Seasonal

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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The drought, widespread and persistent, continues across great swaths of the United States. The effects of climate change and heavy demands on water use have seen formerly reliable supplies dwindle. Cities and counties across the nation, from Williams, Arizona (natch) to Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, from the St. Johns River district in north central Florida to
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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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Not a year goes by, not a holiday season approaches, that we wish that we had started some flower bulbs in containers for indoor growing so that we might give the gift of color to our nearby friends and relatives. And not a year goes by that we realize we didn’t plan far enough ahead.
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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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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
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“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
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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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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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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
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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
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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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Well into his winter garden planning, your friendly Planet Natural blogger is thinking of vertical growing, both in the garden and around the yard. Maybe an arbor at the entrance too, well, I’m not sure yet. Or vines, heavy with trumpet blossoms, trailing up over a trellis placed against a fence. This could be a
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Drying fruits and vegetables has distinct advantages over canning, freezing or other preserving methods that require extreme temperatures. Dried foods require little if any energy to store compared to frozen items that require refrigeration and canned items requiring cooking and container boiling. Dried fruits and vegetables weigh less and take up less shelf space than
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