Growing Techniques

Square Foot Gardening

Square foot gardening is exactly what the name says: dividing a growing area into 1-foot x 1-foot sections. In a true square foot garden, an actual grid is placed on the growing area to divide up the space. What you grow in each section depends on the mature size of the crop.

Small Garden Ideas

You don’t need acres of land or even a huge garden to grow your own healthy, delicious food. If you’re the proud owner (or renter) of a sunny balcony, fire escape, patio, postage-stamp lawn, flat sturdy roof, or front porch, you have plenty of room to grow veggies and herbs—and we’ve got a bunch of small garden ideas to help you out.

How to Make a Lasagna Garden

Have you ever started digging a new garden bed, excited about the vegetables and herbs you’ll grow, only to hit rocks and roots with your shovel? Or maybe you planned to build a raised bed garden but never got around to buying the wood. Or perhaps you’ve been gardening in containers and you’re itching for a little more space. Whatever your situation, the answer may just be a lasagna garden.

3 Easy Ways to Build a Raised Bed Garden

Perhaps you’re a new gardener, growing veggies and herbs for the first time. Maybe you’ve grown your own food for years, but your in-ground soil isn’t great, or you just need a bit more growing space. Whatever the reason, here’s one option worth considering: a raised garden bed. Here are three simple ways to build one.

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.

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.

Tips for Growing Heirloom Tomatoes (from Market Farmers!)

Market farmers grow heirloom tomatoes by the bushel, selling their harvests at farm stands and markets, and through CSAs. In other words, they’re heirloom tomato growing experts. Garden writer Julie Martens Forney had a chance to interview several seasoned market farmers and talk to them about their tried-and-true methods for growing heirloom tomatoes.

Tips for Growing Lettuce (Infographic)

A quick guide to growing lettuce, this colorful infographic gives you all the basics on a single page.

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.

Creative 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…

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.

Rotating Vegetable Crops for Garden Success

To keep the vegetable garden healthy, avoid repeating the same planting plan in the same spot. This practice, called crop rotation, can feel a bit like juggling, but it’s important to prevent crop-specific pests and diseases from building up and carrying over from one season to the next in the soil. If you move the… Read more »

Row Cover Fabric Equals Protection for Your Plants

When the weather gets cold, we pull on sweaters or button our coats. The extra insulation holds our bodies’ heat inside the protective coverings. The same principle works for garden plants. Like a coat for the garden, a floating row cover will keep the cold night air and chilling winds away from tender leaves, trapping… Read more »

How to Support Tomatoes

Tomato plants benefit from support, whether you use tomato cages, stakes, or a myriad of other creative solutions. Learn how to support tomatoes and get inspiration from our slideshow of solutions. Stake or support tomatoes off the ground to: Avoid diseases Make it easier to harvest Keep fruit clean Make it easier to spray and… Read more »

Plant Tomatoes Deep, Deep, Deep

Each Bonnie tomato label urges you to plant tomatoes deep, so that a full 2/3 of the plant is underground. That means that if you buy a 10-inch tall plant, all but the top three inches is buried. Why? Because the plant will have a better, stronger root system. Better roots mean better tomatoes. We… Read more »

Should You Stake Pepper Plants?

It’s often a good idea to stake pepper plants. Although many peppers are strong plants that do a good job at holding themselves upright, sometimes they need a little help — especially toward the end of the season. If you live in an area in which the growing season is long, peppers tend to grow taller (sometimes three or more feet) than they would otherwise.

Let Cucumbers Climb

Cucumbers do best if they can climb instead of spread over the ground. The tendrils of the vines will grab fences, string, wire trellis, or tall cages so that the vines climb the structures. This makes for better air circulation (important to prevent diseases), keeps the fruit clean, and makes the tasty cukes easier for… Read more »

For Early Tomatoes, Try This

Want to bite into your first homegrown tomato soon? Here are four easy ways to speed the harvest. Normally, tomatoes are planted at least two weeks after the last frost, but with steps 2 and 3, you can cheat the calendar. If you live where the weather is already warm, step 1 is all you need… Read more »

Drought-Busting Techniques

As summer heats up, use these drought-busting techniques to keep your garden watered, healthy, and productive throughout the season.

Drought Busters Respond With Many Good Ideas

Read these great ideas from some of your fellow Bonnie gardeners dealing with drought. Plastic Mulch in Black, Green, or Red I mulch the garden at spring planting with black, green, and red plastic mulch, depending on the plants I am transplanting, and then rely on drip irrigation buried beneath the plastic. The mulch warms… Read more »

Crucial Growth Stages When Vegetables Absolutely Need Water

Vegetables go through stages when they are at their most sensitive to water for good growth and development. When your veggies are in this phase of growth, be sure to water. Always water thoroughly so that the water soaks in deeply and encourages the roots to follow. Beans Flowering until harvest Cucumbers Flowering until harvest… Read more »

Basil Insists on Blooming. Pinch It!

Basil blooming? Don’t let it, if you want to keep that harvest coming. If you allow the plant to flower, it tells itself, “I’ve fulfilled my life’s purpose by making seed, so I can just stop growing.”