Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Freebees, basil, question for you

My Malabar spinach plants are loaded with seeds now. I have harvested many and put them in a container just to the left of my door at 56 Gordonhurst Avenue, Montclair. I don't really want to put Park Seeds, which sells them, out of business, but waste bothers me, and there may be some of you who would try them free but not pay money for the effort.
If you come, bring something plastic to take them away in, a bag or a baggie. You may not want your clothing and car uphostery to be dyed bright red. My container is open, so you won't want to take it away. Only take as many seeds as you might use.
They aren't the easiest thing to grow. They need a fence or trellis. If you are already growing climbing peas, they are a good companion because they begin to grow enthusiastically just as the peas are dying in mid-July. Meanwhile, they poke around and give an insecure gardener a feeling of non-achievement, which may be why they are no more popular.
I also had two plants volunteer under my bosque pear tree that look like baby pear trees. Succumbing to potting-up compulsion syndrome, I potted them up and put them on my front steps. Anyone is welcome to them. They are small and will take a long time to bear, if ever.

Hearing that the temp is to go down to 42F tonight and up to only 48F tomorrow, I brought in all my houseplants today. Is it worth my while to pot up all-green spider plants? They can be spectacular inside, but would be killed on the steps if there is a frost, so this will require someone saying, "I do (want one)" before I put them out.
A second "bulky waste" load was taken from my garage gleanings today, but I still have poles, boards, chicken wire, and windows left. Two people said they might use a window to make a cold frame. Anyone interest now? These things are along my driveway, but I would make them easier to take if someone wants them. Otherwise, they will gradually to to bulky waste.

People asked about my basil treatment. In general, I compost anything that dies from old age or insect or mammal damage, but illness sends them to the Essex County incinerator via the garbage. Yellowing basil is aging, so it is composted. Wilted basil is sick, so it goes to the garbage. Right now, my basil is yellowing quickly, so I'm making pesto as fast as my schedule and patience allow. It won't be with me much longer, but I want to keep it for salads as long as I can.
Now a question for you. A friend told me he suggested to his church's authorities that they abandon chemicals on the church lawn. One authority said that could be done, but for three years the lawn would look terrible. I sympathized with my friend, but didn't think until later to question the facts.
Has anyone changed from a poison and chemical lawn to a natural lawn? Was the transition ugly? There is a well-known "fact," which I believe, that a garden or farm transitioning from "traditional" methods to organic methods requires three years to get up to speed, but I wonder whether that applies to lawns. I remember long ago being told by TWO landscapers, "Once you get rid of the weeds, they don't come back." That's an overstatement, but largely true, so a newly organic lawn should not be overrun with weeds. Nor would I think it would be lacking nourishment. There would be some residual effect from the chemicals, and the lawn clippings would gradually
take over from them. Why should a transitioning lawn look bad?
Does anyone have experience who can speak with the authority that comes from one experiment? ("one data point" as the statisticians say) Several responses might be convincing.


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