The Two Easiest Ways to Attract Hummingbirds

The Two Easiest Ways to Attract Hummingbirds

Attracting hummingbirds to your backyard doesn’t have to be complicated! If you want to enjoy the beautiful sight of these tiny creatures hovering outside, there are two incredibly simple ways to put out the welcome mat. One requires a little advanced planning, and one can be implemented today.   Plant Hummingbird-Friendly Flowers A diverse display of flowers is a sight few hummingbirds can resist. And … Continue reading The Two Easiest Ways to Attract Hummingbirds

Keeping a Garden Journal

Keeping a Garden Journal

Gardening season is finally upon us! If you’re like most gardeners, you are looking forward to planting seeds with the full expectation of making this the best gardening year yet. While much of gardening comes down to experience, diligence, and creativity, having the right tools makes a big difference. One handy tool is the garden journal.   Advantages of Keeping a Garden Journal Permanent record. … Continue reading Keeping a Garden Journal

Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Knowing the state of your garden soil is handy, but if your garden is for personal family use only, you probably don’t feel justified in ordering a professional lab analysis. Fortunately, inexpensive test kits are available online. This kit by Luster Leaf seems to do a fair job. It tests: pH. Nitrogen. Phosphorus. Potassium. As you can see, only the bare basics are included. The … Continue reading Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

The Family Garden Journal

Family Garden Journal Introductory Price Ends January 2017

The new compact edition of The Family Garden Journal, published by Homestead on the Range, is currently available for $19.99 at Amazon.  This offer will end at the beginning of the new year! This beautiful paperback journal can help you or a loved one develop a green thumb while creating a keepsake: Start by planning for success with our Step-by-Step Gardening Guide. Check items off … Continue reading Family Garden Journal Introductory Price Ends January 2017

Walnut Toxicity

Walnut Toxicity

To protect themselves from competition, black walnut trees exude a toxin called juglone.  Gardens planted near black walnut trees or roostocks frequently fail to thrive due to this toxin.  Many plants can be affected, but tomatoes and potatoes show the greatest susceptibility. Juglone enters the soil from the roots, bark, leaves, and nut hulls of the walnut tree.  It cannot move far, as it is … Continue reading Walnut Toxicity

Top 10 Books for Beginning Farmers

Top 10 Books for Beginning Farmers

Just getting started? Whether you are still in the early planning stage or are trying to overcome your first obstacle, one of the best things you can do is to read extensively. Many others have walked the path before you. Why not smooth your own learning curve and take advantage of their experience? While there are many excellent books we could recommend (just check out … Continue reading Top 10 Books for Beginning Farmers

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is caused by six different species of fungus, all of the genus Verticillium.  These six fungi can attack most of the plants and trees that gardeners like to grow, including vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. Verticillium fungi spend the winter in plant debris lying on the ground.  Cool, wet weather triggers it to spread rapidly, creeping into wounded tissue or entering the soil … Continue reading Verticillium Wilt

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) has a long history of infecting garden plants. Although its most common victims are members of the nightshade family, it can infect a surprisingly diverse array of garden plants, including: Tomato. Pepper. Potato. Petunia. Impatiens. Chrysanthemum. Geranium. Begonia. Verbena. TMV is typically spread in sap.  Surprisingly, insects that suck sap from plants do not carry the disease.  Insects that chew leaves, … Continue reading Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is caused by one of the most common and widely distributed fungi that plague gardens.  The disease can attack a wide range of plants, as it is caused by several species of the order Erysiphales.  A sampling of commonly affected plants includes: Cucumbers. Pumpkins. Squash. Melons. Grapes. Phlox. Peonies. Lilacs. Bluegrass. Fescue. The fungus arrives on the scene in the form of spores … Continue reading Powdery Mildew

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is a disease common to the southeastern United States.  It is caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum and affects numerous garden plants, including vegetables, small fruits, and flowers.  The most susceptible host species include: Tomatoes. Sweet potatoes. Cucumbers. Watermelons. The disease is spread through infected soil.  Once it is introduced, it is nearly impossible to get rid of, as it can survive for … Continue reading Fusarium Wilt