We're often advised to "eat a rainbow" of colored fruits and vegetables for their fiber and healthful phytochemicals (biologically active chemical compounds produced by plants). But when deciding to purchase organic produce or conventionally grown, how do you know which crops are most or least contaminated with pesticides? The Environmental Working Group issues an annual report - The Dirty Dozen and The Clean 15.
Fall is aster time, and asters are one of the most important pollinator food sources. Nancy DuBrule-Clemente tells how to plant a succession of blue asters that will bloom in your garden from late summer right into November.
Sow seeds collected from nearby wild areas, or from plants thriving in your own yard, for well-adjusted offspring. Growing your own is a good way to save money, get your hands on hard-to-find plants, support local foodwebs and promote genetic diversity. Seeds of summer and fall blooming plants, and even some spring bloomers, are ripe in September and October.
Make your own herb salt and you’ll never have to wait for an occasion special enough to dip into such a costly condiment. Read how Karen Bussolini makes fast and easy herb salt with cheap, organic herbs that she grows herself.
Fertile, self-sowing, open-pollinated plants are full of genetic diversity and food for pollinators. They often charmingly appear in places we’d never think to plant them.
Moths are drawn to light. They exhaust themselves flying toward strong security lights and die or get picked off by predators (bats, birds, rats, mice). More than 60% of invertebrates are nocturnal. The Xerces Society’s advice on being thoughtful about night lighting to help fireflies helps a lot of insects - and saves energy too.
If we want to share our love of gardening with the kids in our lives, we need to give them something fun to remember. Tickle their fancy with plants named after the animals they resemble - in a pot, in a plot or as a secret to share. Bat-faced cuphea (Cuphea llavea) Lamb’s ears (Stachys [...]
Providing nesting material helps birds save energy otherwise expended looking for it, but what materials? Birds will construct nests with whatever they find. When filling nesting balls or leaving nesting material outdoors, make sure it's non-toxic, untreated materials that don’t absorb moisture, degrade or entangle baby birds ...
Try to avoid compacting soil by stepping into garden beds when soil is wet. There's plenty of spring garden cleanup within arm's reach.
This time of year, my p.o. box runneth over - with a bounteous crop of specialty mail order seed catalogs that get my mouth watering. With giant chemical companies owning and controlling most of the global seed market, I urge you to seek out independent seed houses. They tell you who they are right up front.