Academy of Self-Reliance

Gardening

Hedges In History: A Journey Into How Hedges Came To Be

The hedge is not a new and trendy garden fad. In fact, the history of hedges dates back at least 2,000 years, dating from the Bronze Age. If you are wondering about how hedges got started and how people used hedges throughout history, read on. I’ll walk you through the history of hedges from the

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Shrub Planting Mistakes: What Not To Do With Shrubs For Your Landscape

When it comes to planting different types of landscaping shrubs, you might as well paint a huge “L” on my forehead. I’ve tried and failed at growing most common landscape shrubs. Everything from azalea to yew has been an experiment in futility. Due to my utter failure with shrubs, I’ve gained valuable experience in what

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Planting Shrubs And Trees – My Life Between Two Countries

I am an unabashed tree lover who prefers the company of an oak, redwood or beech to that of many people. Given the chance, I will happily spend time planting shrubs and trees wherever I hang my hat. Splitting my life between two countries has made this an exercise in contrasts – the United States

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Tips For Those New To Growing Shrubs In The Landscape

New to growing shrubs? For a new gardener, growing anything than a potted plant or a flower can be daunting. Large plants like shrubs seem complicated and difficult. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from using these foundational plants. Shrubs provide focal points, a backdrop for smaller plants, borders, privacy, and so much

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U-Pick Farms – Harvesting Healthy Food And Memories

In most growing zones, cool fall weather marks a much welcome change of pace. With the summer heat now a distant memory, many people once again venture outdoors. While recreational activities like camping, hiking, and attending various festivals are always popular, my family is ever so eager to make our first visit to the local

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Top Cover Crops For Vegetable Beds

Growing a healthy, successful vegetable garden depends upon a variety of factors. From planting to harvest, it’s essential to provide plants with consistent moisture and soil nutrients. While establishing a fertilization routine is important, many plantings benefit from the use of cover crops in vegetable beds when not in use. Why Choose Cover Crops in

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Homesteading Ways: An Unforgettable Homestead Experience

I lived on a homestead in Alaska, but it doesn’t really count. It was the homestead of someone else who was not able to make a go of it and sold the 100 acres to my father, who built our house on it. We never had any little farm animals, although I dreamed of sheep

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Gardening Know How Sponsorship Winner: West Genesee High School ECOS Club

The ECOS Club of the West Genesee High School in New York was a winner of one of Gardening Know How’s annual sponsorship awards in 2019. Christopher Paoli, a high school teacher of biology, chemistry and a college-level environmental class, is the founder and advisor for the ECOS Club. Together with the ECOS Club student

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Gardening Throwback – Homesteading Act And Planting Wheat

Today, the term “homesteading” is generally used to describe a self-sufficient, sustainable lifestyle, which usually includes growing and preserving food, generally without benefit of chemicals. Modern-day homesteaders may have poultry or a small backyard farm, or they may keep bees. Some are able to generate electricity, allowing them to live entirely off the grid. Others

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Raising Backyard Ducks – Vegetable Gardening With Ducks

My fondness for backyard ducks began when I was young. At that time, live ducklings were a popular Easter gift and many stores stocked these adorable fuzzballs the week preceding this egg-centric holiday. Once my Easter duckling would imprint on me, it would dutifully follow me wherever I went. As a child, I mistook this

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Don’t Stop Now: Get Into Cool Weather Gardening

Whether you’re brand new at gardening or a seasoned horticulturist, don’t be in a hurry to wrap up your garden as the weather cools down. The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of your gardening year when there are so many fall gardening options to explore. Cool weather gardening is a rewarding

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Don’t Stop Now: Get Into Cool Weather Gardening

Whether you’re brand new at gardening or a seasoned horticulturist, don’t be in a hurry to wrap up your garden as the weather cools down. The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of your gardening year when there are so many fall gardening options to explore. Cool weather gardening is a rewarding

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Why I Love MY CSA: Community Supported Agriculture Program

CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is a great way to get fresh produce, eat seasonally, and limit your carbon footprint. I think I have a farmer in my soul, but I lack the space, time, and knowledge to delve too deeply into growing my own food and raising chickens for fresh eggs. And that is

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Farm History – Celebrating Farmers In Our Lives

Where would we be in this country without the farmer? Many of us are accustomed to always having the food of our choice, whenever we want it, and we don’t even consider the source. Even the recent pandemic did not limit our food supply in a drastic way. Not every country is so fortunate. Perhaps,

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Seed Harvesting Tips: Mistakes To Avoid When Saving Seeds From Plants

For most of my amateur gardening career, I have relied on plants from my local nursery. It’s easier after all. I have tried saving seeds, which sounds simple but comes with some potential pitfalls. Before you start harvesting seeds from your garden, learn from the seed saving mistakes I’ve made. Seed Harvesting Tips Don’t expect

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Gardening Mistakes: Overcoming Seed Planting Issues

I’m always amazed at the resilience of my fellow gardeners. Whenever I have a problem, whether it’s minor gardening mistakes or an epic garden fail, I know I can find other gardeners who have not only had a similar experience, but also know how to fix it. It’s this resilience which makes me believe that

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Seed, Seedling Or Rescue: Acquiring Plants For Your Garden

There is only one absolute rule for a garden: there must be plants. Most people plant from seed, from purchased seedlings or “make” new plants by sprouting cuttings. Many gardeners, including me, do all three. But I have to admit that most of the ornamental plants in the garden are rescues. Planting Seeds or Seedlings

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Divide And Conquer With Cheap Plant Propagation

My first garden wasn’t really mine. I mean, it was on my property, but most of the plants came from another gardener’s garden. I could barely afford the mortgage so plant shopping was out of the question. That is when I became fixated on plant division. As soon as I heard about the practice, I

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Regrowing Kitchen Scraps – Grow Vegetables And Herbs Again

I have a compost tumbler that I make liberal use of; however, I got to wondering if I could grow food from veggie scraps. Most of us have rooted an avocado pit with mixed results, but can you take the tops of carrots and grow them? I had to try. Water Propagating Veggies from Scraps

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Flower Bulbs In The Garden: Look Forward To Something Beautiful

Got bulbs? If you’re a new gardener or even an old pro, you need to know this: Plant naturalizing flower bulbs now! Bulbs are the go-to garden plants this fall. Read on to find out why. Plant spring flowering bulbs for naturalizing now. Naturalizers Gardeners everywhere are beginning to see the value of allowing a

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Plant Propagation In Water – It’s Great For Budding Gardeners

New to gardening? Plant propagation in water is the way to go. Those who are first learning to garden are often eager to plant anything and everything, myself included. While starting my small garden was exciting, I quickly found that I was also interested in more “advanced” aspects of growing food and flowers. I started

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Growing Daffodil Bulbs: Sad Truth About Pink Daffodils

I’ve always had an eye for the unusual when it comes to garden flowers. So it’s not surprising that years ago when I saw pink daffodils advertised in a bulb catalog I thought, “Gotta get me some of that!” After all, daffodils are my favorite spring flowers and having pink ones would add another dimension

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5 Bulbs For Naturalizing Lawns

Spring flower bulbs offer a dazzling display of early season color and mark the end of winter. But before you can enjoy these flowering bulbs, you need to plant them in fall. And if you’re looking for something besides the planting bed, try adding them to the lawn instead. There are many flowering bulbs that

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Gardening In The South: Top Flower Bulbs For Southern Gardens

Flower bulbs offer some of the most spectacular displays in spring, summer, and fall. With their colorful palette that is often fragrant, there is something for everyone. Certain bulbs, such as tulips and hyacinths, require winter temperatures lower than southern states experience, but plenty more bulbs revel in the hot summers and mild winters of

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Unforgettable Moments: Digging Up Huge Crinum Bulbs

Many moments in the garden are unforgettable, and many more that you love but they then slide from your mind. Some of my unforgettable moments involve areas where I gained expertise or did something exactly right. Others (many others) include embarrassing garden moments and downright failures from doing something wrong. But the one moment that

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Top Iris Growing Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Iris flowers are easy to grow and require little maintenance, but they do have certain demands in order to produce an abundance of beautiful blooms. Fortunately, potential mistakes you’re making with irises are easily remedied. Read on for tips I’ve learned along the way for avoiding iris issues. Top Iris Growing Mistakes Are these mistakes

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Healthy Dahlia Tubers Make Happy Dahlia Flowers

I love, no, adore flowers! I don’t discriminate, as I’m equally enamored by wildflowers, perennials, blooming fruit trees, and shrubs, but the blooms I love best are the spring bulbs. They are some of the first signs of colorful plant life after a long and dreary winter. Still, it’s the lovely dahlia blooms that thrive

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Magic Of Spring Blooming Bulbs Planted In Fall

I like flowers in general, and bulb flowers in particular. Why bulbs? The logistics of the plant’s growth astound and delight me every time I think about it, with everything the plant requires packed compactly into a bulb. How does that papery thing that looks like garlic send up a shoot, leaves, and blossoms? There

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Autumn Is Here: Tis The Season For Fall Garden Chores

Without a doubt, I love autumn in Northern Ohio. The milder temperatures are perfect for working outside all day, so fall garden chores can be done when I’m feeling like it as opposed to when the weather is suitable. It’s also the end of the vegetable gardening season in my zone 5 garden. There’s still

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Interesting Autumn Foliage: Top 10 Plants For Fall Color

Autumn may signal the end of summer, but that doesn’t mean the garden has to start wearing winter weeds yet. Nature makes it easy to celebrate this invigorating season with exciting new colors and textures in the garden. If you live in New England, for instance, you know the spectacular fall show put on by

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Exhibiting Vegetables For Show – Lessons Learned In The Garden

I blame my neighbor for getting me hooked. No, not on drugs or alcohol, but on our county fair’s annual horticultural competition. For years I entered my homegrown vegetables for the chance to win ribbon-shaped stickers, miniscule amounts of prize money and, of course, bragging rights. While it was all in good fun and I

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Autumn Memories: Fall Is In The Air And My Favorite Season

When you love someone, something reminds you of them every day – a snatch of a song, someone’s smile, an article you know they would have loved. The same is true of a season. I love autumn best of all seasons and every few days, something in the mood of the day reminds me that

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Here Comes Fall And My Seasonal Affective Disorder

I have a love-hate relationship with autumn. Here in the high desert, autumn is often the most beautiful time of year, and it can be hot until the end of October. On the other hand, snow flurries on Halloween aren’t unusual. So, I appreciate the warm days of autumn. Summer is winding down and kids

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Love Is Like Autumn In The Garden

Autumn reminds me of love. It was the season I met my husband and it was the time of year we married. The smell of a bonfire, the cheering of football games and the brisk chill of fall air takes me back to our first year together – when love was new and wonderful. Love

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Babysitting Houseplants: Caring For Houseplants That Aren’t Yours

I love houseplants and I have several, but they’re really nothing to write home about, with one exception: my African violets are beautiful. Growing plants inside just comes natural for some people – like my son, who has beautifully huge plants. Caring for Houseplants – My Own Caring for houseplants isn’t too difficult. My African

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Orchid Plant Care: 5 Easy Orchids For Beginners

Orchids have a very undeserved reputation for being difficult. If you choose the right ones and know some important tips, however, they will not only be easy, but addictive!  Orchids for Beginners Orchid plant care should not be difficult. There are an overwhelming number of different orchids, so it is important to choose wisely. Want

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Cat-Friendly Houseplants: Growing Houseplants That Are Non-Toxic

I love houseplants, but I also love my cats. This means my options are limited, but I have found some great options that won’t make them sick if they decide to take a nibble. Cat owners can enjoy safe houseplants and also grow riskier plants in safer ways. Choosing Plants for a Cat-Friendly Home I

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Houseplant Obsession: How My Indoor Plant Growing Got Started

I would venture to say that my houseplant obsession started in a way much different than most. I’m sure many people start out with a cutting someone has given them. Then they’ll catch the “houseplant bug” and the rest is history. I’ve seen this happen a lot! In my case, my obsession started out when

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Easy-To-Grow Plants: Finding Peace With Peace Lily Houseplants

I like to consider myself a somewhat experienced gardener. I started growing vegetables just over ten years ago, and soon after, my backyard was completely filled with flowers. However, there is one gardening skill that I just haven’t been able to master – growing houseplants. Despite my best efforts, it seemed that something nearly always

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Flower Bulbs In The Garden: Look Forward To Something Beautiful

Got bulbs? If you’re a new gardener or even an old pro, you need to know this: Plant naturalizing flower bulbs now! Bulbs are the go-to garden plants this fall. Read on to find out why. Plant spring flowering bulbs for naturalizing now. Naturalizers Gardeners everywhere are beginning to see the value of allowing a

Read More »

Flower Bulbs In The Garden: Look Forward To Something Beautiful

Got bulbs? If you’re a new gardener or even an old pro, you need to know this: Plant naturalizing flower bulbs now! Bulbs are the go-to garden plants this fall. Read on to find out why. Plant spring flowering bulbs for naturalizing now. Naturalizers Gardeners everywhere are beginning to see the value of allowing a

Read More »

Indoor Gardening Books – Top Books For Indoor Plant Care

The shelves of your favorite bookstore hold so many great houseplant books that it’s difficult to choose. If you can’t afford to buy all the indoor gardening books in the store, this list may help you narrow down the choices. Top Books about Gardening Indoors How to Houseplant: A Beginner’s Guide to Making and Keeping

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Propagating Succulents In Crassula Family

Since I started growing succulents a few years ago, I’ve had many favorites. Learning to grow and propagate these low maintenance beauties is fun and rewarding. Many succulent plants have unique or unusual features, not common to regular houseplants and outdoor ornamentals. Many can thrive with little more than the right location. They’re so easy

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Top 5 Tips For Growing Succulent Plants

If you are easily bored and require diversity or something different at all times to stimulate your brain, you should grow succulent plants. There are hundreds of species. Basically, there is something for everyone – I have an ever-growing collection of these myself and LOVE them. Tips on Succulent Plant Health Succulents are low maintenance

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Starting Cacti From Seed – The Wonder Of Cactus Seedlings

Simply put, I love growing cacti. These odd-looking plants have captured my eye as well as my heart since I was a child. From their enlarged stems to their highly modified leaves (spines), these succulents make a bold, yet sometimes painful, statement. Even with the occasional thorn-in-the-paw, it hasn’t daunted me from adding different types

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My Failure Growing Succulents In A Terrarium

I have always been interested in caring for indoor plants. Though many people have the ability to grow houseplants year-round, this is simply a skill I have always lacked. Despite my best efforts and research on the subject, nearly every indoor plant that I have ever attempted to grow has met an early and unfortunate

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My Succulent Collection Just Keeps Growing

I’ve long been a fan of growing succulents – all succulent types. A bucket list item of mine is to go out into a desert and see the plants in their natural setting, but for now I have to content myself with my own specimens. I have cacti and the traditional succulents, with species from

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For The Love Of Succulents: Succulent Plant Types Beyond The Usual

Succulents have definitely become a hot commodity in the last decade and with good reason. The mind-boggling array goes well beyond the cute but clichéd aloe or hen and chicks, and they make great houseplants for bustling city dwellers. With so many succulent plant types available, along with their ease of care, it’s hard not

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