Mighty Fine Tiny Pines

Not Just for Berries So, perhaps everybody knows that berry bushes tend to love acidic soil, especially blueberries, and the No. 1 way we’re told to acidify the soil is to add pine needles and/or peat moss. Peat’s not terribly sustainable, but pine needles are everywhere around here, so I thought I’d add some to the…

Strawberries 2 lbs for $5; how about 25 lbs for the same price?

Strawberries Are a Good Investment I saw this sign at the grocery store yesterday, and took a picture because we’re about to add more strawberry plants to our yard and garden. 2 pounds of strawberries for 5 bucks is, I guess, a good deal, but consider: how far those strawberries travelled to get here how long they…

Something Most Folks Don’t Do With Their Fruit Trees; Plus a Newsletter!

I’d never paid attention to this. You? I had the great pleasure this morning to give my wife a brief tour of our developing home orchard. I’m not gonna lie—I’m proud of it, imperfect as it surely is. As I explained to her the varieties and cultivars, the flavors we could expect, their flowering times and pollination…

Ten Minutes in the Garden—Snakes and Compost

It’s important to get out of the garden, too Spending all my free time in the garden is a joy, for sure, but it’s still good to go off site and interact with people sometimes, too. Even if I’m not always sure what they need to grow, if they’re thirsty, what companions they need to thrive, or…

Don’t Forget to Mulch

Keep Those Roots Moist Like I wrote on Instagram, winter dryness isn’t just about your elbows and hands—roots need to stay moist, too! There’s a decent chance of rain for tomorrow, but I still watered the newly planted trees this morning. I gave each one about a 20-second pour from the watering can with our…

Pint-Sized Pears!

Seckel Pears Coming to the Kitchen Garden Looking through my Ison’s Nursery catalogue last week I came across the Seckel pear, a delicious (frequently paired with the words “gourmet” and “connoisseur”) and tiny pear variety, the Seckel. When I say tiny, I mean it’s kid-sized. Fun-sized. Petite. Cute with a slight red blush when ripe. All that’s…

Companion Plants for Grapes

Plenty to Do Today, But I Got Sucked Down a Grape Rabbit Hole! I was poking around the forums at Permies again this morning since it’s the only place I’ve ever come across the idea of pollarding grapes. During Monday’s plant-a-thon I decided I had to get down the last of the muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia) —it’s patiently waited to…

Icy Apple Leaves

There’s still a leaf or two on a few of the fruit trees in the orchard! Both a Honeycrisp apple tree (Malus domestica ‘Honeycrisp’) and a Red Delicious scion (Malus domestica ‘Red Delicious’) on our multi graft apple tree have two leaves on them and I don’t know if that’s significant or not. I noticed them today when surveying the property…

New Plants for Our Home’s Edible Landscaping—Muscadine Grapes

I am SO excited about these! Muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia) are native North American grapevines unique to the South. Forget about your Chardonnays, your Merlots, and other European varieties, or even American-bred Concords and Niagaras—give me Scuppernongs! I’ve seen them in grocery stores before (in season for just a few weeks), looking all giant and cool,…

Lessons from My First Mushroom Workshop

Bringing home the basics On Saturday I ran down to Durham for a mushroom workshop—my first!—organized by the folks at Bountiful Backyards, a sustainable landscaping firm serving the Triangle. Our family probably eats more mushrooms than most, so figuring out how to grow some meaty fungi at home has been on my radar for awhile….

A Forgotten Bed of Beautiful Beauregards—Sweet Potato Harvest

More than just a pretty vine, there’s delicious tubers, too! In early- to mid-summer, I planted 5 sweet potato slips in one of the raised beds in the backyard. It was impulsive but I was running out of time. I’d ordered the slips—along with a bunch of other seeds from Southern Exposure—with the best of planting…