Using the Olla to Beat the Summer Heat
by Brandee Gruener

Keeping the vegetable garden hydrated during the heat of the summer is a challenge in the South, where the sun beats down for weeks, the rain barrels run dry and even heat-loving crops wilt under summer’s fiery breath. Water restrictions have even become commonplace in many parts of the region, making watering the garden even more difficult.

Water-efficient systems such as drip-line irrigation can make a big difference. But Durham, N.C., gardener Scott Belan found a cheaper and simpler solution by building an olla out of a humble clay pot. This watering solution satisfied Belan’s personal philosophy in gardening: Look to the cultures and climates that make the most sense for your surroundings.   >> read article
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Waterwise Garden Design
by Helen Yoest

There was a time when I thought of water as a renewable resource. Deep down, I still want to believe this. Although our water supply is replenished (some years more than others), the distribution of water over my property varies. The gain doesn’t always equal the loss though – some years we take more than nature gives.

Since I come from an area that receives an average of 44 inches of rain a year, you may be surprised to hear me touting waterwise garden design. Out West, this is a way of life. However, on the East Coast, we have experienced long periods of drought in recent years. If Raleigh’s annual rainfall came as 1 inch every week, there would be little need for waterwise design. But it doesn’t. Summers, in particular, can be hot and dry. It wasn’t until we experienced the worst drought in 100 years, with outdoor watering restrictions and no major rain in sight, that I began to take note ...   >> read article
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Bad Homemade Remedies
Do NOT try these at home! Here's why.
by Denise Schreiber

As gardeners we care for our plants as best we can. We are also sensitive to environmental concerns when using fertilizers and pesticides (and many times we seek the cheapest way to do all this). It has happened to all of us: We buy a product that is “almost as good” as the original product only to discover that it “almost worked.” There are many “cheap and almost as good as” homemade garden remedies, many of them found on the Internet; I am going to explain why you should never try any of them.   >> read article
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Green Gardening for All
by Adam Sarmiento

Here in the 21st century the idea of ecological or “green” gardening is nothing new. As gardeners we have a unique connection to ecology that leads many of us to desire to garden in ways that don’t harm the environment. Most of us approach using chemicals with at least some level of apprehension and concern about both environmental and human health. Scientific research is increasingly confirming suspicions that horticultural and agricultural chemicals are contributing to a wide array of concerns such as cancer, pollinator decline, and poor water quality. Still, much confusion remains about what going green in the garden entails and how practical it is, especially as we age and become less physically able.   >> read article
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Do It Yourself Cold Frames
by Kristi Cook

Winter gardening is the busy gardener’s dream come true – bountiful harvests with little to no weeding, watering, or other tiresome work. However, you do need to provide a bit of protection for winter veggies. DIY cold frames can be both inexpensive and highly functional, and constructed using materials you may already have on hand.   >> read article
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Slow Down and Smell the Flowers
by Erika Jensen

During the past few years, the Slow Flower movement has been generating a lot of buzz in the media. Following the success of the Slow Food movement, Debra Prinzing, author of The 50 Mile Bouquet, coined the term “Slow Flowers” in an attempt to talk about some of the reasons for supporting local flower growers as well as appreciating in-season blooms.   >> read article
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Harvesting Happiness
by Laura Matthews

Placing seeds in sweet soil, backyard homesteaders grow food to grow a better life. Within the trend of increased interest in vegetable gardening, there are families who intensively garden, not as a hobby, but as a way of life. In a sense, they create mini-farms.   >> read article
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Turn & Burn | How to use a 3-bin compost system
by Karen Neill

Along with the increased interest in sustainable living and gardening, composting is also regaining popularity. It’s a great way to manage organic matter while creating a valuable resource at the same time. There are many different methods of composting but the key elements they share are the organic materials that go in them: water, oxygen, and the microorganisms that actually do the decomposing.
My favorite type of composting is the three-bin method. This system works well if you have the room and generates a lot of organic matter.   >> read article
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