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The Best Garden Mulches and Decorative Covers

Garden stone is a longterm cover that must be applied correctly from the start.
Mulches define a garden’s character. Organic options give landscapes different looks, and all break down to help feed the soil. Others have more permanency. Either way, organic and decorative garden top dressings add beauty and distinction to plantings. Some take outdoor spaces to new visual heights, while others are simply functional in their […]

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Grow a Natural Beauty Garden: Botanicals that Soothe Your Skin


We grow gardens for food, for medicine, for cut flowers, and for pollinators. But, a new trend is arising: growing the ingredients to make plant-based skincare. If you value the ingredients that make up your meals, then it may also be time to take a look at the products that go on your skin. Soaps, lotions, and balms are easy to make at home, and […]

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Bottle Gourds: Growing Ancient History


The calabash or bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria) has been valued worldwide since ancient times and believed to be one of the oldest plant introductions into the Americas. Early botanical research has long attributed the origins of American bottle gourds to Africa, believing specimens floated across the Atlantic to reach the New World, though some studies tell a different story. Regardless of their path of arrival, […]

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Growing and Harvesting Edible Seeds


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 but 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 better when harvested fresh from the garden. The most common, popular […]

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A Vertical Vegetable Garden in the City


Salem, Oregon gardener Harry Olson has taken vertical gardening to new heights, (literally).  Harry’s home is on a small city lot and because of space constraints and shade issues from neighboring trees, Harry has, out of necessity, created a vertical garden.  This has challenged him to creatively experiment and find innovative ways to maintain a productive edible garden.  Many of his methods could easily […]

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Green Tomatoes! Are Your Tomatoes Stunted and Late this Year?


“If weather promises to be uncompromisingly unpredictable in years to come, choose tomato varieties that will be resilient to unexpected weather.”
It’s early August and most of my 15 tomato vines—beefsteaks, paste, and salad types—still have green fruit. Two lean-to-ripen cherry tomatoes are the only yielders, so far.
For loads of the Mid-Atlantic gardeners, it’s the same story. The summer of 2018’s tomatoes are a month […]

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Five Delicious Lemon Scented Herbs

Low-growing variegated lemon thyme makes a lovely and tasty addition to herb or container gardens.
If I had to pick my favorite scent in the garden, it would be difficult to select just one, and it might depend on what scent I was smelling at the moment. There are many plants in my garden that have a pleasant scent I enjoy. Common Heliotrope comes to mind, […]

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Wine Grape Growing for All Gardeners

There are wine grapes for practically any growing situation!
If you have a sunny patio arbor or pergola, then you have enough room to grow wine grapes. Most wine lovers will recognize the names of standard grape varieties, like ‘Pinot Noir’ and ‘Chardonnay’, but new wine grapes, like ‘Itasca’ and Pixie® Cabernet Franc, are continually being introduced, with desirable traits like cold hardiness and compactness. New […]

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Flowering Trees with Edible Fruit

Edible crabapples are larger and great for canning. (Image by JMiall)
Sometimes in our home yards and gardens, we plant primarily for ornamental purposes, but perhaps we overlook the fact that attractive plants can also provide food. The following flowering trees have both attributes. All are easily grown in western Oregon and Washington and garden-worthy, even without their food value.
Serviceberry
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Tips for Growing Monster Beefsteak Tomatoes

These tips will yield giant beefsteak tomatoes!
Big, beautiful beefsteak tomatoes are what every avid tomato grower wants. Large yields of monster tomatoes are not difficult to achieve if you follow a few basic tips. Good growing practices will give you enough fruits to enjoy all summer and share with your friends.

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