Six Uses for Eggs in the Garden

If Easter has left you walking on eggshells and you don’t know what to do with all those leftover cartons of cackle berries and shells here are half a dozen uses for eggs in the garden!

4B Eggshell Pots

Use shells for starting seedlings in. They will appreciate the boost of calcium they receive from the shell. This is especially a good idea for those seedlings that don’t like being transplanted because they can’t stand having their roots disturbed. You can also easily write on the shell so you know what you’ve planted. Be sure to poke a hole in the bottom with a pin or a thumbtack so excess water can escape. When it is time to plant your seedling outside gently crack the bottom of the “egg pot” so roots can escape and plant the seedling shell and all. The transplants won’t even know what happened.

 

hands planting tomato seedling

2. Add crushed eggshells to the hole before planting your tomatoes. Tomatoes thrive on the extra calcium the shells provide. If you have a crazy amount of eggs here is a fantastic recipe for a  concoction your tomatoes will love.

  • 3.78 Litres (1 gallon) of sun warmed water (rainwater if you have it)
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp.) of Epsom salts
  • 2 banana peels
  • 2 dozen eggshells

Mix the above ingredients in a blender and feed to your tomatoes once a week.

Crushed egg shell on white background flushed left

 

3. Crush up eggshells and pile them about a centimeter (half inch) thick on the soil surface in a ring around susceptible plants to deter slugs and cutworms. These little critters have soft bodies that do not appreciate sharp edges.

 

4. Add crushed eggshells to your potted plants for a boost of calcium. Every time you water calcium will be washed down to the roots.

 

African violet, Saintpaulia flower on window sill

5. Put 125 ml (1/2 cup) of eggshells in a 1 litre (4 cup) mason jar with a lid. Use for watering your houseplants. African Violets are extremely appreciative of eggshell water rewarding your efforts with beautiful robust blooms. Top off the jar up to half a dozen times before adding new eggshells.

 

Composting examples.

6. Simply add eggshells to your compost to enrich that magic mixture!

 

What are the Provincial and Territorial Flowers of Canada?

Canada’s Provincial and Territorial Official Flowers listed alphabetically first by Province and then by Territory. Includes the year the flower was officially adopted.

 

wild rose isolated

Alberta – The Wild Rose

Adopted in 1930

 

 

 

 

Dogwood (Cornus florida)

 

 

British Columbia – The Pacific Dogwood

Adopted in 1956

 

 

 

Spring flowers cutleaf anemone

 

 

 

Manitoba – Prairie Crocus

Adopted in 1906

 

 

 

 

 

Viola flowers

 

 

New Brunswick – Purple Violet

Adopted in 1936

 

 

 

 

Pitcher Plant

 

Newfoundland and Labrador – Pitcher Plant

Adopted in 1954

 

 

 

 

 

Fotolia_33477612_XS.jpg

 

Nova Scotia – Mayflower Trailing Arbutus

Adopted in 1901

 

 

 

 

 

Trillium, Official Flower of Province of Ontario, Canada

 

Ontario – White Trillium

Adopted in 1937

 

 

 

 

 

lady slipper trio

 

 

Prince Edward Island – Pink Lady Slipper Cypripedium reginae

Adopted in 1947

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flower of Iris 7

 

 

Quebec – the Blue Flag (native Iris) replaced the white lily as the provincial flower in 1999

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild lily (Lilium pensylvanicum) 8

 

 

Saskatchewan – Western Red Lily

Adopted in 1941

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Northwest Territories – Mountain Avens

Adopted in 1957

 

 

 

 

Saxifrage flowers on the ground in the garden

 

 

Nunavut Territory – Purple Saxifraga

Adopted in 2000

 

 

 

 

Fireweed-Up-Close---Copy

 

Yukon Territory – Fireweed

Adopted in 1957

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colorful Canada map with provinces and capital cities

What was the First Vegetable to Sprout in Space?

The very first vegetable to ever sprout in space was the spud. That’s right, the lowly potato earned high flying status when Space Shuttle Columbia tested the production of seed potatoes aboard the shuttle in October 1995.

germinating potato

If you are interested in learning more about growing potatoes on space missions visit NASA’s post Space Spuds to the Rescue and learn about recent developments in  growing Quantum Tubers™

 

Biggest Tree in the World

Title for the biggest tree in the world goes to the cashew tree Anacardium occidentale.

Yup, the very same tree that gives us those scrumptious, expensive, calorie rich cashews.

The cashew tree has a unique growing habit somewhat similar to the Egyptian Walking Onion. As the branches grow they often become so weighty they bow down and touch the earth, sending down roots wherever they make contact.

In Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, this growth habit has resulted is one cashew tree that has spread itself across 7,500 square meters or 80,729 square feet; the equivalent of almost two acres.

In other words, you can’t see the tree for the forest.

This grove consisting of a single tree produces 60,000 cashews every year.

Did you know cashew trees also produce cashew apples? Find out more about them here!

Cashew apple on the tree

Biggest Pumpkins Ever!

The biggest pumpkin for 2015 weighed in at 2230.5 pounds (1011.7 kilograms). It was grown by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island. To date it is the heaviest pumpkin ever produced in North America. Despite its impressive size it fell short by almost 100 pounds (45 kilograms) of the world record set in 2014 by Beni Meier of Germany.

Beni’s pumpkin weighed 2,323.7 pounds (1054 kilograms).

 

Trip 103

A picture of a giant pumpkin with its regular sized relatives in its shadow. As big as this pumpkin is it would be dwarfed by the current record holders.

 

During the height of the growing season these hulking behemoths can put on as much as 50 pounds (23 kilograms) per day! Kind of makes me feel better about the four pounds I put on over Christmas. Not sure why, but it does.

Growing giant pumpkins can become all consuming with many people dedicating their lives to seeing how big of a pumpkin they can produce. With records being shattered year after year there doesn’t seem to be any limit to how big they can grow.

Interested in producing a giant pumpkin? Here are a couple books to help you get growing…

growing giant pumpkin

 

giant pumpkin

A border made of vine plants and a squash

 

What are Dandelions Good For? Absolutely Everything!

Taraxacum officinale – more commonly known as dandelions or those @#%* weeds – are one of the most valuable plants on the planet. Maybe the most valuable.

Life cycle of dandelion

There is not a single part of the dandelion plant that doesn’t contribute to our health. The healing properties of its leaves, stems, blossoms and roots battle almost every ailment known to man, from arthritis to obesity.

The dandelion can be used as a tonic and blood purifier for liver conditions such as hepatitis and jaundice, for joint pain, constipation, and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

An infusion of the dried roasted root is a powerful antioxidant, eliminating toxins from the body, as well as making a delicious coffee substitute. The roots have been used for bronchitis and other upper respiratory infections. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it valuable for the treatment of arthritis and gout.

Applied externally, the fresh juice can fight bacteria and help wounds to heal more quickly. The latex contained in the plant sap have been used to remove warts and corns. During the Second World War the plants were even grown commercially for latex. A cosmetic skin lotion can also be made of dandelions to naturally clear the skin of acne and fade brown spots.

And yes, in scientific studies, dandelions have even been proven to reduce obesity.

Lwenzahntee

As with all herbs, caution and common sense need to be applied. If you are allergic to latex you should not use dandelion products. Dandelions are also a powerful diuretic, so if you are already taking diuretics you shouldn’t add dandelions to your diet.

Its diuretic properties are where one of the dandelion’s nicknames “pissenlit” comes from. Unless you want to be up all night peeing, this is not a tea you want to take before bedtime. Conversely, our warring ancestors used to drink dandelion tea the night before an early morning battle to ensure no one overslept. It was their herbal alarm clock. When your bladder is full you will get up!

Dandelions are also a vital part of our ecosystem. Countless insects including bees and butterflies depend on the early spring-flowering of dandelions as their first meal of the season.

bee in flower

Dandelions are not native to North America…but neither are honey bees. Europeans packed dandelion seeds when they immigrated to their new country as health insurance. They knew back then what many of us have forgotten today; that dandelions are vital to our well-being. Early greens were used in salads as a delicious spring tonic and dried leaves and roots were commonly used as a winter brew.

Yellow dandelions

North Americans spend a lot of time cursing Europeans for introducing such a tenacious plant, when we should be thanking them instead.

As always, please talk to your doctor before taking any herbs, especially if you are planning to do so on a regular basis.

Frame of flowers

Tree Ain’t Pretty Tree Just Looks That Way

The Tamarisk Tamarix ramossissima more commonly known as a Salt Cedar is a gorgeous tree with a voracious appetite for land and water. Introduced as an ornamental back in the 1800’s this tree has now naturalized itself over almost a million acres in the Western United States.

The salt cedar has been vilified as an introduced species that has displaced native trees and competes for water in places that have little to spare.

In other words, the Tamarisk R Us. Just as Europeans took over North America displacing its original inhabitants, so has the Salt Cedar thrived in its new surroundings to the detriment of those who were here first.

A mature salt cedar can consume 200 gallons of water per day. In an area that always thirsts for water these numbers sound scary. As so often happens when we are scared-and when faced with water shortages who wouldn’t be a little frightened-we react without knowing all the facts.

Common greek tree - Lonely Saltcedar (Tamarisk) - Crete

 

In desperation to return the land to its native condition humans have spent millions of dollars trying to eradicate the salt cedar with little success. But here’s another fascinating fact; turns out native species such as cottonwoods and willows are just as thirsty as their transplanted neighbour. Could it be that it isn’t the trees that are causing the water shortages, but the climate, the people and we have managed the land and the environment?

What is the truth and what can we do about it?

One of the best papers I have ever read on the battle with the Tamarisk and the facts behind it was written by Melissa L. Lamberton on Terrain.org 

It is well worth a read.