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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Refresh Summer Perennials

Keeping a garden at its best requires planning and a little effort. Spring through fall, here are a few tips for refreshing your perennials.

>> read “Refresh Summer Perennials”       #Advice   #Pruning   #Summer
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
Short, Tall and In Between
Design tips for a beautiful garden at all levels

Each gardener, whether novice or experienced, begins a new garden full of fresh hopes and desires. Desires vary – one gardener may wish to grow fanciful flowers in a cutting garden; others may want a wildlife habitat with diverse plantings to feed birds, bees and butterflies. Another may want to grow a vegetable garden, with an added desire to make it as beautiful as it is functional.

>> read “Short, Tall and In Between”       #Advice   #Design
Bad Homemade Remedies
Do NOT try these at home! Here's why.

As gardeners we care for our plants as best we can. We are also sensitive to environmental concerns when using fertilizers and pesticides (and many times we seek the cheapest way to do all this). It has happened to all of us: We buy a product that is “almost as good” as the original product only to discover that it “almost worked.” There are many “cheap and almost as good as” homemade garden remedies, many of them found on the Internet; I am going to explain why you should never try any of them.

>> read “Bad Homemade Remedies”       #Advice   #Health and Safety   #Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency
Mulch Primer

These are the ‘Who-What-When-Where-Whys’ of mulch. And you thought mulch was just a pile of stuff on the ground.

>> read “Mulch Primer”       #Advice   #Misc   #Soil
Five Secrets for the Best Winter Squash

If you’re passionate about squash, you know the difference between great squash and mediocre squash. Great squash is sweet, with well-developed flavor and good texture. Mediocre squash is tasteless, watery and stringy. Sometimes it can be saved with butter and brown sugar, but ours often ends up in the compost pile.

It can be tricky to get good squash, since many varieties need 100 or more days to mature. Here are some secrets I’ve learned after 20 years of growing winter squash and pumpkins.

>> read “Five Secrets for the Best Winter Squash”       #Advice   #Fall   #Vegetables
Transplant Those Plants Now

Nurseries and garden centers overflow with color on opening day in the spring. They woke the plants up early and grew them on to full foliage and bloom placing temptation before all the gardeners with cabin fever.

My wife and I are as susceptible to gardening siren calls as any other gardener, but over the years we have learned that there are plants best transplanted in the fall. September, October, and early November are prime months for bringing perennials, bulbs, trees, and shrubs into the garden.

>> read “Transplant Those Plants Now”       #Advice   #Bulbs   #Fall   #Shrubs
Midsummer Checkup

Tall, multicolored ‘Granny’s Bouquet’ zinnias flourish in the sunny border. We’ve been clipping them regularly for the table, which encourages new flowering. Heritage garden roses are into their second or third flush. Landscape roses continue strong and brighter than ever. Grape, patio and large luscious tomatoes are at peak production. Yellow and green summer squash are so prolific that neighbors walk the other way when they see you carrying yet another vegetable.

July and August also can bring out the worst in marginally healthy plants. Plants are a collection of living cells, just like us. We’re more susceptible to going downhill fast when stressed, underfed, dehydrated, injured, too hot or too cold.

>> read “Midsummer Checkup”       #Advice   #Pests   #Summer
Control Caterpillar Pests

Caterpillars are vexing pests to many of the plants we grow in our home landscapes and vegetable gardens. There are numerous different species of pest caterpillars, most of which specialize in feeding on a particular group of plants: azalea caterpillars sometimes defoliate whole plantings of azaleas; heavy infestations of bagworms destroy arborvitae trees; tobacco hornworms strip the leaves from homegrown tomatoes; squash borers kill squash and pumpkin vines. And the list goes on.

>> read “Control Caterpillar Pests”       #Advice   #Insects   #Pests
Blue Ribbon Gardening

Growing and exhibiting vegetables is an exciting way to get more than food from your vegetable patch. In addition to possibly winning a ribbon and a small amount of prize money, you’ll get the thrill of competing, the opportunity to learn about new varieties and inspiration for the future.

>> read “Blue Ribbon Gardening”       #Advice   #Edibles   #Misc   #Vegetables
The Top 10 Reasons Your Tomatoes Fail

Anyone who has ever grown a backyard tomato knows that there is no comparison to the flavor and quality of a freshly grown tomato compared to one purchased at the supermarket. While tomatoes are arguably the king of the vegetable garden, they can be challenging at times because this tropical fruit can be finicky. By far, tomato problems exceed those of any other vegetable. Whether that is because they just have more problems or because of how popular they are, they are definitely not easy to grow. Here I will outline what I see as the top 10 issues that can lead to tomato failure in the garden.

>> read “The Top 10 Reasons Your Tomatoes Fail”       #Advice   #Edibles   #Fruit   #Vegetables
The Harmonious Garden

Step into your garden, close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? Does your garden sound as pretty as it looks? Along with texture, color and fragrance, sounds help create a unique environment in your garden. Enhancing and manipulating these sounds make you the backyard conductor of your own garden orchestra. Composing a garden symphony is easy, just start with what you already have and build on it. So grab your wand (trowel) and begin.

>> read “The Harmonious Garden”       #Advice   #Decorating   #Misc
 
 
 

New from our Bloggers:


Seed Viability
Will your seeds germinate and grow plants?

[+] The Everlasting Gardener


Making the Right Cut
Always cut back to a bud or branching point.

[+] Pruning with Your Personal Gardener