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garden maintenance

what a mess!

You will not believe the level of chaos nature can impose on a reasonably well tended garden in three weeks. It took the plants that long to look scary and me one week to salvage the back yard from the wilderness. Five foot tall weeds, cracked nutshells, broken branches, vines grown out of control, covering pathways, grabbing onto everything in sight and smothering their defenseless neighbors. And this is the extent of my whining. Seriously, it was offensive.

Read more…

about watering

Shortly after I took this picture a powerful summer storm started, and not a moment too soon, I was a bit worried because the plants were drooping.

I take this opportunity to mention that rushing to water your plants at the first sign of wilt will keep them from developing a strong root system and will not work out well for either the plants or the gardener in the long run. When the dog days of summer finally arrive you won’t be able to drench their shallow rooted systems enough to keep them alive. Read more…

the makings of a vegetable garden

Even for those of us with a more relaxed attitude towards garden design, a vegetable garden demands discipline. For one, you don’t want to question whether the contents of your herb wheel are edible, and vegetable crops are energy intensive enough without unproductive demands on their resources.
The most important task in a kitchen garden is keeping it tidy: weed religiously and trim excessive foliage to encourage produce yield. Avoid diseases promoted by poor air circulation by respecting the plants’ spacing requirements. Read more…

full spring

After the annuals and veggies were moved to their permanent location, the flower beds cleaned and the perennials spruced up, the roses pruned, the fall blooming plants divided and moved and the summer bulbs planted, one would think that the gardener can sit back with a cup of coffee in some cozy verdant nook and relax.
Guess again! Here is the list of activities for this month. Read more…

I’m late, I’m late!

I need to speed up the garden planning if I don’t want the roses to leaf out before I get a chance to prune them. See? This is why the wiser gardeners of olden times like to do all the preparation work while mercury is frozen in the thermometer, spring tends to sneak up on you.
Of course now I’m late with the seed starting, spring cleaning, bulb planting, plant ordering, and pretty much everything else. Read more…

out of focus

The weather is fickle, leaning on the side of bright and sunny right now. It rained hard yesterday, and the sky was so dark it looked like dusk in the middle of the afternoon. Sunshine, rain, sunshine again.
The temperatures rose and fell with the moisture levels, trying to stabilize into a more seasonally appropriate range. Read more…

about sun exposure

Even though the three basic sun exposures are full sun, part sun and shade, the latter comes in so many variations, all with their own little quirks, that it deserves a full chapter all to itself. Read more…

harvesting rain water

Harvesting the rain doesn’t stop at installing rain barrels, it involves the entire garden and its principal goal is to keep the water from running off the plot onto paved areas, only to eventually end up in the storm drains.
Careful planning can create places for the rain water to slow down enough to percolate into the soil, as well as ways to move it through the landscape and places for it to settle in. Read more…

caring for indoor plants

Plants that grow in a pot on the window sill like pretty much the same things as the ones cultivated in the garden: a good amount of natural light, sufficient water and a little bit of help in the form of fertilizer every now and then. That being said, indoor plants have their own set of needs that have to be addressed in order to keep them healthy and, fingers crossed, blooming, and they are as follows. Read more…

water harvesting

Harvesting the rain doesn’t stop at installing rain barrels, it involves the entire garden and its principal goal is to keep the water from running off the plot onto paved areas, only to eventually end up in the storm drains.

Careful planning can create places for the rain water to slow down enough to percolate into the soil, as well as ways to move it through the landscape and places for it to settle in. Depressed spots are not desirable features, since nobody wants to end up with a lawn full of puddles, so the water catchment area needs to blend naturally into the design and be populated with rain garden plants. Read more…