How To

10 Brilliant Tips for Growing Vegetables and Berries at Home

10 Brilliant Tips for Growing Vegetables and Berries at Home

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When I was planning my first vegetable garden, I had a romantic vision of how it would go. I would sit on the back porch with a bowl full of peas, fresh from the garden. With great pride, I’d look out at neat rows of lettuce, carrots, beets, parsnips, herbs, and potatoes, shelling the tender peas into a clean bowl…. Read more →


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Five Seed-Starting Myths Shattered

Five Seed-Starting Myths Shattered

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Like any activity with a long history, gardening has its share of traditions. Some of these are sound practices, while others should have been thrown on the compost heap long ago. Seed-starting is one gardening project that seems especially steeped in lore. And with good reason—the whole process of turning a dead-looking speck of dust into a vibrant, living plant… Read more →


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How to Grow Native Milkweed from Seed for Monarch Butterflies

How to Grow Native Milkweed from Seed for Monarch Butterflies

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If you’ve noticed that there don’t seem to be as many monarch butterflies around in the summer as there used to be, it’s not your imagination. Largely due to habitat loss, the monarch population has dwindled. I’ve learned that Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crops are likely the biggest culprit, causing me to question my earlier, overly rosy opinion on GM crops. These genetically engineered… Read more →


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Feeling Brave, I Taste Ginkgo for the First Time

Feeling Brave, I Taste Ginkgo for the First Time

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  Nobody who’s smelled ginkgo fruits for the first time has ever said, “Yeah, I think I’m gonna have to eat some of that.” If you haven’t experienced them first hand, well, they have the aroma of something that maybe was once food, but has since passed through one or two digestive organs before finding its way to the nostrils.  Dog vomit,… Read more →


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Feed Your Veggies So Your Veggies Feed You

Feed Your Veggies So Your Veggies Feed You

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How do you fertilize your vegetables?  Do you pull a bag off the shelf?  Feed them a steady diet of homemade compost? Here’s how to give them what they really need… In his latest book, The Intelligent Gardener:  Growing Nutrient-Dense Food (New Society Publishers, 2013), Steve Solomon’s message is simple—How can you know what nutrients to add to your soil if you don’t know… Read more →


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How to Make Your Own Seed-Starting Station

How to Make Your Own Seed-Starting Station

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If the gardening bug has bitten, sooner or later you’re going to want to start some plants from seed. Vegetable starts, bedding plants, perennials, and even some trees and shrubs (for the patient) can be grown from seed.  When you’re ready to graduate from the sunny windowsill to a real propagation station, here’s a seed-starting rack you can make at home for… Read more →


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A Nifty DIY Soil Test

A Nifty DIY Soil Test

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“I don’t know what that gunk is in the jar, but can’t we get it off the kitchen table?”–This from my husband a few days ago. “No!  That’s my soil test!” The soil at our new house seemed sticky to me, and fearing that I would be dealing with clay for the next several years, I did a simple do-it-yourself test to determine… Read more →


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Take Flower Photos that Pop

Take Flower Photos that Pop

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In the words of Bruce Springsteen, and later, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band:  “Mama always told me not to look in the eyes of the sun.  But Mama, that’s where the fun is…” This is the second installment on how shooting into the sun can bring some dramatic results to your garden photography.  The previous post covered foliage effects; this one… Read more →


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A Simple Trick for More Dramatic Garden Photos

A Simple Trick for More Dramatic Garden Photos

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March and April bring fresh new foliage back into our lives. I love to capture this special time of year in photos, so that I can better recall at any time of year the brilliance and translucency of those young spring leaves.  But sometimes, when going through the day’s photos, I have found that they don’t capture the spirit of what I saw… Read more →


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Playing with Color Combinations in the Garden

Playing with Color Combinations in the Garden

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Dreaming up stunning color combinations is one of the most fun, creative, and satisfying activities any gardener can do.  But how to come up with them?  Well, you can study plant combination books, look at pictures, and imagine compositions in your head, but nothing beats seeing plants live and in person and trying out different combinations right in the garden. That’s why… Read more →


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