Sunday, June 6, 2010

Episode 3 Composting and Poison Ivy

In which it is revealed that one rose has disappeared, compost and poison ivy are discussed, amongst other things.

Poison Ivy

One of the most common plants we don't want to run into.
In the State of Florida, the State Park System considers Poison Ivy to be a native plant (which it is) and only removes it from where people are supposed to be. Wekiwa State Park has a reputation for people getting rashes from the algae in the water, after having swum there I think it is from the people climbing in where they are not supposed to, and going through the poison ivy to get there.

A very attractive vine, with three leaflets (Leaves of three, beware of me). The scientific name for Poison Ivy is Toxicodendron radicans older names or synonyms are Rhus toxicodendron and Rhus radicans. Then plant is a member of the family Anacardiaceae. The Anacardiaceae family is also known as the sumac or cashew family. (Yes cashews are in the same family as poison ivy, which is why they must be cooked to “kill” the Urishiol oil, and why some very sensitive people are allergic to cashews. Another popular food in the family are the mangoes.)

Poison Ivy is often mistaken for other plants and vice verse. Some of these plants include Virginia Creeper, Raspberries and Blackberries.   


To the left a compost pile.

Most of you have heard the term compost, and I am betting that some of you even have a pile going. I have my own little system. Three large grow pots (I begged off of a friend who installs trees) that I fill with weeds and kitchen scraps. (Meats don't go into the pile, as they attract rodents, possums and racoons.) I have a separate container in my kitchen for coffee filters and grounds, which I put out straight, no composting required.)

If you don't want to make your own, or can't, you can purchase ready made compost at a local nursery or big box store. I am lucky, that I can get more compost material from my county which I can use to supplement my compost piles.

Compost adds nutrients as well as micro organisms to the soil, which research has shown to provide immunity to plants. Also, the organic material helps to hole water and nutrients in the soil.

I like to use compost as mulch, and I think my plants like it as well.