Home Gardening Solutions

The High-Protein Vegetable Garden: Beans and Grains

800px-Broad-beans-after-cookingFava beans are a great source of protein and easy to grow in mild spring weather.
Vegetarian and vegan lifestyles have popularized high-protein garden vegetables. Growing a good selection of nutritious, protein-packed grains and beans means expanding upon the standard repertoire of veggies. The list may include cool-season legumes, like chickpeas and fava beans,  as well as winter grains and warm-season crops, such as edamame and amaranth.
The […]

Read More »

Blooms in the Ice: The Joy of Late Winter Bulbs

IMG_3043Winter aconite and snowdrops blanket a forest floor in February. (Image by Jessie Keith)
Here in the Pacific Northwest, this past November and early December were very warm and mild.  My tropical red-leaf bananas did not die until a hard freeze shortly before Christmas (almost unheard of), and many gardeners had summer- and fall-blooming plants still in flower.  Neighbors showed me their 3-4 inch spring daffodils that […]

Read More »

5 Sustainable Ways Your Garden Can Help the Earth

IMG_0757Creating a Certified Wildlife Garden is one of many ways to garden sustainably.
By default, gardens help the Earth by providing vital green space, but there are smart ways to boost a garden’s overall value—environmentally, socially, and economically. Some steps are small. For example, growing your own food organically takes little effort and offers big rewards with fresh, low-cost produce. Composting your own food scraps […]

Read More »

Heirloom Vegetable Power: Why Old Seed is New Again

Bean-Diversity3A diverse collection of dried heirloom beans.
 
Every seed has a story.  When it comes to heirloom vegetable seeds, those with great stories have been nurtured for hundreds and thousands of years by diverse peoples worldwide. Many heirlooms have been lost in time, but some have been preserved, bringing with them wonderful traits that tell us something about the people who grew them and the […]

Read More »

Winter Garden Plants for Holiday Cheer

Helleborus_Cotton_Candy_4b-1Helleborus Cotton Candy (Image thanks to Terra Nova Nurseries)
In years past, Pacific Northwest gardeners have put their gardens to bed at the end of summer. This is changing. I see a greater trend towards maintaining garden color using ever-beautiful perennials and woody plants. This trend was reinforced while visiting a gardening friend last fall. He said that his garden looked too barren after he had removed […]

Read More »

Growing California Christmasberry

fruit foliageLarge sprays of bright red berry-like fruits mature in time for holiday decorating.
In my old High Sierra home, I decorated with my own native Christmasberry (Heteromeles arbutifolia, USDA Zone 8) fruit every winter for nearly 20 years. Also called California toyon, this shrub produces large sprays of bright red fruits that are so seasonally welcome, I wondered why it was not more popular in landscaping.
Christmasberry makes […]

Read More »

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 »

Planting a Barrel Cactus Safely

FullSizeRender (2)The ferocious spines of the golden barrel cactus make them very difficult to pot. (Image by Jessie Keith)
 
The golden barrel (Echinocactus grusonii) is America’s favorite cactus. All over the Southwest it has become a coveted living ornament in landscapes. When back lit by the sun, the bright canary-yellow spines literally glow, creating high drama against blue agaves and succulents. A big yellow cactus potted […]

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 »

“Show Us Your Black Gold® Garden!” Photo Contest Winners

After receiving many submissions for the “Show Us Your Black Gold® Garden!” Photo Contest, we selected the first, second and third place winners. The photos were judged by a team of five Black Gold® staff members. Photo content, quality, and written submissions were all considered in the selection process. We were so excited to see and hear stories about everyday gardeners having success with Black Gold® potting mixes and amendments! Here are our winners:
 
First-Prize Winner, Carolyn Frazier
Carolyn, a retired Horticulture Agent from the University of […]

Read More »