I’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about harvesting potatoes, as a lot of gardeners aren’t quite sure when, exactly, to dig them up. And who could blame them? Size, scent and firmness inform the maturity of most fruits and vegetables, but our senses can’t help us here.
As I write this, I can hear a cardinal trilling in the backyard. I don’t have to look out the open window to confirm the source of the sounds that come through it; I’ve come to recognize the songs and their singers.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a butterfly. My money says the fluttering insect you’re envisioning has black-veined, reddish-orange wings outlined with white specks — the iconic attributes of our beloved American monarch butterfly.
One of the biggest mistakes gardeners make is not starting to harvest their vegetable gardens early enough.
You don’t have to wait until the announcement of an impending frost before reaping what you have sown.
You started seeds in spring and watched as they sprouted, then watered, fertilized and even staked plants as they grew, while visions of summer salads, grilled vegetables and homemade pickles danced in your head.
I am a terrible gardener. I hate weeding, and within weeks of planting anything, the tomato, pepper and other plants start to become overrun with unwanted greenery, and it’s just not a pretty sight.
DALY CITY, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco Bay Area high school teacher Lisa Raskin moved out of a cramped apartment she was sharing with a roommate and into her own place this month, paying a deeply discounted $1,500 a month for a one-bedroom with expansive views within walking distance to work.
If you missed out on growing a summer vegetable garden – or are enjoying homegrown produce right now and would like to extend your bounty -- it’s time to start planning.
In most temperate regions, the window of opportunity for growing cool-season crops is opening.
Many people try to save water just to do the right thing (and save money too). But when serious drought hits, and state and local governments enforce restrictions, water conservation becomes non-negotiable.
The cost of everything from gas to burgers may be rising, but home gardeners growing produce have found a way at least to avoid paying $4 for a pound of tomatoes.
Fertilizing those tomatoes — or cucumbers or flowers, for that matter — is another story, as the cost of soil amendments has been soaring.
As home gardeners become more educated about the role native plants play in the ecosystem — and their importance to pollinators, wildlife and humans — many are turning to “rewilding.” The term refers to a landscaping approach that depends on the use of native plants to sustain insects, bees, birds and butterflies.
Picture this: You’ve planted some milkweed, bee balm or California lilac, and you’re delighted to see bees and butterflies fluttering about your garden. You feel good about nourishing pollinators and love the life those plants attract to your yard.
As we celebrate blooming roses, ripening tomatoes and the pollinator frenzy in our backyards, we gardeners also should be aware of the downsides of summer: thunderstorms, tropical storms and hurricanes.
We gardeners spend so much time stressing over what our plants need that we often forget they grew just fine for millennia without us. Suppose we step back from our self-aggrandizing human nature and take our cues from actual nature instead?
Much of gardening is learned by trial and error – for many, mostly error.
Planting a shade-lover in full sun isn’t likely to breed success, nor is letting your emotions run rampant at the nursery.
Tomatoes are not only my favorite backyard crop -- they’re also the most popular among American home gardeners. And it’s no wonder: Have you ever compared a supermarket tomato to a backyard one? The homegrown scent alone will transport you straight to summer.
Gardening in the shade is often thought of as a Sisyphean endeavor, swimming upstream against all odds with limited plant choices and no hope for color.
But that notion couldn’t be further from the truth.
The annual sunflower (Helianthus annus) has a long history in North America, with evidence of its cultivation for food, ceremonial and medical use by Native Americans dating back to at least 1,000 B.C.
When my family moved into a new home in the spring of 2005, the only plants growing in the garden were a rhododendron by the front door and a few scattered daffodils and ferns. I was delighted to see a stunning perennial pop up a month later.
Picture this: You step into your garden, and the beds are brimming with flowers that thrive on benign neglect.
You seldom need to water them, and they don’t require much in the way of fertilizer, either.
In Thornton Wilder’s 1938 play, “Our Town,” heliotrope flowers connect two sets of characters who gather to inhale their intoxicating scent in the moonlight. Heliotropes, then common, are, indeed, wonderfully fragranced.
I don’t have a giant property, so I strategize to get the most use of the garden I have, and that includes planting vegetables and herbs in raised beds and containers.
I’ve been growing edibles in two 4-by-4-foot cedar boxes that my husband built about 10 years ago, and every few years, I invest in copious amounts of compost and organic topsoil to refill them.
Gardeners are made, not born. If you want your children to become enthusiastic gardeners, take steps early to get them going down the proverbial path.
It isn’t difficult, but it might require an adjustment to your attitude about children in the garden.
For many gardeners, a large property with rows of green peppers and sun-kissed tomatoes as far as the eye can see is just a dream. Many of us either don’t have much soil to call our own, have limited mobility, or are new to gardening and feel intimidated.
Many gardeners don’t start all their plants from seed. We buy “starts,” or seedlings — nursery-grown plants to transplant into our gardens and containers.
These mostly consist of annuals and vegetables in plastic cell packs of four or six plants each.
As winter winds down, gardeners collectively look for signs of life, whether from the green sprouts of fall-planted bulbs or the return of foliage as deciduous trees leaf out. But our gardens could retain interest year-round.
Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, seed racks are back! These harbingers of spring are now appearing in stores and nurseries all over North America, exciting gardeners with visions of a new gardening season.
The achievements of George Washington Carver, the 19th century scientist credited with hundreds of inventions, including 300 uses for peanuts, have landed him in American history textbooks.
But many other agricultural practices, innovations and foods that traveled with enslaved people from West Africa — or were developed by their descendants — remain unsung, despite having revolutionized the way we eat, farm and garden.
VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — Crews are in the process of restoring Vicksburg’s Memorial Rose Garden.
The garden is home to roses and other flowering plants, monuments honoring the city’s war dead and has hosted ceremonies on Veterans Day and Memorial Day, The Vicksburg Post reported.
February marks the midpoint of winter, and with spring just over the horizon, many gardeners are dreaming of sunny days and dirty fingernails. For those looking to get a jump on the growing season, starting seeds indoors offers the most gratifying – and productive -- option.
Easter has lilies. Thanksgiving has gourds. Christmas has poinsettias. And Valentine’s Day should have amaryllis.
For the uninitiated, amaryllises are big bulbs that can produce among the biggest and showiest flowers a gardener can grow indoors (maybe outdoors too).
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Gardening products on the store shelves? In January?
That's the case at Lewis Drug in Sioux Falls, where Christmas trees and snow blowers are displayed next to the seed rack.
After the houseplant heyday of the 1970s, the penchant for potted green companions faded with all but the most dedicated plant parents. But over the past decade, as many young adults began filling their homes -- and social media feeds -- with indoor plants, a cross-generational audience started to take notice.
Something miraculous happens to gardeners at this time of year. I don’t know what triggers it. Perhaps it was the sight of Christmas trees and lights, or the presence of all those poinsettias. Whatever the cause, by January, gardeners have let go of last year’s gardens and start to dream about this year’s effort.
Houseplants have been keeping a lot of us company during the pandemic, and the good news is there's a plant for any home, big or small, well-lit or not.
There's also a virtual jungle of stylish containers in which to show them off.
ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (AP) — The Audubon State Historic Site is looking for volunteers interested in helping tell the story of the location where naturalist John James Audubon once stayed.
The Louisiana Office of State Parks said in a news release that the site will be holding a training on Saturday, Jan.
Farewell, fellow gardener. After almost 30 years of sharing my gardening experience, expertise, and enthusiasm in columns for The Associated Press, I’ve decided to focus my time and energy in other directions.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom picked up litter and painted over graffiti in Los Angeles on Wednesday to highlight California’s $1.1 billion initiative to clean areas near highways, roads and other public spaces, an effort he promised to expand next year to address homeless encampments.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Nannies, house cleaners, gardeners and other San Francisco domestic workers must be given paid sick leave under a groundbreaking law approved by city leaders this week.
The city's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed the legislation, which the San Francisco Chronicle said is the first of its kind in the U.S.
BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. (AP) — It’s time to agitate the oysters at St. Stanislaus High School on Mississippi's Gulf coast.
Students on a platform below the school’s long pier gently shake their oyster garden's wire cages as they pull them from the water, loosening mud and algae that might keep water and nutrients from baby oysters clinging to those shells.
MILAN (AP) — While many European theaters remain closed due to the pandemic, the famed Teatro alla Scala on Tuesday opened its new season with the gala premiere of Verdi’s “Macbeth” to a fully seated house.
Windowsill herb plants would seem a perfect antidote to winter's visual and culinary blandness, except that such plants rarely do as well as billed.
The ideal windowsill herb thrives despite dry air and relatively low light conditions to offer intense aroma and flavor.
There are some trees whose showiness does not end once they’ve lost their leaves in autumn. Some trees have an attractive bony framework that is then revealed. Ginkgo tree, for instance.
Leafless, a ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) tree, soft and green in summer, appears as if each main limb knows where it is going, jutting boldly and alone into space to give the whole tree a coarse yet pleasant appearance.
LAS VEGAS (AP) — With a destructive barrage of power punches in the waning minutes of a difficult fight, Canelo Álvarez added another achievement to his overflowing list of boxing accomplishments.
The Mexican pound-for-pound superstar is the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world.
MARSEILLE, France (AP) — When Yaizid Bendaif moved to the Cité SNCF public housing project seven years ago, he got permission to turn a patch of grass outside his home into a garden. Today, the small communal plot between a block of concrete apartments and a high-speed railway in Marseille, France is full of zucchinis, radishes and cabbage rows.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Colin and Donna Craig-Brown were weeding their garden in New Zealand when Colin's hoe struck something huge just beneath the soil's surface.
As the couple knelt down and began digging around the object, Colin wondered if it was some kind of strange fungal growth, a giant puffball.
ENCINITAS, Calif. (AP) — The bloom of a giant and stinky Sumatran flower nicknamed the “corpse plant” because it smells like a dead body is drawing huge crowds to a Southern California botanical garden.