Gardens

Your friendly and inquisitive Planet Natural Blogger once inherited a garden that had an established bed of Jerusalem artichokes. At the time we took it over, the artichokes were already growing and some, despite a rainy summer there in the great Northwest, were already sporting flowers. “We don’t do anything to ’em,” the crusty old
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After you’ve chosen the perfect site for your new strawberry patch, after you’ve worked its soil to be full of well-drained organic material and decided which row method you’re going to use and which cultivar you’ll grow (see “disease resistance” below); you’re ready to plant. Planting your organic strawberry crop at the proper depth is important
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There’s a lot of discussion going on over which soil conditioner is best for your garden: sphagnum peat moss or coconut coir? Sustainability is part of the discussion. Effectiveness is another. Truth is both are great additions to garden soil. Both are natural and plant based. Both help break up heavy, clay soils and improve
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Sunlight: Full sun to partial shadeMaturity: 40-60 days from transplantHeight: 12 to 24 inchesSpacing: 18 to 24 inches apart, 2 to 3 feet between rows A member of the daisy family, French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus) is the classic herb to accompany fish and poultry dishes. The long, narrow leaves borne on upright stalks are a shiny green. Greenish or gray flowers may bloom in the
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The term “kitchen garden” is bandied around a lot these days. But what exactly does it mean? We’ve always considered it a vegetable garden in proximity to the kitchen door or whichever portal to the outdoors is closest to the kitchen. Proximity, of course is relevant, and almost any garden plot inside your property growing
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In an effort to reduce water use and time spent caring for lawns, some gardeners are replacing their turf with thyme. Thyme is an ideal grass alternative. It requires less water, is generally tough (see “walking on thyme” below), drought resistant, hardy all the way north to zone 4 if it’s healthy, and will spread
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A friend, an avid organic tomato grower, has started her harvest and you know what that means. Tomato Festival! The festival usually runs from the first weeks of August right up to the first frost (at which point it becomes Green Tomato Festival or the Wait-Until-These-Tomatoes-In-the-Windowsill- Ripen Fest). The event, held in kitchens around the
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Though it’s not true everywhere — the forecast today for Bozeman includes a 40% chance of scattered showers — we’re fast approaching that time of the growing season when your garden, lawns and flower beds included, need to be closely monitored for moisture. How do we know when our plants aren’t getting enough water? They
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When did I become a lettuce snob? It was back in my youth, about the same time I became interested in healthy eating and gardening. I’d been raised on iceberg lettuce, the kind that came from the grocery store in big pale heads. Mom would tear up the leaves, put them in a bowl and
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Among spring’s greatest visual joys is a fat container sporting thick green spears of emerging tulips, daffodils, and other flowers. And when the flowers emerge tightly circled, like beautiful eyes following wherever you go, there’s little that can compare. The time to make sure your spring will be full of beautiful flowers from bulbs is
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Artichokes, once the domain of cool, coastal climates and inland areas of moderate temperatures, are moving into gardens where they’ve never be seen before. Even Utah (PDF) is growing artichokes. It may be that warmer, longer summer seasons are encouraging gardeners in zones previously not suitable to growing artichokes to try their luck. But there
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Our far-flung correspondents have been sighting bare root trees coming into nurseries and big-box stores. It’s still a little early for planting in many parts of the country, especially considering the brutal nature of winter 2015 back east. But places in the prairie states and west, especially the Pacific Northwest, enjoying warm winters? Why not
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Your friendly Planet Natural Blogger, in anticipation of the season that may have already arrived, has been going through Jim Fox’s excellent 2013 book How To Buy the Right Plants, Tools & Garden Supplies (Timber Press), particularly the chapters on choosing healthy nursery plants. Seems with recent life complications — we all have them, from health
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Growing Killer Tomatoes It’s a true story, and one to give a prospective gardener pause: the young couple decides to grow their own tomatoes, and when the summer is over, they manage to harvest a single fruit. How did they do it, one wonders? Is tomato gardening so difficult that only the few, the botanically
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Our correspondent writes in to say the most beautiful things he saw at the last farmers market this fall were the large bowls of heirloom shell beans in colors and patterns he’d never seen before. He bought a couple of the four offered: two cups of the surprisingly popular Jacob’s Cattle, each bean big and
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Knowledge is the key to successful organic gardening. Planet Natural has compiled much of the information you’ll need – from the basics of getting started to finding organic solutions to specific problems – here. The Dirt on Growing Organically Organic gardening, once seen as something practiced only by health nuts and hippies, is no longer
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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
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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
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