Here are some of our most frequently asked gardening questions. If you have more, feel free to comment below or check out the discussions on our Facebook page.
What is sustainable gardening?
Sustainable gardening is the practice of producing crops by avoiding the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, and growth regulators. Instead, through sustainable agriculture, sustainable growers incorporate crop rotation, cover crops(green manures), aged animal manures, compost, composting techniques, and natural biological cycles.
Do you have instructions on sowing my sustainable seeds?
Yes. Check out our Seeding for Success page.
Do you need sustainable seed to have an sustainable garden?
Yes. Sustainable seeds are harvested from plants grown without synthetic chemical fertilizer, pesticide, and fungicide and therefore, harbour no residues from these chemicals. As a sustainable gardener, you are supporting the entire cycle of sustainable agricultural practices, which begins with sustainably grown seed.
Is all the seed grown by Eagleridge Seeds?
The majority of the seed offered by Eagleridge Seeds are grown by us and a few other trusted sustainable farmers. Eagleridge Seeds is the only middleman between the grower and consumer. We do not buy seed from wholesale seed distributors.
The primary functions of the farm include:
A. Growing all seed varieties offered to check for seed purity.
B. Seed cleaning.
C. The practice of sustainable farming techniques and testing new ones.
D. Public relations.
What is the difference between open-pollinated and F1 Hybrid seed?
Open pollinated varieties, which is all that we sell, are pollinated naturally by insects, wind, and birds. Upon harvest of fruit or flowers, open-pollinated varieties will produce offspring which is true to type of the parent plant. F1 hybrids refers to the first generation of offspring plants produced by a cross of two or more genetically different varieties of plants. F1's are bred for vigor, homogeneity, and resistance to disease. However, seed saved from F1 hybrids are unpredictable (not growing true to type) and sometimes sterile.
What can you use for sustainable pest management?
To combat pests and disease, here are a few ideas:
A. Insecticidal soaps. Some come pre-mixed while others are just mixed with water and sprayed on plants.
B. Diatomaceaous earth. A fossilized shell which when ground-up, breaks the outer layer of an insect and dessicates them externally on contact or internally by digestion.
C. BT - Bacillus Thuringiensis. This is a naturally occuring bacteria with many powerful insect specific strains of which there exists over 300 different forms. This is usually applied to plants and then ingested by pests.
Also, the age-old practice of companion planting is another method used to repel and deter pests. Certain flowers and herbs grown in companion with other crops are known to deter pests, improve the vigor, and increase yields. There are a number of books on the market that you can refer to.
What can be used for sustainable fertilizers?
There are many sustainable fertilizers on the market today, and sustainable agricultural methods, such as cover cropping, composting, and rotating crops will provide most of a plant's nutritional needs. Some certified sustainable supplements are:
A. Worm castings
B. Rock phosphate
C. Liquid and dry kelp
D. Liquid fish fertilizer
E. Sustainable compost
F. Green sand
G. Ground oyster shells
H. Beneficial bacteria and fungi
What sustainable material can be used in composting?
Nature provides most of the sustainable material you need to build your own compost pile such as: leaves, twigs, plant material, dirt and water. In addition, the sustainable gardener can add kitchen waste from fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds, tea bags, wood ash, and grass clippings. Through composting, you can improve soil with the natural process of micro-organisms decomposing sustainable matter into humus. Humus is the by-product of the compost process. It is a rich, dark material that enriches soil, boosts fertility, and retards erosion.
Two compost preparation methods:
A. Bio-dynamic preparation. Layers of compost materials with layers of soil. Each layer is sprinkled with lime or rock powders and then preparations from plants, (nettle, yarrow, horsetail, and valerian) are added as an activator or innoculant. The completed 6 foot high entirely covered with soil and in 4-6 months is turned and mixed. Bio-dynamic preparations are applied to soils and plants.
B. Indore preparation. A layer of brush forms the base of the pile followed by a layer of green or dry vegetable matter, then a layer of manure, and a sprinkling of soil is added. The layers are repeated until the pile is 4-5 ft. high.