Garden Journal


About this Blog

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser's backyard gardening tips. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer's Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer's Market.

February 22, 2018

Harvesting is in full swing and gardeners are enjoying the fruits of their labors. If you wish you had room for more edibles, take another look around your yard. With an edible landscape, some of your plants are actually herbs or fruit or vegetables that you can—yes—eat!  It’s a great solution if you have limited space.  There are many creative ways to sneak more edible plants into your landscaping without sacrificing good looks. The trick is to select the right plants for an edible landscape.... more

February 16, 2018

Even though onions are cheap enough to buy by the bagful, for the greatest variety, you have to grow your own—and it’s not difficult to do. Here are some onion planting, growing, and harvesting tips! Sure, we could just buy onion sets and plant those but there is not a wide choice of varieties available as sets—mostly ‘Stuttgarter’ or ‘Ebenezer’ and often they form a thick-necked onion that wants to go to seed instead of forming nice, firm bulbs.  Which Onion is Right for You? Determining... more

February 12, 2018

Winter is a great time for experimenting. Since I was feeling starved for green, growing goodness to eat last month, I gave microgreens a try. I have been a longtime sprout-lover, so I grew some of those too, just to see which I liked better. While doing a seed inventory I found we had lots of extra lettuce, kale, and dill seeds which I added to a mesclun mixture of arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, chervil, and more lettuce to use for my microgreen mix.  What Are Microgreens? What are microgreens,... more

February 8, 2018

Without proper ventilation, it doesn’t take long for indoor pollutants to build up to unhealthy levels. Here are some of the best air-purifying houseplants that can clean the air in your home! Indoor pollutants come in two major varieties—particulates such as dust, mold spores, and pollen, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are gases that are released from paints, fabrics, wallpaper, carpeting, plastics, and solvents commonly found in most homes. Even household chemicals such as... more

February 8, 2018

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon and if you’d rather not buy flowers that will wilt and die in a few days, try cultivating a little romance by giving packets of seeds with a special meaning. Love will blossom along with these flowers that have these romantic names … ‘Valentine’ sunflower grows to be 5 feet tall. Its lemony yellow blossoms with chocolate brown centers are excellent for cutting so you’ll have bouquets all summer long to remind you of your growing love. ‘Exotic Love Vine’... more

February 1, 2018

The seeds are rolling in, and if you are as eager to get the garden party started as I am, it is hard to refrain from starting them too early. When should you start your seedlings? There is always some debate about when is the best time to start seeds indoors. If you plant seeds too early, you need to be prepared to keep potting them up into bigger pots. I run a plant business with my partner and Memorial Day is usually our biggest plant sales weekend. So, we gear our seed starting to have... more

January 18, 2018

This time of year, the air in my house seems desert-dry and many of my houseplants are beginning to lose the will to live—except for the succulents, that is. They are survivors.  As long as they have a warm sunny spot they love the dry conditions. Succulents are not one plant family but a wide variety of plants from many families that have the ability to store water for long periods of time. You probably already grow many of them. Types of Succulents Cacti, aloe, sedum, kalanchoe, hens-... more

January 7, 2018

The new year is here and with it comes a crop of new plants for the garden. It has been too cold to do much of anything except prowl the pages of the seed catalogs looking for the new and notable plants for 2018. Have you seen the AAS designation on some plants and wondered what that was all about? It stands for All-America Selections. Since 1932, this independent testing group has been evaluating new varieties in trial gardens across the country and choosing to honor those plants that have... more

January 2, 2018

Using the right potting soil is one of the secrets to gardening success. I learned long ago that it’s much cheaper to make my own potting mix than it is to buy a pre-made one. Here’s how make your own potting soil for your garden! Container gardens are on my mind as the winter chill sets in. Containers are great for a number of reasons, namely that they’re versatile, space-saving, and allow you to be more efficient in your use of resources. Creating your own potting soil for your container... more

January 2, 2018

For Chinese New Year (or any other time of year), an auspicious gift is a lucky bamboo plant. Learn the meaning behind lucky bamboo and get some helpful growing tips. What is Lucky Bamboo? Did you know that the plant we commonly call “lucky bamboo” isn’t a type of bamboo at all? Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana or braunii) is native to Africa, but is now grown around the world as a good-luck houseplant. Lucky Bamboo Meanings In Chinese lore, lucky bamboo symbolizes good fortune, and feng... more


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