Focal points give gardeners a luxury they don't usually get to enjoy - instant gratification. Pick up a copy of Pennsylvania Gardener Magazine (May/June 2013) for my guide, which demystifies them.
Pennsylvania's own guide to great gardening and landscaping. A State-by-State Gardening Publication
by Karen Atkins - posted 05/06/13
by Karen Atkins - posted 03/25/13
According to legend, in the Garden of Eden, Eve began to despair that winter would ever end. An angel descended and turned snowflakes into snowdrops to reassure her. When I saw them under my tulip tree last week, they had the same calming effect on me.Weeks ago, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard alighted on our pond, as is their yearly custom, another sure sign. And fat robins can be seen all over the pastures, studiously ignoring the falling snow. I have also seen three blue herons in the last week. Since something good always happens to me after I see a blue heron, I am fastening my seat belt! What are your favorite signs of spring?
by Karen Atkins - posted 02/12/13
Every now and again, winter throws you a bone. You get a few days where it’s warm enough to smell the ground again. It is on these days that I begin to take the seed catalogs seriously. Rifling through them, the veggies with frost tolerant seedlings, like Swiss chard, seem to scream, “Put me in coach!” I checked the last frost dates. If you are planting in Michigan, target the week of March 22ndthrough April 5thto sow your seeds directly. Based on past experience there is a 50% chance they won’t make it. But with the cost of a packet of seeds at less than two dollars, I figure it’s worth the risk. I plant them about an inch apart and thin them later to every three inches. Later in the season I completely pull some of them to make room for the others. But when they are very young and about 4 inches high, I snip the leaves for salads. When they reach about a foot, I harvest the leaves and the stems together. The stems are great, chopped like celery for salads. The mature leaves can be tossed in a little butter, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Heavenly. I like the rainbow chard (which is really just a mix of different varieties to achieve the red, pink, white, and yellow stems.) Honestly I can’t imagine why anyone would take the trouble to plant plain chard when rainbow chard is available. It is absolutely stunning in the bed, let alone the table. When I’m Queen, I’ll have all the plain chard seeds humanely destroyed.