Oh how I adore easy plants that provide a multitude of benefits in the garden. It's one of the reasons why I adore fragrant plants so much. In my mind, if you plant an ornamental it needs to do more than just look pretty...it should smell good too, don't you think?
Fragrant Garden Plants to Tuck Into the Landscape
I adore these fragrant plants - each is a huge favorite of mine.
All of these plants will bloom in the spring. Many will bloom further into the growing season but some are cool season plants.
All of these amazing plants will provide flowers in the summer. Don't be fooled into thinking that the flowers are the only fragrant part of these plants, however, because man fragrant plants will have fragrant foliage as well!
Calendula is now only one of the most cheerful and happy-looking flowers to me, but is fragrant and useful for homemade skin preparations too.
Fabulous Vegetables to Add to the Garden
No organic garden is complete without a few veggies included.
These are some of my favorite squash and pumpkin varieties that can be grown vertically on a trellis.
Quick-growing and delicious and easy to grow these veggies can be added to an edible landscape as well as grown in the garden.
Oh I love potatoes and the flavor of homegrown potatoes is night and day above that of store purchased potatoes. You simply must plant a row for yourself.
Peas don't tend to grow well in Oklahoma in the spring months but where you have a longer cool-season you should definitely try planting some. Ours grow best in the fall!
What are you doing in the garden right now?
Spring is a flurry of getting seeds and seedlings into the garden and preparing for the long summer days as well. I recently talked about how my garden tools haven't had a good place to be stored in too long. I reviewed Rubbermaid's Roughneck Gable Garden Shed and I think it will be a fabulous place for starting seeds and storing various containers waiting for the perfect plant to tuck away in them.
I got some interesting responses about the container posts I wrote earlier so I continued with some more tips for organic container gardening. It was cool to hear everyone's tips for containers and I was grateful for those who sent in their questions. These posts sprung out of YOUR feedback and queries.
One question I hear a lot is "Will this work for a container?" or "Can I reuse this as a container for my plants?" so I address that question, and more, in this article. The first half of this post talks about what every container needs to have...if you find something that has all of those things it will make a fine container.
The second half of the post talks about the pros and cons of the various materials that are common to containers. Whether you're looking at a pot that's terra cotta, resin, or repurposed metal, you'll want to know the benefits (and potential downsides) of using that container.
This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked - when should I water? How do I water? What's the easiest way to water my containers? This post will walk you through how best to water your container planters and some ways to short cut your watering tasks.
If you want to produce organic food or enjoy a beautiful, chemical-free landscape, but don't feel like you have enough space you have to try a container garden! Container gardens have a lot of benefits for the home gardener.
Small Space Garden - If you don't have a lot of space in your yard for a full-fledged garden, a container garden can help you put dirt where it wouldn't otherwise go. Containers can be added to porch rails, balconies, concrete patios, etc.
Flexibility - You can position and reposition containers in a variety of locations as needed to fill in seasonal color gaps or bare spots. I have a container garden along my driveway where I want color but can't put a garden bed because we want to keep the yard accessible to vehicles if needed - the flexibility of being able to move the containers around makes them a highly practical solutions.
Convenience - Containers can be moved anywhere you need them to be, tailored to the plants you want to include, and are like mini little gardens that you can really play around with.
Convinced yet? Here are tips for success with organic container gardening! Container gardens take a little extra care and know-how but they are easy once you know.
What should I plant in my containers?
What a great question! I'm so glad you've asked because I've got a couple of ideas about that.
If you love butterflies and want to attract them to your yard, consider putting together some butterfly container gardens. Click through above to see the container recipe for the butterfly garden we created - I think you'll agree it turned out beautiful. It certainly has been effective attracting gorgeous butterflies to the yard on a daily basis, and even the stray hummingbird or two!
Want to try an edible garden but feel like you don't have the space? Then try a container garden full of delicious edibles. Here are ten vegetables or herbs that will not just survive, but thrive, in a container garden, with a few choice tips for each of the ten. Did your favorite container plant make the list?
Do you have a container planter you are especially proud of? Share it with me at the About Organic Gardening Facebook page!
While I'm a huge fan of tomatoes that take all summer to grow and turn into amazing sun-ripened fruits, there are times I get impatient for instant-gratification in my garden. Well the good news is there are several amazing vegetables you can grow in the home garden and begin harvesting in just a few short weeks. If you are like me you're in luck - I've been working on a series of posts that will help you out!
These ten veggies will be ready for harvest in 8 weeks or less! Some of them, like radishes and cress, will be able to harvest in much less time than that. If you want to feel like a garden rockstar you simply must try some of these vegetables in your home garden.
- Asian Greens - Delicious greens you can plant in a mixed patch in the garden for a fast, homegrown salad.
- Broccoli Raab -A flavorful plant that is more related to turnips than broccoli, raab is ready for harvest the second flower clusters appear.
- Garden and Upland Cress - Cress can be grown as a micro-green and begin to be harvested in mere days, never mind weeks. A must for fast harvests!
- Radishes - A kid-friendly garden plant that every adult should include in their garden too because of their fast growth and easy harvesting.
- Turnips - Turnips are an old-fashioned plant that's making a comeback because of they are both fast-growing and nutritious.
While these aren't quite as fast as the list above, all of these vegetables would be able to begin harvests within 12 weeks (or less!) so you get homegrown produce without taking space in the garden for months and months. Several of these vegetables are on my top list of most popular vegetables.
Hello! My name is Angela England and I wanted to introduce myself as the new Organic Gardening Guide (Expert). I started just four days ago but hurried to put up some fun posts for you for the month of March so you'd have new ideas for fun garden designs and resources this spring.
A little about me:
I'm addicted to Dr. Pepper and/or coffee.
I'm the mother of five children (and yes - we know what causes that.)
I'm the author of Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less).
I'm the Founder of Untrained Housewife - a website for recapturing the lost arts of intentional and self-sufficient living.
I'm the Founder of Homestead Bloggers Network - a training and support group for those who write about homesteading topics online.
I garden in zone 7b in Southern Oklahoma. The side of Oklahoma with trees, not prairies.
I am both thrilled and a little nervous to be here. I cannot wait to get to know you better and help you create the garden that you want in a way that respects the earth.
New Posts on Organic Gardening This Week
Understanding the Laws About Organic Gardening - A resource for the regulations and laws surrounding the organic gardening industry.
April Organic Gardening Tasks - A checklist of all the to-dos for organic gardeners to consider this month (my northern friends can bookmark this checklist for next month!)
How to Divide Summer and Fall Blooming Perennials - Part of this month's gardening to-do list is dividing perennials like Hostas, Lilies, and others.
Tips for Growing Edible Plants Organically - Basic tips and tricks to keep in mind with your edible landscaping.
Perennial Plants for Homegrown Organic Tea - These perennial plants have been used for homemade tea blends for eons. Plus they are gorgeous landscape plants. A win/win!
Edible Flowers for Beauty in the Victory Garden - A Victory Garden doesn't have to be a drab affair. Add color with these edible blooms.
Annuals and Biennials for the Cottage Garden - These powerhouse plants add amazing color over a short amount of time and are heirloom favorites in a mixed bed or cottage garden.
Perennials and Shrubs for the Cottage Garden - Long-lived shrubs and perennials add a reliable foundation to the whimsy of a cottage garden.
The Cut Flower Patch Book Review - See my in-depth review of a beautiful gardening book, The Cut Flower Patch and learn organic gardening techniques for a personal cut flower garden area.
Cool-Season Annuals for Cut Flower Gardens - Here are five of my favorite spring or fall blooming annuals for the cut flower garden.
I've been busy the last few days trying to finalize the tomato seeds I want to order for this year's garden. I have plenty saved of tried and true favorites such as 'Brandywine,' 'Japanese Black Trifele,' and 'Yellow Pear,' but I try to make a point of trying a few new-to-me heirlooms every year.
I'm almost positive I'll be growing 'Jaune Flamme,' a small-fruited variety that has a reputation for being very flavorful. Cherries and other small-fruited tomatoes are always a big hit around here, especially with the kids. Most of those are eaten before we can even get them into the house. Other small fruited tomatoes I like are 'Yellow Pear,' 'Red Pear,' and 'Red Currant.'
Another variety I'll be trying this year is 'Pruden's Purple,' a beefsteak heirloom variety that is rumored to equal or surpass 'Brandywine' in flavor. We'll see about that -- 'Brandywine' is probably my all-time favorite tomato. I have a feeling I'll enjoy comparing and contrasting the two this summer.
Along with those two, I have several packets of seeds I've received from friends, and I can't wait to try them. I'm sure there will be at least one or two impulse tomato seed purchases during February and March. Sometimes, I just can't help myself.
Which heirloom tomatoes are you planning on growing this year?
Latest Articles on About Organic Gardening
About Container Gardening guide Kerry Michaels has a useful (and fun) list of questions one should ask oneself before deciding to start plants from seed indoors. There are several things to consider before diving into the world of indoor seed starting. First, there's the equipment and space issue. Seed flats take up space, and often more than you think they will. If you don't have a really nice, bright window, you will have to rely on artificial light. This takes up even more space, and relies upon having a power source nearby.
But, as Kerry's list suggests, perhaps the biggest part of deciding whether to start seeds indoors is evaluating yourself. Are you gong to be attentive enough to see this through? You will have weeks ahead of you during which the tiny seedlings will be relying solely on you for light, water, and nourishment. You will be their only protection from pest and disease issues. Once they are planted outside, it gets easier.
But, I digress. It's a useful and lighthearted list. Stop by and check it out!
This week's question:
"I've heard that growing sprouts indoors is easy, but then I read about E. coli in sprouts and I wasn't sure if it was safe to try. Can I grow my own sprouts? And how would I do it?"
Growing Sprouts Safely
Any food that you consume raw carries a risk for food-borne illness, and that includes fruits and vegetables. There have been about a few cases of outbreaks of illnesses due to raw sprouts. Most commonly, the problem is Salmonella or E.coli bacteria. I've been growing and eating raw sprouts for over ten years, and haven't had a single problem. There are many things you can do to help ensure a healthy batch of sprouts:
- Look for seeds specifically labeled as "sprouting seeds." These seeds are guaranteed to be pathogen-free.
- Keep everything clean, clean, clean. Start with a very clean jar, soak the seeds in fresh, clean water, and rinse with clean water. When they've finished sprouting, rinse and dry your sprouts and store them in a clean plastic or glass container in the refrigerator.
- During the soaking process, keep your sprouts in a cool, dark place.
- Don't soak your seeds too long. It should take one to three days, tops, for most sprouts. Soaking and rinsing longer than that will increase the likelihood of encountering harmful bacteria.
Sprouts are a tasty, nutritious addition to the diet. If you follow a few simple precautions, there's no need to worry about E. coli or other bacteria. It's very easy to do -- here are simple instructions for growing sprouts in a jar.
Latest Articles on About.com Organic Gardening:
I don't know about you, but I am in full holiday shopping mode. We're just about finished shopping for the kids, and now my attention is turning to the gardeners on my shopping list.
Books are always a good choice, especially if you're buying for a gardeners who is just starting out. When I started gardening, Barbara Damrsoch's Garden Primer was my constant companion, as were the Lone Pine books dedicated to growing in my region. Other favorites came along: McGee and Stuckey's The Bountiful Container; Gayla Trail's You Grow Girl and (more recently) Grow Great Grub; and Stu Campbell's Let it Rot!
Here are some great gardening book reviews from the gurus here on the About.com Home and Garden channel. Happy shopping!
- What's Wrong with my Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?) by David Deardorff
- Herbal Tea Gardens: 22 Plans for Your Enjoyment and Well-Being by Marietta Marcin
- Fresh Food From Small Spaces by RJ Ruppenthal
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Composting by Chris McLaughlin
- Succulent Container Gardens by Debra Lee Baldwin
- The Complete Compost Gardener's Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin
- Don't Throw It, Grow It! by Deborah Peterson and Millicent Selsam
What are your favorite books about gardening?
Newest Articles on About.com Organic Gardening:
- How to Naturalize Bulbs in Your Organic Garden
- How to Grow Annuals Organically
- How to Make Vermicompost Tea
- How to Overwinter Annuals Indoors
- How to Grow Organic Geraniums
- Growing an Organic Perennial Garden: Choosing Plants
- Perennial Gardens: How to Pinch, Cut Back, and Thin Perennials
- How to Grow Spring Flowering Bulbs Organically
Ah, holiday plants. You know the ones I mean: the paperwhite and amaryllis kits that show up in just about every type of store this time of year. Christmas (or Thanksgiving) Cactus. Poinsettia! We could (and some of us do) grow these plants all year long, but for many of us, they are tied strongly with the traditions of the holiday season.
The good news is that it's also quite easy to care for these plants organically. The biggest key to success with any plant is giving it the conditions it needs to grow its best. All of the plants listed above need bright light. The bulbs (paperwhites and amaryllis) can be moved into less-bright areas of your home once they start blooming; this will often prolong the bloom time, actually. But once they're finished blooming, they should be put back in bright light if you plan to keep the bulb and have them bloom again the following year.
As far as fertilization, I like to give my holiday plants bi-weekly feedings of vermicompost tea, which is quite easy to make and great for your plants. Here is more information about growing these traditional holiday plants, courtesy of my fellow About.com Experts:
Gardening expert Marie Iannotti has some great tips for caring for your poinsettia, as well as how to get it to bloom again next year.
Our Flowers expert, Jamie McIntosh, has plenty of advice for growing a holiday cactus.
If you want to grow beautiful paperwhite narcissus, check out container gardening expert Kerry Michaels' tips for forcing paperwhites.
Flowers expert Jamie McIntosh provides a wealth of information about choosing and growing amaryllis.
I hope these links are helpful! Which holiday plants do you grow in your home?