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By Bill Kohlhaase, Planet Natural Your new organic lawn is up and growing. Or you’ve cut out using herbicides, pesticides and chemical fertilizers on your established lawn. Congratulations! Now what do you do to maintain your organic lawn in a way that’s best for it? Not surprisingly, what you do to keep up your organic
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We all know and love herbs. Chances are that you’ve already used a product today that has an herbal ingredient. The soap you showered with this morning used lavender for its scent. The organic wool sweater that you’re wearing may have been dyed using herbs. The aspirin you took after lunch is derived from a
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As many parts of the country move into the dry season (some parts are already there; others have the opposite problem), it’s a good time to consider xeriscaping principles in our gardens and landscapes. What is xeriscaping? Simply stated, it’s water-wise gardening. It’s not just about the water we use (or don’t) during times of
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“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” – Lewis Grizzard Everyone knows that home garden tomatoes taste an order of magnitude better than ones that come from the grocery stores’ shelves. They are fresher, juicier, sweeter and just plain delicious. Tomatoes grown for supermarkets are bred for their firmness,
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Almost any holiday display with trees or pine boughs or bunting is enlivened by a show of bright red berries. They’re like a splash of color on the cold gray winter. We equally, probably more so, like to see berries outdoors, naturally, in our yard and neighborhood. If those berries are in your yard, you’ll
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I’ll admit it right up front. I’ve never grown amaranth. But I’m going to consider it for next year (and no, it’s not too early to start planning next year’s garden). Why? We’ve always been interested in growing grains as part of a desire for self-sufficiency. And then we’ve been learning about what a nutritional
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Sunlight: Full sun to partial shadeMaturity: 60-85 days from seed to flowerHeight: 4 to 10 inchesSpacing: 6 to 12 inches apart in all directions One of the most widely grown of all garden flowers, pansies (Viola x wittrockiana) — also known as violas — will bloom in a variety of colors all summer long and thrive in cool springtime conditions.
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June is here. Even in high elevation and northern locations — where we’ve just set out plants and are seeing germination from the previous weeks’ seed sowing — we’ve already mowed our lawns a handful of times. In earlier zones, we’ve been mowing for months. No matter where we live, it’s time to review some
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Friends that read this blog are always anxious to offer criticism, point out mistakes, and otherwise find things I’ve said that just might not be true in every case. Rather than get all defensive, we’ve learned to engage our fact-checkers, address the questions and, more often than not, learn something in the process. So when
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Now that our lawns, garden plots, and everything else is covered in a blanket of snow — a blank slate of sorts — we start to think about how we want them to look next spring and summer. What we’re picturing during this dose of dead-of-winter-in-late-fall weather is grass, not the kind that comes in
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Sunlight: Full sun to partial shadeMaturity: 60-75 days from transplant, 90-120 days from seedHeight: 12 to 48 inchesSpacing: 2 to 3 feet apart, 3 to 6 feet between rows Native to the Mediterranean and favored by many home gardeners, growing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is popular for its many culinary qualities. The aromatic and pungent leaves may be used fresh or dried and are traditionally paired
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In a practice — raising one’s own food — that’s full of satisfying activity, there’s little as satisfying as planting fruit trees. Fruit trees planted this season will, in a few years, provide us a lifetime of nourishing harvests, harvests that we will enjoy with our children, harvest that, with the right care of our
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As a kid, your friendly Planet Natural Blogger was thought weird because he would eat the parsley garnish that came on his plate when we made those infrequent trips to the restaurant. I enjoyed my weird characterization so much that not only would I eat my garnish but would collect and eat everyone else’s parsley as
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Sunlight: Full sun to partial shadeMaturity: 55-75 days from seed to flowerHeight: 10 to 18 inchesSpacing: 8 to 18 inches apart in all directions Flower gardeners are growing petunias for their dazzling colors and abundant blooms that continue from early spring until frost. Available in hundreds of varieties, petunias are one of the most popular flowering annuals and are well suited for use
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Do you have your tomato starts planted? If you need motivation, here’s the latest. A study published last month in PLOS One, the international, peer-reviewed, open-access scientific journal, showed what a lot of us always suspected: organic tomatoes are more nutritious than conventionally grown tomatoes. You can read the study here. Don’t let its title — “The
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Plants are diverse living organisms that can be found from your backyard to all over the world. Archaeologists have even discovered fossils of plants! While some plants produce pretty flowers or delicious fruits or vegetables, other types of plants serve as food for animals or even as their shelter. Today some plant experts suggest that
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With apologies to turkeys everywhere… what says Thanksgiving more than a beautiful centerpiece of ornamental gourds? Gourds have become such a symbol of the late fall season that one of our favorite literary magazines has done a tongue-in-cheek essay about such displays (sorry, no link; too much profanity and, well, this is a family blog).
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Homeowners choose to maintain an organic or natural lawn for different reasons. For some, it is a commitment to the environment — pesticides and herbicides used in traditional lawn care leach into the water table contaminating it for people, animals and plants. Others are concerned with how pesticides and herbicides affect the pets and kids that
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We’ve previously addressed the controversy over genetically modified apples being developed, not by Monsanto, but by a specialty Northwest grower. The apples have been engineered to resist browning and bruising, making them more suitable, it’s claimed, to being served as slices. Surprisingly, a number of established apple growers have questioned the need for the GMO
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It’s the time of year when powdery mildew raises in its dusty, unattractive and growth-sapping cloud. It’s the most common and widespread of fungal diseases, attacking both fruit trees, ornamentals and vegetable plants. Controlling it presents special challenges to the organic gardener. And this summer’s weather patterns — warm and dry — tend to favor
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