Learn about companion planting, including what plants grow well next to other plants and which to avoid. Listen to Podcast: Gardening is known for its folklore. Some of these old wives tales have some truth to them and others, not so much. I often get asked about companion planting for insect control. Although many say plants such as onions, marigolds and rue can deter pests, scientifically, few of these folklore remedies have been proven. It might happen that you get fewer pests on your tomatoes if onions are growing nearby, […]

Learn how to control common apple pests including diseases and insects. Listen to podcast: Apples are the quintessential Vermont tree fruit because they grow so well in our climate. Unfortunately, even after watering, fertilizing, protecting and generally pampering your trees, sometimes for years to get fruit, you only end up with misshapen, small fruits with black spots on the skin. While apples grow well here, so do their pests. The first step to growing apples without cursing or resorting to harmful chemicals is to plant disease resistant varieties. ‘Liberty’, ‘Williams’ […]

Listen to this podcast on how to grow Cornelian Cherry Trees for food and beauty   I just finished pruning my cherry trees. While I love the taste of the sweet and tart cherries we grow, there are a few other cherries to consider for your yard. The Cornelian cherry or Cornus mas is actually in the dogwood family. It flowers very early, with brilliant yellow blooms this time of year. It’s a great early season pollen source for bees. Soon after, the red fruits are produced. Cornelian cherry has […]

Learn about growing crabapples, including how to plant, fertilize and grow them. Listen to Podcast: podcast transcript How to Grow: Crabapple Malus spp and hybrids   Other Name Flowering crabapple   Sun Requirements full sun   Bloom Period and Seasonal Color Spring in flower colors such as white, pink, and rose with yellow fall foliage color   Mature Height x Spread 6 to 25 feet x 6 to 20 feet   Added Benefits fall color, attracts beneficials, edible   Crabapples are probably one of the most popular flowering landscape and […]

Learn about gooseberry and currant varieties and how to grow these under utilized berries in your yard. Listen to Podcast: podcast transcript Here are two related fruits that are loved by Europeans and Brits, but rarely grown in this country. But that’s changing. Currants and gooseberries (Ribes) grow easily in our climate, need only one bush to fruit, produce an abundance of tasty fruits for fresh eating or making jams, jellies, and preserves, and are mostly problem free. What else can you ask for in a fruiting bush? Currants come […]

Listen to this podcast on the Drosophila Fruit Fly and how it attacks berries and fruits.   If you’re growing fall raspberries or blueberries, chances are you’re starting to see this pest. Or you’re seeing the symptoms of this pest! If you’ve noticed your ripening blueberries or raspberries are shriveling on the plant or turn into a maggot filled mess after sitting on the counter for a few days, you probably have the spotted winged drosophila fruit fly. This relatively new pest is the bane of fruit growers and is […]

In the desire to grow less lawn and more plants, ground covers are often touted as a solution. Once established they can also help keep weeds away and provide a beautiful visual alternative to grass, bare soil or bark mulch. Ground covers grow in sun or shade depending on the type. Use the amount of light in your area as your first filter in looking at ground cover options. Ground covers especially work well in shady areas, under trees or in front of shrub borders. Some ground covers, such as […]

Island plantings are becoming more popular in yards as homeowners try to reduce the amount of lawn to mow, create a more visually interesting yard and foster more habitat for wildlife and birds. Island beds are designed for viewing from all sides and usually are surrounded by lawn. Sometimes these island plantings consist of native trees and shrubs that were left over from the house construction. They might also surround a large boulder or ledge that had to be left when the house was being built. If these trees and […]

One of the popular ways to have color all season in your foodscape yard is to grow plants that flower in each season. This common concept is used to make cottage flower gardens look so great from spring to fall. You can use it in the foodscape, too. You don’t have to exclusively use just foodscape plants, but they can help provide color, especially ones that will continue to bloom all summer. These might include eggplant, citrus and roses. Some foodscape plants, such as daylilies and bee balm, may flower […]

Hedgerows are great ways to block an unsightly view, define a boundary or create rooms in your yard. They are more cost effective than building wooden fences and stonewalls, but unlike those structures, do require more maintenance. Hedgerows traditionally consist of a variety of plants. These provide habitat for birds, animals, and insects. These types of hedgerows have a wilder look and are considered more of an informal hedge than a formal clipped planting. In a modern landscape, often hedgerows are constructed of one plant such as privet, photinia, hemlock, […]

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