Tiny Beginning Summer Harvest

One use of a pantry stock of dried beans is to plant them. If intended for sprouts, the pantry version should actually be used instead of seeds from a seed packet, because the latter are often treated to prevent spoilage and enhance germination. As one of the easiest garden plants to sprout and grow, plain dried beans germinate just fine. In fact, our vines had been pretty well neglected. Yesterday I checked on them. Here are the results! I may pan-roast them or just chop them up and add to a stir fry. I think we will have a lot … Continue reading Tiny Beginning Summer Harvest

Ripening Blackberries

I am eagerly awaiting fresh ripe blackberries from the first plant from three years ago. Last year, there were a couple of handfuls of berries and they were delicious. The two big takeaways from last year? First, the blackberry grows the cane the first year, and produces fruit on it the second year. After the cane has produced fruit, it is important to remove the spent canes. This helps to prevent the plant viruses that raspberries and blackberries tend to suffer from. Second, I have read that if you prune the tips of the primary cane, the plant will put … Continue reading Ripening Blackberries

Backyard Berries

Raspberry and Blackberry. These are hardy and productive, and they can create large wild brambles. They can be susceptible to viral diseases, especially if they receive too much moisture. I have seen conflicting advice regarding applying mulch. The biggest thing I have found helpful: Know your varieties. Many plants grow by producing a primicane, or first year cane, that just grows the first year, then becomes the productive cane the second year. The deer ate the top off of the primicane last year, which led it to send out a bunch of lateral branches. The lateral branches are the ones … Continue reading Backyard Berries

15 Garden Ideas

I titled this post last winter, but never published it, and now it is summer. Here are the 15 garden ideas that actually were implemented this spring. Put up the fence. Simple wire fence with t-posts that we take down at the end of the growing season. With the addition of an electric fence along the top to keep the deer out. 2. Fixed an old bird feeder and added it to the other two. 3. Added compost to the top of the straw bale planter, and planted onions, garlic, and peppers. (This is where the tomatoes were last year.) … Continue reading 15 Garden Ideas

Hazelnut Delight

One of the few nuts that grows here naturally, is enjoyed by our family, and forms shrubs rather than a single, tall tree: hazelnuts. Also known by the less catchy “filbert,” the hazelnut bushes will form thickets if allowed. They thrive in the saturated ground here. I planted some rather spindly specimens last year. They never really grew, and presumably spent last summer putting down roots. Then the winter killed them. Then—quelle surprise—in late spring they put out some blooms, and now have fully leafed out! Not dead after all. The songbirds seem to like them, too. For the gardener … Continue reading Hazelnut Delight

Growing Catnip

Catnip is in the mint family, but is NOT invasive like peppermint. It makes a small, hardy shrub that shows up fairly early in the springtime. It is perennial. The pet supply store is full of various toys, cat condos, and scratchers featuring dried catnip. Not all cats like catnip. Our cat does, but he is really interested in the catnip itself rather than the fancy accessories. If your cat is habitually unimpressed, or pointedly chooses your significant other over you, then this could be your new secret weapon. My cat loves it. I love to bring in a sprig … Continue reading Growing Catnip

Plenty of Peppermint!

Last year, I planted mint in my garden. ROOKIE MISTAKE. This plant spreads via long, stringy underground rhizomes. It grows like a weed. Super invasive. One of the first tasks this spring was eradicating the mint before it takes over. I picked a few of these rhizomes and put them in pots. I want mint. I just want it to be contained. As an invasive plant, it is perfect for containers. Mint is sturdy. Ripping these plants out and turning the whole area over, I have still been seeing one or two sprouts come up every few days. Mulch mulch … Continue reading Plenty of Peppermint!

Propagate Pothos Plant

Pothos is one of my favorite plants, both as a houseplant and outside in our planters during the summer! The best part is I haven’t had to buy a new plant in years because it is so easy to propagate from cuttings. Benefits: indoors, it purifies the air. Having houseplants in a room with musical instruments can help to naturally regulate the humidity in the room. Outdoors as far as I know it just looks pretty. Watch out for: if you have animals or kiddos that like to try tasting your plants then this one is safest out of reach. … Continue reading Propagate Pothos Plant

Start Seedlings

This is so easy. Even I can do it! In temperate climates it is well worth starting tomatoes, peppers, and basil indoors to maximize the growing season. A packet of seeds is usually $1-3 and if the seedlings fail you can always buy seedlings, which are usually only $3-8 each. This year I decided on a couple of different tomato varieties, a mild jalapeño pepper, and of course summer basil. The basil will truly last all summer if you cut the tops before it flowers. It helps to have a grow light, but isn’t necessary. If the seedlings get too … Continue reading Start Seedlings