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Soil & Water Management

Vegetable Gardening 101

By Sandra Nelson  

With the days all seeming to melt together, it’s hard to realize that today is already May 7th. In another week or so it will be time to begin planting the bulk of my vegetable garden  —  the warm season plants like tomatoes and cucumbers and zucchini, and some seeds like …

Green Spaces for Cities -- Part 2: Living Walls and Green Roofs

One of my favorite sessions from the recent Perennial Plant Conference I attended in Chicago was on Living Walls. It had been a reluctant choice at first — a lesser of two evils type of choice. Surprisingly though, after the first few minutes, I was hooked. The presenter didn’t try to teach me how, instead …

Out the Kitchen Window

I regularly volunteer at our library’s used book sales. It’s fun sharing recommendations with fellow readers and I find that many readers tend to be gardeners as well. In my mind, that’s the perfect combination of characteristics!   This past weekend I was chatting with a young couple who had just bought their very first …

Rethinking Lawns - Part 1:  History of Lawns in the United States

My water bill came yesterday. I know that compared to some peoples’, mine isn’t enormous, but it still is taking a bite out of my summer budget. I’d much rather spend that money on some new patio furniture or specimen plants I’ve had my eyes on all season, but paying the bill has priority. I’m …

Why Just Landscape When You Can Rainscape?

It has been pouring here, off and on, for the last week. We seem to have a river running down the middle of the street and matching tributaries by each curb. I’m sure that the sewer system is struggling to keep up with the onslaught. Having seen the applicator trucks throughout the neighborhood the last …

The Best of the Best: Perennial Plants for Rain Gardens

For the last few weeks we have had almost nonstop grey, rainy days. It’s been unpleasant weather (although nothing to compare to what both coasts have experienced!), but it has also had its benefits. We definitely needed the moisture; much of the state has been just one small step away from drought conditions for a …

Digging into Dirt: Part 4, Nurturing the Soil

In 1937, after witnessing the havoc and economic desperation that the Dust Bowl had wreaked on our nation, Franklin D Roosevelt sent a letter to all of the governors of the United States, asking them to oversee the adoption of legislation that would create soil conservation districts. In his letter, Roosevelt wrote, “The nation that …

Digging into Dirt, Part 3: The Soil Water Connection

As strange as it may seem, I’d like to start the third blog in our soil series thinking about water. Soil is our economic base, but water is our lifeblood. And the reality is that soil and water are directly connected.     The earth’s surface covers about 197 million square miles.  (As a reference …