Gardening Tips

Sharing all the little bits of knowledge you learn about gardening in a Northern climate.

Keeping Cats out of the Garden

I love cats.  I really do.  I have two of my own rescue fuzzits to prove it.

But I do NOT love them in the garden. And as much as I take good care to give my own furry friends their yard time safely away from the veggies, other neighborhood cats (and even skunks) will find their way in. When they started digging this spring, and leaving their little “presents”, I started thinking hard for a safe, friendly, EASY solution.

After a good bit of brainstorming, I think I managed to come up with a safe way to deter the feline diggers that would not impact my food crops ability to grow, or my ability to easily work in the garden. Continue reading

Overwintering Sweet Potato Vines for Next Season

In my earlier post Growing Sweet Potatoes in the North, I described how to grow short-season sweet potatoes in a northern Zone 3-2b garden. I also mentioned overwintering the vines for the next season.

This is a very easy process and you can bring these slips into the house for the winter, and treat them the same as you would any other pretty houseplant while you wait for warmer weather. If you read my previous post, you will notice the process is almost identical to what I do in spring, except on a smaller scale. Continue reading

Trying Square Foot Gardening – My first season in review

Last summer, before getting the winter greenhouse ready, we finished landscaping the yard into my new summer happy-place. Raised beds throughout, pea-gravel pathways, and space for fruit trees the next season.  I was excited to plant but knew I did not have enough season left for anything other than a couple quick crops.

So I planted, and did enjoy a few refreshing snow peas and some early bush beans.  But in planting, I realized all my planting experience was in the traditional rows.  These were fine in my old tilled ground, but in the raised beds it felt like I was wasting WAY too much space.  Short little rows limited by the bed sizes, lots of thinning wasted seedlings, and so much dead space between that I had to weed but got nothing from.

Which prompted me to start looking into what other people were doing in their raised beds. I loved the height of the beds and how clean they were, but why did the Pinterest photos look big and lush and full, and mine were…well…not?

Then I stumbled onto Square Foot Gardening.  Things made sense! I added the book to my Christmas hints, crossed my fingers and waited. Continue reading

Aphid Wars – AKA “Attack of the Plant Vampires” & Lessons Learned

I should not have been surprised when aphids showed up in the greenhouse.  But I’d had such a good start in November, with no sign of any issues, that I assumed I had escaped the terrible sucking plant vampires for this year.

Well I was wrong. Very very wrong.

I somehow forgot that greenhouses are totally different than outside. Aphids showed up mid-late December 2014, and man did they teach me a lot.

Continue reading

Growing a Winter Indoor Salad Garden – The Basics

Nothing quite like a fresh salad or greens, crispy and bursting with flavor, straight from your own garden.  But it’s really hard to get those when it’s -20C outside and the garden is under a few feet of snow. Right?

Wrong.

You don’t need a lot to grow through the winter.  You don’t need a lot of space, and you can still grow without a specialized greenhouse.  Without any fuss, special skills, or mess.  Let’s look at the basics:

Most of what you need to know you probably learned in elementary school.  Plants haven’t really changed, so you’re already a bit of an expert. Pat on the back!

So let’s put all that knowledge to work, and get you some awesome winter lettuce. Continue reading