Friday, July 31, 2015

To prune or not to prune...

Do you prune your tomatoes?

Pruning tomato plants is a technique used by some gardeners and completely unknown to others. It involves pinching off the "suckers" that grow between the main stem and branches of a tomato plant. It allows more water and sunlight to reach the plant, allows air to circulate freely around the plants and theoretically results in earlier fruit and healthier plants.

I learned about pruning tomato plants from my grandparents. In past years, I started off with good intentions and trimmed off the suckers when the plants were young, but then I would get busy and not keep up with it throughout the season. This year, I didn't prune them at all, and you can see what a tomato jungle it is! 

I'm considering this year an experiment. I expect the unpruned plants to produce more tomatoes than the pruned plants. We'll have to wait and see about the health and timing of the first tomato. If you have any thoughts or experience with pruning tomato plants, please share!

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Pink Peony

Old-fashioned, cottage garden flowers and plants are my most favorite. And guess what is blooming? My peonies! They have beautiful, fragrant, pink, double flowers. Peonies are easy to grow if they are in the proper site.  They like full sun (at least in the early spring) and moist, but not wet, soil. After flowering, let the leaves and stalks grow until fall. They provide nutrients and energy for the plant, which is needed in order to flower the next year.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Urban Farming Guys

This is a really cool video about urban farming in Kansas City, Missouri.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Video About Growing Shiitake Mushrooms

 This is a very informative video from the Urban Farming Guys about growing shiitake mushrooms on logs.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Gardening has taught me patience. Or so I thought. I have learned that if I plant a seed and keep it watered, it will grow. If I tend to my garden, it will eventually yield flowers and vegetables. So why am I checking the mushroom log multiple times per day?

I was sprinkling the log with water on a daily basis, but impatience won out. I decided to soak the log to accelerate the process. The baby pool seemed to be about the right size, so I filled it and soaked the log for about 8 or 9 hours, then returned it to its shady spot.

My teenagers reminded me that I watched pot never boils. So what did I do this morning while they were still sleeping?  Yes, I checked on the log.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Mushroom Log - Who Knew?

I've been gardening for over 20 years and I've tried growing many different plants. Some have been amazingly successful, others partially successful, and some have failed miserably. Growing mushrooms had never occurred to me. (My teenage son just pointed out that mushrooms are not plants, they are fungi.)

One day, about 2 weeks ago, our wonderful neighbors gifted us with a beautiful shiitake mushroom log. My reaction:  Mushroom log? What is a mushroom log?  Well, guess what?  A mushroom log is a log that is inoculated with mushroom spores and if all goes well, will produce gourmet mushrooms for several years.

I placed the log in a shady spot between our shed and the neighbor's fence. I've been watering it every day to keep it moist since we haven't had rain for about 5 or 6 days. Hopefully, we'll be enjoying some shiitake mushrooms in the near future!

Saturday, July 14, 2012