If you live in a warm or coastal climate, you’ve likely experienced the invasion of dollarweed (also called pennywort) in your lawn or garden. This coin-like plant, which can be found growing in lawns and gardens, is quite edible.
Dollarweed is a broad leaf weed that appears in wet areas in the landscape. It’s low to the ground, with one round leaf per stalk. The leaves can grow up to the size of a silver dollar—hence the plant’s name. It looks similar to a lily pad. Pennywort grows naturally at the edges of ponds, lakes, canals, and riverbanks.
These nutrient packed plants are widely despised by homeowners and are commonly called weeds, but throughout history many of these hearty little plants have provided people in all walks of life a wealth of tasty nutrition.
They have a chemical, like celery, that helps the aorta and blood vessels relax. They do that by increasing the amount of nitrous oxide available and that can lower blood pressure. In India, Centella has been used for that purpose for some 3,000 years. Nice of modern science to confirm it. The plant has a host of other properties as well from affecting blood cell development to wound care to reducing edema.
Don’t be afraid to learn about edible weeds and flowers you can find in your yard, but be cautious and do your research before consuming them.
Editor’s Note: The content of this article is provided for general informational purposes only. Be cautioned that some wild plants can be poisonous, and poisonous plants sometimes resemble edible plants which often grow side by side. If you are inclined to nibble some pennywort you should do two things. First, make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing identify them. There are a couple of look alikes in Florida that could confuse a novice. And, more than that, as a water-loving plants they’re quick to pick up and store pollution and bacteria or that pesticide you put on your lawn. Collect them from clean places.
If you choose the right environment for you plants, they will grow healthy & strong. If you see that a plant isn’t happy in one place, try moving it to another. Every yard is different and what works in one, doesn’t necessarily work in another. Try to stay away from tree, their nutritional needs are different than your average fruit or veggie plant. If you can manage to plan your garden close to the kitchen or the back door you will probably take better care of your garden because you won’t have far to walk and you won’t forget to water it. You’ll spend more time in a garden that is conveniently located and recognize a problem as soon as you see it.
Putting your tallest plants on the north side of the garden will insure that they won’t block the sun so that your smaller plants can get the sun they need.
The easier you make your frequently harvested crops to get to the more likely you are to harvest & use them. Put them towards the front so you won’t have to go trampling through the garden bed to get to them. The garden doesn’t like compacted dirt, so tread lightly and give yourself a landing pad that you can step on instead.
Families like to hang out together. By planting veggie families together you will yield better crops & it will make it easier for crop rotation in the coming years..
Intercropping: Planting quick-maturing veggies such as lettuce & spinach between widely spaced rows of a slow-maturing crop like tomatoes or growing squash with corn.
Succession planting: Making a second planting like putting in beans where you just harvested early spinach. Just make sure you add some compost or fertilizer before you replant.
Saving Space Means Saving Time
Trying different methods other than the more traditional veggie rows may yield larger harvests with less work.
You may want to broadcast your seeds, letting the plants grow closer together. To do this just rack a section of the of the garden. Then scatter your seeds within the width of the raked section. This will allow you to…
plant more quickly
weed less because plants will crowd them out
save on watering because the plants will keep the ground shaded & moist.
grow cool-weather plants like spinach & lettuce in hotter months without bolting.
grow more produce in less space
extend your harvest period
I wouldn’t recommend this method for potatoes, tomatoes, corn, melons, squash or cucumbers.
For this system of gardening you will plant your veggies close together on beds that are 10 inches or more wide and are built up 6-10 inches above the ground. Beds are separated by walkways for easy pickin’. People who use this method of gardening claim that they get higher yields, up to 4 times more veggies per acre!
warmer, drier soil for earlier spring planting
little to no room for weeds
plants will shade the soil keeping it moist
you won’t have to worry about trending on the soil so it doesn’t get compacted
no deep digging
you can form beds a month or two before the actual planting
There are 2 big disadvantages to this method of gardening.
the beds dry out faster
paths between the beds become overrun with weeds.
To combat these issues you can use a heavy mulch of dried leaves or hay. When you see weeds popping up or dry patches in your beds, just add more mulch.
Be creative with your planting. Look around to see what you can recycle into a planter or what you can use to make raised beds. I have used baskets, pails, coffee containers, old wheel barrels or a bicycle with a basket in front…the possibilities are endless. I’ve even used my banana tree trunks as planters!
Square It Up
4×4 sections with paths in between will make it easy to calculate your layout & get to your produce once it’s time to harvest. Read your seed packets to find out how much room each plant needs, then in your 4×4 planting space proceed to space them accordingly. Again, get creative, by adding a vertical vines in the center, surrounded by root crops.
no compacted soil
get more harvest from less space
less weeding, watering & compost
looks cleaner & neater
no having to thin out
easier to plan crop rotation
The only disadvantage I see are that you may have to do more preparation of the beds at first and you may have slower planting in the spring.
That’s it for this month…
***Stay tuned, because my next garden post will be about: Landscaping: walkways, lawn & trees & edging. Also, flower & herb gardening. Until then…
Any day that I can be in the garden is a good day. I love the smell, the sights, the sounds. I love the feel of the dirt in my hands & the anticipation of some juicy produce on the table. Life just feels bountiful when I grow my own food. Below is the video I took while outside doing the thing I love the most in the world….
There are some things I would like to point out that didn’t get mentioned in the video.
First thing is the soil I’m using is organic. I always try my best to use organic soil because, for me it yields better tasting fruits & veggies.
The second thing I’d like to mention is my dog Nina is a rescue from Puerto Rico and her name is Spanish for “girl”. The second “n” should have a squiggly line on top of it, but my keyboard wouldn’t give me that option. 😕
The next thing to point out is the cart I’m using is a fishing cart that my husband won in a raffle. He hardly ever uses it, I had to dig it out from underneath some a pile of stuff on the side of the house so I could use it for gardening. It works great, I’m so happy I thought of it 😃
Another thing that’s interesting to know is, when I made the bed for the squash & sugar snap peas, I dug a trench deep enough to lay a banana tree trunk in it. Once a banana tree trunk grows a bunch of bananas, it dies and a little one starts growing right next to it. Once the bananas are ripe, I cut down the trunk and put it in the trench and used my shovel to split it open so that it covers the whole inside of the trench, then I cover it with my organic soil and plant the seeds. It holds water, which is what I need here in Florida because we have such sandy soil, the water drains away fast. It also provides lots of nutrients for the young seedlings and it will continue to provide lot of food for the mature plants in the months to come.
A funny thing to note is Lavern is one of three chickens. I live in a regular neighborhood, just like most. But in our area we are allowed to have two chickens. We originally got three and sadly one of them died, leaving us with two. But, we really wanted to have three, so we went back to get another one. The lady at the feed store said we couldn’t get just one chicken, they needed to be in pairs because our other two wouldn’t accept just one chicken into their little click. So we told her we were really only supposed to have two chickens. She laughed and said, “believe me, your neighbors have ten.” LOL 😃 So we got two more, but unfortunately one of them died and the other two ended up including the single chicken into their group ❤️
At this point I should say that I’m working on using permaculture principles in my yard. This means that most of the plants in my yard are perennials that once established need little to no care. The goal of permaculture is to create a food forest, and just like in a forest you need layers. The first layer are tall trees, I have a Poinsettia tree, a Mulberry tree and I’m also growing some Coconut Palms, but they’re still quite small. The second layer down are smaller trees, like Banana and Moringa, then come the bushes like berries, tapioca & Cranberry Hibiscus. The next layer down would be even smaller plants like herbs & flowers, then ground cover like mint and then root veggies like Sweet Potato.
I have only used them a couple of times so far and I can already say, I LOVE THEM!! They have saved me time & money because there is no need for cleaning products. They work with just hot water, which means I don’t have to spend a fortune on harmful, chemical laden, products & I don’t have to carry around bunch of cleaning products to clean the house.
Every morning after my husband & I are done washing our face and brushing our teeth, I wipe down the bathroom sink. I have always just used a regular cloth and then once a week I would give the whole bathroom a thorough cleaning. Now, with e-cloth, when I wipe down the bathroom sink, IT’S CLEAN!! No having to go back and clean it again 😀 I wipe down my glass shower doors using the Window Cloth along with the Glass & Polishing Cloth at the end of the day, after the last shower has been taken, to keep them looking clean & clear. While the Bathroom Cloth keeps the shower walls squeaky clean.
It’s the same with my kitchen counters. Everyday I wipe down my kitchen counter at least 3-4 times. Then at night after washing our dinner dishes I would spray the counters down and give them a more thorough cleaning. Now, I don’t have to do that, using the Kitchen Cloth, my counters stay clean all the time, it’s a miracle!! The Range & Stove-top Cloth along with the Glass & Polishing Cloth has kept my stove-top looking shiny & and practically brand new.
Because I only need to wipe down the surface of my furniture, without have to drag out a bunch of cleaning products, it’s much easier to keep the dirt and grime from building up. I use the Dusting Cloth to give my furniture a quick swipe and I’m done and can move on with my day, making time for other, more important, FUN things!
I highly recommend getting a set of e-cloths. They really do save time & money and even though I have only used them a short time, I can already tell the difference. If you are skeptical like I was, I have added links below so you can read about the science behind these cloths and how they have such remarkable cleaning capabilities, removing 99% of the bacteria in your home!! WHAT?!
e-cloths have 3.1 million fibers per sq in. 480,000 fibers per cubic centimeter. By combining this unique fiber technology with water, the cloths break up, lift and hold grease, grime and bacteria, which normal cloths leave behind.
Caring for your e-cloth is as simple as rinsing it with hot water in your day-to-day use. To ensure your e-cloths perform at their best you can machine wash them up to 300 times!! You only need a small amount of detergent, then either hang or tumble dry. That’s it!! I use Soap Nuts by NaturOli, you can read about them here.
We love the idea of community gardening! A few months ago, Hoss had the opportunity to donate one of our Wheel Hoes to the Community of Jesus – an ecumenical Christian community made up of monastic Brothers & Sisters, along with married couples, families and single adults located in Orleans, Massachusetts. This community of 230 members, strong in their commitment to their faith and way of life, are also master gardeners!
Brother Andrew Smith is, as we have come to know, the chief gardener of the community gardening. He oversees three main gardens plus two potato patches – in all, the Community has about 2/3 of an acre under cultivation. We felt the members of this Community would greatly benefit from one of our Wheel Hoes – not only to take the strain out of gardening but to help the members really enjoy planting and harvesting their vegetables and fruits and get the most out of their crops.
At Hoss Tools, we are huge fans of sustainable gardening, and the Community of Jesus does an incredible job. Oh, and we have to mention the fact that the Community also has cows, chickens and goats! A true working farm with both plants and animals – coming together to provide for community members.
When I was growing up, my family compost pile was a mound of stinking black earth decorated with vegetable peelings, nutshells, and denuded, forgotten apple cores. Teeming with worms and other wriggling digesters, the pile took six months or more to transform our jettisoned detritus into the fragrant loam my mother would later scatter at the base of her peonies.
The pile was not something that could ever work in an apartment.
But not all composts are created equally, and if you have ever rejected composting because of a less-than-spacious abode, think again. Today’s composters are streamlined and odor-free, offering options to accommodate even the smallest of apartments. Is it time for you to get on the composting bandwagon?
The Benefits of Composting
While you may not have peonies demanding a steady diet of nutrient-rich fertilizer, composting has other benefits. Not only can apartment dwellers use that black gold to feed house plants and patio containers, you can also reduce household waste and save yourself a trip to the dumpster.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food is the biggest ingredient in American trash. Currently more than 35% of the average garbage can is filled with kitchen scraps—scraps that could be diverted from the landfill altogether.
And diverting those scraps is important. When tossed into landfills, organic waste generates methane gas, something that doesn’t happen when you compost. Methane is a harmful greenhouse gas that increases the rate of global climate change. In fact, municipalities like Seattle, San Franciso, and New York City operate curbside collection and composting programs and get a carbon credit for their efforts. Despite this, about 95% of food scraps in the US are still thrown away.
To help reduce emissions and divert your share of organic waste, apartment composting is the answer. Luckily, there are several great ways to compost in an apartment. The type you choose will depend on your situation.
A critical step in sizing a solar PV system is understanding the electrical load it needs to be able to supply.
Our new, free online Solar Load Calculator displays a running total of your average daily Watt-hour usage, which helps determine the size of the solar system you’ll need.
If you click the submit button at the bottom of the form, your results will be sent to the email address you provide so you’ll have your own record. Clicking “submit” also emails our solar technicians with a copy of your results so that they can look up your information if you call them with questions (800-919-2400) about your system as you get
Most people think that having a garden is a lot of work. Yes, it can be if your not organized. It’s not just about going outside, planting a plant in the ground, watering it and thinking it will grow. That will only lead to failure, then, before long discouragement sets in because the plant will eventually die. To be an idle gardener takes some organization, but, once organized, there is little to do but reap the bounty. So let’s discuss how to go about getting organized! Continue reading “The Idle Gardener”→