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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

A Buffet of Choices
for Easy, Edible, Accented Arrangements

Last spring I attended a floral arrangement demonstration program at Myriad Botanical Gardens that changed the way I look at creating floral arrangements. The instructor, Dundee Butcher of Russian River Flower School in Healdsburg, California, created arrangements that were simple, yet sophisticated and beautiful, using edibles – from puckered dark green kale to cauliflower to purple carrots to eggplants, these arrangements were unique and lovely. Since that class, when I go to the grocery store or farmers’ market, I see not only what to make for dinner, but also what I could use to make the centerpiece.

>> read “A Buffet of Choices”       #Decorating   #Ornamentals   #Vegetables
Cut and Come Again
Extra food from veggies that are usually harvested once

One of the many joys of growing your own food is the nearly constant supply of fresh fruits and vegetables. Freshly picked tomatoes, cucumbers, berries, and squash are some of the most delightful summer treasures. Yet many crops, such as lettuce, onions, and Swiss chard, tend to be thought of as single-harvest vegetables, making it necessary to provide enough space for large plantings as well as a keen attention to succession planting in order to receive several weeks worth of these single harvest crops. Many of these vegetables, however, are capable of producing multiple harvests if you provide just a little extra attention to the harvesting methods and give them a bit of time to recover from each picking.

>> read “Cut and Come Again”       #Edibles   #Pruning   #Vegetables
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
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
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
How Much Should I Plant?

Picture this: You are sitting by the fireplace in January and the stack of seed catalogs is next to you. You have a hot cup of cocoa and you are looking forward to digging into the catalogs. You have your Post-It Notes right there, too, because you are going to mark everything that you want to order and plant for the vegetable garden. You place all of your orders, and then all of sudden it's planting time and you can't quite figure out how you are going to fit all of those seeds (let alone the plants that you just picked up at the garden center) in your garden. Expanding the garden is not an option (at least that's what my husband keeps telling me every year but somehow it just gets bigger and bigger!).

Does this sound familiar? I used to be really bad at over purchasing seeds and plants. I figured that since I have room, it would be OK to just let the garden size creep another foot or two. Until this got out of control and I had an epiphany one summer a few years ago: A lot of the produce that I was planting was just going to waste. So I started planning my vegetable garden according to what we would consume ...

>> read “How Much Should I Plant?”       #Design   #Seeds   #Vegetables
Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

When I want to get a room full of gardeners engaged in a lively debate, I bring up the topic of tomatoes. A question that transforms shy, reserved types into outspoken, opinionated verbal wranglers is this one: “Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?”

>> read “Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?”       #Fruit   #Misc   #Unusual   #Vegetables
Caterpillar Calamities

Every gardener has experienced it, usually more times than they can count. You walk into the garden and discover a plant that’s been defoliated or otherwise damaged by caterpillars. The canna leaves are riddled with holes, the cabbage leaves look like lace, half the tomatoes have worms in the fruit, or the azaleas have been stripped of their leaves. How could this happen so quickly?

>> read “Caterpillar Calamities”       #Pests   #Vegetables   #Wildlife
Two for One Tomatoes

If you took a survey of home gardeners and asked them about their favorite vegetable to grow, most likely the tomato would be at the top of the list. Anyone who has grown tomatoes knows that the quality and flavor of homegrown far surpasses that of a store-bought tomato. Anyone who has spent time growing tomatoes also knows that at times they can be finicky and be a challenge, even for the most experienced gardener. If you happen to cherish the more flavorful heirloom varieties, you face even greater challenges when it comes to disease, insects and cultural problems. While the practice has been around for centuries, grafting has more recently become the rage in growing difficult tomato varieties more successfully. With the difficult task of growing these older varieties, grafting may give you the edge to get the job done in your garden.

>> read “Two for One Tomatoes”       #Edibles   #Propagation   #Vegetables
Starting Veggies Indoors

Spring is just around the corner and even though I caution folks about planting and seeding too early in the season, truthfully… it’s safe to go ahead and start a few things indoors.

>> read “Starting Veggies Indoors”       #Propagation   #Seeds   #Vegetables
Out There Plants

At the risk of being a little too outré, I grew some plants that are not the usual garden suspects. These are plants known in the business as “straight species,” and are closer to wild types and not grown in normal suburban gardens. Give these plants a shot once you get tired of the standard garden fare.

>> read “Out There Plants”       #Misc   #Unusual   #Vegetables
 
 
 

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[+] The Bluegrass Garden