I HAVE ALWAYS CAGED my tomatoes, but many experts agree that staking–and regularly pruning and tying the staked plants as they grow–is the most space-efficient and also most hygienic tactic of all, helping manage the potential for disease while yielding plenty of fruit. With tomato-transplant time just ahead here, I’ve been studying up with experts like Tom Stearns (that’s his High Mowing Organic Seeds tomato trial field, above) on how to stake and prune tomatoes, and other tips for producing a healthy, bountiful crop. [read more…]
I often say my approach to gardening is "horticultural how-to and woo-woo," and this is the former part: the tips, tricks and techniques that help make an organic garden grow successfully. From pruning to seed-starting and composting, garden cleanup and prep and more, it's here.
MANY PEOPLE THRILL at a sunny day in the garden, but if photographing the landscape and its plants is your pursuit, as it is Ken Druse’s, you take the contrarian view. “I love overcast,” says Ken, and “drizzle” is another favorite forecast for the author of 18 garden books, whose camera has taken him to more gardens than most of us will see in a lifetime. Ken shared some of his top garden-photography tips in a Q&A interview and this week’s public-radio show and podcast (and I was the guest on Ken’s show this last week, on another topic altogether…more on both on the jump page). [read more…]
AS PROMISED: On this week’s public-radio show (available anytime as a podcast, too), I answered some of your recent Urgent Garden Questions. The topics ranged from how deep to build a raised bed for vegetables, to a whole range of crabapple inquiries: What’s the best crabapple variety for jelly, the crabapple with longest-lasting fruit, and more. All the details–plus the links to the show if you prefer to listen, not read. [read more…]
APPLES TREES—the fruit everyone thinks they want in their backyards—aren’t easy to grow East of the Rockies, as those who have tried probably noticed when they produced blemished fruit (or required multiple pest-defeating tactics on a strict schedule). And if you’re keeping track, apples aren’t native. Fruit expert Lee Reich offers up two unusual but delicious American native fruit-tree beauties that require little more than to be planted. In print or the latest public-radio podcast, how to grow pawpaws (top photo) and persimmons to perfection. [read more…]
ALGAE—especially tenacious filamentous string algaes or blanket weed—can quickly turn a water garden into a battleground. I have been enjoying, and managing, two in-ground, rubber-lined garden pools for more than 20 years, and you know what? It’s not that hard, despite the sometimes-tenacious, gooey green stuff. And most important: There is no other feature of the garden that brings more joy—or sustains more wildlife, from birds to dragonflies, salamanders to frogs–than a pool or pond. My essential spring water-garden care tips: [read more…]