I Must Garden

  1. Read this: The $64 Tomato

    Read this:  The $64 Tomato
    The $64 Tomato:  How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden William Alexander, 2006 The paperback cover of The $64 Tomato quotes a line from the New York Times Book Review of the book:  “Gardening as an Extreme Sport.”  The reviewer hit the nail right on the head.  William Alexander’s account of his first ten years with his garden at his “Big Brown House” on the hill in a small town in upstate New York provides a rollicking tale of adventures in vegetable growing.  If his plan was to inspire people to have a garden, I’m not certain that he has succeeded.  However, if his aim with the book was to make people think about their gardens, how they maintain them, and at what cost, he has met his goal. Continue reading →
  2. Pruning Roses in the Winter

    Pruning Roses in the Winter
    Winter need not be the end of gardening, even if you live where snow flies.  In fact, once the ground is good and frozen, or your plants are fully dormant for the winter, it is time for pruning!  Woody plants that flower on new growth are good candidates for winter pruning.  If your plants flower on old growth, you do not want to prune until immediately after they fininsh flowering because you will cut off the flower buds.  That means, no pruning of forsythia, some hydrangeas, azaleas and other spring-blooming plants.  If you feel the need to get out your pruning shears and head out into the garden, work on your roses. Rose Pruning Basics There are some pretty basic rose pruning techniques that will serve you well, no matter which type of rose you are working with--Hybrid Tea, Floribunda or Modern Shrub Rose.  (You have to be careful with climbers in terms of winter pruning.  Some climbing roses flower on old growth.) Continue reading →
  3. Time to Order Seeds!

    Time to Order Seeds!
    It's time for the seed catalogs to start arriving!  I look forward to opening my mailbox in January, which makes me different than about 99% of the population, I know.  I look forward to the glossy pictures and gardening dreams that arrive with my seed catalogs.  (My credit card bills are ever-present.  They aren't any worse when the holidays are over.  I keep paying, they keep sending me bills!)  But, financial realities aside, if I could grow whatever I wanted this summer (and I can, with I Must Garden's repellents--nobody but me will eat the plants), here are some of my favorite new varieties from the breeders. Continue reading →
  4. Greeting Cards that Grow

    Greeting Cards that Grow
    cardRecycled paper cards filled with seeds are presents in and of themselves.  If you love to garden and get the blues during the winter, here's a gardening inspired craft to keep you busy and create works of art for your friends.  Make several of these at a time, and you will have a handy stash for any occasion.  You can make the card paper and decorate for the occasions as they come up. Continue reading →
  5. Houseplant Starts Make Great Gifts

    Houseplant Starts Make Great Gifts
    Use your green thumb to give gifts to your friends!  It is certainly easy to "snip snip" a few starts off a spider plant or sitck a trailing piece of pothos in a little bud vase.  It is nicer if you go ahead and root those starts yourself and pot them up in a cute flowerpot or plastic pot inside a nice container.  Houseplant starts from your plants make great housewarming gifts, get-well gifts, and "thinking of you" gifts.  To always have a supply of gifts on hand, start a little "houseplant farm."  If you become overrun, you can always just give them away. Continue reading →
  6. Aphids in the salad? "They're a garnish!"

    Aphids in the salad?  "They're a garnish!"
    The morning my boyfriend broke up with me (the one I thought I would marry, though obviously that didn't happen), I sat in the snow on my patio in Delaware and sobbed my eyes out, planting lettuce in a pot.  I was so upset, I couldn't see straight, and the only thing I could think to do was garden.  Unfortunately, it was early March in Delaware--not exactly a great time to be gardening.  Never mind the fact that I didn't have a yard.  When gardening calls, listen, I say. Continue reading →
  7. Now is the time for All-Season Deer Repellent

    Now is the time for All-Season Deer Repellent
    Winter is almost upon us, and with it, less tender vegetation for deer to eat.  In northern climes, leftover grain from harvests will soon be covered with snow.  What does that mean for avid gardeners?  All but your most prickly, foul tasting (at least, for deer), trees and shrubs become targets for hungry pests.  If you are unlucky, like William...

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