Preparing Your Garden for Spring

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on May 1, 2013

Preparing Your Garden This Spring

Now that spring is here, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about your garden at home and getting it ready for upcoming blooming season.  Before you can start to reap the benefits of a beautiful backyard or front lawn, it’s important to make sure that you’ve got everything settled so you can get the most out of your work.

If you’ve got anything in your garden or yard that blooms or grows every years, it’s time to start the cleanup work so you can make sure they’re just as beautiful this year as they were last year.  Grab a pair of prunes and make sure you’ve cut back the fruit trees and get rid of any dead or decaying pieces of your rose bushes.  Think of plants as very similar to the hair on your head: they both greatly benefit from being trimmed every once in a while so the new growth can breathe properly.

If you’re the type of person who keeps your garden in shape all year around, the chances are you put down some of the hardy winter mulch to keep your plants protected throughout the colder months.  Now that it’s spring and is’ beginning to get warmer outside, it’s time to get rid of that mulch you put down.  If you don’t remove it, you risk your plants suffocating under the weight when they try to grow this year.

Buy your mixed wildflower seeds now and start them early.  Grab some soil and a few flower pots and start growing them inside your home so you can get an early start on them once you’ve put them into the ground.  This will give you a few extra weeks of having something growing in your garden while everything else is just starting out, meaning you’ll have some beautiful colors sooner than you would otherwise.

Take not of any weeds that might also be thriving in spring’s warmer temperatures and get rid of them immediately.  Gardening becomes quite a chore if you wait too long and the weeds have taken hold on your flower bed or lawn so make sure you get rid of them before they can really start.  The sooner you get rid of them, the better, and any treatments you give your lawn while you’re growing your garden won’t be risked on pesky weeds.

May is a great time to start putting down your mulch.  Since spring is known for being quite wet in the month of April, it’s better to wait until the ground has dried and warmed up a bit more before putting down your mulch material.  May is the best time for this.  Mulch helps keep your garden looking nice while helping your plants retain the moisture you give them when the days get warmer.

As soon as you start seeing new growth with your plants (both old and new), it’s time get the fertilizer into the garden.  Fertilizer is key to helping your garden be the best it can be and it will do wonders for helping your plants survive and thrive in the upcoming months.

A great looking garden is something that can really help the look of a home and it’s a great hobby for most people, but it can’t just be begun.  There are a few steps you need to take before you can get your beautiful colors in your yard, but they don’t take a lot of work and you’ll be much happier for having done them.

 

{ 2 comments }

Growing Coriander

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on March 31, 2013

The Coriander plant produces two different kinds of herbs with different uses.  The greens, or cilantro, are used in Middle Eastern, Asian, and Latin American cuisine.  The coriander seed is used as a spice in whole or ground form.  It has been used since ancient times for its medicinal qualities and as an important ingredient in curry and other flavorings.

Coriander is a cool season herb that will grow bitter if it gets over 75F.  It is best planted in the spring and enjoyed until the first of summer heat, or in the fall and enjoyed until first frost.  Coriander also grows well in pots as a houseplant as long as it gets at least eight hours of sun.

Coriander should be planted in rows twelve to eighteen inches apart.  It should be spaced six to twelve inches apart in rows and planted to a depth of one to one and a half inches.  Seeds can be planted inside and started to give a longer season before coriander bolts from the heat or freezes from the cold.

Coriander needs a general nitrogen fertilizer such as fish emulsion after it has been harvested four or five times.

Harvesting cilantro is simple.  Cut the leaves at ground level.  Do not cut more than one third of the plant at a time or you will weaken the plant.

Harvesting coriander is a little bit more complicated.  You must wait until the plant flowers out and produces seeds.  When most of them are dry, cut the flower stalk and put upside down in a paper bag.  As the seed heads dry, the shuck will split and the seeds will collect at the bottom of the bag.  Store the collected seeds in a jar in a cool, dark place.  Grind them up or use them whole.

Gardenbookfrontcoverthumbnail For more help gardening, buy my book, Preparing A Vegetable Garden From The Ground Up
Available in print or ebook from Amazon.com or other retailers, this book walks you from choosing the site of your garden all the way through what to do after the harvest. Buy a copy for yourself or a friend today!

{ 0 comments }

Preparing Your Garden For Spring

February 28, 2013

How to Prepare Your Garden for Spring This is a guest post by Lucy Markham.  I hope you enjoy these reminders of what to do to get your garden ready for spring. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just getting into the game, then now is a perfect time to start preparing your own little […]

Read the full article →

Attracting Toads to Your Garden

January 3, 2013

A single adult toad can eat as many as 10,000 insect pests in a single summer.  Toads are environmentally friendly, don’t damage plants or other items in your garden, and are one hundred percent organic pest control.  How can you get a toad to call your garden home? Toads need the same things any other […]

Read the full article →

Planting Fruit Trees in Winter

December 17, 2012

There’s nothing quite like enjoying fruits from your own apple trees, Victoria plum trees or other delightful fruit-producing trees. You might be surprised to know that winter is actually the best time to plant a fruit tree, even though the grey skies make it seem lifeless. Why Plant Fruit Trees in Winter By planting your […]

Read the full article →

Which Strawberries Should You Grow?

November 29, 2012

A hot summer’s day is never complete without a delicious bowl of strawberries and cream. And the best strawberries are always the ones you’ve grown yourself; they’re fresher, riper and much, much tastier. You might think that growing strawberry plants is hard and time consuming – surely it’s quicker to pop down to the local […]

Read the full article →

Dogs and Routines

October 7, 2012

This post about my dog Amber is part of a bigger narrative about amazing dogs going the extra mile. Thank you www.wooddogcrate.com for making this possible. Dogs are funny.  They very much like routine and resent it when a person does something at the wrong time, or doesn’t  do something at the correct time.  My dogs, […]

Read the full article →

Anthracnose in Tomatoes

October 6, 2012

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that will ruin your tomatoes in warm, moist weather.  It leaves in the soil and gets on the plant when you water it and splash soil on the plant.  The disease doesn’t do much to leaves or green tomatoes, but causes a rotten circle in ripe ones that can take […]

Read the full article →

Take Care of Your Gardening Tools

October 5, 2012

As garden season winds down, it is a good idea to take some time to maintain your garden tools before you put them away for the winter. Remove all dirt and debris from them with a garden hose and a stiff brush. Sharpen all the tools that cut and cultivate in your garden.  A metal […]

Read the full article →

Intelligent Disobedience in Service Dogs

September 29, 2012

This post about my dog Amber is part of a bigger narrative about amazing dogs going the extra mile. Thank you www.dogtrainingcollars.com for making this possible. Intelligent disobedience is one of the hardest things for a service dog to learn.  It is a very complicated behavior that asks your dog to actually disobey a command […]

Read the full article →

Growing Fall Asters

September 27, 2012

Fall asters are a delightful addition to your garden.  Their startling lavender petals with gold centers provide welcome color at a time when many flowers are done blooming. They are good to plant around your fall garden to attract beneficial insects. Fall asters is native from Texas and New Mexico  all the way north to […]

Read the full article →

Simple Garden Design Tips For Busy Homes

September 25, 2012

Approaches to garden design vary, from those containing strictly regimented rows of flowers, plants or vegetables, to those where it appears that a handful of seeds have been scattered on the ground and left to get on with it. By taking an approach somewhere between the two extremes, gardeners can design a space that is […]

Read the full article →

Attracting Toads to Your Garden

September 24, 2012

For those of you who wish to use fewer and less toxic pesticides in the garden, you should attract toads to your garden.  A single adult toad can eat 10,000 insect pests in a single summer.  Toads eat most insects, including slugs, gypsy moths, and earwigs.  In the United States, we have 21 different species […]

Read the full article →

Fishing with Dogs

September 22, 2012

This post about my dogs Sandy and Amber is part of a bigger narrative about amazing dogs going the extra mile. Thank you www.dogbarkcollar.com for making this possible. Sandy is my Australian Cattle Dog.  She wandered up to my house when she was about eight months old.  I could not find her owner and decided to […]

Read the full article →

Time to Clean Your Fruit Orchards

September 19, 2012

With the end of fruit season, it is time to clean your fruit orchards.  Remove any debris or fallen fruit from your orchard.  Pick and discard fruit left on the trees.  These steps remove places that pests and diseases overwinter and reduce your problems for next year.  Stop all pruning until the normal winter pruning […]

Read the full article →

How a Tree Dies

September 14, 2012

Home owners are frequently stunned when a tree that appeared to make it through the drought last year “suddenly” dies.  Actually, trees take a long time to die.  Many trees that appear to be dying now have been dying all year from the drought.  It wasn’t just the drought that killed them, but the high […]

Read the full article →

Fall Gardening in Full Swing

September 12, 2012

September is a busy month for gardeners in North Texas.  Cole crops such as broccoli, cabbage, and kale should be put out in the first part of the month.  Watering them in with a dilute solution of fertilizer will give them a boost as they start out. Radishes, beets, Swiss chard and turnips can be […]

Read the full article →

Training Service Dogs Hard Work

September 8, 2012

This post about my dog Amber is part of a bigger narrative about amazing dogs going the extra mile. Thank you www.dogfencediy.com for making this possible. Every once in a while I write about my dogs and this is one of those times.  Because I had a service dog that I trained, people often ask […]

Read the full article →

Pineberry Fields Forever

August 23, 2012

When pineberries first hit the market in 2010, many people thought they were a hoax. And indeed the milk-white strawberries with red pips look more than just exotic, they look alien. However, they are real, and what’s more they taste absolutely delicious. The flavour is somewhere between that of a strawberry and that of a […]

Read the full article →

How drought kills trees

July 30, 2012

Many people are surprised that their trees are dying when we have had a lot of rain in Texas.  However, most of those trees are dying from the effects of last year’s drought.  It usually takes a tree a year or two to die so people are still losing trees from last year.  Drought kills […]

Read the full article →

Growing Cilantro

July 4, 2012

Cilantro is a Greek herb that is in the same family as parsley.  It is used in a variety of dishes in cuisines as varied as Mexican and Thai.  Coriander, the seed of the cilantro plant, is also used to flavor a wide variety of dishes.   Cilantro prefers light, well-drained sandy loam soil, but […]

Read the full article →

Growing Dill

July 1, 2012

Dill was introduced into this country from Asia and is used as a culinary herb.  Both the fernlike leaves and the flowers are edible.  After the first year, dill readily self-seeds and will come back year after year. Dill is seeded directly into the garden after all danger of frost is passed.  Seeds should be […]

Read the full article →

Hand Pollinating Squash and Cucumbers

June 27, 2012

Are you having problems with your cucumbers and squash growing to two or three inches long and then rotting?  You may be having pollination problems.  Normally, squash and cucumbers have male and female flowers.  Bees bring pollen from the male flowers to pollinate the female flowers.  With the problems bees have been having with colony […]

Read the full article →

Growing Your Own Lemon Tree

June 26, 2012

Now that salad days are finally here again, there’s nothing lovelier on home-grown summer leaves than a drizzle of virgin olive oil and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Shop bought fruits are fairly cheap and plentiful, but imagine the pleasure of plucking a fragrant fruit from your very own lemon tree. And there’s no […]

Read the full article →

Cedar Apple Rust

June 11, 2012

Cedar Apple Rust is a fungal infection that occurs frequently in damp weather.  Despite the name, Cedar Apple Rust can infect other plants besides cedar and apple trees.

Read the full article →