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Lessons from a Wartime Victory Garden


Victory Gardens inspired millions of Americans that had never gardened to grow food to feed their families. Everyday people learned to garden on a homesteading scale. And my family was no exception. My maternal grandparent’s Victory Garden taught them to fend for themselves and eat well when wartime rations were most limited.

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How to Grow Tomatoes From Seed to Harvest


Tomatoes are America’s #1 garden vegetable and growing your own from seed has its advantages. It allows you to grow the newest, coolest seed catalog varieties of your choice and helps ensure stock is disease-free at planting time.

Click here for a Step-by-Step PDF.

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Five Steps to Creating a No-Till Vegetable Garden

The author’s no-till garden in early spring after compost and straw have been applied. (Image by Jessie Keith)
To till or not to till? Why ask this question? Tilling does good things for the soil. It increases needed aeration and porosity, allows the easy incorporation of organic amendments, and it makes all the little green weeds at the top of the soil go away. But it […]

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Ornamental Spreaders, Cascaders, and Creepers for the Garden

Creeping thyme has the benefit of being both culinary and a wonderful ornamental creeper for bees.

Tired of weeding the cracks in sidewalks and the places around stepping stones?  Plant creepers.  These ground-hugging perennials are small but mighty, working proactively to keep untidy grass and weeds from taking over. Creepers […]

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Late-Winter Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden

Clean off any debris that has collected on the lawn over the winter.
Take a Garden Stroll
With a steaming cup of coffee in my hand, I walk out into my garden this February morning and delight in seeing the nodding, bell-shaped white flowers of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) (Click here to learn more about other early spring bulbs like snowdrops). I have a […]

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Tomato Diseases: Identification and Solutions

From upper left: blossom end rot, late blight, and tobacco mosaic virus.
Tomatoes are the roses of vegetables–everything attacks them. So, gardeners can count on experiencing any number of tomato diseases in their growing experience. It pays to grow disease-resistant tomatoes, but lots of the best heirlooms don’t fall into this category. That’s why tomato growers need to be armed with knowledge and IPM (integrated pest […]

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Beating The Five Most Common Vegetable Garden Pests Naturally

My daughter is picking off Colorado potato beetles from potato plants.
For the past 14 years, I have grown my vegetables in a community garden plot, which has provided a real education in plant pests, diseases, and weeds. Why? Because these mega veggie gardens are pest hot spots, and summer is the worst time of year for the beasties.  Bad insects always attack my beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplants–threatening […]

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How to Water House Plants


Watering house plants…it sounds simple, doesn’t it? But, if it were simple, there would be fewer black thumbs out there. Proper watering is at the heart of good plant care, and if you don’t know how to water a plant, then its little green future may be in peril. It is surprisingly easy to drown a plant with aqueous attention.
There isn’t a one-fits-all watering […]

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Rosemary Is For Winter and Gifting

Fill pretty, recycled jars with freshly-dried rosemary for holiday gifts for foodies (and pet lovers too, see below).
When I first came to the Southern California desert, I was shocked at how well traditional rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10) shrubs survived through 120ᵒ F summer days. When provided good drainage and some water, these plants thrive in dry, mild-winter locations and reach mammoth […]

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Beyond Poinsettias: Fresh Holiday House Plants

Florist’s gloxinia has fallen out of vogue but has spectacular flowers in winter.
Red, green, and white–these are the common holiday colors. Poinsettias, amaryllis, paperwhites, and cyclamen–these are the common holiday plants in these colors. Why not shake it up? You can have these colors and enjoy them anew with more adventurous seasonal house plants.
Plant vendors sell all kinds of other indoor plants fit for the […]

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