A Gardener’s Diary: Try comfrey tea for happy plants

Jocelyne Sewell shares the joy of saving seeds for next year's planting and harvest

The few drops of rain we got the other day was enough to fill one barrel. It is enough to keep the houseplants and the baskets happy. The lawn is getting a nice shade of brown and it even makes noise when you walk on it. Soon I hope we’ll get a couple of days of rain to bring back the green in it.

I harvested all of my corn. It was very good. I found a way in a book to microwave it in the husk instead of cooking it in water. The taste was excellent. The beans are doing well and finally the peppers are starting to produce. The grapes will give me a bountiful crop this year. I am thinking about drying some for my own organic raisins or I might just freeze them again this year and use them in fruit salad.

I am still cleaning the beds and this is a good time now to start saving seeds, as a lot of flowers and vegetables are giving up on the season. Every day I go around the garden and look at what can be picked. I have trays of seeds in the basement all drying and waiting to be sorted. This time I keep paper and pen at hand and write the date and the name of the seeds harvested. Many times over the years, I was sure I would remember which was which I had saved just to end up in the compost because I could not tell the difference. Many seeds look alike. I had some seeds I was not sure the name of the plant and by chance I got on the internet and found what I was looking for after someone had mentioned it in a forum. It is amazing (www.theseedsite.co.uk/).There is a section with the pictures of what the seeds look like and the pods, plant profiles and much more information.

I started reading from page one in the 1,001 Gardening Secrets book the other day and should do a couple of pages a day. This is more for winter reading but I need some of the secrets now.

#1 Maximize sweet berries: Mulch blueberries deeply in September and come June, your bushes will thank you with a lush harvest. Blueberries are acid lovers with roots very near the surface of the soil. To protect them, feed them regularly, keep the weeds down, and maintain a six-inch (15.2cm) layer of decomposed pine bark, pine needles or wood chips around their trunks.

#2 Comfort plants with comfrey leaves: Comfrey can do wonders for your soil. Its leaves are rich in potassium, nitrogen, and trace minerals. Bury the leaves directly in your beds and let them break down naturally. Or you can make a soil-enriching brew with comfrey cuttings and a pound (454 g)of blackstrap molasses. Mix the two in a five-gallon bucket and add water. Let the tea ferment for 10 days, then serve it to your plants. Container plants really love comfrey.

I am planning to return to the Lumby Public Market in September. I really miss the Saturday gathering and all the friendly people I have met over the last years. It is such a neat little market and the ride to get there is beautiful.

Don’t forget the Upper Room Mission or the Salvation Army if you have too much coming out of your garden. They will be happy to take it off your hands and you’ll have less work to do.

For more information: 250-558-4556.

Jocelyne Sewell is an organic gardening enthusiast and member of Okanagan Gardens & Roses Club, whose column appears every other Wednesday.

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