Category Archives: In the Garden

Amen to the Praying Mantis

By Allen Easterly

Over the teeth and past the gums, look out stomach here it comes. I don’t know if that’s the prayer being said by the Praying Mantis but I sure hope he gets his dinner. I’ve got too many harmful insects stalking my vegetable garden looking for a tender, tasty treat.

Named for its heavy front legs, held in a position that suggests it is praying, the Praying Mantis is one of the top insect predators.… Read the rest

Fruits for the Far North

By Johanna Melchiore

Eighteen years ago when we moved from our Maine homestead to Canada where we established a new homestead in the wilderness of northern Saskatchewan, we knew gardening was going to be a challenge. I was especially concerned about growing perennial fruit plants such as raspberry and berry bushes that would need to survive winter temperatures of -40 or even colder. Located just above the 56th parallel, our growing season is short, snow is on the ground well into May, our summers are often cool and the threat of frost is ever-present.… Read the rest

Rethinking the weeds

 By Mary Ann Lieser

My father tended a beautiful garden most summers of his life. Each late winter he started tomato plants from seed indoors and then, come May, transplanted four dozen of the healthiest specimens to the large, heavily composted garden plot that he’d spaded by hand. By August, when the tomatoes were beginning to ripen, pumpkin vines curled around the cornstalks, the melons were growing too large to be shaded anymore by the plants’ lush leaves, and the radishes and lettuces had long since been cleared away to make room for a second planting for fall salads.… Read the rest

Gardening after sixty

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

Nearly all of us garden in some form or another. After all, isn’t growing our own food one of the tenets of self-reliance? Besides that, it’s fun, fulfilling, and good exercise. Biting into that first sun-ripened tomato, crisp, sweet carrot, or oh-too-juicy melon makes all that planning and work worthwhile instantly. But as we age, some of the work becomes more difficult and we need to find new ways to do the things that make that garden not only possible but more enjoyable, too.… Read the rest

Fresh figs

By Kristina Seleshanko

When we moved to our 15 acre homestead, I was thrilled to adopt a mature orchard. Most of the common fruit trees were there, including apples, plums, cherries, and pears. And then there were four fig trees. Suddenly I realized I’d never even tasted a fig … unless you count Fig Newton cookies. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about figs — and I must say I’m as delighted with those trees as I am with the other fruit trees in our orchard.… Read the rest

Why gardening is such good exercise, especially for women

By Tom Kovach

There is an old maxim about exercise: “The best exercise is the one you are willing to do.”

For us rural folk, one of the exercises we are usually willing to do is gardening, because it is part of the lifestyle of living in the country. How lucky for us, because a growing body of scientific evidence says that gardening, even when compared to such strenuous exercises as swimming and jogging, is one of the best exercises a human being can do.… Read the rest

Save seeds, save money, grow better

 

Once upon a time I bought bedding plants from the nursery to grow my first ever vegetable garden. They grew well and I had a nice harvest. I thought I’d save some money on the following year’s garden, so when those plants set seed I saved seeds to plant the following spring.

The results of my first seed saving efforts were dismal. Some of the seeds molded in their paper packets over the winter. Others failed to germinate in the next spring’s garden, and those that did were spindly and disappointing.… Read the rest

Melon pits, sheet composting, and compost tea

By David Goodman

As an utter cheapskate, I’ve spent much of my life finding ways to re-use and stretch everything I own. This definitely extends into the gardening realm.

If you’re like me, you can’t stand throwing away anything that might feed the soil. If you’ve been known to snag bags of leaves from beside the road, or take home coffee grounds from the office for your roses, keep reading, because I’ve got some ideas for you on composting almost everything without building a pile, buying a tumbler, tending worms, or measuring temperatures.… Read the rest

Cut garden costs by saving seeds

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

One of the costliest parts of growing your own food is buying garden seeds each spring. These days, a single packet of seeds can cost $5.99 or more. And a whole lot of folks are becoming concerned (and rightly so) with the presence of GMOs in our seed.

Fortunately, saving your own seeds from the garden is very easy and will save you money, too. But a lot of people are confused about just what seeds to plant in order to save seeds at all.… Read the rest

Growing carrots and parsnips

By Jackie Clay-Atkinson

Most of us love carrots, and those of us who know how good parsnips taste love them too. But over and over, I hear people say their rows either didn’t come up or that they never got a decent crop. Carrots and parsnips have gotten a reputation as being hard to grow. Because of that reputation, a lot of folks have just stopped trying to raise them.
These folks that have given up marvel at our lush rows of carrots and parsnips, demanding to know how we even got them to come up at all.… Read the rest