Container Gardening

Smart Tips for Growing African Violets

African VioletsAfrican violets are popular for their colorful, ever-blooming flowers and compact size. (Image by Jessie Keith)
I once heard someone say that the African violet was “America’s Favorite Houseplant”.  While I do not know if this is true, it has certainly been a house plant staple for years.  The compact pretty plants bloom throughout the year with flowers that come in a multitude of colors. They […]

Read More »

Growing Lemons, Oranges, and Other Citrus Indoors

Citrus aurantiifolia var. myrtifoliaMature Chinotto Sour Orange (Citrus x aurantium ‘Chinotto’) Fruits.
From the seventeenth to nineteenth century European aristocrats in the north grew citrus and other tender fruits in specialty greenhouses called orangeries. By the early Renaissance, pane glass could be sufficiently produced for the creation of greenhouses large enough to hold tropical and subtropical fruit trees. These glass houses were status symbols, in […]

Read More »

Rehab Raised Beds Inside and Out

density-1024x768Raised-bed hoops and row covers can help you protect crops from harsh growing conditions and winter cold.
Second gardens are always better than first gardens.  When those first gardens were your raised beds, then maybe it’s time to raise the bar.  Bigger, better, and more prolific are garden characteristics that all gardeners want, so perhaps it’s time to rehab and expand in preparation for next year’s summer garden.
Read More »

Windowsill Salad Greens for Indoor Growing

Cut-and-come-again lettuce is the perfect cool-season crop for fall and winter gardens.Cut-and-come-again lettuce is the perfect cool-season crop for fall and winter gardens.
Windowsill greens, such as small lettuces and micro-greens, are fast-growing and gratifying.  Growing them indoors is a piece of cake, as long as you have good sunlight, quality soil, the right watering regime, and some gardening know-how. Start with the right greens, master some […]

Read More »

When in Drought, Choose Succulents

cross-slope-1024x768Barrel cacti, agave, and echevarias are all bold succulents for droughty landscapes.
With statewide water cutbacks in California, everyone will have to rethink some of the plants in their home landscapes.    Rather than viewing this as a tragedy, make it an opportunity to dive into some of trendiest plants filling gardens of the rich and famous.  If you’ve always wanted that great, clean succulent garden […]

Read More »

Succeed with Container Vegetable Gardening

If you have a small garden, you can still grow vegetables! How? Potted vegetables, of course! For container vegetable success, it comes down to choosing the right pot, good soil, a sunny location, and keeping your plants fed and watered. Get these factors right, and you will be rewarded with lots of fresh vegetables all season long.
Container growing can be a bit more challenging, but […]

Read More »

Succulents: Beware Over Packed Pots!

color-gilmer2This composition of mixed succulents may look pretty, but the gang-potted group will not survive unless transplanted into their own Terracotta pots.
 
Those big, popular succulent collections sold in pots and troughs (otherwise known as “gang pots”) are dying out all over. Each container may be packed with a dozen or more species of succulent plants that often originate from vastly different locations and have different cultural needs.  Many are […]

Read More »

DIY: Make This Trickle-Down Succulent Tower

donkey tailsDonkey Tails (Senecio morganianum) in a vertical can cascade.
This idea came from deep within Mexico where plastic nursery containers are rare and coveted.  Tin cans are used, whenever possible, instead of pots to save money.  When I found the tower at Xochemilco, I realized this is trickle-down-watering at its finest.  It’s also the most innovative idea I’d seen for recycling and saving money.  It also […]

Read More »

Blue Ribbon Dinner Plate Dahlias

Seed Savers1552-dester-tomato-organicDahlia showing is serious business. Cultivating them to full glory takes a little extra care and patience.
Summer is Dahlia time, and my favorites are the super giants with blooms the size of dinner plates. The grand flowers of dinner plate dahlias are so large that just one is enough to fill a large vase or decorative bowl. They are produced on tall, four and five foot […]

Read More »

Preparing the Garden for a Hot Summer

Lantana, colorsAn excellent summer bloomer for heat is Lantana camera.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have had record high temperatures already this spring. When the temperature is 100° F in spring, it is HOT!  Not that our weather pattern is ever predictable, but this year it seems to be even less consistent. With our mild winter temperatures, record rain, and a summer forecast as being hot and dry, our plants may suffer without […]

Read More »