How gardening may be helping people live longer

Gardening saved Mary Lou Heard’s life. In the 1970s, Heard, who would later become known as Orange County’s patron saint of cottage gardens, went through a divorce that was so devastating she was hospitalized. On the grounds of the hospital, there was a small neglected garden. Mary Lou got down on her hands and knees and, for the first time in a long time, she would later write, felt peace.…

Portland’s ban on synthetic pesticides goes into effect

As snowbanks recede and temperatures inch higher, Mainers’ minds will inevitably turn to green lawns and lush gardens. But Portlanders need to think twice before picking up that bottle of Roundup or bag of weed and feed. Beginning this year, the use of synthetic pesticides is prohibited in Maine’s largest city, unless an emergency waiver is granted. The city has delayed the ban for some publicly owned athletic fields and…

Spot Spreader: The Multi-Season Hand Tool That Spreads Everything You Need

Smart gardeners: lighten up. Stop dragging around those heavy bags! Sometimes even the most phenomenal gardeners could use a little help. Spreading garden seed or fertilizer evenly, just in the spots where it’s needed, can be quicker and easier than you think. Your shed is probably loaded with fertilizers, soils and seeds that require your precious manual labor. Hauling bags around the yard can be, literally, a real pain. Finding…

Growing Native Ferns in the Garden

Ferns may not produce flowers, but they are among the most spectacular plants you can put in the garden. Particularly popular for shady spots, these ancient green plants add unique, feather-like foliage. Ferns are more than just ornamentation, though. They are also great for preventing erosion and can be planted on hillsides and other vulnerable areas to keep soil in place. Not all ferns are the same – choose from…

Best Early Spring Flowering Plants to Attract Pollinators

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”  ~Robin Williams We all know what spring brings. It’s not surprising that the most spectacular plants always arouse the most attention from our precious pollinators. We humans propagate ourselves, but most plants let the pollinators do their mating for them! Waiting for an invitation… Birds, bees, butterflies, bugs, wind, water – all sorts of natural travelers relocate and exchange pollen among plants…

25 Reasons To Go & Pick Dandelions Right Now

Who hasn’t seen those pesky yellow weeds pop up in the garden from time to time? Yet try as you might – from picking them to poisoning them – nothing keeps them at bay for too long. Perhaps it’s time you embraced the tenacious dandelion and all the benefits it can bring? The Health Benefits of Dandelions Dandelion has been used throughout history to treat everything from liver problems and…

Secrets of Companion Planting + Popular Planting Combinations

Did you know that tomatoes hate cucumbers? While they might taste great together in a salad, tomato plants actually dislike growing in close proximity to any member of the cucurbit family, which includes cucumbers. Tomatoes love carrots and basil, however – so planting these together will actually make them each grow more vigorously! Planting your veggies in neat rows with labels is satisfying to the eye, and easier to harvest. However,…

Permaculture Puts Organic Gardening on Autopilot

Organic food and farming have seen a huge increase over the past ten years, and for good reason. Farming and gardening techniques that use fewer harmful, synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are better for the environment and better for human health. Permaculture methods of growing food reach far beyond these benefits. Growing food organically is just the starting point. According to a report from 2014 by Stephen Daniells titled US organic…

How the humble marigold outsmarts a devastating tomato pest

Scientists have revealed for the first time the natural weapon used by marigolds to protect tomato plants against destructive whiteflies. Researchers from Newcastle University’s School of Natural and Environmental Sciences carried out a study to prove what gardeners around the world have known for generations — marigolds repel tomato whiteflies. Publishing their findings today (1 March) in the journal PLOS ONE, the experts have identified limonene — released by marigolds…