Category: Garden & Orchards

How To Plant Asparagus

A Basket Of Fresh Picked Asparagus

Asparagus is a springtime perennial vegetable and is a favorite for many home gardeners. The stalks of asparagus grow upward from the roots or crowns in mid-spring, and by mid-summer asparagus will produce light, wispy ferns that stay on the plant until the fall. After a few hard frosts the tops of asparagus will die…

Forced Branches

Forsythia Branches That Have Been Forced

Every season I try to have a little bit of nature indoors. During the snowy winter months my favorite bits of the outside world are flowering branches that lie dormant. Forsythia, apple, peach and pussy willow are in my garden and orchard so those are the branches I use for forcing. The flower buds on…

A Beginner’s Guide To Fruit Tree Grafting

Cambium Layers Of An Apple Scion

Grafting is a basic homestead skill that’s easy to learn. If you don’t already know, most modern apple and other fruit trees; as well as some grapes, are grown from two parts: a “root stock” and a “scion”. For the purpose of this discussion we’ll refer to all hand-grafted plants as “trees”. The root stock…

Do You Know Which Way Vines Grow?

Morning Glory Vine

It’s an interesting natural phenomenon that 92% of all vines and plants that twist and climb, do so in a counterclockwise direction. People living in the northern hemisphere at one time believed that vines growing in the northern hemisphere twisted and grew in a counterclockwise direction; and that vines growing in the southern hemisphere twisted…

Propagate Plants With Stem Cuttings & A Mason Jar

Day 1 - A Newly Planted Stem Cutting with A Mason Jar

One of the fastest and easiest ways to reproduce certain types of plants is by a method known as “stem cuttings”, “truncheon(s)” “striking” or “cloning”. It is an asexual method of plant propagation that usually requires only a small leafy section of stem from one parent plant. When the stem section from a parent plant…

Gardening & Planting By The Moon

Planting Peas By The Moon Sign

The term “planting by the moon” or “planting by the signs” are colloquial expressions or folk terms for the ancient practice of timing agricultural and gardening tasks by the moon’s lunar phase and astrological position in the zodiac. For our ancestors, the understanding and application of natural lunar cycles and rhythms to their lives was…

When & How To Start Vegetable Seeds

Geranium Seedling

I don’t start too many vegetable plants indoors. That’s because houses are great for humans but are very unnatural for vegetables, herbs and annual flowers. Most homes are too dark, dry and hot. As a rule flower and vegetable plants do better if they are started in a greenhouse, cold frame or in a hot…

Mummy Apples

Mummy Apple

Yesterday I worked in my apple orchard removing mummified apples. Mummy apples are apples that turn brown, shrivel and do not drop from the tree. Mummy apples contribute to certain disease and fungus cycles in apple trees. Fire Blight and Bitter Rot are the two main diseases that my apple orchard is prone to. Good…

The Care & Feeding Of Asparagus

Young Asparagus In May

Asparagus care and feeding is pretty simple. Every year in mid spring the green spears of asparagus emerge from the soil ready to be picked off by hand or cut. Once an asparagus bed is established it will continue to grow for years and years in the same spot with minimal attention. In my garden…

Borage – A Popular And Beautiful Potherb

Borage Plant

Borage is an annual herb with coarse hairy leaves and stems. It grows between 2 to 3 feet tall and often spreads as wide. Borage (Borago officinalis) is also known as “starflower” and is sometimes called “bee bread”. That’s because of the sky-blue star shaped flowers and because borage is a bee magnet. The honey…