Nothing like starting out a blog with a cliché, right? But this perfectly sums up one reason to change from a monotypic lawn to a mix of native plants. Instead of looking out at a sea of sameness, the diversity of colors, sizes, and shapes of plants offer a more pleasing landscape to view. And, bonus points, more and different kinds of plants attract more and different kinds of butterflies, birds, and beneficial wildlife!
A do-it-yourself garden is harder but more fulfilling
Once you figure out that you do want more variety of plants instead of lawn in your yard, the real planning begins. But, it can be hard to know where to start – do you just chop up the lawn and start planting? How much will it cost? What’s the maintenance on these plants? What about soil conditions? Don’t worry! There are some really good online tips for beginners. To sum mine up: start small, don’t overthink it, and stick to things you like looking at.
For example, my sister moved into a small house with a fenced backyard. She knew she wanted to avoid the pain of mowing. She knew she wanted low-maintenance, flowering plants. And since she’s a redhead, she knew what colors she liked (hint: little to no red flowers). The first thing we did was start tracking the sun, in both the front and back yards. Each month over the winter, we took a picture in the morning, at noon, and in the evening. We also got started on the paths needed through the garden areas.
Maybe April is the cruelest month (especially this year) but early May can be tough on vegetable gardeners who are raring to go. You’ve got your spring crops in the ground and growing; maybe if you got an early start you’re even harvesting. But what about all those delicious summer veggies? If you’re lucky, you have some tomato plants, maybe some peppers or eggplant; you’ve got bean seeds and squash seeds and more. And you have well-prepared soil to plant them in. But when is it safe?
When people ask me this, which they do a lot around this time of year, I usually sound a note of caution. But really, there’s no one clear answer. It depends on factors we have no control over, and it depends on how risk-averse you are. Many of us prefer to put a planting date on the calendar; even better if it’s an easy one to remember. St. Patrick’s Day: plant your peas and potatoes. Mother’s Day: time for the tomatoes to go in. But it’s not that simple. Continue reading →
Do you have garden envy? Do you think seasoned gardeners have perfect looking gardens every year? Think again!
Thanks to my daughter-in-law, Lauren, I’ve become aware of so many things novice gardeners are unaware of. Each year brings different weather patterns and new garden challenges, but some perceived challenges sometimes just need a different perspective.
Even professional gardeners grow odd looking tomatoes.
My daughter-in-law sent me these photos wanting to know why her tomatoes were growing together and not separate. And why weren’t they turning red?
My first thought was, why not leave it on the vine and see what happens? But legitimate questions deserve answers and she honestly wanted to know if she was doing something wrong so she could change her practices.