WANT TO SUCCEED with blueberries? Ask the guy with a Ph.D. in the subject, author of all the best books on home-garden fruit growing: Lee Reich, the guest on my latest public-radio show—and the speaker at the May 11 Open Day here at my Hudson Valley, New York, garden. That’s Lee’s blueberry “gazebo” up top. All the delicious details…along with how to grow blueberries (in print or the podcast) and two chances to win Lee’s book “Grow Fruit Naturally.” [read more…]
Curious about organic gardening, without chemicals? I don't use chemical herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, or synthetic fertilizers. Some of the basics of that environmentally safer practice -- including composting and mulching and natural pest control -- are in this archive.
HAS A JUICY, PLENTIFUL HARVEST of melons eluded you—perhaps because your growing season feels too short up North, or because powdery mildew attacked your plants in high summer, a challenge even in Southern, longer-season areas? How to grow melons: tips for success, in print and on my latest podcast, too, with Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds. [read more…]
I ALWAYS SAY “feed the soil, not the plants,” which for decades has meant to me to turn in compost—lots and lots of compost, and then more—and every few years a topdressing of organic fertilizer. Lately I’ve been curious what more I can do, as stressors ranging from dryspells to disease test me and the plants. I’d often read about inoculating the soil with mycorrhizae–myco means fungus and the suffix means root, so literally root fungi, a word used to indicate a symbiotic relationship between the two. Until last fall, at garlic-planting time, when I purchased $49.50 worth (enough for the garlic, plus my whole vegetable garden) I’d never experimented hands-on. More about my mycorrhizae adventure: [read more…]
I WROTE AN OPINION PIECE for Sunday’s “New York Times,” about how my ethical questions in garden-seed shopping aren’t about Monsanto, or about hybrids-versus-heirlooms–the stuff I read about elsewhere–but about how and where the seed I buy was raised. [read more…]
HE’S A GO-TO GUY when other seed companies want something special, but when Frank Morton of Wild Garden Seed seeks inspiration, he listens to the plants. “The plants showed me what they could do,” Morton says, “and what we could do together.” From his start as a “salad guy” growing greens for restaurants, Morton watched as new traits surfaced, and evolved into a lettuce breeder. From there the plants (and his financially practical wife, Karen) nudged him to become a seed company that grows everything it sells.
He also publishes what is “famously the world’s latest seed catalog” to drop each year, but he’s making no excuses. While other companies are sending out theirs, the Mortons are harvesting the seed those companies ordered from Wild Garden. I’ve bought some gift certificates to share with you—and also gleaned a few of Morton’s plant lessons: about calendula, beneficial insects, and how home gardeners wanting to know just which lettuce to grow can set up their very own seed trial. [read more…]