Gardening

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, a splash… 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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Parsley & Kale Container Garden

The vibrant collection of plants in our Parsley & Kale Container Garden combines the delicious versatility of kale (think soups, stews, chips, salads) and curled parsley (the perfect garnish for a wide range of dishes) with the delicate beauty of violas. In this design, the plants are spaced more intensively than they would be in… Read more »

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Choose the Right Container for Your Plants

Container gardening is easy and rewarding if you have the right containers. When choosing pots, you need to consider size, style, material, and weight, as well as what will be planted in them.

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How to Build a Fold-Down Greenhouse

This simple, inexpensive greenhouse folds down to protect your plants during early frosts and cold snaps, then can be raised up on warmer days to allow them full access to sunlight and rain.

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How to Make an Herb Wreath

Capture the beauty, fragrance, and flavors of your herb garden in a classic wreath—no special skills or artistic ability required. Not only will it look beautiful, but you can snip herbs from it to season your favorite dishes.

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Lessons from the Garden

During the peak of the growing season I’m often oblivious to such education because I’m so focused on doing. Once the garden begins to wane, however, I like to take time to reflect on my experiences and take note of what I know now that I didn’t know back in February.

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The Junior Master Gardener Program: How Gardening Can Help Your Child Grow

Here’s a surefire way to teach your child how to do better in school, become more involved in the community, develop initiative, and help people in need: Enroll him or her in your local Junior Master Gardener program. Here’s everything you need to know.

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How to Save Tomatoes from Frost

By Julie Martens For most gardeners, covering tomato plants as fall’s first chilly nights arrive is second nature. After all, you want to savor those garden-fresh flavors as long as you can, and early nippy nights are often followed by weeks of warmer temperatures. What you may not know, though, is that low temperatures can… Read more »

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How to Can Your Harvest

Canning preserves summer’s garden-fresh flavors well beyond the harvest season. The result not only tastes great, but can also trim your grocery bill, especially when you grow the food yourself.

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How to Dry Your Harvest

Drying is one of the oldest food preservation methods, since the simple act of removing the moisture helps keep decay at bay. There are some definite benefits to this method: Dried food doesn’t have to be kept cold (thereby taking up valuable freezer space) and it requires minimal real estate in your cupboard.

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How to Freeze Your Harvest

For simplicity and speed, it’s tough to beat freezing for preserving your garden’s homegrown goodness. Frozen vegetables, fruits, and herbs boast fresh-picked flavors long after the growing season ends.

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My Thai Cocktail Container Garden

Exciting to both the eye and the heat-loving palate, this design by Steve Asbell combines the spiciness of Thai basil and pepper with the cooling power of mint and cilantro. As a bonus, the marigolds help attract beneficial insects while keeping pests at bay. These herbs work beautifully for Latin American and Caribbean dishes, too.

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Herb Tower Container Garden

Designed vertically to fit almost anywhere, this tower by Jenny Peterson puts a wealth of herbs wherever it’s most convenient. Chives, a variety of mints and basils, lemon thyme, and lavender complement an almost endless array of recipes—all in a 2-foot-by-2-foot space.

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Summer Terrace Container Garden

Add a fresh twist to water, iced tea, lemonade, or your favorite cocktail with this pretty, fragrant collection of basil, lemon thyme, rosemary, lavender, spearmint, and lovely edible flowers by Amy James. So refreshing!

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Summer Maintenance for Your Vegetable Garden

To ensure that your plants continue producing as temperatures rise, it’s important to spend plenty of time in the garden. Here’s a how-to guide for keeping those vegetables fed, watered, and happy during these hot summer months.

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Vacation Survival Guide for Your Garden

Sure, that beach vacation you’ve been planning is going to feel like heaven to you – but it won’t to your garden. That’s because a week or two without the usual TLC can leave your plants feeling dry and wilted, not to mention vulnerable to all sorts of critters and ailments. But your time away… Read more »

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