Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Cover Crops

I think I will bring up this subject again, as I am fond of the subject and think more gardeners should use it.

What is a cover crop? A cover crop is a crop that is planted simply for the purpose of the soil. Wether you cut it and compost it aside from the soil, or you till it under is up to you.

When do I plant cover crops? It depends on the cover crop. Typically cover crops are grown over winter, usually a vetch and rye, as they can withstand cold temperatures. The reason for doing it over the winter is because the winter months are when you don't have much else planted, so you are not taking away space from your garden. The other reason being that during the winter months erosion tends to happen because nothing else is growing to hold down the soil. So, a cover crop holds down the soil, takes up nutrients, fixed nitrogen (if a legume) and adds organic matter.

However, some good cover crops can only be grown in the summer, when it is warm. Those include certain varieties of vetch (Chikling vetch fixes nitrogen in 45 days!), soy beans (good nitrogen fixing crop, and lots of organic matter), alfalfa, and certain kinds grains and smother crops.

When or why should I grow cover crops? I think the best way to start out is to grow a mix of vetch and rye over all of your garden over the winter. In the spring time till it under. I recommend also that you set aside part of your garden each year (you decide, wether it be half, a quarter, all of it every 4 years?, etc.) during the spring and summer to grow a summer cover crop. Growing cover crops every winter and every summer will result in a build up of good soil much faster than if you don't sow cover crops. Growing rye has shown that weeds are less likely to grow in that soil. Also, growing something like mustard and other cover crops is a great way to smother out weeds for a season before planting. Resulting in less weeding, and less herbicide (if that is really necessary).

How much do cover crops cost? Typically grains are the cheapest, and if you buy it by the 5lbs the cost drops quite a bit. Some vetch and other legumes are a bit more costly, though, worth it in the long run.

So, what does it take to get started? Most big seed companies will sell cover crops ranging from sunflowers, to mustard, with grains and legumes in between. A cover crop will keep weeds from growing in your soil, can add nitrogen and organic matter and improve your soil greatly!

Johnnys Seeds is where I've ordered cover crops in the past, they have pretty good prices, and the quality is good.

English Vintner

Friday, 25 March 2011

GMO seeds again

Here is a link to another blog, which is VERY helpful in reinstating why GM is harmful. If you would like me to post the contents here, just let me know.

English Vintner

Saturday, 19 March 2011


I cannot say enough how mulching your garden will save you from watering. I grew a patch of romaine lettuce heads last year, they grew from Feb-April or so. I watered them at the beginning, and a few times in between. For the rest of the 3 months they had several inches of oak leaves as a mulch which kept me from having to use more than several gallons on them a few times.

Mulching also keeps the soil from direct rainfall which compacts the soil on top, forming a crust.

Mulch keeps down weeds. Most weed seeds need light to germinate. Having a thick 3-4 inch mulch around plants will prevent most weeds, eliminating the chore of weeding.

Mulch is especially helpful to small trees and shrubs that benefit from not having to fight weeds for nourishment and water.

What to use for mulch? My personal favorite is hay, followed by straw and oak leaves. Keep the black plastic mulch for melons and such that can use the extra warmth during the growing season.

A plus to organic mulches is that you are adding organic matter to the soil. You almost eliminate the need for a tiller, especially if you have deep or raised beds. The mulch keeps the soil loose and crumbly. When you need to plant, pull it back and seed.

Consider mulching as a major time saver in the garden.

English Vintner

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Benefits of SEA-CROP

Our field testing (Ambrosia, SEA-CROP) has demonstrated that SEA-CROP:

1. Increases cellular respiration
2. Makes plants more phototropic.
3. Increases photosynthesis.
4. Increases carbohydrate content of sap by Brix refractometer testing.
5. Increases soil microflora
6. Nitrogen fixing and other bacteria.
7. Phosphorous leaching and other fungi.
8. Improves soil tilth and aeration.
9. Makes plants healthier, more disease and insect resistant.
10. Has saved diseased orchards.
11. Has lessened the need for insecticide.
12. Makes plants more drought tolerant.
13. Makes plants more transplant tolerant.
14. Fruit become larger and much better tasting.
15. Keeping quality is enhanced.
16. Mineral and vitamin content is increased.
17. The growing cycle is shortened by weeks.
18 Crop yields are increased 15% to 35%
19. Application is easy and inexpensive.
20. Product is organic.
21 Nontoxic.

What is SEA-CROP?

SEA-CROP is a natural source balanced formula from ocean water that has all the natural elements known to man. It develops healthy and energetic plants.

Is this product safe to use?

SEA-CROP is a natural liquid that is as safe to use as water.

Can SEA-CROP be used for all plants?

Yes, SEA-CROP's formula is the same for all plants but application rates vary. Please follow recommended rates closely.

Will I damage my plants if I apply too much SEA-CROP?

It would take an application error in excess of 100 % to experience a detrimental affect to your plants.

Is SEA-CROP a fertilizer?

No, SEA-CROP is not a fertilizer but does have a lot of the nutritive elements that are in many commercial fertilizers. SEA-CROP is a natural liquid soil amendment that works in all plant applications. It is the active organic substances it contains working together with all those trace elements that make it so effective.

Do I need to apply SEA-CROP often?

No, one application per year for soil applications is all that is needed for annual plants although a split application or multiple applications may give enhanced results for some crops. Also, some plants when stressed can benefit from an additional application. Alfalfa after cutting is a good example.
Foliar use requires multiple applications for maximum results.

Does SEA-CROP stimulate the plant to produce more growth?

SEA-CROP stimulates the soil environment so the plant will grow healthier and reach its genetic potential, not just provide extra growth.

Would SEA-CROP still improve yield if I use leading biological products?

Yes! The microbes in the soil are reduced by tillage and pesticide applications. Biological products are useful and are applied to increase micro-organism populations that work to provide a healthier soil environment in which the plant can grow. SEA-CROP can increase the effect of biological products by stimulating the growth of soil organisms. Remember, SEA-CROP acts as a catalytic trigger in the soil environment by stimulating the growth of soil organisms needed for the plant to be healthy and maximize its fruit or seed bearing potential.

Is SEA-CROP approved for use in organic farming?

Yes, SEA-CROP has been approved by the Washington State Department of Agriculture as being in compliance with the United States Department of Agriculture's National Organic Program and is approved for use in certified organic operations. SEA-CROP has also been approved by Oregon Tilth for use in certified organic farming.

Is SEA-CROP affordable and can I buy SEA-CROP in a variety of quantities?

Yes, SEA-CROP is affordable. House plants cost just pennies to treat once a year. Farm crop application costs are much less than any pesticide or herbicide application cost to the farmer and SEA-CROP helps the crop withstand the stress of these applications. SEA-CROP markets the product in several sizes from small containers for the homeowner/gardener to bulk deliveries for the large corporate farms.

Can Sea-Crop be used for animals?

Yes, SEA-CROP has been approved as meeting the FDA requirements for use as a mineral supplement in animal nutrition. The recommended rate is .04 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per day added to the drinking water.

Directions For Use

Application of diluted Sea-Crop to moist soil followed by irrigation gives the best results. The product should not be applied to dry soil unless heavily diluted.

Dilution: Always dilute Sea-Crop with water prior to use. Use at a concentration at or less than 2% strength. One gallon of Sea-Crop added to 49 gallons of water equals a 2% solution. Five tablespoons (two and a half ounces) per gallon equals a 2% solution.

Annuals: For optimum results Sea-Crop may be applied directly to the soil at planting or early in the life cycle of annual plants.

Perennials: For well established perennial crops, apply just before or during the active growth period. An application just before entering dormancy may also be beneficial.

Foliar Spray: Sea-Crop diluted to a 1% solution can be used as a foliar spray. A minimum of 3 applications per season applied at 1 to 3 week intervals are recommended. Customers have reported that ½% solution of Sea-Crop works well to suppress both powdery and downy mildews.

Garden Produce: Apply 2 to 4 gallons of SEA-CROP concentrate per acre.

Field and Row Crops: Apply 2 to 4 gallons of SEA-CROP concentrate per acre.

Trees and Orchards:

Medium size trees (size 3-6 feet): use 4 oz SEA-CROP per tree not to exceed 10 gallons per acre.

Large trees (size 6-12 feet): use 6 oz SEA-CROP per tree not to exceed 10 gallons per acre.

Potted Plants: Use a 1/2% solution for soil applications and 1% solution for foliar applications.

Root Dip:

Transplants: Briefly immerse the transplant in a ½% solution of Sea-Crop.

Bare Root Plants: Briefly immerse the exposed roots in a 1% solution of Sea-Crop.

The yields given when plants are treated with SEA-CROP is 10-20% more. That does not include the added mass of the plant tissue when treated with SEA-CROP. For more information on SEA-CROP, testimonials, and trials go here:

To buy it, visit this web address:

I bought some last year, used it in a few trials, I'm looking forward to this year with it. I bought a gallon and have been giving it away to gardening friends as gifts.

English Vintner

Monday, 14 March 2011

Your Will

This blog, as many of you know, is a collection of thoughts, gardening adventures, and much more. This next post is a poem I was inspired to write in the middle of doing Chemistry, while watching the sun's rays hitting the clouds, making a beautiful sunrise (pictured below, though, pictures never do do justice).

Your Will

Thank you for this day you’ve made
Often though I’ve been afraid.
Another day, another night
You have helped me win the fight.

Through the rising of the sun,
Through me let your work be done.
Set me close upon your breast
So Lord, let me always rest.

Set me where you’ll have me be
Wether bound, or wether free.
So I ask you from my heart,
Lord, I pray, please ne’er depart.

English Vintner

Tuesday, 1 March 2011


It was early in the morning, the weather was cool. Cool and moist, like springs are in North Carolina. It was only a matter of time before the sun would showed himself over the crest of the hill, bringing with him hope of a new day. Springtime was here, cherry blossoms were blooming, buds on the trees, spring was definitely here. Spring had started earlier than usual, but no one was complaining. Planting time was right around the corner, and a new growing season would begin anew. Spring had brought a fresh new start to the year.

English Vintner