I’m going to let you in on a secret: Those potted Arborvitae that flank our front porch steps. They’re fake.
Have loads of cucumbers growing on the vine, and wondering when you should pick them? Here’s how to tell when your cucumbers are ready to harvest, and how to pick them without damaging the vines.
I have a small yard, so I’m always looking for ways to squeeze in as many plants as possible. Growing my potatoes in cages is one of the ways that I do that. With this method, I can grow a crop of potatoes in as little as two square feet, and I don’t have to do any digging either. But the real icing on the cake? I actually end up with more potatoes by growing them this way.
Want to try it out for yourself? Here’s how to grow potatoes in a cage.
Over the weekend, I planted a bed of asparagus up at the cabin. It’s something I’d wanted to plant for years, but had never had the room for. Being a fan of all things simple, I opted to plant my asparagus in a raised bed. It’s by far the easiest approach. Here’s how I’d recommend planting it.
Plant your tomatoes the right way, and you’ll have a bigger harvest, plus fewer pests and problems to contend with throughout the season. Here’s what you need to know to tackle the job like a pro.
Did you know commercial potting soil often contains questionable ingredients, like sewage sludge? It’s true. That “compost” listed on the bag could be made from human waste, plus all the other nasties that end up in our sewer system – things like cleaners, pharmaceuticals, motor oil and fertilizers. If that doesn’t sound like something you want to grow your food and flowers in, do what I do, and make your own potting mix. It’s really easy to do, and may even save you some money.
If you have a sundial in your garden, and you want it to tell time accurately, today is one of the best days to set it. Go out at noon (1:00 p.m., if you’re currently observing daylight savings time), and set yours to 12 o’clock. Sundials can be set on four dates each year for an accurate read. Those dates include:
Sharing your berry harvest with the birds wouldn’t be so bad, if they were actually willing to share. But their idea of sharing seems to entail them taking a bite out of every ripe berry and leaving you with the remains. If you’re tired of battling the birds for your berries, here are some cheap and easy things that you can do to protect them. These tips will work for strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and any other berries that you’re growing in your garden.
Grapes are easy to grow, but hard to protect from birds. The first year our grape vines produced, I decided to hold off on netting our grapes, until I saw the first sign of birds munching on them. Well, the very next morning all of our grapes were gone. Clearly the wait and see approach was the wrong approach to take.
Having learned from the experience, we netted our grapes as soon as they set fruit last year. And that worked brilliantly, until a mocking bird figured out how to get inside of our nets. She had quite the feast at our expense, and we were left with just a few grapes (not grape bunches) to sample.
But that’s all in the past. This year, we will be the ones to eat our grapes. And we’ve taken drastic measures to ensure that it ends up that way …
We planted a small orchard in our backyard several years ago (tour my garden here), and it’s finally starting to spring into action. Last year our apricot bushes fruited for the first time, and our apple trees produced their second harvest. This year, it looks like our cherry bushes are going to get in on the action, too They’re flowering now.
It’s pretty exciting to see all of our hard work coming together, but with each stage comes new obstacles. The first year our apricot bushes flowered, there weren’t any bees out to pollinate them, so we built mason bee houses to attract early pollinators to our yard. That worked like a charm, and we had lots of apricots last year. I’m sure the pests that ate them really appreciated our efforts.
Just like the codling moths appreciated our first crop of apples and the birds appreciated our first two crops of grapes. It’s enough to make you want to give up, but we’ve stuck with it, and we’ve found ways to address every one of our pests. Now we bag our grapes to keep the birds off, and we stick codling moth traps out as soon as we spot the first leaves on our apple trees.
This year I’m hoping to build on that success by finding a pest control solution for our apricot bushes and a cheaper pest control solution for our apple trees. Here’s the scoop on what I’m trying.
I’ve done a lot to attract bees to my garden – planting flowers that they like, building them houses, etc. But carpenter bees? I’m not a fan. They do too much damage to our house, tree house and swing set each year for me to be on good terms with them. I’ve read article after article that says they only go after non-treated, rotting wood, but that hasn’t been my experience at all.
Seed tape has become increasingly popular in the last few years, and it’s easy to see why. Just lay it out on your garden bed, and your seeds are perfectly spaced – even those teeny tiny ones that are so hard to work with.
The only real downside to seed tape is that it costs more than a pack of seeds, and comes with fewer seeds. Happily those are easy problems to dodge, if you’re willing to make your own (which is just what I do).
Want to make your own seed tape, too? Here’s how it’s done.