What Are Nurse Logs?
by Gene E. Bush

Being a gardener in shade, I have long been fascinated by logs. I have admired them in nature since childhood. There is something about the sight of one that draws me to it for a closer look; wanting to know about its past life as well as investigate how it keeps on giving even as it takes on a new life. However, it has been only in the last 5 years or so that I have begun to bring “nurse logs” into my garden.   >> read article
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Biochar to the Rescue!
A permanent amendment to improve soil and air
by Scott Burrell

Biochar – you may have never heard of it, but in many research circles, and in a few select backyard lots, biochar is the stuff dreams are made of, particularly given our need for better soils, better air, better plants, and better climates. Biochar is a type of charcoal very unlike the grill’s charcoal briquettes, which are a mixture of powdered devolatilized coal, a small portion of raw or carbonized sawdust, and intentional ash additives. Biochar is the result of heating biomass under the exclusion of air – a process known as pyrolysis. Renewable lignin-based resources from nut shells to manures to wood, switchgrass, wheat straw, corn shucks and other green materials, can be the fuel used to create a very stable, very porous carbon rich product that can last hundreds of years. Biochar’s primary use is for soil enrichment, but it can do much more than that.   >> read article
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Begin an Organic Lawn This Spring
by Nancy Szerlag

Although lawns have taken it on the chin from environmentalists the past few years, the good news is you can have nice green grass that is chemical free and safe for your kids, cats and dogs to play on. Here are the steps to begin growing an Earth-friendly, sustainable lawn.   >> read article
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Clean the Air with Houseplants
by Neil Moran

In addition to adding beauty, texture and fragrance, houseplants also serve a vital role in keeping the air clean in our homes and workplaces. Here are a few tips for growing healthy houseplants that just might help keep us healthy.   >> read article
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Growing Success
by Daniel Keeley

For me, a garden is decidedly manmade, a deliberately arranged space. After all, no matter how natural or realistic a garden is designed to be, it is, by its very nature, contrived. Furthermore, a garden (along with its plantings) is meant to activate one or more of the five senses. In other words, it sets a specific mood and engages the visitor; and so it is with indoor spaces and plantings as well. So, why should designing for the attractive and effective use of office plants be so different from doing the same thing outside in the garden? With this in mind, I decided to use my own office as a testing ground for learning more about this living form of decoration. I hope the results will stimulate and inspire you to grow your own success story by adding a little stylish green to your workspace.   >> read article
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Microclimates in the Landscape
by Gary Bachman Ph.D.

One of the most common topics of conversation between gardeners is the weather. Rain, heat, cold and drought all present challenges to maintaining a good-looking garden and landscape. Together, these environmental factors are referred to as the “climate” for a particular area or region. Since these areas can be rather large, we can call these environmental factors the macroclimate for a given area. The USDA Hardiness Zone map is a resource we use to determine growing conditions over wide areas and regions.

Within the larger macroclimates are smaller areas that have different or modified conditions. These pockets may be warmer or cooler, or wetter or drier than surrounding areas. These areas are termed “microclimates” and can be influenced by buildings, trees, bodies of water or elevation changes.
  >> read article
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Hoo Gives a Hoot
by Kenny Coogan

Hosting and inviting owls to your garden has many advantages. Although not seen as often as diurnal birds, when owls are spotted it is a thrill for all. Their distinct vocalizations often give their locale away, as they fly silently with their fringed feathers hunting for vermin. Having pest control working not only for free, but throughout the night unseen, is an added bonus. Owls are an environmentally safe form of pest control – no harsh chemicals needed.   >> read article
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The Ecological Benefits of Bats
by Alison McCartney

All bats found in the Southeast are insectivores and therefore provide the ecological benefit of acting as a natural pest control. Forty-five bat species are native to the United States with 15 living in the Southeast. Nearly 40 percent of these species are threatened or endangered, and around the world, many more are declining at alarming rates.   >> read article
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