Preventing Weeds: Several Tips

mulch, leaves

My vegetable garden is slowly filling out. The tomatoes and peppers are planted, plus a variety of seeds, from kohlrabi to lettuce and Swiss chard.

It looks great--now. But I know from experience that it’ll be overrun with weeds if I don’t immediately employ a few tricks. Here they are, in no particular order:

The Benefits of Wide Rows

Two decades ago I picked up a used book in Harvard Square that has had an outsized influence on our gardening. That copy of Joy of Gardening by Dick Raymond is now literally falling apart, but Phil (my husband) and I still consult it every year.

Rather than planting your veggies seed by seed in a single row that might be, say, one inch wide, Raymond recommends strewing seeds in wide rows, or blocks that can be anywhere from two to five feet wide by

It’s Time to Plant tomatoes Tomatoes TOMATOES

tomatoes, planting

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and I have officially started planting some 13 varieties of tomatoes in our garden. It will take a few days. Even after giving away some 25 plants through my town’s Facebook gardening page, I still have about…25 left. Yep, Phil (my husband) and I overdid it once again.

We sure do love tomatoes!

What follows is a collection of tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years on how to grow successful tomatoes. I’ll also share the varieties I’m growing this year, with a few comments on each.

Spring Tour of the Vegetable Garden

Recently I watched a video tour of a woodland garden in Milton, MA. It was just lovely, and inspired me to film a quick tour of our vegetable garden yesterday (May 18, 2020). In it, I note some of the plants that are already up and doing well.

I also show the approach my husband Phil and I take to hardening off, or babying, tomatoes and other hot season plants like peppers that we've started from seed indoors. This year I’ve been especially careful about slowly acclimating these plants to garden conditions, because last year I thought I’d cut a few corners, and found out the hard way not to do that. I lost several pepper plants that simply couldn’t survive their relatively quick plunge into the Great Outdoors.

Critters in the Garden: Turtles

turtle, snapperA large garden invites a variety of wild guests, from crows to raccoons and butterflies, but my husband Phil and I were unprepared for one particular visitor.       

Early on a June morning in 2001, Phil went out for a tour of the garden behind our home in Milton, MA. After a few minutes, I heard him whisper to me from below the kitchen window, "Could you come out here for a minute? We have an interesting animal in the garden, and it’s still here."      

Maintaining Gorgeous Hanging Baskets

hanging basket, petunias
Image by mschiffm from Pixabay.
Question: I buy beautiful petunia or impatiens for hanging baskets and planters and like clockwork they have all thinned out. What am I doing wrong? Thank you!


Answer: Hi Janeenee! I’m not quite sure what you mean by “thinning out,” but I’ve certainly had the experience of buying a hanging basket with lovely blooms that just doesn’t last long.

Fortunately, I am married to an expert on hanging baskets . Seriously, my husband Phil keeps our hanging baskets in great shape, so I asked him for a few tips.