Liv Fruitful with Livi Lou! She is currently breeding strawberries, developing a garden product, trialing plants and researching the history of heirloom fruit varieties. She writes about unique perennials and fruit plants, so that you can grow an ornamental fruit garden.

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The Emotional Benefit of Trees   (2 comments)

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The best size starter container
by Livi Lou - posted 03/18/16

There are varying recommendations in regards to container size and the type of crop you are growing.

While the ultimate mature size of the plant is important to consider, I would not fret over the container size. I fret less with a fabric pot, which eliminates the potential of becoming root-bound. 

After all, the threat of being root-bound is the main concern in regards to proper container size.


A 5 gallon pot is a good starting size, even for large plants such as fruit trees.


Yes, even for fruit trees!


In Spring 2015, I planted these fruit trees in 5 gallon Smart Pots. Here they are a few days ago (March 2016). They have done fine in this size pot and I will keep them in these pots for at least another season. Maybe even longer, since I want to keep the trees small in stature.


A common mistake is to get too large of a container.  You want to start with a pot that is slightly larger than the root system.  Then you can re-pot to a larger one over time.  You can also root-prune or keep it in the same pot to dwarf or ‘bonsai’ the plant.


If you are growing fruit trees, I would recommend re-potting to a 7 gallon pot after two to three years of being grown in a 5 gallon pot.


Gardening is about learning, which is best done through experience. Don’t fret too much about pot size. Just get started!  Start with a 5 gallon—ideally fabric—container, some good potting soil and natural fertilizer, and a healthy plant.  A recipe for success!



    ~ Thanks for reading!


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Tip for Protecting Container Crops
by Livi Lou - posted 03/11/16

If you’re like me, you most likely grow your tomatoes in pots. 


And if you’re like me, then you’ve probably had your fair share of deer, squirrel or chipmunk tomato attacks. I’ve even had a deer drag my tomato pot across the yard.


Applying netting to pots can be a challenge, especially when chipmunks just squeeze underneath it.

Photo of a net 'wrapped' tomato pot at the end of 2015 growing season.

I discovered a trick this past summer. And I feel like a fool that I didn’t realize this discovery sooner.

Close-up of stake through the net.

·       Place the netting on the ground.

·       Place the pot on top of the netting. 

·       Use your tomato stakes as usual, poking it through the net’s holes to the ground—this will keep the net off of the plant.

·       Then wrap your net upwards around the pot and its stakes, and use twist ties to close the opening.




Just like wrapping a present!  That only you can open. Just un-do a few twist ties and reach in to harvest your tomatoes. It’s much easier than reaching under the net.



   ~ Thanks for reading!

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Garden Lessons from my 21 Year Old Cat
by Livi Lou - posted 03/11/16

Every pet parent would agree that you definitely learn a lot from your pets.  My cat is 21 years old today and I look forward to another summer with her following me around the garden.  Here are three garden (and life) lessons inspired by my 21 year old cat.



Be Forgiving

Whether you disrupt her pleasant slumber or you accidentally step on her tail her love is unwavering and she’s back to sleep on your lap immediately.


Garden: Try something new in your garden.  If you fail, forgive yourself, learn from it and try again.



Enjoy Life

My cat was born with small kidneys, she had oral surgery as a 20 year old cat and she recently recovered from temporary blindness. What motivates such longevity? She loves life and all that it offers!


Garden: A garden is the embodiment of life. From winter it is reborn and through each cycle of the seasons it returns stronger than before.  When you smell the aroma of the flowers on the breeze, feel the soft touch of a rose petal or taste the complex flavors only home-grown fruit can give you, it is an act of appreciating life.  Garden for your well-being.



Understand the Power of Persistence

There are too many examples to illustrate my cat’s determination. The purest example is when we first got our dog.  My cat does not let anything keep her from her family, not even a strange furry creature that tries to chase her.  She figured out that if she doesn’t run, the dog won’t chase. She happily resumed her position at the top of the pet hierarchy in our household.


Garden: If there is something you want to do.  Figure it out and go do it. If there’s something you want to grow.  Go grow it.  When you realize that there is truly nothing that can hold you back, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.


I hope you find gardens (and my cat) as inspiring as I do.  What inspires you about your pets?



  ~ Thanks for reading!




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