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TAG : gardening

Growing, Harvesting, and Using Elderberries

Ripe elderberries bring sweet rewards to gardeners. Photo by Getty Images/pejft. If you’re searching for an easy-to-grow plant that gives back to you in many ways, consider the elderberry. I can’t think of any plant on my suburban farm that’s so versatile and trouble-free. With only ...

Preserve Your Pepper Harvest

Our garden grows peppers like nobody’s business. Jim and I would have to eat about a pepper a day each all year long to keep up with our production. Last year we harvested bushels of bell peppers and froze 26 quart packages. Come July this year we still had 8 packages in the freezer as we ...

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Greenhorn’s Granary

Maybe you decided to venture into gardening from being raised in a place where you constantly saw life sprouting in pots, planters, or your grandparents’ backyard. This familiarity with the rural side of life led you to try it on your own. Or maybe you’re the purest greenhorn gardener, at ...

Go Wild with Native Roses

Photo by William CullinaThe accepted wisdom on roses is forbidding. The queen of flowers requires royal treatment: the richest soil, drip irrigation, a bed of its own, and precise pruning at a 45-degree angle. If the rituals aren’t done just right, the luxurious shrub with its delicate ...

Sharing Perennials

Purple irises growing in a garden. Photo by Getty Images/Viorika.About 15 years ago, I came home from work to discover that my father-in-law had transplanted some beautiful purple iris plants along the side of our home. He and I shared a love for gardening, and when he saw his irises needed ...

Beat Winter Blues!

Are you huddled by the wood stove? Is a blizzard raging outside or has the thermometer plunged off the bottom end of the read-out? Then it's time to thank the postal worker who goes out in every kind of weather to bring us seed catalogs! "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays ...

Old Fashioned Seed Saving

Have you ever thought of saving seed from your vegetables or flowers only to get stymied because it seems like a lot of trouble for possible failed returns? I'm here to assure you it isn't as hard as you might think and it's also not as risky. You might read about seed saving from the experts, ...

Oh, deer! What can the matter be!

It's that wonderful time of year when the garden is bursting with life. You wake in the morning and rush out to water if needed, check for bugs, pull weeds, and dream of the harvest of vegetables that awaits you in a few weeks.But, wait! Where are the new buds on the green bean plants? Where ...

Bitter Tomatoes, Tiny Onions and Weird Zucchini

Try as I might, and in spite of reading everything I can get my hands on, I always have failures in my garden. Some days I think to myself that I am not very good at this.So for all you people who are agonizing over why your garden doesn't look like Martha's, or even your next door neighbor's, ...

Spring Has Sprung!

Spring has finally sprung in Central Illinois! I am sure that across many states, we all certainly experienced the LONGEST winter ever! Even though the calendar marked that spring had arrived, Mother Nature apparently did not agree.With that strong feminine mind of her own, she played a great ...

Springtime and Seeds

Mornin' friends! Come on in and sit a spell on the porch— let the spring sun warm you up and the breeze blow through your hair. It's a beautiful morning here on the farm, everything is coming alive with the arrival of spring. It's time!I've been ready for spring to make her appearance since ...

The Importance of Soil (and Soul) Mending

When I look back, it's hard to believe that I have been a therapist for over half of my life. It makes sense, though, that my life's calling would end up being a mender of souls. As a young child, I was often found on a porch swing, visiting with my lonely, widowed neighbors. Or, giving ...

Getting Our Hands Dirty

March has arrived and came in like a lamb! Last weekend we began to prepare the garden beds for planting.In the past, we have always bought bags upon bags of dirt for the beds and containers, but this spring Greg decided he wanted to dig from my father's old garden plot. It has lain fallow for ...

Year-Round Gardening Tasks

“The Backyard Gardener” by Kelly Orzel (Lyons Press, 2017) is a comprehensive gardening guide that offers useful advice to help readers build their confidence and know-how. This excerpt from chapter 6 shares what to do in each season and month to prepare and tend to your garden. Buy this ...