Give Your Plants a Head Start by Pre-Sprouting Seeds

Give Your Plants a Head Start by Pre-Sprouting Seeds

Pre-Sprouting Seeds

Northern gardeners are getting excited. It’s still cold out there but you can just feel that spring is coming. The days are getting longer and birds are singing. The seed packets have arrived and garden plans are in the works!

I’ll be starting some of my seeds indoors in the next few weeks – plants like tomatoes and peppers, okra and broccoli. These plants have a long growing season and would never produce fruit if started outdoors here in the north. They need the extra time to grow that starting indoors provides.

Other seeds like peas and lettuce, carrots and beans can be sown directly into the garden. While it’s not a necessity, pre-sprouting seeds is another way to give your plants a head start.Continue Reading

Fall: Perfect Time to Build a Garden

Fall is the perfect time to build a garden that builds soil

Soil, First!

I always ask people what comes to mind when they think of gardening.The end result – the vegetables, or the flowers – are always what they mention. And that’s not wrong… why bother to garden if we can’t look forward to a bountiful harvest? But I always encourage people to first think “soil.” Continue Reading

Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden

Attracting Beneficial Insects to Your Garden @learningandyearning

The goal in your garden is not to eradicate all insects, but rather to create a natural environment of balance where “good” insects are eating or parasitizing “bad” insects to keep them under control. A great way to insure the presence of these beneficial insects is by providing plants which attract them to your garden.Continue Reading

5 Culinary Herbs That Grow in Partial Shade

5 Culinary Herbs That Grow in Partial Shade @learningandyearning

Herbs, in general, prefer full sun. Their flavor will generally be stronger when grown in sun, but there are several culinary herbs that do just fine in partial shade. Many herbs will not bloom when grown in shade, but that’s actually a bonus since the flavor often declines after flowering. Shade-grown herbs also tend to be become leggy, but keeping them trimmed will help them to become bushy. Plant these 5 herbs in moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter and they will thrive without full sun.Continue Reading

A Sustainable Landscapes Tour

Mike and I recently hopped on a bus to take a “Sustainable Landscapes Tour” in a neighboring county. Over an 8 hour period, we made 6 stops at a variety of sites including parks, offices, a community garden, and a farm. It was encouraging to see that even in the middle of a shopping center district, individuals and organizations are taking the time to build and landscape in a way that reduces energy use, and conserves and cleans water. Here are a few highlights of our day.

This rain garden captures water from the parking area. Note that the parking area is gravel, which also allows water to penetrate the ground.

This rain garden captures water from the parking area. Note that the parking area is gravel, which also allows water to penetrate the ground.

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Building a Garden that Builds Soil

Building a Garden that Builds Soil @learningandyearning

I wouldn’t know how to begin a discussion on gardening without beginning with the soil. When I teach a workshop, I ask people what they think of when they think “garden”. Most often, the answer has to do with the harvest. And, of course, we wouldn’t garden if we couldn’t look forward to a bountiful harvest. But, I always encourage my students to think “soil” because healthy soil will result in a healthy, nutrient-dense harvest. Continue Reading