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

Garden Circkles:

Sustainable, eco-friendly and organic gardening tips and techniques.

Find more gardening articles and topics in our Archives by using the Google Custom Search above.

See our Local Circkles pages for Farmer's Markets in your state.

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

Organic Non-GMO Seed Suppliers:

High Mowing Organic Seeds has just announced they plan to be the first non-gmo project certified vegetable seed supplier in the U.S. highmowingseeds.com

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

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.


Beneficial Bugs:

Encarsia Formosa
Order: Hymenoptera. Family: Aphelinidae

These little guys have been used for over 60 years to control whiteflies especially in greenhouses. They adults are very tiny, only about 1/25th of an inch. To tell you just how small that is, they lay one egg inside an immature whitefly, and you know how small whiteflies are. As the egg grows, it kills its host. The adult wasps also eat young whiteflies.

You can tell if whiteflies have wasp pupae inside because they turn brown or black instead of being a pale yellow.

Not native to North America, but these wasps can be purchased for greenhouse use. They are not hardy in cold climates but may survive a garden in warmer areas.

Photo: Encarsia moth about to infest a whitefly with an egg.


Natural Insect and Disease Control:


Catnip naturally contains an oil that is an insect repellent called nepetalactone. Fresh catnip when steeped in water and sprayed on plants will send flea beetles scurrying. Freshly picked catnip placed on shelves will repel black ants.

Catnip has a chemical compound similar to certain predatory insects such as the walkingstick - which ejects a spray similar to this compound to deter it's enemies. However, be careful where you plant catnip as cats really do love it and will rub themselves on it sometimes crushing the plant and others around it.


Companion Planting: Celery:

Plants that assist each other to grow well, repel insects or even other plants when grown next to each other is called companion planting and can be a sustainable and eco-friendly way to improve and protect your garden against unwanted pests and disease.

Celery grows will with cauliflower, leeks, tomatoes and cabbage and seems to be mutually beneficial with bush beans. Cabbage butterflies are repelled if celery is planted near cauliflower or other cabbage plants.

Both celery and celeriac are reported to have a hormone similar to insulin which makes them an excellent seasoning for diabetics and since celery is high in natural salts, it is good for anyone on a salt-restricted diet as well.



No more searching the web for hours looking for recipes that have not even been tested only to find they don't work. Pop our CD into your laptop, or download the efile onto any electronic device and head for the kitchen!

Make your own ingredients and healthy recipes without pre-packaged and processed ingredients.


Garden Circkles Back Issues:

You can find these articles and more by searching by topic using the Google Search at the top of this page or go to our Garden Circkles Back Issues Page.


Circkles.com is a member of:

EcoFirms.org Member

Raspberry Varieties Compared.

By Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com

Legend has it that when the Greek gods went to Mt. Ida in Turkey they returned with raspberries. Thus, the basis for the scientific name for the red raspberry of Rubus Idaeus. There are many different varieties of raspberry plants on the market, but not all of them are the same. Some are better producers or produce larger berries. Some withstand drought better than others. Heritage tends to be very popular, however, we found Latham to be more drought tolerant for the Southwest and produces huge berries on vines that are usually just loaded with berries. On average, you can get 12 berries from one vine and they will be twice the size of Heritage. Also, one year we had a severe drought and could not water our berries because we had been evacuated due to wild fires. Almost all of our Heritage plants died out, but the Latham survived and are still going strong.

Heritage is also advertised and promoted as being able to give a gardener two crops in one season if the canes are cut back in the fall. We tried this for several years but found that in our shorter growing season here in the mountains, we could still only get one crop from Heritage and it was a small crop. We have had Circkles.com garden club members also comment that they were not impressed with the Heritage variety either.

Raspberry varieties are classified as floricane (summer) or primocane (fall) bearing. A few primocane bearing types are described as everbearing, which produce a small to intermediate fall crop and can be managed in a double cropping system. Raspberries canes are naturally biennial with a perennial crown. Primocanes grow the first year, go dormant in fall, get chilled in winter, and fruit the following summer. New primocanes are growing as the floricanes fruit. Floricane varieties must be pruned in the spring to thin the fruiting canes and remove dead canes for better disease management and fruit size. There are red (Rubus idaeus), black (Rubus occidentalis), and purple (red x black hybrid) raspberry varieties suitable for production in temperate states.

Of course, there are many more varieties than we can cover here, and some plant suppliers come up with names for the same plant that are different from anybody else's, such as the Latham we mentioned above, which thus far, we have only seen being sold by a couple suppliers under that name.


Autumn Bliss (Great Britain, Plant Patent #6597) is an early ripening raspberry with large, highly flavored fruit. It ripens 10 to 14 days before Heritage. Much of the crop is produced within the first two weeks of harvest, which is an advantage in northern climates. It produces short canes with few spines. The fruit is dark red and darkens with storage and is fairly soft. It is susceptible to raspberry bushy dwarf virus.

Autumn Britten (Great Britain) is early ripening with large, firm, good flavored fruit. The fruit tends to be dark and darken in storage. It is taller than ‘Autumn Bliss’ with better fruit quality but lower yields. It produces sparse cane numbers.

Caroline (University of Maryland, Plant patent #10,412) is a large, good flavored, conical fruit. The fruit will darken with storage. It produces tall upright canes. The short fruiting laterals can be challenging to pick, but yields are very good for the fall. It has moderate to good resistance to Phytophthora root rot.

Crimson Giant (Cornell University-NYSAES, Plant patent applied for) is the latest release from the Cornell program and has large, bright red fruit with a conical shape. The berries are firm and flavorful. It ripens after ‘Heritage’ and extends the season until late October or later with high tunnels. There is a significant risk to the crop from early frost with outdoor production.

Heritage (Cornell University-NYSAES) is considered the standard for fall bearing varieties. These tall, rugged canes have prominent thorns and can very high yielding if the complete crop can be harvested. The primocane crop ripens relatively late. Fruit is medium-sized and has good color and flavor, firmness, and good freezing quality. It is resistant to most diseases. Due to its late ripening, this variety is not recommended for regions with cool summers or a short growing season with frost before September 30 unless high tunnels or other cold protection is used.

Himbo Top (variety ‘Rafzaqu’) (Switzerland) produces good quality, large fruit. The fruit is bright red with good flavor. Plants are vigorous and upright and medium in height with very long fruiting laterals that require trellising. Sucker production is somewhat sparse leading to moderate yields.

Jaclyn (University of Maryland, Plant Patent #15647) is an early season variety with large firm berries ripening 2 weeks before Heritage. The fruit is dark red with superior flavor and will darken with storage. The fruit is very long conical and adheres tightly until fully ripe. Plants are vigorous and erect but susceptible to yellow leaf rust. Potato leaf hoppers show a strong preference for this variety and can cause significant damage.

Joan J (Great Britain) is an early season variety with very firm fruit with a thick texture. The fruit is conic and dark red and will darken with storage. The canes are vigorous, upright and spineless making picking easy. Yield and fruit size is very good. The fruit skin is thin and can be damaged easily, especially in high temperatures.

Josephine (University of Maryland, Plant Patent #12,173) fruit is large with very good flavor ripening in the late season. Berries are firm and cohesive. The color is dark red. Plants are upright and vigorous needing little containment trellising. It is resistant to leaf hopper and Phytophthora root rot. This variety will extend the season in a high tunnel system.

Polka (Poland) has medium large primocane fruit that ripen in the mid-fall season. The fruit is somewhat soft with good quality and a shiny red appearance. It is a vigorous variety with good sucker production. Potato leaf hoppers so a strong preference for this variety and can cause significant damage.


Boyne and Killarney (sibling varieties from Manitoba) perform very similarly. Both have are early season with small to medium sized fruit with good eating and freezing quality but can be somewhat dark and soft. The plants are spiny and produce many suckers. They have excellent winter hardiness but are susceptible to anthracnose. Boyne is moderately resistant to late yellow rust and tolerant to Phytophthora root rot and crown gall, but is susceptible to raspberry fireblight. Killarney is moderately resistant to Phytophthora root rot and is susceptible to mildew.

Prelude (Cornell University-NYSAES, Plant Patent #11,747) is the earliest summer fruiting variety available. The fruit is medium sized, round, and firm with good flavor. It is very resistant to Phytophthora root rot and has good cold hardiness. A moderate fall crop is large enough to warrant double cropping. It is the best early season variety available for the northeast.

Moutere (New Zealand) is large fruited variety with very firm fruit. The canes are vigorous and tend to weep with the heavy fruit load. The fruit is light red with a waxy, dull appearance. The yields are very high but the flavor is poor. Hardiness in NY has been good.

Nova (Nova Scotia) is vigorous and upright with long, fruiting laterals. The canes have very few spines. The fruit ripens in mid-season and is medium sized, bright red, firm, and somewhat acidic in taste. It is considered to have better than average shelf life. The plants are very hardy and appear to resist most common cane diseases, including rust. It will set a late fall crop.

Titan (Cornell University-NYSAES, Plant patent # 5404) produces large canes with very few spines with suckers that emerge mostly from the crown, so it is slow to spread. It is susceptible to crown gall and Phytophthora root rot but is extremely productive. Fruits ripen mid to late season and are extremely large and dull red, with mild flavor. Berries are difficult to pick unless fully ripe. With only fair hardiness, Titan is for moderate climates. It is resistant to the raspberry aphid vector of mosaic virus complex.

Late Season Encore (Cornell University-NYSAES, Plant patent # 11,746) is one of the latest summer fruiting raspberry varieties available. It produces large, firm, slightly conical berries with very good, sweet flavor. The fruit quality is considered very good. It is moderately susceptible to Phytophthora root rot and has good cold hardiness.

K81-6 (Nova Scotia) produces canes that are medium tall with spines only at the base. The fruit is very large with good flavor that ripens very late summer with average firmness. It is resistant to late yellow rust but is susceptible to leaf curl virus and raspberry fire blight. It has shown good cold hardiness in NY trials.

Octavia (Great Britain) is a new late season variety that promises to close the summer gap before primocane varieties begin. The fruit is large and generally round shaped and light red. The flavor is poor to average with adequate sun. The canes are semi-spineless with good resistance to aphids and cane botrytis. It is susceptible to spur blight, raspberry bushy dwarf virus and Phytophthora root rot.



When the Frost is on the Punkin...

by Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com

We felt this poem by Riley from 1835 sums up this time of year for gardeners and is a fitting way to end the season. (All the weird spelling is from the original poem.)

When the Frost is on the Punkin

When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock,
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

They’s something kindo’ harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer’s over and the coolin’ fall is here—
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin’-birds and buzzin’ of the bees;
But the air’s so appetizin’; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning of the airly autumn days
Is a pictur’ that no painter has the colorin’ to mock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin’ of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
The stubble in the furries—kindo’ lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin’ sermuns to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below—the clover over-head!—
O, it sets my hart a-clickin’ like the tickin’ of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin’ ’s over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too! ...
I don’t know how to tell it—but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin’ boardin’, and they’d call around on me—
I’d want to ’commodate ’em—all the whole-indurin’ flock—
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock!


© 2014 Redstone Promotional Communications / Circkles.com. All rights reserved to articles and images.






October, 2014