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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

The Way of the Weave

I don’t know about you, but I there’s one thing about growing tomatoes that I don’t care for – caging them. No matter what type of caging system I’ve tried, be it the classic flimsy tomato cage, the sturdier cattle-panel version, or the whole tying the plant to a stake (kind of like a witch-burning), no caging method has worked. Before summer is halfway over, both tomatoes and plants are on the ground with the first heavy rainstorm or windy day. And forget about trying to get those giant plants back into their homes! However, all these troubles disappeared the summer I discovered the Florida weave trellising system. Also known as the basketweave system, weaving tomato plants between stakes and twine is economical, simple, and a major time saver – something all of us gardeners can use!

>> read “The Way of the Weave”       #Advice   #Edibles   #Vegetables
Warming Up With a Fire Feature

Imagine yourself sitting around a warm fire. Can you hear the snapping and crackling of the wood? Do you feel the warmth of the fire on your hands and face? Can you hear and see your family and friends talking and laughing as they sit around the fire, toasting marshmallows? That could be your backyard, if you had a fire feature.

>> read “Warming Up With a Fire Feature”       #Decorating   #Hardscaping   #Misc
The Perfect Plants

Saving water is such an important aspect of gardening these days. But, for me, saving maintenance time is just as important. I want a beautiful garden, but I don’t have the time or energy to work hard to make it that way. So, while I do have some special babies that need lots of tender loving care, I’m always on the lookout for great filler plants that look really good — even when I ignore them.

>> read “The Perfect Plants”       #Irrigation   #Succulents   #Xeriscaping
Using the Olla to Beat the Summer Heat

Keeping the vegetable garden hydrated during the heat of the summer is a challenge in the South, where the sun beats down for weeks, the rain barrels run dry and even heat-loving crops wilt under summer’s fiery breath. Water restrictions have even become commonplace in many parts of the region, making watering the garden even more difficult.

Water-efficient systems such as drip-line irrigation can make a big difference. But Durham, N.C., gardener Scott Belan found a cheaper and simpler solution by building an olla out of a humble clay pot. This watering solution satisfied Belan’s personal philosophy in gardening: Look to the cultures and climates that make the most sense for your surroundings.

>> read “Using the Olla to Beat the Summer Heat”       #How to   #Irrigation   #Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency
Enchanted Evenings

A moonlit garden is enchanting, but sometimes the moon needs a little help shedding light on a garden’s nighttime beauty. That’s when it’s time to turn to technology.

>> read “Enchanted Evenings”       #Design   #Misc   #Tech & Gadgets
A Kitchen Garden in 5 Easy Steps

Do you have a yard full of grass and a longing for fresh produce to feed your family? Why not install a kitchen garden? One that is easy to build and won’t require much maintenance, where you can grow fresh veggies, small fruits, herbs, and maybe even some cut flowers.

Sound too good to be true? Follow these 5 simple steps and you will be growing in no time.

>> read “A Kitchen Garden in 5 Easy Steps”       #Design   #Edibles   #Raised Beds
The Procrastinator’s Garden

If you are reading this well after Memorial Day, and you are wishing you had planted a vegetable garden this spring, but think now it is too late, you are in luck. It is not too late to plant a vegetable garden and reap an abundant harvest.

>> read “The Procrastinator’s Garden”       #Raised Beds   #Summer   #Vegetables
Waterwise Garden Design

There was a time when I thought of water as a renewable resource. Deep down, I still want to believe this. Although our water supply is replenished (some years more than others), the distribution of water over my property varies. The gain doesn’t always equal the loss though – some years we take more than nature gives.

Since I come from an area that receives an average of 44 inches of rain a year, you may be surprised to hear me touting waterwise garden design. Out West, this is a way of life. However, on the East Coast, we have experienced long periods of drought in recent years. If Raleigh’s annual rainfall came as 1 inch every week, there would be little need for waterwise design. But it doesn’t. Summers, in particular, can be hot and dry. It wasn’t until we experienced the worst drought in 100 years, with outdoor watering restrictions and no major rain in sight, that I began to take note ...

>> read “Waterwise Garden Design”       #Design   #Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency   #Xeriscaping
Avoiding Bad Neighbors
Keep these plants away from each other

Everyone has had an experience with a bad neighbor. There are various reasons for considering a neighbor “bad,” but most of them have an element of “chemistry” in them somewhere. Some people just don’t get along. It’s no different in the plant world. Since plants are restricted in place and not able to move away from bad or undesirable neighbors, they must employ other methods. Plant communities use chemistry to repel or subdue those that may pose a threat to a thriving population.

>> read “Avoiding Bad Neighbors”       #Advice   #Beneficials   #Vegetables
High and Dry
Vegetables for when Mother Nature turns up the heat

A kitchen garden’s survival during a drought, or periods drier than normal requires planning, preparing and making smart, water-saving decisions along the way.

>> read “High and Dry”       #Irrigation   #Summer   #Vegetables
Tasty Ways to Support Your Local Farmers

With scares over contaminated, big-ag produce the last few years, consumers have become more interested in where their food comes from, how it is grown and how far it traveled to get to their tables.

People have become more interested in growing their own vegetables and herbs, or when space and time do not allow for that, they shop at farmers markets. Some consumers take it a step further and partner with a farmer to grow their food through a community supported agriculture program, or CSA.

>> read “Tasty Ways to Support Your Local Farmers”       #Advice   #Edibles   #Homesteading
Fruit Tree Friends

Companion planting is the idea that certain plants attract beneficial insects and fix soil nutrients in the edible garden. It’s not a dog-eat-dog world out there; it’s a bug-eat-bug world that forms the food chain that feeds us.

Fresh fruit picked off your own trees is a hot horticultural pursuit these days. Homeowners envision delectable apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries dripping from their trees. Well, truth be told, there’s a lot of work that goes into those beautiful fruits. Bumps and blemishes from an army of fruit tree pests are the reality of the orchardist.

>> read “Fruit Tree Friends”       #Beneficials   #Fruit   #Trees
 
 
 

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