If it rains in the forest, do you need an umbrella?

September 9, 2009

What is the answer to that age old question? Okay, you are already at your computer, so visit and bookmark the Click to Give site — therainforestsite.com. It’s an easy way to support causes that may be important to you. The site is dedicated to free ways to help —  rain forest and endangered habitat preservation, promote  literacy, animal rescue, breast cancer support and more. Your daily click ensures sponsorship from various support groups and companies. Best of all, 100 percent of the sponsor money goes to charities.

If you want to increase your support, the rain forest site sells garden products, birdhouses and items for more pleasant outdoor living. When you purchase through the site, an additional donation is made supporting the preservation of those precious forests.

Raised Beds and Square Foot Gardening

September 2, 2009

Pam's raised bed gardenDid you realize a 4′ x 4′ garden bed can grow enough salad veggies to feed one person all season long?  Check out Rodale Press’s book, Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew. It’s full of good how-to information on crop rotation, vertical crops, soil improvement — all geared towards gardening in small spaces.

I was fortunate to meet Pam Stidham who has been making her beds for several years. Pam runs the Hidden Valley B&B in Warm Springs, Virginia. My visit there was to see her hummingbirds. With several feeders all around, Pam says she goes through a 10lb bag of sugar a week!  I got to see the hummers before they all migrated. She said the birds started to leave about 2 weeks ago.

An unexpected surprise and delight was learning that Pam is a true gardener. Pam says this raised bed garden was built 15 years ago. They add some manure and new soil to the beds each spring and then let nature take its course.  She has a wonderful collection of perennials, herbs, vegetables and a sweet fish pond in a various raised beds by her side porch.  They have another raised bed garden just for herbs.

Tomatoes Galore

September 2, 2009

If you’ve got too many tomatoes on those vines, remember you can freeze them for cooking use later. Wash, remove stems, slice or cube and stash them away in the deep freeze. They won’t retain their shape, but their marvelous flavor will still be there when Goliath tomatoes they thaw. If you are really ambitious, why not dry some tomatoes in the oven on some cookie sheets? They’ll be great for salads, sandwiches and pasta dishes.

What’s your favorite tomato plant? Pam at Hidden Valley Farms in Warm Springs, Virginia, just loves Goliath and Sweet 100’s Cherry tomatoes.

I’m a novice and planted by first veggie garden this year. Next year, I’ll be sure to reread the article in Fine Gardening magazine on pruning tomato plants.  My plants were so leggy the tomatoes were blocked from some precious hours of sunshine.  It didn’t help that I planted them too close together either.  Next year …. .

My Philosophy

I am dedicated to enhancing the beauty of nature: designing a landscape that achieves an outdoor experience beyond your expectations.