Enjoying the Fall Garden

Fall is a great time of the year. It's always been my favorite season because of the fall colors, the cooler weather, and there are always events to enjoy. The vegetable garden is enjoys the cooler weather too. Gone now are the peppers and tomatoes, which both succumbed to frost, but instead we have kale, pak choi, mustard, and Brussels sprouts. All of those fall grown plantings enjoy the cooler temperatures and in fact have improved flavor due to the frosty temperatures. Growing greens in the fall in a Tennessee garden is a fairly simple thing to do. The Challenge of a Fall Garden The greatest challenge to growing a fall garden is pests. Until the frosts come many insects are trying to gather as much nutrition as possible to help them overwinter. Caterpillars are all over the place. Cabbage loopers are happy to eat anything green, not just cabbage.…

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It’s Not Just a Box

It's not just a box.  Really it isn't.  It's so much more than that.  You built it in your backyard, sideyard, or even front yard.  You filled it with soil.  You tended that box and nurtured every single tiny seed you planted in it.  That box is your garden.  That box with the untreated wood your neighbor told you would rot one day isn't just a box.  It's food for your family.  It's education for your children.  It's nature in action and it is your raised bed. After we bought our house and I built my first raised beds in the backyard I thought I should explain what I was doing to my neighbor.  I didn't want him to think I was just some crazy person who simply liked making wooden boxes. He stopped by once to ask me something so I explained that they were for my new raised…

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The 5 Hats of the Gardener

As a gardener you will find that you wear many hats.  We aren't talking about fedoras, ball caps, or even straw hats here. We're talking about the different roles you will be called to fill as a gardener! Gardening isn't just about sticking a plant in the ground and watching it grow (although there is always some of that), gardening is a many faceted field with strong influences in areas from design to science.  Let's take a look at 5 of the many hats a gardener must wear! The 5 Hats of the Gardener The Hat of the Garden Designer Gardeners are landscape designers.  As a gardener you have to make good decisions on plant placement, hardscaping, landscape lighting, garden structures like arbors or pergolas, and the layout of your garden.  We try things.  We fix things.  We tear down things and start all over!  (I've done that a more than a…

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A Blog Redesign for Growing The Home Garden

In 2007 I started this blog on gardening.  I didn't know where I was going with it, or what I was really doing to begin with, but I knew I wanted to talk more about gardening with other gardeners.  I was constantly talking about gardening and garden ideas with my family, and I'm sure they got tired of my incessant prattling about what plant would be good here and what design idea to put there.  Ideas have never been never anything I've been short on!  So I started this blog toward the end of the month of October in 2007 in order to prattle on to a larger audience.  It's been over five years now.  I've posted over 1,800 posts and GrowingTheHomeGarden.com has had over 900,000 visitors since July 13, 2009 (when I started tracking).  That averages to over 20,000 visits per month.  Pages have been viewed here over 1.7…

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‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’ in the Garden

When I started putting together our first garden areas in our blank slate of a yard I always second guessed myself. Every planting was met with the oncoming thought "is this going to work like I want it to?" or "does this look right?" Ideas flow freely from my mind all the time and I always try to imagine what they will turn out like when everything is finished but there have always been those nagging thoughts. After several years of gardening I still have those thoughts that eat away at my confidence each time I do something new in the garden. Sometimes I'll stare at a plant that I just bought and place it in 4-5 different locations before settling on a final spot for the plant. I can't tell you how many times I've wondered what my neighbors think of my garden. I'm always my own worst critic.…

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Looking Ahead

It's amazing how fast time flies, isn't it? It seems like just a short time ago I posted my 2010 garden project list (which I can never fully complete!) Soon it will be time to write a new project list and bring back some of those projects that have been hanging around for years! I'll have that list up after the 1st of the year but there are many things to start thinking about now in the garden like seed starting, planning new planting beds, and moving plants to better locations. All of that will have to wait a few days more until I have some time to get to it. As for seeds I'm hoping to get some winter sowing started very soon. Winter sowing is great for plants that like some cold stratification. It doesn't take much effort to winter sow which makes it a favored method of…

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Over the Weekend

This weekend was a busy one and not even really in the garden. The garden chores that need attention are significant but sometimes I actually have to get out of the garden to do other things! Hard to believe but it's true! This weekend had me shopping for materials on Friday night until 9:00 at the local home improvement store followed by a closet organization remodel (with custom built shelves) in my daughters' room on Saturday. I do have to admit that the garden was not completely neglected, I did manage to buy two Camellia x 'Winter Snowman' plants while shopping for supplies! 'Winter Snowman' is a camellia that is a hybrid of Camellia sasanqua and Camellia oleifera. It's a cold tolerant camellia that is supposed to be hardy in zone 6 and flowers in November or December. After a hard day of measuring, cutting, sanding, painting, screwing, and sweating…

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Beginning the New Front Garden

I mentioned several weeks ago (a couple months ago) that I was wanting to remodel my front garden. I was mostly speaking of the area directly in front of the house but since then an additional idea popped up. There is a small area around a Bradford pear tree that I envisioned an elongated oval shaped bed. Eventually that ornamental pear tree will be removed (it's bound to split one of these days!) and I'll replace it with something else but a little farther away from its current location. Making this new garden bed will create a wide pathway between our front garden and the hillside in the front of our house. The pathway will direct the view toward the arbor and the self-sowing garden. It will also give me a place to move several of the plants that will be coming out of other areas. Here's another view of…

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What’s Wrong With Your Garden?

Lately I've been thinking "what's wrong with my garden?" I don't have to look far for the answers. Weeds are coming up everywhere. Plants have suffered under the dry and hot conditions we've had this summer and are only now beginning to come back. Then again some plants are just plain dead like two hemlocks and two mugo pines. I'm not sure why two hemlocks were effected and the others were not especially since they were all treated exactly the same and were in the same conditions. Some mysteries are not meant to be solved! So what is really wrong with my garden? Here's the short list! Encroaching weeds - crabgrass in particular which is going to seed now! Too many plants in too small spaces - when starting the garden I planned on transplanting things in a few years so that I could get a more full look right…

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