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Ideas for all Seasons

April 2, 2012

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I just planted ‘Jade’ cabbage and “Purple Graffiti” cauliflower plants I grew from seed amongst the waning daffodils and muscari at the edge of the perennial bed under my kitchen window.

Oriental lilies, delphinium, banana mint and monarda will surround the developing plants and bloom while crucifers reach maturity.

I got the idea from the All-Seasons Garden Guide by The Old Farmer's Almanac. The article “Looking Good Enough to Eat” highlighted Shawna Coronado’s suburban Chicago front yard filled with edibles like cabbage and ornamental landscape plants, instead of a lawn.  I loved the photo of her cabbage amongst groundcover, marigolds and hostas.

Another article in the Guide, “Our Top 12 Tomato Tips” didn’t seem of interest to me until I started skimming the pages.  There were two tips that even an old tomato pro like me didn’t know, including one about which side of the plant stem to place a stake.

I have to add that I wrote an article in the Guide, “Grow Salads in Pots”.  I covered the topic about growing lettuce in containers previously, but in the article I elaborate on specialty salad gardens such as finger vegetable garden and a Thai one.  You can easily grow the ingredients for Thai salads, spring rolls and stir-frys in a few attractive containers on your back porch.  Lemon grass, cilantro, garlic chives, sizzling Thai peppers and ginger roots go a long way in seasoning foods and make gorgeous combinations in pots.  Ginger, for instance, is simple to grow from roots purchased at the grocery store.  Instructions are in the article.

“Give Your Garden Personality” is a great article, too, packed with landscape ideas.  One I’ll be copying is an old, rusted bicycle converted into a planter.  I have an old bike in the garage with a tattered wicker basket.  I plan to line the basket with moss and put an array of annuals in it, plus hang pots of herbs and flowers from the bike frame.  It should look fabulous propped against a huge black cherry tree trunk at the edge of my perennial bed.

The All-Seasons Garden Guide is packed with ideas, how-tos and guides on pruning, frost dates and other handy information. I recommend getting a copy of the All-Seasons Garden Guide today and harvest ideas for your garden!

Doreen Howard has written for The Old Farmer's Almanac All-Seasons Garden Guide for 15 years and is the former garden editor at Woman’s Day as well as a photographer. She has grown more than 300 varieties of heirloom edibles and flowers in the last two decades.

In stores now!

Look for Doreen's newest book, Heirloom Flavor: Yesterday's Best-Tasting Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs for Today's Cook. Find in stores everywhere including Walmart and on the Web including Amazon.com.

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Thanks for mentioning my

By Shawna Coronado

Thanks for mentioning my garden - it will be great to jump into the front lawn vegetable garden season this year. :-)


Doreen, For my vegetables,

By Catherine Boeckmann

Doreen, For my vegetables, I'm going 100% containers this season! I love the salad garden tips. There's nothing better than lettuce out of the garden. I see you have suggested varieties and I'll check them out. Any other lettuce tips are appreciated. Do I stagger a couple lettuce pots to keep it going? Thanks!

Yes, stagger your plantings.

By Doreen G. Howard

Yes, stagger your plantings. As it gets hotter, move the containers to the shade. Lettuce will grow in northern exposures if they get strong indirect light. Also, freeze the lettuce seeds for a week before planting them when it's hot. That tricks lettuces, which are cool weather crops, into germinating. Bavarian and red-leafed lettuces do the best when it's hot.

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