Posts Tagged ‘source’

Nutrients in the Garden 6: Get Acquainted With Your Soil

Monday, March 10th, 2014
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “He who plants a garden plants happiness.” I could not agree more. If you have been following the blog from the beginning of this series, you are four steps closer to planting happiness. You have decided why you want to garden, you know where to put your garden, you know what you want to plant, and you have a map of your plan!   Now, we talk about the most important ingredient to your gardening success: soil! Side note: I prefer not to call it dirt. Dirt is the stuff I tell my kids to wipe off their feet before coming into the house. Soil is where our food comes from. Without soil, we are naked and hungry. Soil is cultivated by hard working farmers that keep us fed and clothed. It is critical to our mortality; out of respect for this precious resource, I prefer to call it soil. This is where you want to get it right! With the wrong soil, your garden will struggle and you might consider throwing in the trowel and giving up. Simply put, poor soil = poor garden. We can prevent this by doing our homework now, while it’s still too cold to garden. There are over 70,000 types of soil and they are not all created equally; some soils are more plant friendly than others. Soils can have too much clay, be too sandy, too compacted, too acidic... the list goes on, but don’t worry, soil can be improved! Keep in mind that if you are dealing with a dire soil situation, sometimes it is easier to garden in pots or a raised bed, because you have total control over the type of soil you use. If you choose to garden the traditional way, cultivating a spot in…

Fascinated with Fertilizer

Monday, June 24th, 2013
In agriculture, we are trying very hard to get the word out: we feed the world. Our mission is to produce a large and safe food supply in a way that is environmentally sound and beneficial. Another organization telling the agriculture story is Illinois Farm Families. They have opened their farms to Chicago area moms; moms who want to know how their food is grown. They bring along their cameras and notepads and share with their peers what they see, hear and learn on the farm. (more…)

The Secret to a Colorful Landscape

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
I like to think I have the prettiest house on the block! A little prideful, I know, but I can’t help it! I like being outside, and gardening gives me an excuse to enjoy some sunshine.  I enjoy planting, watering, and nurturing a plant to its fullest potential. To keep my landscape the “prettiest on the block,” I plant a combination of perennials and annuals.  By planting more annuals than perennials, my garden is full of bright colors all summer long. (more…)

Nature’s Teachable Moment at Birthday Party

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
I love a good birthday party! One where the kids go home on a sugar high and a happy memory. This past weekend, our four-year-old was turning five. She loves being a cowgirl and insisted on a cowgirl-themed birthday party! We called all cowpokes and invited them to mosey over to our backyard for a rootin’ tootin’ good time! All of our little wrangler friends were encouraged to wear their cowgirl or cowboy duds! (more…)

How to Properly Diagnose Plant Deficiencies

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
After enjoying an afternoon of swimming, we came home for more water fun – that is watering the garden and flowers. Watering is a chore that cannot be skipped during hot summer days. As I was watering my day lilies I noticed yellow leaves. I turned my attention from watering to diagnosing. Something was causing this change in color. Just like the change in my skin, it went pale to sun burnt while swimming. This was the results of letting a nine-year old apply my sun screen; not my brightest moment as a parent. Plants can change color when they are missing nutrients, have too much or too little water, or are stress by the environment. (more…)

Potassium in the Soil

Friday, March 11th, 2011
I can’t get enough of our local garden show; thankfully I was able to spend two days taking it all in. The heart of the show are spectacular displays of full grown trees, shrubs, and flowers massed together in large architectural landscapes created by local garden and landscape businesses. There are educational booths, seminars and plenty of flowers, pots and garden items for purchase. (more…)

Nitrogen in the Soil

Thursday, February 24th, 2011
The weather has been erratic lately. One day the girls are running through the yard in their flip flops and the next day they are wearing snow boots building a snowman. This weather has even triggered the tulips. They are starting to pop up out of the soil. I want to put little coats on them and tell them it’s not quiet time to display their splendor. I find it fascinating that when conditions are right, a seed or in this case a bulb, emerges from a dark wet place all on its very own. The laws of nature are amazing. Watching a plant emerge from a tiny seed into a plant is one of my favorite parts of gardening. (more…)