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DIY Whiskey Barrel Mint Garden + Reasons you should never plant mint directly in the ground

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Who doesn’t love mint? (The answer is my husband, it’s a fault we’re working on but no too hard because it means I can buy mint chip ice cream and not have to share…) Anyway, for the rest of us, I wanted to share the latest addition to my herb garden that I wasn’t supposed to start working on until 2017. I wanted to grow mint because it’s delicious, it smells amazing and there are a ton of varieties. BUT I wanted an herb garden not a mint garden. If you’ve ever grown anything in the mint family you understand exactly what I mean. That is how the Whiskey Barrel Mint Garden was  born.

Create a DIY Whiskey Barrel Mint Garden in less than an hour and learn why you should never plant mint directly in the ground [Read more…]

Favorite Gardening Books for Winter Reading

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I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that this winter has been strange. Following a sadly snowless Christmas we’ve ping ponged between sub-zero lake effect snow and a few 50 degree days (I’m in central New York, we should have several feet of snow at this point). Unfortunately for me the nice weather hasn’t led to a lot of outdoor time, everything is muddy and slippery, the grass is literally sliding out from under your feet. Being pregnant my balance isn’t it best these days and I’m really paranoid about falling so I’ve been stuck inside with my nose in a book. Not that that is a bad thing! I love reading and rarely have the time in the spring, summer and fall. I prefer informational books, mostly on cooking, crafting and of course gardening. I thought I’d share my favorite gardening books and a few catalogs in case you find yourself stuck inside with nothing more than a cereal box to read.

Kick up your feet and fill a mug with your favorite beverage. I've got a whole list of my favorite gardening books to inspire and inform you

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Bird Nests & Weed Seeds

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I’ve got most of my energy back so when my long weekend lined up with my husbands weekend off (he’s a nurse) I headed out to the barn and garden to get some long neglected work done without having to constantly rescue a two year old from the scary alpaca (shes never in danger, Fred likes to sniff her and she’s big enough to be really scary). I was out in the garden ripping out the dead and frozen asparagus stalks when I spotted something a little unusual. There was a bird nest tucked into the over grown and tangled foliage.

Goldfinch Bird Nest found in an overgrown Asparagus bed

As much as I love asparagus I always err on the side of not harvesting enough in order to keep the plants going strong. This year the Martha Washington asparagus was about 6.5 ft tall and flopping into the raspberries by the end of summer. It’s situated in a corner of the garden pretty much on it’s own, the asparagus is in a big L-shaped bed about 6 feet from the fence with kiwi vines one side of the fence and raspberries growing along the other fence line. The kiwi are pretty but useless at this point and aside from a late fall pruning and a month of occasional berry picking the raspberries are mostly left to their own devices. Apparently a couple little birds decided that this quiet garden corner would be a nice spot to raise a family. [Read more…]

Why I Don’t Start Onions from Seed

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Forget the heat mats & grow lights, get a great onion harvest without starting from seed

We are big onions lovers in this house, each year I devote an entire 4x14ft garden bed to the allium family. One half is fall planted garlic and shallots and the rest is filled with onions come spring time. Last year I had a separate 4×4 bed for leeks, I’m not sure where they’re going this year becuase that bed is supposed to be horseradish but you can bet I’ll find a place for them! [Read more…]

Species Tulips

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For a long time I thought I was a tulip failure. Despite my best efforts the bulbs I planted would flower beautifully the first year and then dwindle until I had only a handful of blooms from 100’s of  supposedly perennial bulbs. It turns out that while tulips are technically a perennial the modern hybrid types aren’t actually very good at it. Some do better than others but if you want years of blooms from a singly planting you should look elsewhere.

Get the basics on Species Tulips
 But I didn’t want to look elsewhere. I wanted tulips and I wanted them to come back year after year (imagine lots of foot stomping and door slamming here). Then I stumbled across species tulips when I was making my Van Engelen order this year. You might remember them as the company that saved my wedding . I picked up 100 of their species tulip mix for my front garden to replace the defunct Appledoorn tulips. I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about these pretty spring bloomers.

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