Hands-On Gardener

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Think Long and Hard Before You Plant That Tree

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Think Long and Hard Before You Plant That Tree

by Miriam Hansen Ah, the glories of mud season. As temperatures roller coaster up and down, the snow drops are blooming, onions, leeks, shallots, celery and snapdragons are growing under lights in the basement. A tray of spinach, arugula and lettuce is seeded and will soon be ready to transplant into the greenhouse. It is […]

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Saving Seeds and Cutting Back

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Saving Seeds and Cutting Back

by Miriam Hansen October is the month for collecting and saving flower seeds. This long, warm fall, despite being slightly nipped by frost, the zinnias, snapdragons, marigolds, cosmos and marigolds are still going strong. Since I don’t want to uproot them yet, I’ve been searching for spent seed heads that I missed when deadheading. So […]

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Divide, Move & Conquer!

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Divide, Move & Conquer!

by Miriam Hansen September is the time to divide and move those perennials that bloom in spring and summer. Rather than devote the whole column to this subject, I’m offering you this Clemson University Extension website, a useful resource on when and how to divide a long list of garden perennials. It covers plant division […]

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Winding Down and Gearing Up

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Winding Down and Gearing Up

by Miriam Hansen As the growing season winds down, I find myself thinking about next year, what I want to divide and what I want to move, where I think a bed needs more color, discarding disappointing plants or plants that moved in without a by-your-leave. It is so hard for gardeners to discard plants […]

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Let’s Talk About Weeds: A Tale of Comeuppance!

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Let’s Talk About Weeds: A Tale of Comeuppance!

by Miriam Hansen For most of the 40 years we’ve been gardening, weeding has not been a big onerous issue. When friends have bemoaned the amount of time and effort they spend weeding, I have helpfully (read smugly) offered the following advice: Cover crop with winter rye to suppress Agropyron repens — common name witch […]

Hands-on Gardener: Keep those flowers coming!

by Miriam Hansen Here we are trundling toward mid-June and we came within two degrees of a killing frost last week! Still, with all our tender vegetables either in the greenhouse or under row cover, we had few worries about the low temperatures. We did pop plastic pots over the lisianthus, zinnias and snapdragons. Everything […]

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Rules to Plan By

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Rules to Plan By

by Miriam Hansen   This is one of those years when spring has really passed in the blink of an eye. My prediction that we’d have to wait until late May to plant warm weather crops has proved utterly wrong. We’ve been frost-free in East Montpelier since the beginning of May. Despite a brutal winter […]

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Time to Start the Seedlings…

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Time to Start the Seedlings…

by Miriam Hansen After a month in the Southwest, it has only taken a day or so for us to get mighty tired of the cold weather! We planted onions, parsley, celery and some of the slower germinating annual and perennials before we left in early March. My daughter also started tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, […]

HANDS ON GARDENER: Challenges…

HANDS ON GARDENER: Challenges…

by Miriam Hansen I confess. I ordered lisianthus seed — the flowering biennial that takes five to six months from germination to flower, requires temperatures of  70 to 75 degrees day and night and 16 hours half an inch from a bank of grow lights to germinate. Why? Because that’s what gardeners do. We love a […]

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Timing

HANDS-ON GARDENER: Timing

by Miriam Hansen Well we’ve rung in the New Year and I couldn’t resist running a photo of the beautiful lettuce, spinach and cruciferous greens growing in January in our single-ply greenhouse with a door that doesn’t fully shut. We transplanted those greens into the greenhouse at the end of October. I’ve never started them […]