It’s a little out of the neighborhood, but it’s worth mentioning, for all our neighborhood gardeners and farmers, that the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association 2012 Conference is this weekend, Feb. 16-19, at the Mesquite Convention Center.  This is the place for all things local, organic, sustainable, gardening, farming, and much more. There will be a seed swap, farm tours, banquet, a screening of “The Greenhorns” and special guest speaker Mark Winne.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, I present my Small-scale urban agriculture class.

Oak Cliff Organics will have a booth next to the Paul Quinn College We Over Me Farm booth. Prepare to bee-dazzled as we will also be selling Texas Honeybee Guild honey the bees at the college made.

Go to to get all the info.

Cleansing Your Soil

Many folks have contacted me in the past two weeks about possible contamination of soil they want to grow food in. There are a few steps you can take to make sure your soil is safe for food crops:

1)    Apply a bio inoculant. There is one made in Sanger that works very well. Apply it using a hose-end sprayer. Saturate the area with water first, then apply. The bio inoculant binds the toxins and helps them pass through the soil.

2)    Grow a cover crop for a season. For example, I am going to grow summer alfalfa to help condition and inoculate a piece of land starting this spring.

3)    You can call the Texas Plant and Soil Lab to come out and run a test. They are a great group that I’ve used before. Worthwhile for serious concerns, but does cost.

Cover Crops

I love using cover crops.  They are cheap, easy, pretty and fix the soil naturally. For pennies on the dollar, you can condition acres of land, versus thousands of dollars to apply all the amendments you would need. I have also used a mix of elbon rye and crimson clover to fix a 4X8 raised bed. I plant them in the fall, and cut them down in the spring for an automatic mulch.  For home gardens, Repotted has Botanical Interest cover crop packets.

Garden Lady’s Green Dates to Remember