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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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 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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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
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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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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
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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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Your friendly Planet Natural blogger never thought much about composting tomatoes until a reader sent in a question about it. We’ve always done it if, at the end of the season, the plants had been healthy and showed no signs of blight, wilt or insect infestations. Thing is, by the end of the season, especially
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The seed catalogs are coming in and that gave me and my brother-in-law something to talk about over the holiday weekend. Since when did mega-seed selling Burpee stop selling dandelion seed? We couldn’t find it in the 2015 catalog. Brother-in-law went over to his shelf and pulled out the 2014 catalog. Nope. (Full disclosure: They
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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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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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Spring — as soon after the ground thaws as possible — is the most frequently recommended time to plant bare root fruit trees. Commercial nurseries take advantage of this, providing most of their bare root tree stock to sellers well before winter ends. The truth is that orchard trees can be planted any time they
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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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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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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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