Gardening

Making Good Compost

Making Good Compost

Last month we looked at the limitations of poor quality compost, but don’t think for a minute that compost is something to be avoided. Composting is a natural process that happens all by itself...

The Limitations of Poor-Quality Compost

The Limitations of Poor-Quality Compost

Pick up any gardening magazine or book, and you are sure to soon come across the use of compost. Composting is a basic principle of gardening. In the natural cycle of things, life grows from death;...

A Garden of Herbs, Part 2

A Garden of Herbs, Part 2

Last month we started with an herb used traditionally for tea. This month I’d like to do the same. Next to mint, chamomile is perhaps the most common tea herb grown in North America. Chamomile is a...

A Garden of Herbs

A Garden of Herbs

Photo © Shaiith/Dreamstime.com. Herbs are a category of plants grown mostly for flavor or medicinal value. They are often not on the shortlist for a beginning gardener, for various reasons. Spices...

Other Garden-Friendly Livestock

Other Garden-Friendly Livestock

While the chickens we wrote about last month are by far the most common, they are not the only garden-friendly animals available for our use. This month I want to take a brief look at several other...

Chickens in the Garden

Chickens in the Garden

Photo © Natalie Board/Dreamstime.com. In previous articles, we have looked at the importance of underground livestock such as earthworms, nematodes, protozoa, and countless species of bacteria....

The Greatest Houseplant Ever?

The Greatest Houseplant Ever?

The poinsettia is probably the most popular potted flower in U.S. history—at least in terms of pots sold. Last year around thirty-five million pots of poinsettias were sold in the U.S., almost all...

Tree Fruits, Part 2

Tree Fruits, Part 2

Apples. Photo © Gyuszko/Dreamstime.com. Once we have the site picked out for our home orchard, we need to prepare for planting trees. Ideally, we should begin preparing at least the fall before we...

Tree Fruits, Part 1

Tree Fruits, Part 1

Apple orchard. Photo © Dreamstime.com. When are the two best times to plant a fruit tree? The best time was ten years ago! The second best time is this spring or fall, depending on your climate.If...

Cool Season Cover Crops

Cool Season Cover Crops

Buckwheat cover crop. Photo © Dreamstime.com. Cool-season cover crops are what many people think of when cover crops are mentioned. While not providing the biomass and carbon gain of warm season C4...

Warm Season Cover Crops

Warm Season Cover Crops

Sunn hemp. Photo © Dreamstime.com. One of the most important rules of gardening is to always be gardening. That doesn’t mean we need to keep ourselves in the garden every working day planting,...

How to Till No-till Gardens

How to Till No-till Gardens

Photo © Dreamstime.com. Is our title an oxymoron? It appears to be a contradiction. Actually, to grow and maintain health, soil needs tillage. It just doesn’t need to be done with steel, iron, or...

Solarization and Tarping

Solarization and Tarping

Photo © Dogwood Ridge. Plastic sheeting is a valuable tool for managing garden beds without tillage. There are two different types that we can use depending on the need. One type is clear plastic...

Raised Bed Considerations

Raised Bed Considerations

Photo © Dreamstime.com. How high should a raised bed be? I find 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) to be a very practical height for growing most crops. With less than six inches, you may start losing some of...