Fall and Winter Gardening

So many of us gardeners tend to think of one thing when it comes to the vegetable garden - tomatoes! I know I do, although in recent years I've become very partial to peppers. The garden doesn't have to just be about those summer vegetables. In many areas you can continue to garden well into the winter months. Here in Tennessee we are fortunate to have a relatively mild winter that allows us to grow cool season crops deep into the fall and early winter without having to take special precautions. Gardeners can extend the season throughout the winter by adding protective measures. However long you have where you are it is important to give your crops enough time to grow. This often means you have to start your plants when it doesn't feel natural to be growing them. Cool season greens in August and September? That's what it takes.…

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Of Birdnetting, Lawnmowing, and Mistakes in the Garden

We all make mistakes in the garden on occaission. In fact I do it on a regular basis. Usually my mistakes are those where I forget to do something or I intend to come back and finish something but run out of time to get back to it. My biggest mistake is typically taking on too much for what my time allows. Last night when I was out mowing I made a couple of mistakes that led to a lot of frustration with my mower. Let me be clear, the blame is on me and not on my mower! I noticed my issue while beginning to mow the front yard. I turned the mower to go up hill when all of a sudden everything came to a halt. The blades would run but for some reason the mower's transmission would not go. I was stuck. I looked around the mower…

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Troy-Bilt Bronco Axis VTT Vertical Tine Tiller Review

Recently I had the pleasure to try out the new Troy-Bilt Bronco VTT Vertical Tine Tiller which they sent me to test and use in my garden. I've used tillers periodically before in my garden and I was very curious to see how this one functioned. It's design is significantly different from traditional tillers. The tines extend down like a cake mixer and spin. It's a very interesting idea but the question is: does the vertical tine tiller work better than a normal tiller? I tested it in the backyard in a spot that was overgrown with grass and weeds. I like using tillers to start new garden areas because they break through the sod much easier than having to dig through the roots of the grass. I've used other methods before like Lasagna Gardening and Raised beds, both of which I like a lot and recommend, but tillers can…

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Daylilies in Bloom: Daylily Hybridizing and Dividing

It's that time of year where the daylilies are becoming the showoffs of the garden. Daylilies (Hemerocallis) area very common collectable perennial here in the south. They propagate very easily through division and are a prime starter plant for people interested in learning how to hybridize plants. Here's a look at a little of what is blooming in our garden this summer: Daylily Hybridization The first two photos are results of my hybridization attempts. While they are pretty, they never developed into a "must have" daylily. Hybridizing is fairly simple, just take pollen from the stamen and dab it on the pistol. It's best done in the early morning before the pollen dries out too much.Make sure you mark the hybridized flower so that you can collect seeds from it later when the pods are ready.         Daylily Division To divide a daylily just dig up the…

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Propagating Grape Vines Through Greenwood Cuttings – Video

I took a short video today of some grape vine cuttings I'm attempting to root. Grape vines root easily from greenwood cuttings or from hardwood cuttings. I prefer the greenwood cutting method just because they seem to root a lot faster and I get the pleasure of faster gratification! Hopefully in about 6 weeks I'll have some rooted grape vine cuttings that I can pot up then plant this fall. Here's the video, thanks for watching!   Rooting Grape Vines from Greenwood Cuttings

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Greenworks Pro 80V 18 Inch Chainsaw Review

When you think about power tools do you think electric? Maybe it's time you should! Recently Greenworks sent me their battery powered Greeworks Pro 80Volt 18" Chainsaw to test. I had some doubts. Could a battery powered chainsaw actually cut through well enough to be a part of my arsenal of power tools? Would a charge last long enough to get through all the jobs I would need to attack in one day? Would the chainsaw be able to be recharged fast enough to get back to work when it did run out of energy? Those were the questions in my head and probably the questions anyone wanting to purchase a new powertool would ask. Before I tell you what I found out let's look at some of the advantages of a battery powered chainsaw. First, there is no gas needed. That saves from visiting the gas station and having…

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Redbuds in the Spring Garden (Cercis canadensis)

Spring in many ways is just like listening to your favorite song. The parts of the song that make it special to you are those that make you replay it countless times over and over again. The chorus of springtime is very much the same. Old favorites pop up again and again for us to enjoy. One of my favorite trees here in Tennessee is the redbud (Cercis canadensis). It's native to our area and blooms prolifically in the spring. There are areas of our state where the redbuds grow in such quantities that you feel like you are inside of a painting. Nature's artwork is hard to top! It's a special tree to others as well. Pollinators love the spring time blooms. Once they are in bloom it is hard to go near them without hearing a constant buzz from the bees as they gather pollen. Redbuds are actually…

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Springtime in the Garden (Photos)

Spring is here and the garden is most certainly coming alive! Unfortunately some freezing temperatures are in the forecast for later in the week here in Tennessee. Here's a quick look at what you will find in my garden at the moment! Purple leaf plum and forsythia   I trimmed the forsythia back after it bloomed last year into more of a small shrub. They can get very large if you let them grow. Forsythias are an easy plant to propagate if you want more of them. Just take a cutting 4-5 inches long and place it in a pot of soil and keep moist. There is no need for rooting hormone to propagate forsythias!   I planted these 'Jonquil' daffodils in the fall. Daffodils are such and easy bulb to grow that everyone should have a few planted! They are as deer proof as anything gets. I have tons…

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Planting Azaleas from Monrovia

Today was a fantastic day to be outdoors, and of course for most of the time being outdoors means I'm planting something! Today I planted three azaleas into one of my gardens courtesy of Monrovia. Monrovia gave me an opportunity to try out these 'Savannah Sunset' azaleas in my garden. 'Savannah Sunset' is a part of Monrovia's Bloom N' Again collection of repeat blooming azaleas. They will bloom in the spring then produce more blooms in the fall! When planting any plant the location is very important. Azaleas generally prefer a part sun location with an acidic soil. If your soil isn't acidic you can amend with a soil acidifier for hydrangeas or blueberries. As you can see I situated my azaleas in the back yard near my blue shed. The soil here is very rich and the shade produce by the trees nearby should create the right location for…

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Spring IS Coming

Despite what the weather may lead us to believe Spring will arrive soon. Maybe it will help us believe it if we repeat that phrase: Spring will arrive soon! (Repeat as needed) It's March and during March we can expect a number of tumultuous and turbulent weather systems that will toy with our psyche. Have faith gardeners because spring and the gardening season will be here soon, but before Spring arrives there are a number of things that gardeners can to to prepare for the busiest time of the year! Yoshino Cherry in Bloom Pre-spring is a GREAT time to mulch. A GREAT time! Why? Because it is cool and easy to work without getting overheated. Mulch will hold weeds seeds back from germinating and keep moisture in the soil. I know I have mentioned mulch many times over the years but it is a GREAT thing to do! Choose a biodegradable…

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