|December 4, 2008 12:54 - Modern Marvels and Growing Your Own
Having spent the last two weeks on vacation in the oldest city in the world, Damascus, I return to find the gardening news dominated by the ultra-modern. On one level Majesco has announced that Gardening Mama will be coming to America in Spring 2009. Apparently this new game challenges players with a variety of minigames that range from watering plants to digging up tubers. And you don't even have to put your hands in the dirt. Read more..
On a somewhat larger scale Architect Daniel Libeskind has revealed his design for his first building in New York. Described as a "glass tower dripping with sky gardens" the picture shows a glass tube with cutaways revealing terraced greenery. Read more.. and click here for a larger picture.
Terry Wolfley from Fort Myers, Florida advises that cool weather is neeeded to grow salads. He discusses the merits of the different varieties and then gives detailed instructions on growing radicchio and spinach. "Plant your salad garden now, because we don't get much cool weather in SW Florida" he suggests. Read more..
No problem about finding cool weather for this next piece.
"Winter is a good time to grow cilantro in a protected place" says Margaret Lauterbach. She then goes on to describe how a friend in Ireland grows it in a "hoop house", but an unheated greenhouse should provide sufficient protection. But you probably should not try to grow it in the house because the odor of growing cilantro is unpleasant. After some advice on fertilizing and "ratty swiss chard" she looks at trends in gardening for the coming year. Growing your own vegetables seems to be top of the list wich is not surprising in these uncertain economic times. Read more..
Growing your own is even more essential for the inhabitants of Zimbabwe. This optimistic piece by Ignatius Banda tells the story of 41-year-old Mavis Dube who through her own efforts is now growing food for her family and also having some produce to sell as well. As a result Dube is one of the few Zimbabweans who can still afford to buy basic commodities, such as bread, sugar and meat. She can also manage to pay her children's school fees. Read more..
December 4, 2008 14:23 -
Here's your chance to pick up a free gardening book. Jessica Damiano says that her desk is buried beneath books sent by publishers and authors hoping for a favorable review, but she hasn't got the time to read them. So she's giving them away, but there is a catch. To find out how you can claim your free book, read more..
December 10, 2008 14:08 - A Green Christmas Tree and a Long Life Tip(ple)
Keen gardeners are usually fanatics who need no encouragement, but at this time of year when the weather is mainly wet and cold some less committed souls may feel their enthusiasm wane. So here's some good news for a change. No longer is "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" the answer, but rather "A drink a day can keep dementia away". A major study, which tracked 3000 people for two decades, has given the best picture yet of how to ward off dementia and death in old age. Apparently one alcoholic drink per day can cut the risk of dementia by 34 per cent and pottering in the garden is even more protective, cutting the risk of dementia by 36 per cent. Read more..
For most of us a Christmas tree is an essential part of the holiday season, but how can you have a real tree without the associated guilt of consuming a resource that could be performing its natural function of absorbing Co2? The elves at Earth911 have the answer. Their "Five ways to green your Christmas Tree" range from replanting, using LED lights, employing recycled ornaments to renting or adopting your tree. Read more..
"Save a fortune this Christmas with homemade gardening gifts" says Tod Palenski from Awapuni Nurseries. "Christmas is about showing friends and family that you love them, and nothing says that better than giving them something you’ve made yourself" he adds. Tod says last year his children made inexpensive gifts for their grandparents by painting terracotta pots and planting them with seedlings. He then tells you how you can buy the seedlings from his nursery, but since he lives in New Zealand this is probably not much use to you. Read more..
December 16, 2008 12:46 - Birdfeeders and Gardening Books
Here's a timely reminder that the wild birds that visit our gardens need feeding at this time of year. In fact the article is full of suggestions as to how you can make good use of the holiday leftovers to sustain our feathered friends. Throw out your Christmas tree into the garden where "It will make a great bird feeder". Add some "stale popcorn, bread, and snack food onto the branches. After the Christmas tree has served as a temporary feeder, the limbs can be used as mulch around roses". Read more..
Planning the layout of a new garden can be an ideal way of spending time in front of the fire on a cold and dark winter's day. Of course there is a lot to think about. The soil and climate type of the area, the views you want from the windows and the style of garden you desire. Many books have been written on garden design, but Pat Lea has managed to combine all the essentials into a single paragraph. Read more..
The other way of keeping a gardener happy on those days when the weather is too wet or cold for working the soil is to give him or her a good book. In "A Treasure Chest of Gardening Wisdom, for You or Those on Your Gift List" Joel M Lerner reviews his selection. Ranging from encyclopedic tomes to coffee table specimens there is something for everyone. Read more..
If you're still looking for a last minute gift for a gardening friend or just want to pick up a bargain for yourself, Gardener's Supply Company has just started a Secret Santa Sale. They have 160 items on sale where you can save up to 80%. Read more..
December 31, 2008 12:32 - Eco-boosting, Winter Basil and New Year's Resolutions
On this last day of 2008 it is traditional to look back and review the highlights of the past year, but I think that it would be more interesting to peer into the future and see what's in store for us in 2009. The Garden Media Group has published a list of the Top Ten Gardening Trends for 2009. All involve GIY or grow it yourself. "It's a resurgence of gardening for the greater good -- for the earth and our wallets," says Susan McCoy, trend spotter and president of the Garden Media Group. Eco-boosting, Locavore and Blended gardens are just three of the in trends. Out go Conspicuous consumption, Having someone do it all for you and Over-the-top and complicated. This newspaper report is no longer available, but if you go to The Garden Media Group and click "The Buzz: What Trends Are In" you can download a PDF of the full report.
"Where’s the winter basil?" is the question that Rose Loveall-Sale is frequently asked at her family-run herb farm in Vacaville, Calif. "But there is no winter basil. There’s only summer basil" she reminds her customers. But there are many other herbs that do grow through the winter. In fact there are just over 100 varieties at her Morningsun Farm that thrive in winter. Grape-scented sage, Italian oregano and Mexican tarragon are just three that you will find in this interesting piece. Read more..
On the last day of December it's the time to make your New Year’s resolutions. Here's a suggestion from Willie Chance, the University of Georgia Extension agent in Houston County, for a resolution with a difference. "Many New Year’s resolutions often involve cutting back on something we like to do but that is not good for us. Let me suggest a gardening resolution for 2009. This resolution involves cutting back on how much you cut back. I am talking about reducing how much you prune." Read more..
Last time I mentioned that Gardener's Supply Company had just started a Secret Santa Sale. That's over but it has re-emerged as the After Holiday Sale. They have 160 items on sale where you can save up to 80%. Read more..
And finally may I wish all readers a Happy New Year.