Why You Need A Grow Light*

If you’re going to start seedlings indoors, you need a good grow light.  These specifically-designed tools provide all the wavelengths of light your tender plants need to grow up to be healthy, strong producers.  Seedlings need more hours of sun per day than the average late winter day can provide. Plan on 14 hours of direct, overhead lighting for best […]

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The Perfect Soil Recipe

The Perfect Soil Recipe One of the most common questions I get from new gardeners or those who have recently moved to the area is, “What type of dirt should I put in my garden beds?” Whether you’re gardening in raised beds or have a dedicated patch of ground in the corner of your yard, your soil will have a […]

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How to Choose the Perfect Watermelon 

With the 4th of July just around the corner, knowing how to pick the perfect watermelon is an essential culinary skill. With some sleuthing and a little luck, you’ll be enjoying slice after cool slice of nature’s summer candy. Examine the skin. Ideally, the whole melon will be a deep green. Most melons will develop a light spot while sitting […]

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How to Choose a Cantaloupe 

Picking the perfect melon can seem mystifying, but with these simple steps you will come away with a real winner nearly every time. Smell the stem end. All melons have a stem end as well as a blossom end. The stem end should smell fragrant and like a bowl of fresh cantaloupe. If it smells green it’s likely underripe. An […]

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Transplanting Your Seedlings

Young seedlings are the adolescents of the plant world. While they look like smaller versions of their full-grown predecessors, they lack the hardiness and strength to survive on their own. Use the following tips to take your seedlings from tender to thriving. Soil Temperature Soil temperature is the single most important factor to consider when deciding on a date for […]

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A Year in the Zone 8 Garden

I prepared this a year ago for a little mini-class I taught on gardening in my zone, which happens to be 8b.  Knowing your zone is essential in timing planting and harvesting, because it is based on your last spring frost, first fall frost and your overall winter low temperatures. Find your zone here. I generally follow this schedule each year and it helps me to grow more in less space.  As some crops finish, others are planted in their place for a second harvest.  With our long, hot summers, we truly can get two seasons out of the garden!  Hope this helps you plan your 2016 gardening year! A Year in the Zone 8 Garden January: Beginning- order seeds, start onions, brassica family indoors.  Mid-month- start tomatoes, artichoke indoors.  Plan the garden-remember to rotate your crops! February: Beginning-Buy any remaining seeds.  Plant peas, potatoes, onions spinach, lettuce, radishes, carrots, beets, brassica family.  Start peppers, eggplants and herbs indoors. March: Last frost will be sometime early or mid-month!   Plant, Plant, Plant! Beginning-plant tomatoes (with frost protection wall of water or wait for mid-month), artichokes, beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant (with frost protection or wait till mid month), peppers (with frost protection or wait for mid-month), spinach/lettuce, radish, squash, swiss chard, kale, herbs. April: Beginning-plant melons, okra, radish, spinach/lettuce.  Begin harvesting salad greens. May: Beginning-last chance to plant artichokes, okra, radish.  Ramp-up watering.  Start harvesting! June: Enjoy the bounty of your harvest […]

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