Gardening

No-Canning Ways to Preserve Your Harvest

Have an overabundance of vegetables and herbs from your garden, but an underabundance of time to try to preserve it? No problem! There are many simple ways to save your bounty — no canning required! — for the winter and beyond that don’t require you to give up huge chunks of free time. This e-book from garden and lifestyle expert (and Bonnie partner) P. Allen Smith offers lots of options, and walks you through the steps needed to freeze, dry, pickle, or ferment veggies, herbs, and fruit.

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How to Prune Tomatoes for a Big Harvest

Pruning tomato plants is an optional technique that some gardeners use to keep plants tidy, manipulate fruit size, and even speed ripening. There is one big catch: You should only prune indeterminate varieties, which produce new leaves and flowers continuously through the growing season. Here are some reasons to prune.

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3 Ways to Use Cattle Panels in the Garden

Many favorite vegetable plants — such as tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, melons, and squash — need a little help standing tall. Cattle panels, available online and at farm supply stores, are a simple, affordable way to keep plants off the ground and away from foraging critters and soil-borne diseases.

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A Tomato Primer

Learn all about tomatoes, from start to finish. This e-book from garden expert and Bonnie partner P. Allen Smith acts as a tomato primer, covering basics on planting and growing, different options for supporting vines, best tomato varieties for containers, elements that make a tomato taste a certain way, best uses for different tomato types, the low-down on heirloom vs. hybrid, and more.

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How to Build a Simple Corner Trellis

This simple corner trellis does double duty as both a sturdy support for your plants and a beautiful edible landscaping element in your yard. Use it to grow cucumbers, melons, peas, beans, or virtually any other vining plant.

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An Herb Garden for Chickens

There are lots of culinary herbs that have wonderful health benefits for your chickens and can enhance both their diet and environment. You can fit a wonderful selection of these plants into a 4×4 raised bed quite easily. They’ll grow quite companionably side by side (in either full sun or part shade), creating not only a beautiful-looking garden, but also one with herbal ‘henefits’.

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Tomato Tales from Beginner Gardeners

At Bonnie Plants, we love to help folks learn to grow their own food. So, we thought it would be fun to track some beginner gardeners so others could benefit from their experiences. We asked four young Alabamians to let us help them grow their first tomatoes. All of them are in their 20s, just starting out, and busy with school, creating homes, and building careers….

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More Simple Garden Projects!

Feeling handy this weekend? This DIY e-booklet from garden expert and Bonnie partner P. Allen Smith is filled with fun, easy projects, most of which can be completed in an hour or less. Here’s a sampling…

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Heirloom Vegetable Growing Tips

Raising a crop of heirloom veggies isn’t all that different from growing non-heirlooms. Like all vegetables, each heirloom plant requires sun, consistent moisture, and fertile, well-drained soil to grow and yield a healthy crop. But it’s also helpful to know where the plant originated. for the best chance of success, try these heirloom vegetable growing tips.

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Stories Behind Heirloom Vegetable Names

Heirloom vegetables bring more than big flavor to the dinner table. Many of these traditional varieties boast a rich history that’s often hinted at in their names. Allow us to share some of our favorite stories of heirloom vegetable names.

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9 Ways to Grow Tomatoes

Tasty and terrific, tomatoes offer garden magic at its best, transforming yellow blossoms into juicy fruits. But perhaps the most amazing thing about tomatoes is their adaptability. These yummy gems grow and thrive in a host of ways, from classic in-ground beds to quirky upside-down planters. Let us help you discover which of these ways to grow tomatoes is best for you.

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Gardening with an HOA

If you live in a subdivision, development, or condo, chances are you have to deal with an HOA (Homeowners Association). While the goal of this organization is to protect the value of your land by enforcing the rules, sometimes those rules can seem a bit unfair to those who like to grow their own food. Some communities limit gardening to back or side yards only, while others prohibit it altogether….

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How to Use Manure as Fertilizer

If you’ve been gardening for any length of time, you’ve probably know of folks who use composted manure as fertilizer. After all, it’s high in nutrients and can work wonders in the garden — plus, it’s free! It can be difficult, though, to know not only which kinds of manure to use, but also when it’s safe to put in your garden. Use this handy guide to the most common types of animal manure.

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Vertical Gardening Ideas

Although vertical gardening has been a trend in recent years, there are good reasons for it to become more of a permanent shift in the way we think about how we garden. Using vertical planes obviously makes sense for those who have limited horizontal space — apartment dwellers and condo owners, for example — but even those who have large properties…

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How to Build a Raised Bed Cold Frame

Protect your plants from frost with a simple raised bed cold frame that sits right on top of your existing 4′ x 4′ bed. The lid is held open with screen door closers, and the entire frame can be moved easily when the weather warms up.

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Quick & Easy Guide to Composting

Instead of bagging up all of those fallen leaves just so they can be tossed away, why not turn them into compost? See, there’s a reason seasoned gardeners call compost “black gold.” Not only does it deliver the extra nutrients plants need to truly thrive, but it also improves the composition of your soil and helps it retain moisture. Making your own compost is simple, too…

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Decorating with Pumpkins

Come October, most of us plunk a pumpkin on either side of the front door and call it good. But with a bit of planning and some creative ingenuity, your entryway and garden can scare up some autumnal style that is worthy of a second (and even a third) look.

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How to Build an Outdoor Sink

An outdoor sink puts water where you need it, when you need it. For washing vegetables, filling a vase, mixing plant food, or quickly watering a wilted plant, you can’t beat it for convenience. Happily, everything you need to make your own outdoor sink can be purchased at a home improvement store, or recycled from items you already have.

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Natural Weeding Techniques

Got too many weeds competing with your garden or fostering problem insects? Tackle them — and keep your garden chemical-free — with these natural weeding techniques.

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Keeping Squirrels Out of the Garden

With their acrobatic maneuvers and feisty chattering, squirrels often inspire smiles and laughter. But for gardeners who find beds dug up and tomatoes chewed, these bushy tailed critters aren’t a source of anything except frustration and a fervent desire to figure out ways of keeping squirrels out of the garden.

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How to Grow Tomatoes in Hot Weather

Sizzling summer temperatures can bring your previously productive tomato plants to a screeching halt. When days hit 85°F to 90°F and nights hover above 75°F, tomato flowers often fail to pollinate, then drop — which in turn puts new fruit production on hold.

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Keeping Voles Out of the Garden

When a deer or rabbit visits your garden, it’s tough to miss the nibbled leaves, chewed shoots, and missing plants. Voles, on the other hand, can be harder to identify — but just as destructive. Before you begin laying plans for keeping voles out of the garden, you want be sure that voles are the culprits.

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Keeping Rabbits Out of the Garden

Forget the fact that rabbits are soft, fuzzy, and cute. These critters can be one of a gardener’s most despised pests, wiping out entire crops overnight. Rabbits prefer young, tender shoots and are particularly fond of lettuce, beans, and broccoli.

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How to Pickle Your Harvest

Simply put, pickling is the practice of preserving food in a high-acid solution. The process involves adding vinegar and/or salt to vegetables to create the acidic solution vital for successful pickling. This is a simple, effective way to preserve your harvest.

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Garden Games for Kids

Raise a crop of lifelong gardeners by getting kids outside and in the dirt with one of these fun garden games. You’ll find your backyard is full of surprises, wonder, and endless moments of play.

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Hybrid vs. GMO vs. Heirloom

There is a lot of confusion out there regarding the difference among heirloom, hybrid, and GMO plants, especially when it comes to tomatoes. This simple guide sorts it out for you.

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How Build a Bamboo Trellis Tower

Here’s a simple, beautiful way to support tall-growing tomato (aka “indeterminate tomato”) plants: a Bamboo Trellis Tower, brainchild of horticulturist and garden designer Charlie Thigpen. Bamboo can be surprisingly easy to find, as it grows vigorously and often a little too enthusiastically for the person on whose property it resides.

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Simple DIY Garden Projects

A tool rack made from a couple of recycled wooden pallets. An eye-catching trellis fashioned from downed tree branches. An old wheelbarrow transformed into a convenient salad garden. These are just a few of the handy, easy-to-make projects you’ll find inside this creative DIY Garden Projects e-booklet from garden expert and Bonnie partner P. Allen Smith.

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How to Build a Raised Bed with Benches

This half-day project makes gardening easier and more comfortable. It’s higher than most raised beds, so you don’t have to bend over quite as much, plus it has a bench on each side so you can sit while you plant, weed, and harvest. This is an ideal garden set-up for older gardeners, folks with back… Read more »

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Herb Garden in Containers

This herb garden is filled with lush, flavorful herbs, and can be placed right outside the kitchen door for easy access. Clip daily to add flavor and depth to soups, salads, fish and meats, beverages — the list goes on! All you need are four containers (sizes indicate pot diameters): one 24”, two 18”, and… Read more »

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Salad Garden in Containers

Even if put in partial shade, this garden will provide many bowls of lettuce, greens, and herbs for fresh salads. These veggies and herbs love cool weather, so plant them in the spring or fall and begin harvesting just two or three weeks later. (Just be sure to leave a few of the smallest, newest… Read more »

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Pizza Garden in Containers

Pizza is already at the top of most folks’ favorite foods lists, so just imagine how much more delicious each slice would be if it were made with ingredients harvested fresh from your garden — think Roma tomatoes (the very best for making sauce), peppers, and herbs. All you need are four containers (sizes indicate… Read more »

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Tea Garden in Containers

Relax with a mug of hot tea brewed from freshly picked herbs grown in your very own container garden. Place it near your kitchen door and you can literally harvest tea ingredients while the water boils. (How’s that for fresh?!) All you need are four containers (sizes indicate pot diameters): one 24”, two 18”, and… Read more »

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Salsa Garden in Containers

Forget jarred salsas. It doesn’t take much room to grow your own fresh ingredients for spicy sweet homemade salsa. All you need are four containers (sizes indicate pot diameters): one 24”, two 18”, and one 14”. Just follow the planting plan below, making sure to provide support at planting for the tomato and pepper plants…. Read more »

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Collards & Lavender Container Garden

Think of the Collards & Lavender Container Garden as a delightful centerpiece for your deck or patio. A tall group of collards looks striking surrounded by the beautiful purples and pinks of lavender and violas. Collards are such a versatile veggie — anything you can do with a cool-weather green (think soups, salads, sautés, stews,… Read more »

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Parsley & Tomato Container Garden

From salads and sauces to tabbouleh, tomatoes and parsley are two things every kitchen needs lots of — and this Parsley & Tomato Container Garden has them. You don’t need a lot of space, either. Simply follow this design and you’ll have both at your fingertips this growing season. We’ve tossed in some marigolds, too,… Read more »

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Chard, Radicchio & Parsley Container Garden

A riot of edible color, this cool-weather Chard, Radicchio & Parsley Container Garden design features three versatile veggies and herbs alongside cheery petunias. Rainbow-hued chard and rosy radicchio look (and taste) great in salads, soups, and sautés (radicchio’s also superb on the grill), while you may want to whip up some pesto with the parsley… Read more »

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Herbs, Color & Collards Container Garden

Collards, a Southern favorite that is becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the country, take center stage in this vibrant cool-weather Herbs, Color & Collards Container Garden design. Mint and parsley add more texture and shades of green, and the marigolds deliver sunny color along the border. Be sure to plant the sweet mint… Read more »

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Kale, Flowers & Herbs Container Garden

This Kale, Flowers & Herbs Container Garden is so pretty you may not want to disturb it by harvesting—but you should! Use the kale, oregano, and sage together in a savory soup or stew, or save the oregano for your tomato sauce, the sage for some killer stuffing, and the kale for everything from chips… Read more »

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Greens & Radicchio Container Garden

This visually arresting Greens & Radicchio Container Garden offers a delightful range of colors, textures, and shapes. Crinkly dark green kale, brightly colored chard, and richly hued radicchio can be eaten together in a salad, or separately in a variety of delicious dishes. The petunias add another shot of vibrant color to the mix. We’ve… Read more »

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Kale, Color & Chard Container Garden

A luscious bouquet of a spring (or fall) planting, the Kale, Color & Chard Container Garden combines bright pansies, rainbow-hued Swiss chard, and ruffled green kale in a lively mix. Use tender young chard and kale to add interest, flavor, and vitamins to salads, sautés, soups, or stews. We’ve spaced these plants a little closer… Read more »

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Artichoke & Mint Container Garden

Lush and green, this Artichoke & Mint Container Garden design features a center-of-attention artichoke surrounded by your favorite kind of mint (think sweet mint, spearmint, peppermint, even chocolate mint). Imagine how many appetizers and beverages you can fashion around those plants! You only need two mint plants—mint grows and spreads fast, so it’ll fill the… Read more »

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Flowers, Kale & Thyme Container Garden

An eye-catching mix of bold greens and sunny color, the Flowers, Kale & Thyme Container Garden features crinkly Lacinato kale surrounded by bright marigolds and thyme, which will drape attractively over the edges of the container as it grows. Try sautéing the kale and thyme in olive oil with a bit of garlic and a… Read more »

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Herbs & Artichoke Container Garden

The lush, beautiful combination of plants in this Herbs & Artichoke Garden is sure to draw the eye (and lots of compliments) when placed on a deck or patio. The many shades of green complement the brightness of the violas. Try combining the artichoke and herbs with some chicken broth, garlic, a bit of cream,… Read more »

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