Gardening Advice

June 30, 2021
A few years ago, we built a pergola. Nothing fancy, just a rugged 10x10-foot cedar frame outside the back door. It's a great place to put my houseplants for the summer. It also gives me a spot for hanging baskets and a place to hang a hammock. Most of all, it gave me 4 posts that could support climbing vines. There are so many perennial vines to choose from. Here are some favorites! So far…
June 30, 2021
One unwelcome visitor to my garden at this time of year is powdery mildew. Here's how to control this plant disease with natural remedies, including a homemade baking soda spray treatment. Signs of Powdery Mildew It starts as white patches on the leaves of squash, lilacs, phlox, bee balm, and other plants, making them look like they have been dusted with baby powder. Early on, it wipes…
June 30, 2021
Garter snakes are a gardener's friend! Harmless to humans, they eat all the pests that wreak havoc in your garden. Learn more about the shy but helpful gardening helper who just wants to live peacefully in harmony with you—and eat your slugs! I found a snake skin in my garden a few weeks ago. While other people might have been freaked out, it made me happy to know…
June 29, 2021
Why are you seeing a container of oil? Unfortunately, while it's been a banner year for my flowers, it has also been a banner year for earwigs in the vegetable garden. Find out what earwig damage looks like and how to make an earwig trap at home. I tested five earwig trap ideas to figure out worked best! You know those crawly critters with the pinchers on their tail end. If their looks…
June 29, 2021
Home canning is experiencing a resurgence of interest. Imagine preserving the taste of vegetables and fruit at their peak to enjoy all-year long. From homemade pickles to tomato sauce and jams, canning captures the best flavors. See our introduction to canning for beginners to what canning is all about! What Is Canning? Think of canning as a form of cooking. Instead of cooking one meal for…
June 29, 2021
"Garden thugs" are plants (not weeds) that quickly get out of control in the garden. They can really run amok and hog all the room if they're not judiciously pruned, dug out, cut back, or thinned in midsummer. Here's how to keep them from taking over! Last week I was making iced tea and wanted to add some spearmint to the brew. It grows in a flowerbed near the kitchen. I couldn't find it!…
June 28, 2021
Feed your plants—with your own plants! Using your own garden weeds and grass, you can make homemade fertilizer tea that's 100% organic! It's a great boost for your plants in midsummer when they run low on soil fertility. Here's how to make fertilizer tea at home.  Yes, garden plants appreciate a spot of tea now and then, too—just like I do—as a pick-me-up. No expensive Earl…
June 28, 2021
Summer is here, and yikes, is it ever hot! It may be time to start new plants for the fall, but conditions are just too hot. What to do? Here are a few tips and tricks for beating the heat and getting seeds growing. The seeds of different vegetables have optimum temperatures for germination, but right now most of them will not like this heat. Beets and carrots aren't too bothered…
June 23, 2021
One of the most hopeful things we can do is to plant a seed. It's an act of faith that tomorrow will come. In Hindi, the word for seed is "bija," which means "containment of life." Each seed contains an embryo and a starchy food supply—everything needed to make a new plant. Seeds are proof that life goes on.  Gardening is one of the oldest healing arts. It gives the kind of solace…
June 23, 2021
Summer is here and with it come the bugs. What possible reason can there be for their existence other than to bother us? As a gardener and small farmer, let me tell you—we need bugs more than they need us. Really! Discover five reasons we need insects, all that we humans have learned from the way they work, and cool insect facts. Judging by all the different products on store shelves aimed…
June 22, 2021
Summer heat is here! By now, the peas and radishes have likely all been picked, the cilantro is blooming, the lettuce has bolted, and the spinach is long gone. Don't let those gaps in the garden sit empty; they'll only fill up with weeds! To get the most from your garden, break out the seeds and pop in a few wherever you find an open spot. Here are a few speedy vegetable crops that don't…
June 20, 2021
When we talk about beneficials for the garden, don't forget about frogs and toads. Both are total carnivores, eating grasshoppers, beetles, cutworms, flies, slugs, and all kinds of insects. They will not eat your plants! See how to attract frogs and toads to the garden—they're the good guys! All toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads. There are 3 types of frogs: Toads are frogs…