DIY Garden Projects

Succeed with Container Vegetable Gardening

IMG_0679This season we experimented with planting ‘Little Baby Flower’ watermelon in big tubs, and they are doing great!
Lots of container vegetable gardens fail. Why? It often comes down to size, quality, and water. The size of the container and vegetables, quality of the soil and fertilizer, and watering regime must be right for productive veggies. Get these factors wrong and your growing efforts will be compromised.
Container growing is […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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Smart Summer Pruning and Deadheading

Coneflower-pruningRemoving the old, spent flowers from perennials, like this coneflower, will keep the plants flowering and looking great for longer. (photo by Jessie Keith)
Summer is not the time of year when most gardeners prune, but there are some definite advantages to summer pruning. It is easier to identify damaged or ill branches when a tree is in full leaf. When a tree is in full leaf it […]

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Growing and Harvesting Edible Seeds

013psHarvested poppy seeds should be collected in a low, broad container and then funneled in to a clean, dry jar.
Poppy seeds, dill seed, fennel seed, coriander, and caraway—It’s like having the makings of an everything bagel in the garden. All of these culinary seeds are costly to buy and easy as pie to grow and collect.
Seeds used for seasoning food are technically considered spices, and like most homegrown things, they taste stronger and […]

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Mulching With Black Gold Amendments

Rhododendron luteum2 JaKMPMRhododendron luteum amended with Black Gold Garden Compost Blend.
When the drought is long, soils are poor, and money is short, one way to revitalize struggling garden plants is to protect their roots with mulch. Good mulches help to retain moisture, cool the root zone, and discourage weeds. The conventional wisdom is to mulch with wood chips or ground up bark, but both are very slow to decompose and can bind needed soil nutrients. The […]

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One-Pot Herb Garden – Anywhere!

herb boxesRepurposed wood crates become one pot herb gardens featuring thyme, rosemary, cilantro, chives and more
Fresh-from-the-container culinary herbs turn a New York loft, a Chicago studio, or a Los Angeles condo into flavor central.  Nothing is quite like fresh mint in your mojito, just-picked basil on a mozzarella sandwich, or cilantro in your salsa.  No store-bought herb carries this intense flavor, because once cut, the essential oils immediately begin to lose pungency.  Cut and eat […]

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Tender Perennials for Pacific NW Gardens

Lantana, colorsLantana camara
It is hard to believe that it is already March and soon spring will be official.  We’ve had a relatively mild winter and I cannot remember when we’ve had so few frosts.  Like many other gardeners, I always have some tender perennial container plants that need winter protection, and I haul them in and out of my garage depending on the temperatures.  This winter they have been out more than they […]

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The Biggest and Best Beefsteak Tomatoes

BCTomato-Janets-Jacinthe-Jewel-TS156-web‘Janet’s Jacinthe Jewel’ is an exceptional and unusual large beefsteak offered by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. (Image care of Baker Creek)
The bigger the better! This statement rings true with tomato breeders and heirloom collectors seeking to find bigger and better monster beefsteak tomatoes that don’t shirk on taste, productivity, or disease resistance. For many summer gardeners, nothing tastes better than the simple pleasure of a sweet beefsteak tomato slice drizzled with olive oil and […]

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Raised Beds: Respecting the Law of Return

densityGardening at high density in raised beds draws proportionately more nutrition from the soil over the course of each season.
If you’re growing vegetables in raised beds, you must respect the Law of Return.  This law states that nutrients extracted from the soil by growing plants must be compensated for by tilling their dead remnants back into the soil or fertility loss will result.  Because plants are often grown more densely in small or raised beds, […]

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