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Gardening Basics


Spring Tool Maintenance

by Steve Cushman

One of the most important chores for tool maintenance is keeping cutting edges sharp; however, sharpening can cover a huge realm of techniques and tools. Find out about techniques requiring only a small investment in tools, and you’ll have your garden tools in perfect shape as the season starts – and perhaps be inspired to keep them that way.

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Green Manure

by Robert Kourik

You say you want to garden all-naturally, but the closest source of animal manure is many miles away? Then green manuring might be for you. Green manuring is the process of tilling fresh green plants into the soil to help make it drain better and allow it to hold onto more moisture, with an added bonus – the plants, as they decay, act as a readily available fertilizer. Green manuring is also pretty darn close to free fertilizer – discounting the cost of a few seeds and plenty of elbow grease. Learning how the natural cycle of decomposition works means you’ll know exactly what part of the cycle to influence, how to speed up the natural processes, and how to improve the soil in either the short or the long term.


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Eco-Answers from the Pros: How Clean Should Fall Cleanup Be?

As I begin fall cleanup in my gardens, what are your recommendations? Should I clean beds off, cutting foliage and remaining seed heads off? Are there some plants best cut off and others that are good to leave until spring? Also, should I remove leaves entirely from the ground around plants? I didn’t get all the leaves removed from beds last year and had a lot of damage to plant roots from either voles or moles.

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Native Plants for the Small Yard: Easy, Beautiful Home Gardens that Support the Local Ecology

Text by Kate Brandes Illustrations by Tom Maxfield Social scientists have looked at how people feel about their yards, and their research shows that preferences are determined mostly by people’s desire to fit in with the neighbors. Unfortunately, native plants have developed something of a bad rap among homeowners as messy and hard to manage…

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Leave the Leaves!

by Justin Wheeler Reprinted with permission from the Xerces Society’s blog. Besides providing the right plants, and protecting your garden from pesticides, one of the next most valuable things you can do to support pollinators and other invertebrates is to provide them with the winter cover they need in the form of fall leaves and…

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The Garden in Every Sense and Season

by  Tovah Martin Taken from The Garden in Every Sense and Season© Copyright 2018 by Tovah Martin, photographs by Kindra Clineff. Published by Timber Press, Portland, OR. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Grape Nuts You suspected autumn was in the air. Maybe you even feared fall’s inevitable arrival. But you didn’t come…

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Book Review: Practical Organic Gardening

Practical Organic Gardening: The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally Written by Mark Highland Published by Cool Springs Press, 2017 Reviewed by Rie Macchiarolo Practical Organic Gardening is a great book for gardeners, farmers, and horticulturalists of all skill levels. In the first chapter author Mark Highland notes that while organic farming and organic gardening share…

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Sowing Native Seed

by Heather McCargo The seeds of wild plants have a different set of needs than those of common garden and vegetable species. Most gardeners think of spring as the time to sow seeds, but for most native plants in Maine fall to early winter is the best time. Many wildflowers, trees and shrubs have seeds that…

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