Soil Solutions

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 […]

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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 […]

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Made Flowers Grow in a War-Zone

WAr Zone2Two-tiered planter
I deploy to Afghanistan often, and I’ve spent the last three summers here. (I miss JULY 4th so freaking much…) That aside, this time around, I was intent on growing some flowers to break up the monotony and ugliness of white rock, dust, cement t-wall barriers, and barbed wire. Kind of hard to do when there’s no dirt around.
WAr [...]
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Mike Darcy’s Favorite Fall Trees and Flowers

Stewartia, fall color, J. Eves 2014Stewartia pseudocamellia fall color
The fall season is upon us and what a glorious time of year it is. As I walk around my neighborhood, and drive around Portland, the many deciduous trees are turning brilliant shades of color. The more brilliant they are, the better.
Favorite Fall Trees
Stewartia pseudocamellia seed pods, L Foltz 2014 Read More »

Peat Moss: Nature’s Gift to Gardeners

BGPeatMoss2.2cu Front-WEBHealthy soil is the key to vigorous garden plants and lawns. It is good insurance to protect your garden investment. So, how can you best prepare your soil? Use Black Gold® Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss and Peat Moss Plus. Both are made with pure, sustainably harvested Canadian Sphagnum Peat Moss, with the Peat Moss Plus having an additional organic wetting agent to aid in re-wetting […]

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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.
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BLACK GOLD® Garden Amendment Guide

Black Gold® amendments cover everything from basic coir, to premium peat moss, compost, and earthworm castings.  Each has an important application in your garden and landscape planning. For product basics and best uses, follow this simple guide.
BLACK GOLD® Just Coir
BG_JSTCOIR-2cu-FRONTFew natural amendments hold water and air as well as coir. It is recommended as an amendment where extra organic matter and increased water holding capacity are needed. […]

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Late-Summer Seed Sowing

chard-kaleLacinato kale and Swiss chard are two great crops for fall growing.
It’s absolutely counterintuitive to plant anything in August or September, but intuition is not always right.  Go against your instincts, and sow cool-season seeds right now.  Do it soon, and you’ll get your fall and winter garden started just in time.
Starting Fall Vegetables
If you’re a beginner and have never grown food outside the strict summer […]

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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 […]

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Black Gold® Seedling Mix, A Professional Mix for Home Growers

BG-Seedling-1.5cuBlack Gold® Seedling Mix is the perfect medium for germinating seeds and propagating cuttings, and the formula is the same blend used by professional greenhouse growers. Our mix is designed to promote better root development in young plants and holds water well due to the addition of an organic wetting agent. Moreover, it is OMRI Listed®, which means it is approved for organic gardening.
We start with […]

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