What is a Dandelion Good For?

One of the most despised "weeds" in the lawn is the dandelion.  All sorts of chemical companies offer ways to get rid of them and get your "perfect" lawn.  It's too bad that we seek to eliminate this little flower because they have so many healthy benefits!  What is a Dandelion good for?  I'm glad you asked! The Benefits of Dandelions Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are highly nutritious.  One cup of dandelion greens chopped up contains 112% of recommended daily value of Vitamin A, 32% Vitamin C, 9% Vitamin E, and 535% Vitamin K.  Dandelions contain calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and other elements our bodies need with very low calories. (See NutritionData for more info). Dandelions grow prolifically and really need very little in the way of help to grow.  You really could forage your way to that "perfect" lawn!  If you take the dandelions and steep them in water for…

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5 Natural Weed Killing Tips

Weeds are one of the most troubling elements of gardening that gardeners face.  A gardener's definition of a a weed is simply a plant you don't want in a place you don't want it!  Which means that even desirable plants can become a weed pest in the wrong place.  Gardener's want simple and easy ways to remove weeds from the garden and there are a few methods to deal with weed effectively. The Natural Approach I believe that the best approach with any garden is to kill weeds naturally if at all possible.  What does killing weed naturally mean?  No synthetic chemicals. Which even after you eliminate all the store bought chemicals the gardener still has a variety of methods available.  The number one method for effectively removing weeds is to do so mechanically.  Pulling the weeds roots and all prevents them from coming back.  Sometimes that is easier said…

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6 Common Weeds and How To Deal With Them

It is inevitable. You will find a weed somewhere in your lawn or in your garden.  As things begin to grow this spring you'll notice weeds coming up where you don't want them.  In fact that is the general definition of a weedy plant - a plant that grows where you don't want it!  Any plant can become weedy but some have a certain knack for it. How to Deal with Weeds Henbit First lets look at how to deal with weeds.  I do not recommend using chemicals and I like to avoid them entirely.  Instead I mainly use mechanical means to remove my weeds.  I dig them, pull them, or use my scuffle hoe to cut them off at the top of the roots.  The other method it to smother them with something.  Right now my vegetable garden pathways are covered in cardboard to eliminate spring weeds.  If weeds can't see…

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Pokeweed for Weedy Wednesday

It's been a few weeks since I last mentioned a notable weed but I can tell you that doesn't mean the weeds haven't been growing!  Ragweed and Johnson Grass are coming up in force with the warm weather and so is the weed I'm about to talk about today - pokeweed!  Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a very prolific weed in wild areas of the landscape and it won't take you long to realize why. Pokeweed grows tall. I've seen it exceed 6 feet tall in some places.  It produces bunches of berries that the mockingbirds love.  It is because of the mockingbirds that the berries are so prevalent in our garden.  We have a family of mockingbirds devour the berries and drop them off in various areas of their territory AKA our yard and garden!  A word of advice - DO NOT park underneath power lines when pokeweed berries are…

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Weedy Wednesday: Ragweed Seedlings

It that transitional time of the growing season where the spring weeds are coming to an end and the warm season weeds are beginning to arrive.  This time of year is also when many of our warm season crops and plants are coming up too.  Sometimes it isn't easy to distinguish between a weed and a seedlings planted from seed when they are young.  That's why it is very important to learn what your garden's weeds look like!  Today we're going to take a look at one very common, and very annoying (especially if you have allergies), weed: ragweed. Ragweed seedling sprouting among lettuce in a raised bed. We have ragweed just about everywhere that the soil is exposed.  That in itself tells me that I need to cover better with mulch!  Ragweed isn't a hard weed to remove when it's young.  It pulls up very easily.  When it gets…

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8 Things I Learned Over The Weekend

Coral Honeysuckle - Lonicera sempervirens I had one of those extremely busy weekends.  The kind where you have so much to do you don't know exactly where to start.  When you finally do start you discover that to do one task you have to do another task first. Then when you finally get going you move from one job, to another, to another, and there is no end in sight!  I'm sure you know exactly what I'm talking about.  But there are a few things I learned over this weekend that I thought I would share with you. Unseasonably warm weather may seem to be a blessing at times but it also brings a bunch of problems.  Foremost is the presence of weeds.  The chickweed has exploded into prolific proportions while other weeds are coming up at least a month early.  Ragweed which usually does begin to grow for a…

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Clover – A Weed that Isn’t! (Weedy Wednesday)

I couldn't help but snap the picture below.  It's white clover and it's in my lawn. What lawn companies will tell you is that this little beautiful green plant that grows in patches is a weed.  Don't believe them.  Clover is a useful little plant in many ways! First of all clover is a legume. It's similar to beans and actually will fix nitrogen into the soil. It's an awesome additive to compost bins. I use my push lawnmower with a bagger to cut and gather grass and clover then use as a mulch or a compost ingredient. Because clover is such a great nitrogen fixer it doesn't need nitrogen and will stay green in areas that don't have good nitrogen content.  You can use clover as an indicator for the nitrogen in your garden's soil.  Areas that have a lot of clover may be low in nitrogen and could…

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Thistle (Weedy Wednesday!)

Every now and then I'll be writing a post about the common weeds that we find in our yard and garden.  I'll save these posts for Wednesdays so we can have a bit of a creative alliterative effect by calling it "Weedy Wednesday"!  I won't be writing about weeds every Wednesday but I feel that it's an important aspect of gardening that every homeowner and gardener ought to have some knowledge about.  By learning a little about the weeds we can deal with them more effectively with fewer dangerous chemicals leaching into our environment.  To start things off we're going to begin with one nasty little weed - thistle! First of all thistle isn't necessarily just a weed.  It's a good flower for the bees to feed from in the summer and a great source of nourishment for the birds as well.  However if you like to run barefoot through…

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5 Ways to Naturally Eliminate Weeds!

Johnson grass The complete and total elimination of garden weeds is every gardener's dream!  And to do so organically or naturally just makes it all the more thrilling! While I'll share with you some methods for eliminating weeds naturally for The Friday Fives, please keep in mind that the battle with weeds is perpetual struggle between gardener and nature.  Weed seeds can lie dormant for many years. Just because you eliminate them once doesn't mean you'll completely eradicate them - ever. At least you can wage a clean war against them with these 5 ways to naturally remove weeds! 5 Ways to Naturally Eliminate Weeds Thistle in flower Remove the weeds mechanically.  The mechanical removal of weeds involves hands, hoes, shovels, pick axes, and perhaps jack-hammer's when necessary.  The mechanical method is the most effective way to remove a weed (except for the aforementioned jack-hammer approach which might be fine…

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Shovel, Rake, and Hoe

The shovel, the rake, and the hoe.  Three tools no gardener should be without.  Ever.  They dig, they grade, and the chop the earth.  They cut roots and aid the gardener in tilling when the tiller is kaput.  While they take a little muscle to use they are capable of great deeds, such as Bermuda grass removal! Raised Bed Vegetable Garden in 2009 Can you guess what I did on Saturday?  If you guessed sipping on a margarita on a cruise ship to Bermuda you aren't anywhere close. I spent the day, yep pretty much the whole day, in the vegetable garden clearing as many Bermuda grass roots as possible. The insidious beasts had hold of a roughly 12' by 18' foot area and were threatening to invade the rest of the garden like Christmas shoppers in the stores on Black Friday.  It wasn't pretty. To remove the Bermuda grass…

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