Hardening Off Plants and Seedlings

Planting the seedlings you’ve raised carefully indoors is a proud moment. But be sure to acclimatize them to their new outdoor home first, or you’ll risk losing your plants and wasting all that hard work. This is a process known to gardeners as hardening off plants.

Transplanting Seedlings into Hay Mulch

In spring, we plant several crops into hay mulch to help control weeds, including reducing the "weed seed bank". Few weeds other than perennial grasses will come up through a 4-inch layer of hay. Mulches of natural materials keep the soil damper, which can mean higher yields and less need to water. This method is quick and easy, and more effective than mulching around the plants after transplanting.

Rock Polypody: One Helluva Tough Fern

Polypodium virginianum aka the "Rock Polypody" is native to just about every state east of the Mississippi, Alaska, almost every province in Canada and all the way north up to Greenland and Iceland. To grow it requires no master's degree in gardening or landscape architecture or any particularly colored thumb. It's really quite simple! This is the perfect fern for any shade garden or along the path of any shade border.

7 Mad Gardening Skills

To be an avid gardener means you need to have special skills. Here's a list of 7 abilities that will take you to the next level.

Planting Garlic in Our Fall Front Yard Garden

Now that this couple has moved into their new country home, they take time to plant garlic and a small fall garden in their “front yard.” One small step toward an established homestead, one giant leap for family morale!

Plant Pest-Proof, Perennial Bloodroot in Your Garden

The commonly used name for our beloved early-spring, native wildflower Sanguinaria canadensis is "bloodroot." Bloodroot was once used as a dye and as an herbal remedy by early Native Americans. Sanguinaria canadensis is native to every state in the US and to every Canadian province east of the Rockies. Consequently, it's considered hardy down to Zone 3.

Permaculture Companion Planting on Steroids

Permaculture premise is creating a self-sustaining garden that has a nurturing relationship with your yard’s environment and symbiotic relationship among the plantings.

Which Herbs Grow Best Together

Love herbs and gardening? Here are a few things you should know when it comes to companion planting and herbs.

Attract Beneficials to Your Garden

Attracting beneficial insects to your garden is easy once you follow some basic guidelines. With a few management techniques, you will have the good bugs flying into your garden to help you out.

Intercropping: Companion Planting that Really Works

Tangible benefits of companion planting come from intercropping (also known as relay planting, interplanting or undersowing), which is when one crop (or cover crop) is sown or transplanted in the spaces between the standing crop before it’s finished. Here, I write about relay planting in the early spring, particularly interplanting peas in spinach beds.

Great Ways to Increase Your Harvest

The actual footprint of a garden is only one of many factors for how much food that can be produced there. With succession planting, good soil and some planning the same garden area can produce substantially more food.

How We Transplant Vegetable Plugs

This post will take a look at how we transplant vegetable seedlings in our certified organic greenhouses, especially tomatoes, peppers and eggplants.

Succession Planting for Space Saving and Season Extension

Even as far north as Maine I can harvest produce from March to December with parsnips to dig from under the frost in February without the use of row covers or a greenhouse. In some beds I do two or more succession plantings that together with the root cellar keeps me with fresh produce all year.

Pasteurize Your Own Compost

Pasteurizing your own compost can protect your new seedlings from damping-off and harmful bacteria.

Start Your Onion Seeds Today

Onions are daylight sensitive and need to have plenty of time to put on top growth before the days start to get shorter and the plant pulls its energy into the bulb. If you like to start onions from seed, don’t wait! The best time is already closing in.

Cycling Tour to Benefit TREE Fund

The week-long STIHL Tour des Trees is an international cycling tour combining natural beauty, camaraderie and fundraising for the benefit of urban trees.

Growing Calcium

Grow calcium in your garden with collards, kale, and parsley. Suggestions are given for including these crops in your meals. Learn about companions to plant among your collards and kale to deter harmful insects.

A Midsummer Garden Haircut

Giving your ornamental and vegetable garden a thorough cleaning in midsummer not only leaves the landscape looking better, but can help prevent damage from diseases and pests by removing the conditions in which they thrive.

Summer Planting for Fall and Winter Harvest

It may be sweltering hot outside, but we're still busily sowing seeds at the Southern Exposure farms! Learn how to plant your bountiful fall and winter garden, with abundant harvests through Thanksgiving and beyond.

Flowers Add Beauty and Diversity to the Vegetable Garden

There are many logical reasons for adding flowers to your vegetable garden: attracting beneficials, crop diversity, companion-planting, barriers and healthy soil. But perhaps their beauty does not need to be rationalized at all!

A Two-Holer Outhouse of Memories

This blog post tells about Barbara Lee's memories of her grandpa who built a two-holer outhouse for his family and surrounded it with peonies so that there would not be an unpleasant odor.

Two Tomato Tips

Here are two helpful tips that will help you have a successful tomato plant.

My First Time: A Garden Connection With My Grandpa

My first blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS takes me back to a time when I didn't know I had a love of gardening. One of my first gardening experiences came during an unlikely encounter with my curmudgeon grandfather.

Seed-Starting Shelf

Make a shelf or table into a growing space for starting seedlings.

Preparing Your Vegetable Garden for Winter

It pays to spend time preparing your garden for winter. You can improve your soil, increase your harvest, decrease garden pests and make next spring's planting much easier.

How to Plant Garlic

The Garlic Gurus at Seeds from Italy give you the scoop on growing your own garlic. This post answers questions of when and where to grow garlic, what varieties to grow, how much to grow, where to buy garlic, and how much to plant.

Three Cheers for the Volunteers!

What a nice surprise it can be to notice new spring babies emerging from where their parent plants grew the year before. Volunteer plants are a wonderful gift!

With a Packet In My Pocket

To ensure we have a full productive garden, each spring I start a habit of carrying a packet of seeds in my pocket every time I head to the garden!

Take Our Nationwide Companion Planting Survey

Companion planting can be a great strategy for organic gardeners. Take our nationwide companion planting survey to help us gather useful information about this gardening technique.

Why, How and When to Plant Garlic

Garlic is one of the easiest plants you can grow, and fall is the time for planting. Here are a few resources to help you get started.

Three's Not a Crowd

Growing the three sisters (corn, beans, squash) in the same plot of land actually helps yield healthier crops of each.

Plant Garlic this Fall

Plan to plant garlic this fall, and enjoy unique varieties and their incredible health benefits.