Gaga for Garlic

Garlic is commonly used as a flavoring for food, as a condiment, and for medicinal purposes.

October is a good time to plant garlic. Choose an area with full sun and good drainage. Before planting, fertilize the area and incorporate it into the area. Once soil is prepared, separate individual cloves from the main garlic bulb and plant cloves 3-5 inches apart with points up and cover to a depth of 1-2 inches. Do not divide the bulb into cloves before you are ready to plant. Leave skin on the clove. Continue reading

Selecting Fast Growing Shade Trees

Trees are a valuable asset to our home landscape.  In addition to blooms, texture, and fall color, trees also help reduce energy bills by casting shade on our homes during summer.  People are often reluctant to plant large shade trees because they don’t want to wait 20 years or more to enjoy the benefit. Selecting a fast-growing tree therefore is a primary concern. However, I would urge you to read about specific trees that are sold as “fast-growing” and any maintenance problems they may have before purchasing.  Bradford Pear trees are an example of a fast-growing tree, but as most people are aware, they are very short lived, often breaking apart in storms after only 20 years of growth. Other fast-growing trees that should not be planted in home landscapes due to weak limbs or other problems include silver maple, eastern white pine, American sycamore, cottonwood, pin oak, and weeping willow. Continue reading

Plants for Tough Sites: Dry Shade

I grew up with a yard that had a slope facing east, shaded by a mature tree with miniscule amounts of good fertile soil to grow any type of plant. I have also inherited this site in my new garden.  This area is too steep to mow easily and the grass is so thin it’s mostly weeds.  I’m a gardener so I’m not opposed to removing the lawn in favor of perennials and shrubs. Continue reading

Selecting and Using Fertilizers

Looking at my lawn and landscape this week, the grass and most shrubs are green and healthy but, I realize that soon, warmer weather will be here bringing with it insect and disease.  Good cultural practices will help minimize damage but when our plants are struggling, often our first thought is to feed it.  It makes sense; when I am feeling ill, brownies always helps me. Continue reading