Garden Writers

Sunflowers for Bees, Song Birds, and Garden Splendor

Honeybees and native bees rely on sunflowers for pollen and nectar.
Annual sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are pure floral gold. Their immense blooms have an almost storybook quality. They track the sun, creating a glowing warm basin of golden pollen and sweet nectar to draw bees and butterflies. Abundant oil-rich seed heads follow, feeding both wildlife and humans. For Native Americans, sunflowers symbolized courage and were cultivated as […]

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Cultivate Beneficial Insects in the Garden

Ladybug adults and larvae (orange and black) waging war on black aphids!
 
Your garden is a battlefield with more life and death drama than the Serengeti during wildlife migrations.  Among your beautiful plants and flowers there is that age-old war playing out every day as the insect world fights over who eats what.  Some insects are pests that eat your plants – they are garden prey.  Other […]

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Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies

Monarch on tropical milkweed (Asclepias curassavica). (Image by Jessie Keith)
Over the last several years, I have become more aware of growing plants in my garden that are friendly to birds, bees, and butterflies. Plants to attract butterflies, especially monarch butterflies, are especially of interest. At one time, monarch butterflies were often seen here in the Pacific Northwest, but not anymore. Dwindling habitat and food sources have resulted in […]

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Sweet, Sweeter, and Sweetest Sweet Corn


Sweet corn is summer bliss, but not all ears are the same. So, what makes one type better than the other? It depends on your sweet tooth. Crisp sweet corn comes in different sugar levels, from supersweet to old-time sugary sweet. Here’s what you need to know to choose the best ears to suit your taste.

What Makes Sweet Corn Sweet?
 
The first sweet corn was sold […]

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Plant a Cactus Fruit Garden

Prickly pear fruits are tangy and often deep red. (Opuntia ficus-indica shown)
Cactus fruit are a forgotten staple of hot climates where they ripen quickly with a very high sugar content.  Fruits are cooked down into syrups, squeezed into icy drinks, made into jam, or eaten fresh after peeling.  These native fruits of the American Southwest and Mexico are both a staple and a survival food, depending […]

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Tomato Container Growing VLOG

Growing summer tomatoes in containers is easy! This simple how-to shows the five basic steps for growing amazing tomatoes in containers. To grow tomatoes in patio containers, I always choose large pots fitted with a tomato cage and filled with Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix. It’s made for organic gardening and my tomatoes grow really well in it!

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Connect through Curbside Community Gardening

This street-side strip went from sad lawn to glorious garden, and it inspired a neighborhood.
Gardening is contagious!  I don’t mean that in a bad way, but in the way that it spreads from one person to another.  Whether in a residential neighborhood, a condominium with a patio, an apartment with a balcony, or a community garden, people delight in talking about their gardens.  There is something […]

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How to Transplant an Olive Tree

Fruiting olive trees make resilient landscape specimens for edible landscaping in the West.
Olives (Olea europaea)  originate from the Mediterranean region but have been important landscape trees in the American Southwest for the past 70 years, losing and gaining favor as trends change. After World War II, mature olive trees were transplanted to new family homes all over the West. Old trees were moved from California orchards […]

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Five Best Ways to Save Water in the Garden

Roof rainwater trickles into a classic garden rain barrel.
Smart gardeners prepare for summer dry spells and drought. A little water can go a long way, if you plan ahead with effective water conservation techniques. Implement one (or more) of our five ways to save water in the garden, and not only will your plants grow better in dry weather, you will spend less time and money […]

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Generational Family Gardening with Kids

New, budding gardeners learn how to grow vegetables organically.
Gardening is best shared with multiple generations, especially for our youngest gardeners. Whether we gardeners have our own children, grandchildren, or children in the neighborhood, it is an easy role to fill.  Young Millennial families are embracing gardening, so the goal for older gardeners should be to share our garden knowledge to inspire young, budding plant lovers. When […]

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