Valley Gardening: Low EIQ is good for gardens

Where in the heck has this summer gone? Before we turn around, it will be Labor Day and the hundreds of cars for the Early Iron show will be cruising through town—less than two weeks away!

I think I told you earlier that I had some white top get out of control this spring. It is now dead, and I am ready to start building my soil in preparation for NEXT year. I absolutely love doing soil preparation in the fall. The weather is so much cooler and I (we all) have lots of time before the ground freezes. 

One of the first things I have to do is rake up the dog poop—wouldn’t you think, with 10 acres around us, the dogs could do their job out in the field? But no…it’s so much closer in the flower bed. I’m going to show them, and fence in the area for a few months and see if they get the idea. Time will tell. 

Have been working in Mom’s Garden. It’s finally taking shape, to where I am proud of what this garden is going to be in our community. I can see what the plants are going to be—as they continue to grow and go to seed. I told you I was going to spray some Weed Impede on the “no man’s land” between the sidewalk and the highway. I did, and I have to say I am very pleased with the lack of weeds that have sprouted this past couple of weeks. There are still some, but they aren’t near as obnoxious as they used to be. I have not found out the EIQ number on the chemical in WI but I’m still looking.

To get rid of the bajillion ants in Mom’s Garden I sprayed a Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray with Cyfluthrin in it. Cyfluthrin is a cousin of Permethrin, which is a second-generation pyrethroid, if that makes sense. If you want to be more natural and do as little damage as possible to beneficial insects, you need to look for pyrethrums. They are fast acting but relatively short lived in the environment. Cyfluthrin has an EIQ number of 39.6—on a scale of 10-100 with 10 being the best. Not great, but not the worst. 

EIQ stands for “environmental impact quotients.” Gets a little complicated—so come by the store and you can take a look at my book—pretty easy reading, even for me. The numbers are derived from three parts: risk to the farm worker, risk to the consumer of sprayed product, and risk to the environment.

So many folks in the Valley have some kind of sunroom, greenhouse, or a grow dome, if really lucky. If I am not wrong, the ideal growing temperature is around 85, give or take 5 degrees. Much hotter than that and plants shut down. Or so I thought.

I had a customer come in this week and tell me he lets his greenhouse get to 125—on purpose! He showed me pictures of his plants (cannabis) and they were very, very healthy, with no sign of stress, none at all. The secret is Silica. This is the first year I have ever used Silica in my compost tea and I really think it helped my plants get through the hot July we had. You can always teach an old dog new tricks, they say.

Peyton Sanchez had his checkup at Children’s Hospital this week. The brainstem tumor is stable so the chemo will continue. We have had a couple of sessions at the Hooper Pool—the first one wasn’t that much fun, because we overdid it. Peyton had a much better session when we took our time and didn’t push it. Proud that I can help this family, very proud!

If rumor has any basis in truth, Peyton will be singing “Take me Home, Country Roads” with the help of hONEyhoUSe at Society Hall on the 25th. I can hardly wait!

My dad, Howard “Red” Iveland, died an early death, traced back to his months as a POW in Germany.  Not taking your boots off (for six months) and marching, marching, marching left many of the American prisoners with circulation problems, causing aneurisms, etc. I wish he was still here. I want to ask him what he thinks of the Confederate statues being destroyed. I want to ask him if the ruins of the concentration camps should be bulldozed over. Would that make it any less horrible? I don’t think so. It seems to me there are better ways than destroying the sculptures. Learn from the past, plaques about the history of the sculptures, not honoring, but remembering, and vowing to never let it happen again.  It could be that easy!