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Raised Beds for the Veggie Garden

February 5th, 2013 by Veggie Master


The depth of your raised bed depends on what you want to grow and what is underneath. If you already have decent garden soil, you can get away with a shallower bed, say 5-6 inches deep, since larger crops like tomatoes will send roots into the ground below. The same is true of root crops like carrots and beets. If you’re setting up your raised bed over a lawn or weedy area, I recommend that it be at least 10 inches deep.  To avoid back-breaking bending, the bed should be about two feet high with a six-inch wide sturdy edge.  That way you can sit on the side of the bed and garden in comfort.
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Start Seeds Indoors and Save Money

January 16th, 2013 by Veggie Master

Many things are more expensive these days, and store-bought veggie and flower plants are no exception.  Starting your own indoors is not that difficult.  Here are nine important things to know before you begin.

Determine which seeds require an early start indoors in your area and which will do just as well direct-seeded outside in your garden.  In the northeast I start broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, celery, tomatoes, peppers, winter squash, cosmos, marigolds and nasturtiums inside.  Check the seed packet to find out how many weeks of growth each one requires before planting out.  Count backwards from the set-out date to determine the seed-starting date.  Don’t forget to allow germination time, also specified on the seed packet.

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Raised Garden Bed Review

November 7th, 2012 by Veggie Master

I was a confirmed in-the-ground veggie gardener until last season. That was when I decided to trial several types of commercially-produced raised beds.  My goodness, what a difference they made to both the beauty of my garden and my harvest!

In no particular order, I’m going to tell you about the products of five different companies which I have in my own garden.

Gronomics in Minnesota uses Western red cedar to handcraft their raised garden beds, making them naturally resistant to rotting and insect attack.  I have to say that the classic styling of the beds and the rich look of the wood make this one of the most handsome elements in my garden.   [Read more →]

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Chickens in my Garden

March 8th, 2012 by Veggie Master

For several years I’ve been dreaming of having fat, healthy hens running around in my vegetable garden.  My dream is about to come true.  Why would I want to keep chickens you may ask.  Here are a few reasons.

Fresh organic eggs are my prime motivation.  To eat a flavorful egg with a deep orange yolk (that’s the beta carotene) seems the epitome of haute cuisine to me.  I have gardened for years with the purpose of putting delicious and nutritious vegetables on my family’s table.  Why not add a source of protein and fat to our home-grown diet? [Read more →]


Grafted Tomatoes

March 12th, 2011 by Veggie Master

You may have heard the buzz that is going around about the latest thing in tomatoes – grafted tomato plants.  Why is this a good thing?  Simple.  Grafting your favorite tomato onto the right rootstock can result in a stronger, healthier, better yielding plant.  One that may require the use of less pesticide.  Good for you, good for the environment.

Koralik tomato

Territorial Seed Company has a number of varieties of grafted tomatoes for sale .  Luckily I’m on the list to receive mine in May.  I’m going to be growing Big Beef as well as two doubles (two different tomatoes grafted onto one rootstock) – one with Koralik & Legend, the other with Sungold & Sweet Million.  Big Beef is listed as the all-American standard in beefsteak tomatoes.  It is extra meaty with real homegrown flavor.  The fruit size should be around 10-12 ounces.

Koralik is a big and bold cherry tomato originally from Russia.  Trusses of 6-8 bright red, flavorful, one-inch fruit are produced throughout the summer season.  What makes this variety unique?  All the tomatoes on one truss will ripen simultaneously instead of one at a time like other cherry tomatoes.  Perfect if you’re selling them at a farm stand or using them as decoration on your party platter. [Read more →]


New Black-eyed Susans in My Garden

February 5th, 2010 by Veggie Master

I’ve always loved Black-eyed Susans, even after I learned their botanical name is Rudbeckia hirta or fulgida – quite a mouthful, but what lovely plants!  Their bright yellow petals are such a cheerful sight.

Years ago I added a few different cultivars to my veggie garden and have been reaping the rewards ever since.  I soon noticed that each successive summer brought new and interesting Rudbeckias to life.  It seems that these very industrious plants are always busy crossing their traits with the aid of pollinators flying from flower to flower.  My habit of collecting and spreading seed around every autumn enabled more of these new crosses to grow to maturity. [Read more →]


Planting Bulbs in Fall for Spring Flowers

October 18th, 2009 by Veggie Master

I love the fresh, Easter egg colors of crocus popping up after a dreary winter.  A small investment of money and effort in the autumn will reap big dividends the following spring and for many years to come.  Here are a few pointers for the beginner and veteran bulb planter alike.

Scatter crocus all over your yard, lawn and garden beds.  These small bulbs should be planted in groups of five or seven at a depth of three to five inches and the same distance apart.  Peel back a section of sod in your lawn and throw in a handful.  Dig shallow holes in flower beds, by your back door and next to the drive – you get the idea.  By the following spring you’ll have forgotten where you planted them and the bright Easter egg colors will surprise and delight you!

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Growing Basil the Easy Way

June 28th, 2009 by Veggie Master

Large Leaf Basil

Italian Large Leaf Basil

Growing basil is high on my garden list of priorities because I love pesto.  Defrosting a container in mid-winter, releasing the rich basil aroma, transports me right back to my sun-filled veggie garden in summer.  Beside using it on pasta, try it as a yummy sandwich spread, raw veggie dip or corn chowder spicer-upper.  Since pesto in those tiny little jars is so expensive I have the added advantage of saving money. [Read more →]

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Wicked Plants, Grow Pellets and SucraShield

June 7th, 2009 by Garden Sage

‘Wicked Plants’ by Amy Stewart (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2009).  Ms. Stewart has delivered another exciting page-turner in the area of horticultural reads.  Following her successful foray into the worldwide cut flower business in ‘Flower Confidential: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful in the Business of Flowers” and her fabulous journey into the lives of earthworms in ‘The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms’, Ms. Stewart has produced a fascinating journey into the world of wicked plants.  [Read more →]

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Save Water in the Garden

May 7th, 2009 by Veggie Master

Here are a number of ways to save water in the garden.  If you think of more, please comment below and share them with all of us.

Compost – Amending your garden or container soil with lots of organic compost will help build the water-holding capacity of that soil reducing run-off.

Mulch – Use at least two inches of some kind of mulching material on ornamental beds and up to six inches of straw or other loose organic matter on veggie gardens.  Make sure your mulch is free of weed seeds.  [Read more →]

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