Academy of Self-Reliance

Gardening

Top 10 Questions About Jasmine Plants

If you’re at all like me, you don’t just choose plants that are sensible, you pick those that delight your senses. Jasmine fits the bill with its romantic flowers and honey sweet fragrance. You can find jasmines that are perfect for the summer garden or evergreen varieties that light up your backyard in winter. Even

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Weedy Vines: Invasive Vines In The Pacific Northwest

My feelings about vines are mixed. I love the look of vines, especially climbing over a fence or an arbor, but as a gardener and nature lover, I am concerned about invasive species. Several types of rambunctious vines fall into this category here in the Pacific Northwest. Here are TWO of the worst. English Ivy

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Cooking With Hops: Satisfy Beer Cravings With Hops Vine Flowers

When we think of hops, we think of beer… and vines. The aromatic hops vine flowers give our favorite brews their unique and distinctive flavor. But beyond backyard beer crafting, are there additional uses for hops? For instance, can you eat hops? The answer is yes. As it turns out, cooking with hops is quite

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History Of The Trellis – Where Do Trellises Come From

What would we do without trellises to add a sense of style and grace to the garden? How would we rein in rambunctious vines or show off that gorgeous clematis? Have you ever stopped to wonder about the history of the trellis? Chances are, you take the trellis for granted, and you probably haven’t given

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Ivy Vine Control – Getting Rid Of Ivy Is Not An Easy Chore

You can have my portion of ivy in this world. Ivy looks very classy on University buildings and grand manors. It is, however, a pest. I have seen it choke out trees, tear off brick, and engulf other plants. It is not a friendly plant and is a terror to remove. Getting rid of ivy

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Vines Are Divine: A Love For Growing Vines In The Landscape

I know when I say I’m mad about vines there will be plenty of people who think I am certainly mad, like insane. Yes, vines can be invasive, rampant and, if left unchecked, downright destructive – but I love them anyway. My Love for Growing Vines What’s not to love? Most vines grow so rapidly

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Top 10 Questions About Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are both beautiful and edible, so it can be disheartening to have these wonderful flowers not perform as expected. It’s the goal of Gardening Know How to help avoid nasturtium issues, or at the very least amend them, by providing the best information possible so your flower garden will flourish – and that includes

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Top Herbal Flower Uses: Making The Most Of Herbal Blooms

Big, showy flowers are nice. They make great table decorations, but when it comes to edible blooms, I prefer the smaller, more modest flowers of certain herbs. They make excellent teas and work well in desserts and cocktails. Some of my favorite edible herb flowers are lavender, sage, and chives. Using Herbal Flowers Most people

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Summer Sunflowers: Planting Sunflowers In The Garden Is A Must

It just isn’t summer without sunflowers. To me, summer is synonymous with sunflowers. Every year I grow them from seeds carefully saved from the season prior, and every year I am awed anew at their size, beauty and subtle ability to remind me to turn my face to the sun, a not so oblique reference

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Inspiring Peony Flowers: Growing Peonies In The Garden

For me, summer is truly here in Michigan when the peonies bloom. The showy, huge flowers of this perennial open up during late May and mid-June, right in time for the summer solstice. Inspired by a wonderous peony garden many years ago, I started growing my own. Michigan Peony Garden My love of peony flowers

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Flowers Beyond The Garden: Using Calendula Flowers For Soapmaking

When I first started gardening, much of my focus was on sustainability. In my small yard, I wanted to grow the most efficient garden possible, gradually introducing new plants that would be useful. Though the garden was mostly filled with vegetables, there was one flowering plant always included amongst the rows – calendula. Soon, I

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Yes, This Happened: Flower Gardening Fail With Dahlias

For most seasoned gardeners, the prospect of adding a new crop to the garden is exciting. As a cut-flower grower, I frequently add new plants to the flower cutting field. Browsing online, it is easy to be swept away by the beautiful imagery of bloggers and professional growers. When I saw the large rows of

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Enjoying Flowers At Night: Top Plants For A Night Garden

On warm summer nights what better place to be than in the garden, enjoying the soft, perfumed breezes and luminous plants in a moonlit garden. White flowers, silvery foliage, and fragrant blooms combine with discreet lighting to lend a dramatic flair to your garden. Ready to enjoy some foliage and flowers at night illuminated by

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Top 10 Questions About Deer

It can be disheartening to have your hard work in the garden go caput due to unforeseen challenges. That’s why it is the goal of Gardening Know How to help avoid these issues, or at the very least amend them, by providing the best information possible so your garden will flourish – and that includes

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Gardening Issues: Treating For Wilt When Watering Isn’t The Solution

Here in the Southeast where summer temps can get quite high accompanied by stifling humidity, it’s not uncommon to have plants that are wilting on hot afternoons. Wilt on tomatoes, peppers and a few other crops is common, especially when the searing afternoon sun reaches them daily. Occasionally, they recover as temperatures cool later in

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Voles And Plants – Dealing With Vole Problems In Gardens

Do you know what voles are? They are kind of cute little meadow mice with short tails. While I hate to kill anything (even spiders!), these little mammals can eat up my crops, wreck my sod, and make tunnels that disrupt other plant root systems. Voles and plants are like oil and water, they just

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Garden Struggles: Neighborhood Cats In The Garden

“I tawt I taw a puddy tat…I did, I did!” Let me just preface what will surely be a tirade by saying I love animals of all types. I’ve owned dogs, cats, fish, and amphibians and, if I could, I would have more critters living under my roof. That said, I have a bone to

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Gardening In My Zone: Dealing With Short Growing Seasons

I live on the Columbia River Plateau – an area of about 100,000 square miles of shrub-steppe that extends from the Cascade Mountains to the Rockies. People think the Pacific Northwest is lush and green with a marine climate, but that’s only the narrow strip running down western Oregon and Washington. Otherwise, the area is

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Grow More Trees Please: Using Nature To Beat The Heat In Summer

Some gardeners like it hot. I have friends that live farther inland than I do and adore their 90-degree plus summer weather. They definitely grow better tomatoes and more of them than folks on the coast, but that is only one consideration. While some like it hot, I do not. I like keeping cool. Maybe

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10 Drought Tolerant Grasses For The Lawn

For many homeowners, a lush green lawn is the pinnacle of creating stunning curb appeal. A well-maintained lawn perfectly frames the home, and is a point of pride. However, the process of creating and manicuring these plantings can be both costly and labor intensive. With water conservation an ever-growing concern, people have started to explore

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How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes

For all the time and energy you put into your garden, we want to help make sure that those juicy, tender tomatoes are well worth it. That’s why, just for you, we got all of our gardening experts together and created an essential guide to growing perfect tomatoes.   In addition to an easy to follow,

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How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes

For all the time and energy you put into your garden, we want to help make sure that those juicy, tender tomatoes are well worth it. That’s why, just for you, we got all of our gardening experts together and created an essential guide to growing perfect tomatoes.   In addition to an easy to follow,

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Flowers In Containers: Growing Heat-Tolerant Container Plants

I’ve worked hard, little by little, to get a nice display of beautiful native plants started in my flower beds. They’re finally at the point where I enjoy them and feel a sense of pride at their beauty. The downside is battling sand burs, cheatgrass, Russian thistle, and a delightful variety of stubborn high desert

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Xeriscape Gardens: Pros And Cons Of Xeriscaping

When it comes to the benefits of xeriscaping, it is about the practical considerations of maintenance requirements, aesthetics, and expense. Xeriscaping means constructing a yard that uses less water, but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good thing. So, buyer beware! Xeriscape Gardening Pros (Mary’s viewpoint) For gardeners, xeriscaping is a smart way to adapt to

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Motivation To Garden – How Does GKH Remain Motivated In The Garden

You know how excited you feel once spring arrives and you get to go outside and play in the garden? And the joy you feel watching those first plant sprouts pop through the ground and eventually bursting into bloom? There’s nothing more motivating than that. But how do you keep that same motivation going from

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Planting Prairie Grass: Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

My lawn isn’t green and manicured like a golf course, but I don’t hate it. We fertilize once a year (usually, if we remember), but we use no other chemicals. It’s uneven – lush and green in spots, thin in others. The ground is rocky and bumpy – not really well suited for the perfect

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Lawn Care Tips: Know How To Mow Properly

As with any partnership, marital or otherwise, one person often has strengths the other person lacks and vice versa. In my case, the lawn isn’t my thing but it is my partner’s passion and I have to say I appreciate the gorgeous green expanse, as long as he’s the one maintaining it. That said, over

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Off The Beaten Path – Remembering Dad’s Grass Path In The Woods

Memories are funny things in that there are some you cannot recall to save your life, others you absolutely cherish, and many more which come to you out of nowhere, sparked by a particular smell, place, food, etc. I recently had one of those latter memories, something long since forgotten that suddenly came flooding back

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Beautiful Lawn Alternatives – Adding Raised Beds In A Front Yard

The presence of well-maintained lawns can say a lot about a neighborhood and those who live there. Though very few people in my neighborhood paid close attention to the details of their yards, I could not help but want to increase the curb appeal of my own home. As a first-time homeowner, I quickly found

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Pros And Cons Of Lawn Rolling – Is Lawn Rolling Good Or Bad

Many folks think that lawn rolling each year is part of general maintenance, but not so fast. As with most things there are both pros and cons of lawn rolling. The answer to the questions “is lawn rolling good or bad?” or “does lawn rolling work?” isn’t a simple yes or no answer. Read on

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Using Summer Garden Shade To Your Advantage

Finding the space for a garden can be quite frustrating. Whether you live in an apartment or a small city lot, there are bound to be numerous obstacles when it comes time to plant. The most common among these is the struggle between sun or shade. While many garden favorites will require full sun, finding

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Top Beginner Annual Flower Blooms For Summer Gardens

Adding flowering plants to the garden is a sure way to achieve vibrant color and attract pollinators and beneficial insects. While perennial plants and shrubs may take several years to become established and bloom consistently, annual flowers are an excellent way to get that instant color in the landscape. Transplanting annual flowers or direct sowing

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Rabbits And Garden Plants: My War With Summer Bunny Rabbits

I love bunnies. They are adorable, cuddly looking creatures that symbolize Easter and childhood books like Peter Rabbit. But I don’t love them in my garden. They are now on my list of enemies and have done considerable damage to my landscape. The sneaky little things have proven to best me in spite of my

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The Memorable Summer A Hot-Air Balloon Landed In Our Garden

When I was a kid, my family lived on a large lot, probably an acre or so, but I was too young to really understand those measurements. We had a huge backyard with a small creek at the back edge, a treehouse over the creek, a vegetable garden, flower beds, and plenty of space to

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Sweet Summer Rhubarb Crisp – A Rhubarb Summer Dessert To Die For

I love rhubarb in summer! Tis’ the season folks. Not the holiday season, but gardening season. It’s early yet but my favorite fruit is making its rosy appearance in the garden. I say fruit, but the produce I am referring to is actually a vegetable. I’m talking about rhubarb which is, indeed, technically a veggie,

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Raised Beds Vs. Sunken Beds: Differences Between Raised And Sunken Beds

Deciding between raised beds vs. sunken beds really depends on your soil condition and region – and perhaps your personal preference too. First, you need to answer the questions, “what is sunken bed and what is a raised bed” since knowing the differences between the two will also play a role in determining which is

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Heritage Gardening – Growing Plants From Childhood

Your garden can be anything you want it to be: purely decorative, practical, or in tune with nature and the local ecosystem. For me, gardening is a little bit of everything. But I find myself drawn to plants from childhood, what my parents grew and that have good memories attached. Garden Inspired by Family Memories

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Weird Vegetable Growing: Top 10 Unusual Vegetables To Grow

The USDA recommends we eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. This might seem like a lot, especially if your veggie repertoire only consists of carrots and celery. The thing is there are tons of unusual types of vegetables out there that might pique your interest and get you excited about not only

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Grandma’s Garden: Growing Memories And Potato Pancakes

Someone once told me that nothing reveals more about a gardener’s life than the plants he or she chooses to grow in the backyard. And it is true that the roots of some of my personal garden plants reach back into my childhood. My grandmother died when I was quite young, but most of my

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Legacy Plants: Honor Your Ancestors With Pass-Along Plants

I come from a long line of plant lovers. Some of my ancestors were farmers, while my grandmother was a nut for roses and my mother, a Master Gardener, doesn’t discriminate. There is something comforting and lovely about this long line of amateur botanists. It makes me feel like I have a common thread even

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Garden Wisdom: French Intensive Gardening Tips

As a beginning gardener, planning your very first growing space can be both exciting and a little confusing. Those unfamiliar with growing plants may not know what to expect. Depending upon the crop, the size and space requirements for growing vegetables can vary greatly. And for newbies growing in small urban yards or limited space,

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Vegetable Growing Tips: 7 Ways To Use Fresh Veggies From The Garden

Let’s be honest. We all know we should eat more veggies. The USDA guidelines recommend adults eat 4 to 5 servings of vegetables each day. I find growing a garden puts fresh veggies at my fingertips, which challenges me to find creative uses for fresh vegetables. If you’re looking for some innovative ways for using

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Traveling Taste Buds: Trying Veggies From Around The World

The USDA recommends eating 5 to 9 servings of fruit and veggies per day, which can seem like an awful lot if you or your kids are some of the many who think ‘vegetable’ is a four letter word. The thing is most Americans stick to the same handful of vegetables, which is not only

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