No One Writes Songs about Loopers

CabbageProbably no other vegetable attracts so many icky insects as the cabbage family. If the larvae aren’t feeding on the leaves, the adults are laying their eggs on them or worse. Yuck.

There’s not much you can do to avoid these pests, other than covering your plants with floating row covers. The row covers work well, but you need to plant all your cole crops together or you’ll be spending a lot of time cutting squares.

However there is one trick for repelling cabbage loopers that is much easier.Continue Reading

Instant Impact

Large-Swath2Were moving in on mid-summer and panic is setting in. I’m thinking this might not be the year I finally get through my whole to do list. Hmm.

I’ve been revamping my main flower border and changing my color palette. I’m finding I have too many onesies, a result of freebies and pass-alongs. This reminded me of a tip I read in Gay Search’s The Little Book of Quick Fixes. For a bigger impact, plant a lot of 1 plant. I know the recommendation is to plant in odd numbers of at least 3, but I’m talking more is more.

Which Creates its Own ProblemContinue Reading

Hot Enough for Mulch?

Mulch-PileThe more I garden, the less I am a fan of mulching. I’m not saying you shouldn’t amend your soil with organic matter, but it’s always seemed to me that if you need a lot of mulch, you don’t have enough plants.

I used to get several cubic yards of mulch delivered every spring and spend a week or so spreading it around the yard. It was high quality mulch that was still hot enough to create a steaming pile. For a few weeks the beds looked lovely. But it didn’t take very long for the mulch to break down and disappear into the soil. Now what? Mulch again? There has to be a better way.

What is It?

In the flower beds, I’ve found it much easier to simply plant more closely together. This either shades out weeds or makes them less noticeable – both good options. I still top dress with compost once or twice a year, but I don’t use mulch to make the beds look finished.

And in the Vegetable Garden?Continue Reading

Tired of Bland Carrots?

Long-CarrotsI have a fixation with The World Carrot Museum. I don’t know why, since carrots don’t often make it to the table in my house because my husband will only eat them cooked and I will almost only eat them raw.

But carrots can be fussy to grow and I always like a challenge. The biggest mystery to me is why some are so sweet and some disappointingly bland. Even when I plant the same variety, it can be hit and miss.

What Does Terpentine have to do with Carrots?Continue Reading

Are Marigolds Fooling Us?


Lemon Gem marigolds will always have a place in my garden. Even if I don't eat them all, I love their scent.

Lemon Gem marigolds will always have a place in my garden. Even if I don’t eat them all, I love their scent.

Marigolds are multi-function plants. That’s true. They are pretty, make a nice dye, some have medicinal uses, and some are delicious. But do they repel anything other than plant snobs?  Not as much as we’ve been lead to believe.

Once upon a time, in a universe far, far away, I had a vegetable garden with no fence. I also had a rabbit warren in my backyard. Somehow the rabbits never bothered with my vegetable garden, until I stopped surrounding it with marigolds. I had assumed it was the marigolds that deterred them and reading up on the matter, others seemed to agree.

So, What’s Changed?Continue Reading