Monthly Archives: January 2015

Deep Rooted Wisdom Book Review

Deep Rooted Wisdom Book Review Lavender CuttingsI would like to share with you many wonderful things in this Deep Rooted Wisdom book review.  Deep Rooted Wisdom is written by Augustus Jenkins Farmer and was published in 2014.  He has an organic farm and nursery where he grows and sells Crinum lilies.  He advocates getting back to the basics and using knowledge developed over time from gardeners.  He feels that technology has taken over our gardening and our wisdom.  Farmer says, “How did we go from cuttings, manure and seeds and fun to this commercial maze?  What happened to trading plants between friends and strangers?  To letting things go to seed so they would come up next year? To watering with a hose?…This book is intended to help us…to find our way back to successful, joyful, simple gardening.” (page 13)

Deep Rooted Wisdom Book Review

That says it all for me.  This is the kind of book that you want to own.  I have checked it out of the library three times and then I purchased my own copy.  There are so many gems of gardening wisdom in this book that I wanted to underline so I could remember them.  And I just couldn’t do that with my library book so I had to have my own copy.  I wanted to incorporate these new ideas into my gardening practice.

In each chapter he features two of his teachers and mentors for us to learn from.  So this book is about lots of gardeners and their tried and true methods. Each teacher offers his/her own gardening wisdom.  There is so much to learn from this book.  Just simple little things and attitudes that will help your gardening.

Growing Bamboo For Structures in the Garden

We had bamboo in our yard thirty years ago.  It was awful!  Pushing up new bamboo shoots everywhere–and impossible to get rid of.  I was really glad when we sold that house.

Then, last summer, I attended a Master Gardener meeting and I was introduced to a retired gentleman.  He was a master craftsman of bamboo in the demo garden.  He created lots of trellises and a very nice fence around the shade garden.  Ah!  I was beginning to see that bamboo has its virtues.

Then I read in Deep Rooted Wisdom that not all bamboo are aggressive spreaders.  There is the kind of bamboo that clumps!  What a revelation!  I could have bamboo in my garden and it would mostly stay in one place. Augustus Farmer says his favorite bamboo is Bambusa Multiplex which is a true clumping bamboo.  His favorite cultivars are Alphonse Karr and Riviereorum.  This is just one of the little golden nuggets of information that fill this book.

Using Legumes for Fertilizer

One of Farmer’s mentors is Yvrose Valdez in Miami, Florida.  She doesn’t fertilize her garden or use much compost.  She uses legumes and their ability to fix nitrogen from the air into the soil to enrich her garden.  She interplants pigeon pea and perennial peanut amongst her bushes and flower beds.   Farmer asks her why she uses these old methods to fertilize her garden and she says, “Because it works.”  This is something I want to learn more about and use in my garden!

These are just two samples of the great advice in this book.  I am also fascinated by his chapter on Rooting in the Ground.  It seems people just used to stick cuttings in the ground to propagate them, in a very non-chalant way.  I have an old bed of lavender that needs to be redone.  After reading this chapter I am going to take cuttings and plant them next to the old lavender and see if they will take in the springtime.  Apparently this works for lots of people.  The trick is to plant a lot of cuttings because they won’t all take and that is to be expected. See the picture above–I decided to plant some cuttings indoors because the ground is frozen.  I will give an update later if it works.

The book is divided into eleven chapters.  The titles are listed here so you can see what a treat you are in for:

  1. Stacking Up-Growing Plants for Food, Construction, Flowers, Teaching and Connections
  2. Building Fertile Soils-Encouraging a Healthy Web of Life
  3. Stop the Tilling Cycle-Harvesting the Natural Power of Worms and Mushrooms
  4. Watering by Hand-Using the Essential Skill of Observation to Keep Plants Hydrated
  5. Rooting in the Ground-Working With Pass Along Plants
  6. Saving Seeds-Treasuring Heirlooms for Genetics and Nutrients
  7. Handmade Structures-Using Garden Materials for Trellises and Sculptures
  8. Scavenging-Unearthing Great Plants from Many Places
  9. Finding the Spirit-Telling Stories Through Your Garden
  10. Tools-Reviving Essential and Neglected Hand Tools
  11. Pest Philosophy-Taking a Holistic Approach to Insects and Weeds

After reading this Deep Rooted Wisdom book review go check this book out of the library.  See for yourself all the gardening wisdom it has to offer.  If you would like to purchase your own copy click on the link below.  Happy reading, learning and gardening!

Rabbit Manure Compost

You may ask why use rabbit manure compost?? Technically rabbit manure does not need to be composted.  It is not considered a hot manure.  You can put it directly near your plants and they won’t get burned.  They will grow fine.  But rabbit manure compost will be better for the garden because manure has lots of good stuff in it for the soil.

Opportunity to Have Rabbit Manure Compost

I found a farm that had lots of rabbit manure to sell.  And I had the use of a pick up truck so I was in business.  They were selling the manure for $2 a feed bag if you fill it yourself and $3 a bag already filled.  How could I pass up a bargain like that??  So we picked up 20 bags.  I have bags of leaves saved from last fall. I wanted to use those for the brown or carbon part of the compost. Learn more about greens and browns in compost.  I decided to use my wire bin composter.  I like how easy it is to remove the compost after it is finished and these bins are cheap.

How to Make Rabbit Manure Compost

Temperature for compostingI created 2-3 inch layers of rabbit manure  alternating with leaves. I put in these layers until the bin was full.  I decided to take the temperature after a day or two with my compost thermometer. I wanted to share with you how much activity was going on in the compost pile with pictures.  Realize that it was very cold outside so the temperatures reached are actually quite impressive.  Above is a picture from my smart phone of the outside temperature on one of the days that I checked the compost bin.  have a picture diary for you from day to day:

Rabbit Manure Compost Taking temperatureThis image is from the next day.  As you can see the temperature is already rising!

 

 

 

Compost ThermometerThis image is from Day Two-an impressive amount of activity from yesterday! The temperature has risen 25 degrees!

 

 

 

Hot Compost BinHere is Day Three.  The temperature rose over 30 degrees!  Using the rabbit manure for compost really got the compost bin going. Remember that the outside temperature was anywhere from 25-35 degrees Fahrenheit.  After this the temperature started going down.  I have achieved similar results by putting a lot of used coffee grounds from Starbucks in my bin.  Here is link to understand some of the critters that live in the compost bin at different temperatures.