Thistle (Weedy Wednesday!)

Every now and then I'll be writing a post about the common weeds that we find in our yard and garden.  I'll save these posts for Wednesdays so we can have a bit of a creative alliterative effect by calling it "Weedy Wednesday"!  I won't be writing about weeds every Wednesday but I feel that it's an important aspect of gardening that every homeowner and gardener ought to have some knowledge about.  By learning a little about the weeds we can deal with them more effectively with fewer dangerous chemicals leaching into our environment.  To start things off we're going to begin with one nasty little weed - thistle! First of all thistle isn't necessarily just a weed.  It's a good flower for the bees to feed from in the summer and a great source of nourishment for the birds as well.  However if you like to run barefoot through…

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Garden Update From The Weekend

This weekend was a busy one in the garden! The weather was sunny, although with a fair amount of wind on Saturday but Sunday afternoon was very pleasant.  This time of year is always exciting.  Gardening activities are resuming in earnest and a lot can be done to prepare for a great gardening season.  On Saturday we began working on the Spring Hill Children's Garden.  It's the first of its kind here in our town.  We're combining it together with a community garden and a farmer's market and because of the amount of interest that has already been generated I'm sure it will be an exciting project!  We managed to get a portion of the garden marked off and a gathering area cleared for kids to listen to gardeners and for various project activities. I'll highlight more on the children's garden later. On Sunday I picked up my tiller from…

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5 Fun Foliage Plants! (Friday Fives)

Let's be real, foliage is more important than flowers!  Foliage is there 3 out of the four seasons and unless you have some fantastic re-blooming plant that blooms incessantly from spouting to leaf drop you aren't going to have something interesting all the time - unless you plant with foliage.  Color, leaf texture, leaf shape, and leaf size all make foliage plants focal points in the garden that draw the eye even when there isn't a flower to be seen!  Below is a list of 5 plants that I plant for foliage reasons.  Some have other attributes as well and some are quite common but are well worth planting in your garden. 5 Fun Foliage Plants! 'Powis Castle' Artemisia Alphabetically for this list we'll start off with artemisia!  Its common name would put it at the end of the alphabet: wormwood.  Not a very pleasant name to me so we'll…

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Around the Garden in February

Purple Crocuses This are warming up again around our Tennessee garden this February.  While I'm writing this post spring-like storms are pouring down outside.  February again seems more like March than February!  But that's how it is sometimes with our weather patterns in TN.  We get some crazy stuff sometimes.  The unseasonable warmth has given rise to many things that would normally be postponed until later.  Some plants seem right on schedule while others are early - too early.  For today's post here is a quick look around my garden at what's happening! Blooms from daffodils in the Japanese maple garden are brightening up our patio area! The daffodils in the Japanese maple garden  More crocuses are beginning to emerge in one of our front gardens.  This 'Autumn Joy' sedum is sprouting new growth.  'Autumn joy' has a tendency to flop over in the summer.  You can reduce that from…

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Tips for an Eco-Friendly Lawn

Frost on the lawn This weekend brought forth a significant event, the first mowing of 2012.  It's a momentous event that means the active growing season is moving ever closer!  I know many of you probably don't enjoy mowing the lawn like I do.  It's probably a little crazy, I'll admit it, but when I'm out there mowing I get to see all the garden, come up with ideas for the garden, and I even get a little time to myself!  As a stay-at-home dad of three kids time to myself is in short supply. Overseeding the Lawn! While I enjoy mowing the lawn I'm not all that crazy about lawn care.  In fact, aside from overseeding once a year I do little else to keep my grass growing.  I don't fertilize the lawn with any chemical fertilizers nor do I use any sort of insect control.  My lawn has…

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Tips for Growing Cilantro

Cilantro is one of those funny herbs, some people like it, others don't!  You can count me in the group of people who like it.  Growing beautiful cilantro plants isn't a difficult thing but there are a couple things you should know to maximize your cilantro harvests.  Yesterday a reader asked me in my post 5 Herbs You Should Grow In Your Garden if I had any tips for growing cilantro so I thought today I pass along a few. Here are a few Tips for Growing Cilantro! First you need to realize it is a cool weather crop.  When the heat of summer comes along your cilantro doesn't have much time left!  It will begin to bolt (which just means it starts to flower) and the flavor of the leaves changes, and not for the better, more bitter.  Plants grown in part shade will take a little longer to…

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5 Herbs You Should Grow In Your Garden! (Friday Fives)

I couldn't imagine my garden without herbs.  Whether for making tea, dinner, or a myriad of other uses herbs are an essential part of my garden.  Some of the herbs in my garden I use as companion plants in addition to their culinary uses.  Herbs are awesome and you should grow them if you aren't already.  What herbs do I grow in my garden?  I'm glad you asked because today for the Friday Fives I'll share with you five of my favorite herbs.  Please note though that these do well in my zone 6b-7 garden and may not perform the same where you are! 5 Herbs You Should Growing In Your Garden!   My then 2 year old daughter (now 4) examining the basil harvest! My number one herb, and perhaps my most favorite of all, is basil!  We use basil in pesto, tomato sauces, on bruschetta, and in many…

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Still Waiting on the Warmth and a Vegetable Garden Update

This winter has been bitterly cruel.  Not bitterly cold, just bitterly cruel.  It's tempted us into believing that spring was almost here, then the ground hog predicted 6 more weeks of winter..and we laughed. The weather was warm and what do groundhogs really know about the weather?  Do they have live Doppler radar in buried in their dens?  I don't think so, but hey, I've been wrong before! Seriously though I'm ready for warmer days. The trees are too.  One of our plum trees is only a few days of sunshine away from bursting out in blooms.  It's too early for it to flower. It would be so easy for a damaging frost between now and April 15th to completely decimate any 2012 plum harvest.  Fortunately they are small trees and if I keep an eye on the plums and the weather I should be able to protect them. The…

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Vegetable Garden Layout for 2012

Every year I tweak the vegetable garden layout a little.  I new get ideas, want to try different arrangements, and theorize about what might work better.  This could mean one of these days I'll strike the right balance of form and function, but until then it just means a whole lot of tinkering, moving, shoveling, mulching, and probably quite a bit of muscle soreness!  Whenever I do change the layout of my raised bed vegetable garden I aim to do four things: Make a better (more functional) arrangement for planting and harvesting vegetables. Plan for good access for equipment like wheelbarrows or tillers. Arrange the beds so that the insides of the raised beds can be reached easily. And try to make the garden so it looks great! Those four things are part of a larger list I put together a while back in this post called Designing a Raised…

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5 Easy To Propagate Plants from Cuttings! (The Friday Fives)

One of my greatest gardening pleasures is that of making a new plant, for free!  Well I don't actually do the work the plant does, but knowing how to give the plant the optimum conditions for rooting is important for success!  The plants I'm listing today for The Friday Fives are easy to propagate plants from cuttings.  In case you don't know what a cutting is it's a piece of plant tissue that is removed in order to propagate another plant (Essentially a clone).  Cuttings can be leaves but more often are sections of the stem.  Not every plant propagates easy from cuttings, some are quite challenging, but you can be assured that the plants below are the proverbial "piece of cake!"  Or perhaps I should say "Piece of plant"... 5 Easy To Propagate Plants from Cuttings Sedum! Sedum is one of the easiest plants to propagate.  This most likely…

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