Gardening Basics

5 Reasons to Plant Seedlings Instead of Seeds

Looking for a quick, easy way to plant up your vegetable or herb garden? Consider using ready-to-plant seedlings (also called transplants or starts) for just about everything but root crops. They’re worth the difference in price when you tally up the advantages over planting seeds.

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….

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.

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.

Garden Glossary

We’ve gathered a list of common edible gardening terms and their definitions. Browse the garden glossary and learn. To quickly find the word you’re looking for, click on the appropriate letter below. A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L… Read more »

The Importance of Healthy Roots

Did you know that what you see above ground in your plants is really determined by what’s hidden underground? What happens underground, where the plant roots live, drives plant growth. The bigger and healthier the root system, the bigger and healthier the plant.

Spacing in the Garden

While vegetable garden spacing isn’t an exact science, it’s important to know about how far apart to place your plants. To find out, check the plant tags, which usually list spacing requirements. These generally refer to traditional rows, giving the optimal distance from the center of one plant to the center of the next. If… Read more »

First and Last Frost Dates

To make it easier to plan your garden, the regions on this map will help you estimate the first date of frost in the fall and the last date of frost in the spring for your region. Median Date of First Frost in the Fall – Median – A – Aug 1 – Aug 31… Read more »

Find Your Gardening Zone

What Is the Map? What Is Your Zone? The US Department of Agriculture produces a map for gardeners based on the average of low temperature readings taken from weather stations throughout the United States. The idea is to give the garden industry a way to communicate the cold hardiness of landscape plants. That is why… Read more »

You Need a Good Sprayer

Your plants are likely to be visited by harmful insects or diseases. If you have more than two or three plants, a sprayer makes it easier to deal with the pests because you’ll need something better than a ready-to-use bottle to avoid a cramp in your hand while spraying. To get a useful  1- or… Read more »

Why Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs?

People who have never gardened or those who haven’t in a while are now growing vegetables and herbs for fun, health, and economy. Garden for freshness and flavor. Most store-bought vegetables can’t match the flavor of homegrown. Vine-ripened tomatoes have fuller flavor, especially varieties for home gardens (not shipping types). Squash is without scratches. Leaf lettuce… Read more »

Which Veggies for Which Season?

Because a vegetable needs either warm or cool weather, crops sort themselves into two distinct categories: cool season (for spring and fall) and warm season (for summer). Planting in the proper season is the first step to a bountiful garden. FOR SPRING AND FALL: Plant the hardy and semi-hardy vegetables below in early spring for spring harvests and again in… Read more »

What Is All America Selections?

All America Selections (AAS) is an evaluation program that has recognized exceptional new varieties throughout the United States since 1932. Varieties are tested and judged at botanical gardens, university trial gardens, and other locations around the country. Only those meeting the strictest criteria are selected as winners. You can read about AAS display gardens and more… Read more »

Seasoned Advice for First Time Gardeners

by Guest Expert, Lucinda Mays Lucinda Mays is the neighbor you’d love to have if you were new to vegetable gardening. The next best thing is reading what she has to say here. If Lucinda Mays looks familiar, that is because she was co-host of “Victory Garden South” on PBS in the 1990s while she… Read more »

Organic Mulch: A Gardener’s Good Friend

Organic mulch covers the ground, acting like a tidy, beneficial blanket in your veggie garden — call it the Silent Gardener. Common types include compost, pine needles, fine bark, and wheat straw, among others (see list below). Mulch does many things: 1. Mulch Gets Plants Through Weather Extremes. During dry spells, mulch can save plants…. Read more »

How to Plant Bonnie Biodegradable Pots

We invite you try this easy way to start your vegetables and herbs. These biodegradable pots by Jiffy have spared the use of many pounds of plastic. Here is the trick to handling our pots: Keep plants watered while they wait to be planted. Don’t let them dry out. For best results, drench the pots thoroughly… Read more »

Good Tools Work for You

Tools do make a difference in most every endeavor, especially gardening. Having tools that fit you and are well made can make even the most difficult job a little easier. You don’t have to buy every gardening gadget on the market. Just a few key tools can make all the difference. Gloves – nothing can make… Read more »

Good Soil Means Good Vegetables

Vegetables need good soil. If the soil is hard, rocky, soggy, or nutrient-poor, the vegetables will be, too. In rich, soft soil, roots grow deeply and soak up nutrients for healthy, productive plants. Here is how to prepare the spot where your veggies will grow. Clear the area. Remove grass, rocks, or other debris. To… Read more »

Garden Clean-up

A little gardening clean-up helps prevent problems by eliminating the places where insects and diseases linger from season to season. Practice these four habits of highly effective gardeners! Remove all spent plants as soon as they are finished producing. Don’t compost insect- or disease-infested plants. Bag them for the trash. Remove old mulch and replace… Read more »

Confessions of a First-Time Gardener

I love looking at plants, reading about plants, and thinking about plants, but when it comes to actually getting my hands in the dirt, I am a complete wimp. So you will understand my fear when, one Saturday, my husband came home with a backseat full of little green plants. He had decided to plant… Read more »

How to Start a Vegetable Garden

When it comes to starting a vegetable garden, 3 things are absolutely crucial for success: lots of sun, good soil, and plenty of water.

The Basics of Fertilizing

All edible plants remove some nutrients from the soil, and some have such huge appetites that they quickly exhaust the soil (and then produce a poor crop) without the help of fertilizer. Fertilizer is especially helpful early on, when plants are making fast new growth. The key is to match the fertilizing strategy to the plant.