Seed Technology

A seed is not just a seed. Was I ever amazed after taking a tour of the Ball Seed Technology Lab in West Chicago, IL.  The hours of work that it takes and the science behind what’s needed is far beyond what I knew about.  I recently attended the Ball Customer Appreciation Day in West Chicago, IL.  Ball Seed is a one of our largest sources for the seed that purchase to produce our plants.  For most items, we sow …

Raised Bed Gardening

  Raised bed gardening is a great gardening option for many reasons. Anything from vegetables, to flowers and trees can be grown in raised beds. Advantages Better Drainage – The raised bed allows compost and other organic matter to easily be added to improve the soil structure, drainage and nutrient retention.  Foot traffic is eliminated so there is less compaction of the soil. Bigger Crops – Better root growth promotes greater yields of vegetables and stronger, more lush ornamentals. Longer …

Keeping a Garden Journal

Sue Sarters shares her insight about keeping a garden journal. “Everyone who gardens should really try to keep a garden journal.  I’ll be the first to admit that I do not always keep an official journal, but I do take a lot of pictures, which can serve as a journal of sorts.  And I do try to record important information like, when our first and last frost occurred for the season, how certain plants did their first year in my …

Linda Whitlock Fall Advice

We were fortunate enough to have Linda Whitlock join us the other day to lead a Quick Class.  She is a wealth of knowledge about plants and how to best take care of them in this area.  Linda works with the MSU Extension Service in Consumer Horticulture.  I took a lot of notes about everything from the lack of water and how it will effect the trees to why fall is a great time for planting and her suggestions.  It’s …

Overwintering Plants

To overwinter or not to overwinter, THAT is the question. While plant enthusiasts are blessed with many things here in southwest Michigan, we can never take for granted that the plants we have so carefully chosen are sometimes just not suited to remain outdoors for our winter season. Three big factors to consider before you bring in those pots: Light: Can you accommodate the light requirements for each particular plant? Space: Do you have the room to bring your plants …

Know your Zone

Do you know your garden zone? The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is used by the garden industry to communicate the cold hardiness of landscape plants. Knowing your planting zone can be very useful when you are planning your garden and flower bed areas. The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter …

Creating Winter Interest in the Garden

As gardeners, we have a tendency to concentrate our efforts on spring and summer while often neglecting the fall and winter. When choosing plants, keep in mind things like branching habits, color, unusual bark, persisting seeds and berries, or swaying seed heads of ornamental grasses. These features will keep your landscapes alive and interesting throughout the winter months. There is still time to add some plants to the garden that can reward you with a beautiful garden every day of …

Put Your Fall Leaves To Work

The leaves of fall are one of nature’s most gorgeous gifts but I find that I appreciate them even more after they have fallen off the trees. Yes, I said after. While I don’t look forward to the work of cleaning up the leaves any more than you do, I have a very deep appreciation for what they will mean to my lawn and garden a few months from now.  Where most people see fallen leaves as hours of raking, …

Caring for your Easter Lily

Easter lilies fill our homes with bright blooms and fragrant aromas. Here are some guidelines that may extend the life of your lily, as well as a few easy steps to follow if you choose to plant it outdoors. Caring for your Easter Lily Once you get your Easter Lily home, it is best to place it where it will get bright, indirect light. Lilies grow from bulbs and are planted in well-draining soil so they don’t rot. It’s critical …

Location, Location, Location

Where is the best place to hang your hummingbird feeder? An ideal location for your hummingbird feeder, would be close to a window in your house so that you can watch the hummingbirds when you are indoors. It should be hung in a shady spot if possible, to keep the nectar from spoiling as soon. Hummingbirds are more likely to spot feeders that are hung  near plants that attract the hummingbirds. Keep in mind that hummingbirds are very territorial and …