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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
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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
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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
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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.
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Your friendly Planet Natural blogger is not ready to start making New Year’s gardening resolutions just yet. But with the new year in mind and our ongoing resolve to be a better organic gardener year after year, we’ve gone back through our gardening journal and found problems that we might have solved, if only …
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“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates It’s an old question among those interested in the quality of the food we eat. Do we get enough nutrition from the fruits, vegetables, and other foods we consume? Or do we need to supplement our meals with vitamins and minerals? The answers
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Our friend the gourmet cook likes to talk about the flavor of fresh eggs as opposed to those you might get from the supermarket. He became so obsessed with using eggs only days old, rather than weeks (or even months), ones produced by backyard chickens with a well-rounded diet that, well, he eventually got some
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One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories has to do with green beans. Everything grandma put on the table was excellent — especially the pies — but my favorite Thanksgiving dish was her home-canned green beans. No, they didn’t come in a casserole held together by mushroom soup and topped with French-fried onions. They came just
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Brussel sprouts — those wonderful miniature cabbages — are both cute and tasty. The old notion of them as flabby, smelly and mushy has long-since faded thanks to homegrown and small-farm sprouts that are tight, crisp-leaved and pleasantly flavored. Their fading, less-than-stellar reputation was based on a texture that could range from tough to soggy
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Your friendly Planet Natural blogger, always hungry to learn about cooking, saw the Dan Barber installment of the new Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table. The series profiles a different, high-profile restaurant chef each of its six episodes. Barber, a long-time champion of the farm-to-table, sustainable-agriculture movement, is the co-owner and executive chef at New York
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Your optimistic and forward-thinking Planet Natural blogger has always enjoyed New Year’s resolutions, especially when they pertain to our garden and landscape. And we especially enjoy learning from other gardeners’ lists. This new year, having not put much of a list together ourselves, we’ve taken a new tact. We’re resolving to do the opposite of
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It’s the time of year when air-borne pollinators are buzzing and humming and hovering all over our gardens. Honey bees are working the purple orbs atop chive stalks, wild bees are crawling the first pale, stem-bound blossoms of a potted rosemary plant, hummingbirds are working trumpet-shaped azalea blossoms, and various-sized and colored wasps are busy
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According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 30% to 70% of the water consumed by America’s residential homes is used outdoors. Summertime lawn and garden watering can multiply household water use two to four times (PDF) over what is used the rest of the year. The shocker: half the water used outdoors is wasted. While the EPA’s
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