General seed starting


Wed. Mar. 6, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  General seed starting

We entered meteorological Spring but we ain’t feelin’ it!  Woke up this morning (March 3rd) at -15 degrees…. WHAT?!?  

Soon (we hope) we’ll be planting seeds indoors for an early start.  What do you need:

  • a place to put your seedlings!
  • sterile containers or peat pots or those peat pellets
  • soil-less seed starting mix
  • light (I use an old shop light on a pulley system)
  • heating mat
  • fan
  • seeds!
  • Check out this comprehensive article about 
 … [Continue reading]

Change is gonna come, weather we like it or not (not a typo)


Tue. Mar. 5, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Change is gonna come, weather we like it or not

The only constant thing in life is change and that really follows us into the garden. Whether it’s change WE choose, the PLANT chooses, a hungry critter chooses or the weather!

And this Winter has been a doozy!  Between record cold, record snowfall and the potential of flooding in the Spring, it’s going to be interesting to see how our landscapes come out of this.

Blizzard conditions rendered  … [Continue reading]

Rambling thoughts in a snowfall


Mon. Mar. 4, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Rambling thoughts in a snowfall

As I write this, the snow is falling and the birds are feeding like crazy at the feeders.  What a beautiful sight. The snow offering that wonderful protective cover for our plants, the moisture it will provide after the thaw.  

Oh, I know, it’s been a really harsh year for commuters and shovelers and school superintendents and parents. But still, if you’re still, it’s lovely.

This is a respite time for gardeners, the  … [Continue reading]

Bewitching Witch hazel


Fri. Mar. 1, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Bewitching Witch hazel

My mom used to use witch hazel on bites and rashes… that was a long time ago!

But Witch Hazel is really a beautiful shrub too.  I hadn’t really thought about it until seeing a cultivar called ‘Jelena’.

While this particular cultivar is listed as zone 5, some are hardy to zone 3.  Those would be the Common Witch hazel or ham-ah-MAY-lis ver-jin-ee-AY-nah. It’s ribbon-like flowers are yellow and bloom in Fall.   They look a  … [Continue reading]

The onion revolution


Thu. Feb. 28, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  The onion revolution

Now is usually the time we start thinking about early planting.  As more snow is falling on top of our 2 feet of snow, it’s a little difficult to consider those plants but, that’s part of the fun of a snowy winter day when you’re a gardener… the dreaming and scheming of your garden to be!  

Burpee sends me all kinds of emails and, of course, catalogs. Today’s is on onions. I love onions. A  … [Continue reading]

Newspaper recycling and your garden


Wed. Feb. 27, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Newspaper recycling and your garden

While I don’t always enjoy the news, I’ve always enjoyed getting the big Sunday paper.  

I’d really hate to see print go away completely although I understand the push to electronics, spreading the paper out and reading while enjoying a cup of coffee isn’t something I want to give up.  However, what do you do with newsprint?

There are actually a number of things besides the recycling bin.  

  • One is the compost bin.
 … [Continue reading]

Why natives matter


Tue. Feb. 26, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Why natives matter

Can a cultivar be as good as a native plant when you’re trying to attract pollinators?

 The University of Minnesota says, “that depends”. Some cultivars are better than their native species, some are no different and some are worse at attracting pollinators.

Each plant should be considered on its own merits.  So how do we do that? When Annie White was a PhD graduate student at the University of Vermont, she compared several native species  … [Continue reading]

Our backyard ecosystem


Mon. Feb. 25, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Our backyard ecosystem

Our gardens support so much more than the plants and our bellies!  They support wildlife we don’t even see, including some we really don’t want to see and some we wish weren’t there!  backyardecosystem

However, it’s an ecosystem that relies on each other. Let’s consider that term, ecosystem. What’s the definition?

The “sort of” simple explanation is a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with  … [Continue reading]

Vegetables in part shade? YES


Fri. Feb. 22, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Vegetables in part shade? YES

Not every vegetable has to have full sun.  Yes, tomatoes and peppers and melons do, but there are many other choices for, in some cases, less than a few hours of direct sunlight!

In his book, ‘Decoding Gardening Advice’, Jeff Gillman (former U of M Hort Professor and currently Director of the UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens in Charlotte North Carolina) shares the number of hours for certain types of vegetables.   I found a  … [Continue reading]

Garden Apps


Thu. Feb. 21, 2019

Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show:  Garden Apps

I admit, my phone is smarter than me.  Although it doesn’t have the same staying power in the cold that I do!  Well, at least the battery doesn’t.

Anyway, I don’t normally “do” apps, however, there are some worthwhile applications for those of you that are smarter than your smart phone!  One app I use quite often is called PlantNet.  I use to identify plants I’m unfamiliar with. I’ve used in Mexico and it’s pretty  … [Continue reading]