German drug and pesticide manufacturer Bayer has agreed to purchase St. Louis-based seed and agrochemical giant Monsanto in a deal worth $66 billion, reports Reuters News Agency. Bayer, once considered for purchase by Monsanto, will become the world’s largest seed producer while controlling 25% (some estimates are higher) of the world market for seed and pesticides. The
It’s not hard to deduce what grasscycling means. It’s something about grass and recycling. What’s unspoken — the where and how that grass is recycled — is what makes the practice so beneficial. Generally, grass-cycling is the practice of not bagging or raking up your lawn clippings as you mow. The benefits are obvious. You’re
“Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time.” – Edmund Spenser Everyone loves the beauty and scent of roses! As Shakespeare wrote, “The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem For that sweet odour which doth in it live.” Roses are one of the most popular plants in flower gardens and landscapes. From
Moss is most often seen as a problem, not a solution. It’s been called “one of the most persistent and annoying weeds” that occurs in home lawns.” Moss is a weed? I guess you can see it that way if it’s taking over from turf beneath trees or in other shaded and usually moist areas.
Rain gardens catch and channel the environment’s natural precipitation, delivering it where it will most benefit our plants. At the same time they protect the environment by keeping polluted runoff out of municipal storm sewers. They allow water to percolate into the soil where its needed, avoiding erosion. A well-designed rain garden is sustainable, requiring little
Maintaining rich green landscapes, especially during the dry months of summer, can be a challenge. Good organic practice is at the heart of keeping things green and thriving. It requires planning, good soil with proper amendments, and careful mowing and pruning. Here’s a collection of suggestions for keeping your landscaping green all growing season long.
For some of you mild climate types, it’s already too late. For us here in high altitude Santa Fe, where the first sign of budding is just ahead, it’s last call. For those of you in more temperate, colder climates… now’s the time to do your spring pruning. Actually, technically, what we mean is late-winter
April is the time in many places to get your rose bushes prepared for the growing season. The spring pruning and feeding of roses is rewarded with vigorous new growth and blossoms. Even if you live in an area where roses are showing signs of green growth and budding — and that happened early in
Your friendly Planet Natural Blogger is on the record saying that, depending how severe your winters, the best place to store any extra spring-blooming bulbs you might have is in the ground. Bulbs generally don’t store well inside and even those you carefully pack in containers of sawdust or peat moss and kept in the
Your old and wizened Planet Natural Blogger was fortunate to grow up in a Midwestern city where the peonies always bloomed just in time for Memorial Day. Grandma and grandpa were growing peonies in abundance on the sunny side of the house and all around their vegetable garden. We’d collect big bundles of the beautiful
Advances in over-winter storage of commercial lily bulbs have allowed gardeners to buy and plant lilies in the spring. But autumn is still the best time to get them in the ground. Deeply planted and well-mulched, lily bulbs planted in fall will take all but the coldest days of the season to establish themselves before taking
We love the ever-green, natural plants associated with the holidays: the firs and pine trees celebrated in song, the poinsettia, mistletoe (actually a parasite that attaches itself to trees from which it draws water and nutrition). But our favorite, despite the fact that no presents go under it, is holly. We had a large holly
A friend who grew up on an acreage tells us how his favorite apple tree — he doesn’t remember what kind — produced clusters of small, undersized apples. Some of the fruit developed brown spots, probably apple scab from the way he describes it. His story made us wonder: why was this his favorite apple
After our post on garden tools, a friend mentioned that we’d left out an important one: the five-gallon bucket. “Gardeners are doing things with buckets that we can’t imagine,” he enthused. “It’s truly the tool of a thousand uses. And there are uses still out there that no one has yet dreamed.” He might be
Sunlight: Full sun to partial shadeMaturity: 90-180 days from seedHeight: 4 to 12 inchesSpacing: 6 to 12 inches apart, 12 to 18 inches between rows Native to the western Mediterranean, home gardeners are growing thyme (Thymus) as a landscape plant as well as for cooking purposes. With many varieties available on the market, it is one of the most versatile herbs and can be
It’s not always so simple as just sticking seeds in the ground. There are a number of techniques and treatments that encourage seeds to germinate. We’ve all soaked wrinkled-skinned pea and other big seeds to help loosen those skins and make water absorption easier. Or we’ve nicked hard skin seeds with a sharp blade or
Your not-so-young Planet Natural blogger was taught by his grandfather long ago to get as much of a tomato stem under the soil as possible when transplanting. This encouraged strong, new root growth. And I’ve been planting tomato starts, whether from nurseries or my own basement (under T-5 fluorescents), that way ever since. Grandpa, always
Your friendly, gourmet-minded Planet Natural blogger likes to keep up on cooking and restaurant trends when planning next year’s garden. Why else would we have tried growing radicchio not so many years ago? (Since then, it’s become a favorite, though it needs a little growing attention.) This year, we’ve taken note of how many restaurant
A friend of Planet Natural, big on words and vegetables, writes in with a summer gardening report. We added the links: We got our vegetable garden in late this year. But the heat we’ve had the last few weeks made catch-up easy. There’s no watering restrictions here in our part of the Pacific Northwest, so
Fava beans, a rewarding cool-weather garden crop also called broad beans, have two lives. They’re delicious picked fresh and stripped from their bumpy green, inedible pods, then gently steamed, and served with butter. As the season progresses and the pods have dried, remove the beans and let them dry completely in a warm, airy space.