficionados out there—tomato culture is part of almost every gardener’s DNA. I see a lot of nice caged tomatoes when I drive around and snoop on other people’s gardens a bit. Yes, you can bury the stems horizontally at transplant, that’s a good one….

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Pepper Culture

Peppers prefer a scanty, even water supply, good drainage, full sun, and a long, hot summer. Start indoors 40 to 50 days prior to the last frost. Plant seeds in pure organic compost in pots in the greenhouse. Thin to one best seedling per pot. Do not overcrowd peppers in a flat—they will get crinkly and stop growing. Transplant…

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Aloe Transplanting Advice

To plant (any) Aloe, first cover the hole in the bottom of the pot with a pot shard, put a layer of sand in the bottom of the pot (2 inches or so deep), then a 2 inch or so layer of compost or any kind of humusy potting soil will do, then finish off with more sand on…

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Info and Tips on Growing Arnica

Arnica montana (Mountain Arnica), the endemic European species, is considered official.  However, other species of Arnica (there are 28 in North America) are used by local herbalists, and appear to be medicinally interchangeable with the official species.  Arnica chamissonis (Meadow Arnica) enjoys a  wide distribution in North America and Europe, and is listed in the German Commission E Monograph…

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