Translating the Language of Seed Packets: Hybrid, Heirloom, non-GMO, and more

One of the big takeaways is that the non-gmo label on garden seeds is basically meaningless since there are no genetically engineered seeds available to home gardeners and most home vegetable crops don’t have a GMO counterpart.  Continue reading Translating the Language of Seed Packets: Hybrid, Heirloom, non-GMO, and more

Sometimes Late Bloomers are Best

My latest contribution to the GROBigRed blog… GRO Big Red Flowers are wonderful. They fill our lives with color, help provide us with food and ensure plants can reproduce. Gardeners, whether they grow ornamentals or vegetables, try to encourage flowers on their plants. However, flowers are not always a positive in the life of a plant. There are times when a gardener, especially one who … Continue reading Sometimes Late Bloomers are Best

Lichens: A lesson on how to get along

They’re delicate, but tough; beautiful, yet crusty. They’re also found almost everywhere, but you probably don’t pay them much attention. They grow in patches on rocks, trees, buildings and just about every other surface. They’re under-researched and misunderstood. Most people probably don’t even know their name, which is lichen, by the way. I’ve written about lichens before (after a trip to Seattle, where they are … Continue reading Lichens: A lesson on how to get along

Seed Saving and Plant Sex Ed

We grow our tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and more to harvest their fruit to eat, but the plant’s intent is to produce alluring fruits containing seeds that will be spread by animals to pass on their genetic material.

While our consumption of these plants doesn’t readily spread genetic material through dispersing seeds (at least not since the dawn of modern bathrooms), we can still play a part in saving and continuing the plant’s genetic material. Continue reading Seed Saving and Plant Sex Ed

This means war! Some plants use chemicals to compete

A walk through the woods can be one of the most peaceful and calming experiences — a place where you can find quiet for reflection and marvel at the beauty of nature. Little do most people know that some plants, especially one specific tree, wage chemical warfare against other plants to keep away potential neighbors that would compete for nutrients and sunlight. In the Appalachian … Continue reading This means war! Some plants use chemicals to compete

Managing Minty Mayhem in the Lawn and Garden

All the hype around the Kentucky Derby this past week got me thinking about mint. Why mint? Well, the mint julep, a sweet combination of mint and bourbon, is the official drink of the derby. While the drink may be traditional at the Kentucky Derby, it got its start as a medical concoction in the Virginias. Its first recorded debut as a drink at a … Continue reading Managing Minty Mayhem in the Lawn and Garden

When it comes to blooming, the difference is night and day

Autumn creeps slowly into the mountain valleys of West Virginia. Cool, crisp evenings signal the end of summer and our gradual march toward winter. Colors slowly appear, then radiate, in the trees hugging the sides of the mountains. Summer-visiting birds pack up and move south, preferring to winter in warmer locations. And I find it harder and harder to remove myself from the embrace of … Continue reading When it comes to blooming, the difference is night and day

Sex and the single squash

In the 1960s, author and future Cosmopolitan magazine Editor Helen Gurley Brown scandalized the country with her book about independent single women called “Sex and the Single Girl.” Not that it is a controversial topic, but this week I would like to turn the tables and take a look at some of the “birds and the bees” activity that goes on in the garden. This … Continue reading Sex and the single squash