Posts in "Plants and Gardening"

I Say Tomato, You Say Pomodoro

By . March 18th, 2014. Posted in Plants and Gardening

Among the tomato seedlings stretching their new leaves in our home greenhouse are two sentimental seed picks. This summer, the West Virginia 63 tomato and the Calabrian Belmonte pomodoro will grow side by side in one of our garden beds. While the two tomato varieties originated almost 5000 miles and an Atlantic Ocean apart, they have found their way to the Chesapeake Bay…not your classic “heirloom” tomato combo, perhaps, but if you can’t have fun playing in the dirt, why do it? I’m calling this pair our “heritage tomatoes” in … Read More

Seedlings Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

By . March 16th, 2014. Posted in Plants and Gardening

Nestled in a cozy, warm, bright corner of our Chesapeake greenhouse are the first of the spring seedlings, sporting their lovely green shoots in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. They have no idea that yesterday’s near 70-degree weather is plummeting into the 20’s as the holiday arrives. But the seedlings could care less. The Piracicaba broccoli and California Giant zinnias are among the first to pop their green shoots upward, secure in our ability to provide a safe haven until spring finally arrives. Officially, the date is March 20. In … Read More

Migration Buffet for Hummingbirds and Monarchs

By . October 15th, 2013. Posted in Wildlife, Plants and Gardening

Just in time for the fall hummingbird migration, the pineapple sage has burst into bloom. Nearby, migrating monarch butterflies are sipping nectar from the butterfly bushes and zinnias. Both monarchs and hummingbirds are flying thousands of miles to their winter homes in Mexico and Central America. Offering them food for their journey is such a pleasure, especially since the buffet line is right outside our windows and Mike and I can watch the procession. Setting out the right menu takes a bit of planning. While their East Coast fall migration … Read More

Fall Gardening: Plant Now!

By . August 6th, 2013. Posted in Plants and Gardening

Heat and humidity zap your tomatoes?  Beetles munch your beans?  Fungus destroy your squash?  It’s time to make peace with the fatalities of summer and use that open garden space for new fall plantings.  In fact, the time is right now! Many root veggies, greens, and legumes have plenty of growing time left if they are direct-seeded in August.  Plus, after struggling with fruiting plants (like the aforementioned tomatoes, beans, and squash) and other summer growers in 90+ temps, I find fall crops to be a breeze.  Most of them … Read More

Heat Wave Gardening: Summer Survival Tips

By . July 19th, 2013. Posted in Plants and Gardening

It’s here…another sweltering summer that’s determined to wilt, wither, and otherwise stress the gardens (not to mention the humans who nurture them!).  The current heat index is 106 here on the Chesapeake Bay, and while I can retreat to this air conditioned office, the plants are stuck where we planted them. You can help your plants ride out these ever-more-common heat waves with these three science-based survival tips.  Thankfully, these techniques require you to spend only a little time outside while the heat and humidity linger. 1. Harvest anything you … Read More