Archive for the ‘Landscaping’ Category

Gathering Notice: Getting More out of your Garden, Farm and Homestead through Permaculture Techniques with Kelly Ware, April 17 2014

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Catherine Haug, April 2, 2014

ESP and BERT (Bigfork Emergency Resource Team) are co-hosting this event:

  • What: Getting more out of your garden, Farm and Homestead Through Permaculture Techniques, with Kelly Ware; hosted by Essential Stuff Project (ESP) and Bigfork Emergency Resource Team (BERT)
  • When: Thursday evening, April 17, 2014, 7 – 8 PM
  • Where: Bigfork Middle School Cafeteria (600 Commerce St, Bigfork MT)
  • Who: Free and open to the public; no preregistration required.
  • Contact: Catherine at 837-4577 (, or Bruce at 837-0923

Additional Information: read on for more info about the event, and a link to a flyer.. (more…)

Warning: Bee killing pesticides in “bee-friendly” plants

Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Bumblebee with loaded pollen baskets

Bumblebee with loaded pollen baskets

by Catherine Haug, August 15, 2013

(photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

In my recent post, What is killing bees?, I suggest planting “a variety of non-GMO flowering plants, especially native plants, in your gardens and landscape.” While this is still an excellent recommendation, please be advised to select your plants carefully. A new report by Friends of the Earth (Gardeners Beware: Bee Report) has found that many bee-friendly plants sold at national big-box stores like Home Depot and Lowes are contaminated with bee-killing neonicotenoids (pesticides) in their pollen. How can that be? (more…)

What is killing bees?

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013


by Catherine Haug, August 13, 2013

(photo, right from (3))

I’ve written about this topic before, but now there is a new bill in congress (HR-2692 or “Save America’s Pollinators Act”) to protect our bees and our food supply. This bill would require the EPA to pull neonicotinoid pesticides from the market until their safety is proven. Please consider writing to your representative(s) – Montana’s lone representative is Steve Daines. See Contact our Government.

There is also a Friends of the Earth Petition to large retailers like Lowes and Home Depot to pull neonicotenoids, a systemic fungicide that is especially harmful to bees – not just honey bees but also native bumble bees and others.

There is not just one thing responsible for the bee deaths, but rather several factors, many of which  have to do with reducing the bee’s immunity to infection by the Nosema parasite. Mercola lists all the prevalent theories in his article: Scientists Discover Fungicide and Pesticide are Killing Bees?and It’s Worse Than You Thought (1). Read on for his list, and for suggestions on how you can help bees. (more…)

The Plight of the Bumblebee

Monday, March 18th, 2013
Bumblebee with loaded pollen baskets

Bumblebee with loaded pollen baskets

by Catherine Haug, March 18, 2013

(photo, right, from Wikipedia)

The same chemical factors that are harming honeybees (colony collapse disorder) may also be having a negative impact on ground-dwelling bumblebees.

But that’s not the only thing endangering our native bumblebees. And as we lose honeybees, our native pollinators like bumblebees and mason bees will become increasingly important. We need to do all we can to ensure their survival and increase, or we will have serious problems in our food supply.

According to a short article in April/May issue of National Wildlife Magazine: Bumblebees seek biodiverse blooms, there are two things each of us can do to help bumblebees. Two things that have nothing to do with pesticides and other chemicals: (more…)

Pollinators: Critically Important Partners

Sunday, August 12th, 2012

by Catherine Haug, August 12, 2012

The summer issue of Organic Matters, the magazine of Montana Organic Association (MOA) had a great article on Pollinators: Your Stealthy Partners, by Anna Jones-Crabtree of Vilicus Farms (in Havre (2)), with Jennifer Hopwood of the Xerces Society (3).

At a recent short course on pollinators in Great Falls, the only farmers in attendance were Organic! Now that tells you something … For key points from the short course, with my notes added, read on.


Grafting fruit trees

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

by Catherine Haug, April 5, 2012

Did you know that almost all fruit trees are grafted?

  • For most, the graft is at ground level, so that the tree and its root are not of the same species or variety, mostly to regulate the mature size of the tree. For example, apple can be grafted to rose root, which keeps the apple at a dwarf size.
  • Different varieties of the same fruit can be grafted onto a common trunk; for example, bartlett and bosc pears on the same tree.
  • Related species can be grafted onto a common trunk; for example the fruit basket tree, which has peach, apricot and plum.

Jean H decided she wanted more variety of fruit without adding more trees, so she learned how to graft branches of a different variety onto an existing tree. She sent me a couple video links, for any of you who would like to try this ancient technique. and I’ve added a few links with general info on growing fruit trees. (more…)