Archive for May, 2011

Memorial Day planting tips with Bonnie Plants as seen on KDKA-TV

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

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Now that the soil temperatures have risen and the ground has dried out a bit it’s the perfect time to plant tender crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs.
Bonnie Plants all are planted directly in the soil as they are in peat pots. The pots will just biodegrade.
The best days to plant are overcast with rain on the way. I love it when it works out that way, but if it doesn’t, plant at the end of the day.
That way the plants have all night to recover.
Try heirloom varieties too, ‘Cherokee Purple’ is one of my all time favorite tomatoes.

A good liquid organic fertilizer, like the Bonnie Plants Plant Food will help the plants thrive all season and will not affect the soil life negatively.
The best plants to add to the vegetable garden are sweet allysum and dill, they both attract the good bugs.
You can find a local retailer of Bonnie Plants here.

Doug at all three Giant Eagle Market District Stores this Sunday 5/22/11

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

I’ll be at all three Giant Eagle Market District Stores on Sunday giving a free seminar on organic lawn care and cooking three recipes. The star of these creations is the Asparagus Lasagna and best of all you get to taste everything I make!

I’ll be at the Bethel Park store at 10am, Robinson at 1pm and Shadyside at 4pm.

I’ve got lots of ‘Early Girl’  and ‘Goliath’ tomato plants to give away too, while they last. They are courtesy of Mindy Schwartz from Garden Dreams Urban Nursery and Farm in Wilkinsburg.

This is one of the most fun things I do, please join me and see why.

Wet Weather Plants and Cornell Mixture Recipe as seen on KDKA

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

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There are some good things to come out of all this rain, you know you really have to look on the bright side…..Ugh, who am I kidding. I loved cool rainy days, but I’ve had enough of this. I was so lucky to film Digging with Doug early yesterday morning before we had another hail episode. Can you ever remember a spring with so much hail or rain for that matter?

I feel bad for farmers, gardeners and garden centers who have all been affected by the weather. I talked to one gardener who hasn’t been able to get anything in the garden.

With a season like this, I’m blessed to be growing in raised beds. The early spring greens are loving every minute of this weather. The beds look like a miniature tropical forest.

Moving hostas has been a good job for gray days as they also thrive on this weather. As soon as it warms up the slugs will benefit from the fat juicy leaves.
I came home the other day from the plant swap and I was right out in the garden to move plants like the hostas. Many had lingered in the wrong spot for years. For someone with a short attention span (like mine), when I see something that needs done, I know I better do it or the plant will sit for another two seasons.

Since the soil can’t be turned right now, the key is to put compost on top and plant directly in the organic matter.

I moved some Japanese painted ferns and ligularia ‘Brit Marie Crawford,’ along with some other perennials that enjoy our spring monsoon.
Some other plants that love this wet weather include sedges, willows, clumping bamboo and grasses.
Remember to throw some more seed of cool weather crops like lettuce in the garden to keep the harvest coming. I planted this mixed salad blend a week ago. The harvest on these will begin in a few weeks with tiny thinnings.

There are two fungicides that I use in the garden. Serenade works for most plants to stop fungal diseases. The Cornell Mixture is a homemade concoction that stops powdery mildew and black spot on roses. In a gallon of water mix one tablespoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of horticultural oil (found at any nursery) and one drop of dish soap. This mixture is put in a sprayer and applied to the plants BEFORE signs of damage show up. That’s the most important thing about dealing with fungal diseases. There are certain plants like roses and tomatoes that hate cool wet weather and will almost surely have fungal issues.

Tips to get started in the garden as seen on KDKA

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

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Even though I’ve written thousands of words about gardening there are really only three basic rules you need to know.
1. Improve the soil. Adding compost of some kind of other organic matter will give the plants everything they need for the entire season.
2. Know when plants or seeds go in the ground. There are countless resources to tell you when to plant. Lettuce is a cool weather crops, tomatoes love it hot.
3. Don’t let the plants dry out. That means mulching and watering when we lack rain. Always water in the morning, soak the plants and water at the base of the plant when possible.

Shop at a good nursery, not a box store. The plants are better and service is the best. Every garden question is a good question, don’t be afraid to ask.
Choose plants that you love, then you’ll be inspired to take care of them. Maybe it’s something your mother grew or another plant with a little nostalgia.
Most importantly know that plants die, that’s part of gardening and don’t let it stop you.