" What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Garden Circkles:

Sustainable, organic gardening and homesteading
tips and techniques.

About Garden Circkles:

Gardening is great exercise, relaxing and very therapeutic, that's why we encourage people to get your hands in the dirt, walk barefoot in the grass and grow things.
We created Garden Circkles to help people do that in a healthy, sustainable way, and to stay in touch with gardening even if they live in the city and for those times they cannot garden year 'round. The best tasting food and most nutritious will always be food you grow yourself. Recent studies are revealing that processed, commercially grown food is unhealthy for many reasons not to mention chemical contamination is high in commercially grown foods

We also cover small farming and homesteading articles in this section.

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seed matters

"An insurance policy against climate change is breeding for diversity," Dillon says. "As we get a more chaotic climate, it's very important to have greater diversity in our food crops, so they are resilient enough to withstand unpredictable diseases that are already starting to appear." ~ Matthew Dillon from Seed Matters.

Seed Matters has partnered with Seed Savers Exchange to improve our Community Seed Resources programs. Free educational resource guides are available and you can apply for your own Seed Toolkit. You can also apply for a mentorship and get assistance for your community seed project from an experienced seed saver. For more information visit Seed Saver Exchange.

Organic, Non-GMO and Heirloom Seed Suppliers:

We have ordered from these suppliers and find them to be very reputable, reasonably priced and honest.

High Mowing Seeds. High Mowing Organic Seeds has just announced they plan to be the first non-gmo project certified vegetable seed supplier in the U.S. We have ordered from them and are very happy with their service and they seem to have fresh seed that has no problem germinating and a good variety of vegetable and grain seeds.

Baker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage. Gardeners can request a free 212-page color catalog or order online.

Seed Savers Exchange's collections contain heirloom and open-pollinated (OP) varieties. Heirlooms are OPs with a long history of being cultivated and saved within a family or group. They have evolved by natural or human selection over time.

Annie's Heirloom Seeds: Heirloom seeds produce vegetable varieties that have been around for 50 years or more. These are the vegetables your grandmother grew. These are the vegetables that were around before the huge agri-businesses that create most of the "food" on store shelves today.

Seeds Now. Grow Organic with Our Unique Collection of 100% Pure Raw Un-Treated Garden Seeds

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Use Us: We've archived all of our articles, tips and recipes for our readers to access as an online reference any time they want. It beats remembering all this stuff.

Garden Circkles Back Issues:
For issues that go further back than 2015, see our Back Issues Index. Or use the Google Search above and search by topic.

January 2015: The Lazy Wife (Green bean) Comes Back to Life. Cool Garden Gadgets 2015, Aphid Midges, Companion planting with clover, Grasshopper traps and more.

February 2015: Keeping a greenhouse warm without electricity, Growing citrus, get rid of cockroaches naturally, Hover flies, collards.

March 2015: Growing Moringa, a vitamin powerhouse, Hover flies, Building a coldframe from an old window, plants that are good for composting.

April 2015: Rototillers Compared: Which ones will save your back and buck. The Best Mulch is Grass Clippings. Companion Planting: Coriander.Leafhopper. Tachinid Flies.

May 2015: Dandelions and Bees. Greenhouse Idea:
Little Heaters out of Free 5 Gallon Buckets.
Asparagus Beetle. Crab Spiders. Ways With Rhubarb - Besides Always Looking for Recipes for it.

June 2015: Growing Hardy Kiwi. Oh no. Late Frost. Can Plants Still be Saved? The Purple Veggie Craze. Companion Planting: Cucumbers. Natural Deer Repellents. Green Lynx Spider

July 2015: Comfrey: A plant No Home Should Be Without. Think the Rain is Free? Think Again. Is There Such a Thing as a Kinkless Garden Hose? Spider Mites.

August 2015: Epsom Salts to Benefit Plants. Epsom Salts to Benefit Plants. Elderberry: Sambucus Nigra with Elderflower Champagne Recipe. Beneficial Bugs: Centipedes.

September 2015: Best U.S Harvest Festivals. China Aster. Callistephus chinensis. Organic Non-GMO Seed Suppliers.

October 2105: Those Nasty Thistles. Devil's Shoestring: Tephrosia virginiana. The Edible Daylily. Beneficial Insects.

November 2015: Holiday Gifts From the Garden. Diatomaceous Earth. Companion Planting Eggplant. It's a Good Time to Reinvigorate That Greenhouse.

December 2015: Growing and Making Your Own Molasses. Potato Onions. No, this is not a Typo. Seed Matters.

See our Green Circkles Page for homesteading suppliers, tips and information on living a more sustainable lifestyle at home.


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pallet garden

Nifty Garden Tricks

by Circkles.com

Pallet Garden: I have a lot of pallets laying around my barn that we used to stack bales of hay on. Now that my horses are gone, I've been wondering what to do with them. They were headed for the firewood pile until I started looking for something to grow strawberries in because around my house, we can never have enough strawberries, but where to plant them is becoming a problem. This pallet garden is an nifty solution to both the waste created by unused pallets and growing a strawberry bed just about anywhere. Great for patio and balcony gardens too. You can screw it to a wall, or just stand it up against a balcony railing.

You can get free pallets from many stores who have their product shipped to them on pallets and end up with more than they know what to do with.


Use Empty Toilet Paper and Paper Towel rolls for starting seedlings that go directly into the ground. Simply cut the cardboard rolls you would throw away or recycle anyway in half, push in one end of the cardboard tubes to hold dirt. Place in a tray for easy transporting and watering. By the time they start to biodegrade, your seedlings should be ready for their permanent home anyway. Just plant them pot and all like a peat pot...only these are free!

garden tips and tricks with toilet paper rolls

Incidentally, you can do the same thing with cardboard egg cartons. Fill them with dirt, plant your seeds in them, one per compartment, then cut them apart when you are ready to plant your seedlings. The cardboard cartons will decompose too.

Natural Weed Killer Recipe: Just be sure to keep this away from wanted plants, because this recipe might kill them as well.

1 gallon white vinegar

1 Tbsp dish soap

1 cup salt

Heat to boiling, mix together well in a bucket and pour directly onto the base of plant while still piping hot. Keep in mind, this will soak into the soil and could prevent other plants that you want from growing there for a couple of years. Some weeds with large and deep roots may still return, like dandelions, because their roots are just too deep for any spray or solution to really kill the root.

partial shade vegetable gardens

Veggies You Can Grow in Partially Shady Areas.

by Circkles.com.

Most vegetables require a minimum of 6-8 hours of full sun to produce and be anything but spindly. But there are a few vegetables that you can grow in shadier areas around the yard and garden that will produce with as little as 4 hours of sun. Most leafy vegetables or root crops can get away with a lot less light and still produce. Here is a list of the best veggies for shady areas.

Of course, we are not talking about growing vegetables in total shade here, but dappled shade from nearby trees that still allow a fair amount of ambient light underneath their branches, or areas that receive partial shade during the day. For areas of full or heavy shade, it is best to plant shade-loving ornamental plants there, such as hostas, and be done with it.

Incidentally, these semi-shady tolerant vegetables are also good winter crops, for the same reason; they can tolerate the shorter days of sun during the winter, so they will do well in a winter greenhouse.


Shade Notes 

Growing Tips 

Arugula At least three to four hours of sun per day. Arugula welcomes shade, as this crop is prone to bolting as soon as the weather turns warm if in full sun.
Asian greens At least two hours of sun per day. Asian greens such as bok choi (also spelled “pac choi” and “pak choi”), komatsuna and tatsoi will grow wonderfully with a couple hours of sun plus some bright shade or ambient light.
Chard If you grow chard mainly for its crisp stalks, you will need at least five hours of sun per day; if you grow it mainly for the tender baby leaves, three to four hours of sun per day will be enough. Expect chard grown in partial sade to be quite a bit smaller than that grown in full sun. Baby chard leaves are excellent cooked or served raw in salads.
Culinary herbs At least three hours of sun per day. While many culinary herbs need full sun, chives, cilantro, garlic chives, golden marjoram, lemon balm, mint, oregano and parsley will usually perform well in shadier gardens.
Kale At least three to four hours of sun per day. You'll notice only a small reduction in growth if comparing kale grown in partial shade with kale grown in full sun.
Lettuce At least three to four hours of sun per day. Lettuce is perfect for shadier gardens because the shade protects it from the sun’s heat, preventing it from bolting as quickly. Often, the shade can buy a few more weeks of harvesting time that you’d get from lettuce grown in full sun.
Mesclun One of the best crops for shady gardens. Grows in as little as two hours of sun per day and handles dappled shade well. The delicate leaves of this salad mix can be harvested in about four weeks, and as long as you leave the roots intact, you should be able to get at least three good harvests before you have to replant.
Mustard greens At least three hours of sun per day for baby mustard greens. Mustard grown for baby greens is best-suited for shady gardens.
Peas and beans At least four to five hours of sun. If growing these crops in partial shade, getting a good harvest will take longer. Try bush and dwarf varieties rather than pole varieties.
Root vegetables At least four to five hours of sun per day for decent production. Beets, carrots, potatoes, radishes and turnips will do OK in partial shade, but you'll have to wait longer for a full crop. The more light you have, the faster they'll mature. Alternatively, you can harvest baby carrots or small new potatoes for a gourmet treat that would cost an arm and a leg at a grocery store.
Scallions At least three hours of sun per day. This crop does well in partial shade throughout the growing season.




At least three to four hours of sun per day.

Spinach welcomes shade, as it bolts easily if in full sun. If you grow it specifically to harvest as baby spinach, you'll be able to harvest for quite a while as long as you continue to harvest the outmost leaves of each plant.



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June 2016
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