Monthly Archives: June 2019

Second Wind Annuals

I’ve been asked by numerous people when to sow poppy seeds, as they aren’t always willing to perform well from seed. Poppy seeds sprout best in cool weather, so late winter or spring sowing is usually more successful than late summer sowing. I’ve had good luck sowing poppies from late fall into early summer in cooler years. Many folks also have trouble when trying to save poppy seed, largely because they pick the pods too soon. The best way to get poppies going in gardens where they haven’t been happy is to pot up 4-inch starts and grow them on in the sunniest spot you can offer. When the flowers fade and the foliage turns silvery brown and crisp, watch the pods closely. At first, they look like little green balloons with ribbed flat tops. As they ripen, the pods turn brownish grey, the flat tops curl up, and little windows open to let the seeds tumble out. Continue reading

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Building Bodacious Flavor In Tomatoes

Of Soil And Sea Salt My new garden is charming if miniscule; the (very) narrow frontage is our parking area so squeezing in plants required some thought. However, where there’s a will, plant nerds will make a way. Now, a … Continue reading

Posted in Care & Feeding, Planting & Transplanting, Soil, Sustainable Gardening, Sustainable Living, Tomatoes | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Sneezing Through Super Pollen Events

Though few gardening references include information about how much pollen a particular plant sheds, a book called Allergy-Free Gardening by Thomas Leo Ogren is a reliable resource. In it (and on his website) Ogren offers both plant lists and strategies for pollen avoidance. For starters, most heavy pollen shedders are male. Thus, we can seek out shrubs and perennials with big, showy, scentless or lightly scented blossoms. These tend to be female and/or pollinated by critters rather than wind. Pollen-rich, wind-pollinated flowers (candidates for allergy triggers) tend to be small and less vividly colorful, so eye-catching showboats are safer bets. So are bird-friendly plants, which are generally pollinated by nectar-seeking birds. If your allergies are acute, pick sterile hybrids of any kind, from ornamentals to annuals, since they don’t produce pollen at all. Continue reading

Posted in Annual Color, Gardening With Children, Health & Wellbeing, Pollinators, Sustainable Gardening, Tomatoes, Weed Control | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Doing Less, Enjoying More

Simplifying Garden Care Recently a friend was bemoaning the fact that weeding her driveway takes more time than she likes. Though I’m generally a fan of weeding, which allows us to really see and savor our gardens, I admit that … Continue reading

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