Intermediate Gardening

Seven Top Tips For Gardening In Extreme Weather

Remember from Psych 101 the study about babies and Object Permanence? How before a certain age infants can’t grasp the concept that once something disappears it isn’t necessarily gone forever? I have a form of that when it comes to gardening: After a storm/drought/wind/hail/freeze I think it’s […]Read the full article...

How to Harvest Milk Thistle Seeds

Make sure all your affairs are in order. Call 911 and get them en route to your location. Don protective gear. Carefully approach the milk thistle. While it isn’t quite that dire, it is almost that dire. Milk thistle has the most aggressive thistles, and they’re everywhere–on […]Read the full article...

Harvesting Madder Root

Back in, hm, let’s check the date stamp on the photos . . . the latter days of March, I decided to dig up the madder plants that had begun to sprout and harvest the root for dyeing. The madder is some I started from seed I […]Read the full article...

How to Plant Bearded Irises

In my last post, I gave the steps to digging and dividing and getting bearded iris rhizomes into shape for replanting. Now it’s time to plant them. Make a planting hole about 3 inches deep and six inches around. Place a mound of soil in the center, […]Read the full article...

How to Divide Bearded Irises

One of the many benefits of volunteering is learning new things. I volunteered at the Memphis Botanic Gardens Iris Garden this summer and took away more than I contributed. Learning to divide and replant bearded irises has been on my list for a long time and I […]Read the full article...

Why Buy Organic Seeds?

One of the reasons I grow vegetables is to save money. SO–why should I plunk down the extra money to buy organic seeds instead of conventional seeds? I will be growing the plant itself organically, isn’t that all that really matters? There’s no way the tiny bit […]Read the full article...

Propagating From Cuttings

This is the first year I planted pineapple sage (above).  I didn’t know what to expect, except I heard it was a great “tea” herb, and who doesn’t love making her own herbal tea? Not me, certainly. I watched the thing grow all Spring and Summer.  And […]Read the full article...

Fall Garden Planner

(EDIT 8/12/12:  The download is corrected and no longer has a year on it.) Why, oh, why did I put 2009 on that planner?  The truth is that you can use it every year.  The year doesn’t matter.  The frost date never changes.  But, the program I […]Read the full article...

Gardening with Straw Bales

Homesteader’s Supply got such a rush of questions about straw bale gardening, that they wrote us a tutorial! Something to keep in mind when considering gardening with straw bales, make sure you purchase straw and not hay bales… hay will get too hot in the composting process […]Read the full article...

Raising Your Own Seedlings

The following is a guest post by Nev and Linda Sweeney from the wonderfully informative site Under the Choko Tree. Why bother? There are a whole stack of reasons why it is worth raising your own seedlings rather than just buying them – It’s very satisfying and […]Read the full article...

How to Prune Blackberries

Pruning holds a mystique for me.  It’s the purview of the elite, experienced horticulturist, not a bush-leaguer like me; a craft bordering on art in its extreme forms, and it scares me. My first experience with pruning, other than hacking away at overgrown hedges, was with roses.  […]Read the full article...

Potatoes Are In

A couple of years ago I tried the potatoes in a bin method, but had no luck with it.  The plants grew fine, even blossomed well, but when I dumped them out once the plants had withered, I had only a few pitiful little potatoes to show […]Read the full article...

Making Lasagna Beds

This is what I’ve let one of the best spots in my yard become.  A real shame because sun is at a real premium around here and this is one of the sunniest areas. The real reason for this neglect (besides laziness) is the soil is puny.  […]Read the full article...

How to Grow Microgreens

How does a crop that goes from seed to harvest in only ten days sound? If you’re an impatient gardener like me and you check your garden the day after you sow it in the secret hope that your plants have grown, oh, knee-high, then this could […]Read the full article...

Harvesting Coriander

If you grow cilantro for its leaves and have never let any of it go to seed, you are missing out on Chapter 2 of this herb. Cilantro will flower (with a fragrance only its mother could love, maybe) then form seed pods. After the seeds pods […]Read the full article...

Garlic Braiding

It’s been a while since I harvested the garlic and the bulbs have been curing spread out on a large table on the screened porch. Today was braiding day.  Some directions say to braid right away while the leaves are still green and flexible. Some say to […]Read the full article...

Free Garden Plan: Fall/Spring Garden

Here’s the last garden plan, for the last plantings of the season. (If you don’t know when that is for you, print out our Fall Garden Planner. Yes, it’s already time!)  This plan is still worked out according to companion planting rules, but it has more flexibility […]Read the full article...

Free Garden Plan: Root Veggies

The cool thing about this plan, other than the companion planting and spacing, is the use of our “tater boxes” which temporarily deepen any raised bed–allowing your to do this in a new bed next year. You will need: 1 electric drill or hammer 4 – 2×8 […]Read the full article...

Succession Planting Planner

SUCCESSION PLANTING is the term gardeners use to refer to planting something else in place when a previous crop is all finished. To pull this off effectively, you need a few things: 1. A diagram of your garden with zones marked off and numbered/lettered/named for old boyfriends, […]Read the full article...

Free Garden Plan: Squash Garden

Gourds (squash, cucumbers, zucchini) are one of the few families that play well with other members of their own family. However, squash get the worst bugs imaginable: Squash Vine Borers and Squash Beetles. (That’s why they’re not in my Beginner Garden Plan at all.) So, placement of […]Read the full article...

Companion Planting Made Easy-ish: Part 3 of 3

As we’ve said before, companion planting is like seating your guests at the wedding reception. 1. Members of the same family shouldn’t be seated together. 2. Hatfields and McCoys must be kept across the room from each other. Today, we cover Rule 3: Sometimes, somebody dated someone […]Read the full article...

Companion Planting Made Easy-ish: Part 2 of 3

We’ve already covered Rule One: Separate Family Members. If you missed that one, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention a particular plant family. So go back now. Learning this stuff for each and every species will make your ears bleed. Seriously. In […]Read the full article...

Companion Planting Made Easy-ish: Part 1 of 3

When I was describing all of this to TL, she made a wise remark. Companion planting is just like planning the seating at your wedding reception. 1. Too many members of the same family shouldn’t be seated together. 2. Hatfields and McCoys must be kept across the […]Read the full article...

How to Plant Blueberry Bushes

The blueberry plants arrived! I wanted to get them in the ground ASAP so I followed the planting instructions and here’s what they told me to do: 1. Dig a 2-foot by 2-foot hole. I admit I fudged a little and the holes were more like 18″X18″. […]Read the full article...

How to Grow Happy Seedlings

You have your seeds. You start them indoors in little pots under a grow light at the right time. Seeds are germinating. Everything’s going great. Then for some unknown and awful reason precious seedlings start to keel over at soil level and die like a tiny logger […]Read the full article...

Free Printable-O-Rama: Herbs, Fall, and Recipes!

I am ADDICTED to making these little books. I HATE big sheets of paper in my way and I carry a teeny-weeny purse, so these fit perfectly. But, instead of going on and on about how to assemble these, like I did with the 2009 Spring Garden […]Read the full article...

Free Super Fertile Flower Beds

Look what I found: It’s top dressing for my 100% trash flower beds. I AM SO EXCITED!!! Here’s how they look right now: My husband might refer to this as Ivory’s Trash Olympics, but others might recognize it as a version of: lasagna gardening, sheet composting, or […]Read the full article...