FREELANCERSusan Mulvihill firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Mulvihill is a freelance gardening columnist for the Today section.
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Oct. 18, 2009, midnight
There is something about autumn that makes us want to capture the brilliant fall colors and bring them indoors. “This year, I’ve noticed that our customers have been anxious for fall to get here,” says Nanci Williamson, manager of Stanek’s Nursery, Gifts and Floral. “Instead of traveling, they have been fixing up their homes so their families have an inviting place to be together.”
Oct. 4, 2009, midnight
This is my final weekly column for this year’s gardening season, so a wrap-up on how my vegetable garden performed is in order. The biggest success was growing our pole beans on arbors. The beans were much easier to pick from underneath the arbors and they made an attractive addition to the garden.
Sept. 27, 2009, midnight
Just when you thought you were done with veggie gardening for the year, I’ve got a project for you. Fall is the perfect time to plant garlic because it needs several months to produce large bulbs. It’s easy to grow so let’s get started.
Sept. 20, 2009, midnight
As any gardener can attest, a garden is a very special place that appeals to us on many levels. In “Creating a Garden for the Senses” (Abbeville Press, 1993), author Jeff Cox writes: “No place on earth is more sensuous than a garden. In its sights, sounds, tastes, touches and smells, we find home and heart and love.”
Sept. 13, 2009, midnight
It’s hard to believe this gardening season is rapidly coming to a close. If you dread the thought of hanging up your garden gloves for the winter, a simple solution is to switch to indoor gardening with houseplants. “Houseplants are great because they bring the outdoors inside, especially when we really need some green,” says Ann Jackson-Avery. “They help filter toxins out of our air and give us a sense of well-being.”
Aug. 23, 2009, midnight
Xeriscaping is landscaping with drought-tolerant plants in order to conserve water. If visions of cactus are what come to mind, rest assured that your choices aren’t limited at all. There are plenty of plants that bloom in amazing colors and have attractive foliage.
Aug. 9, 2009, midnight
There is a quiet revolution going on across the country these days, and it appears to have hit the Inland Northwest: Homeowners are tearing out their front lawns and growing vegetable gardens instead. Take Pat and Lisa Coleman. These residents of the Peaceful Valley neighborhood west of downtown Spokane have packed every square inch of their front yard with vegetables.
July 26, 2009, midnight
In Spokane’s East Central neighborhood, there is a senior housing complex that has an attractive garden for the residents to use. Located at 2201 E. Fifth Ave., Friendship Gardens easily lives up to its name. Five residents share three large raised beds made from landscape blocks. Each of them has grown gardens in the past and they all enjoy working together in this garden.
July 19, 2009, midnight
Today’s column is dedicated to the do-it-yourself gardeners out there who are interested in simple projects to help their garden grow more successfully. As you can see by the photo, the newest addition to our garden is an arbor that supports pole bean vines. We have used standard types of supports in the past but the problem with pole beans is that they are hard to see. You usually stand on the outside of a support and all the beans are hiding on the inside, under the foliage.
June 7, 2009, midnight
I’m going out on a limb today by listing 10 of my favorite perennials for this region. All are cold-hardy, easy to grow, noninvasive, and add appealing colors or textures to the landscape. •Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychroma) – This plant adds a “wow” factor to any bed and easily lights up dark corners of the garden. What appear to be yellow flowers are actually chartreuse-colored bracts. It prefers full sun but will grow in part shade and reaches an average height of 15 inches.
May 31, 2009, midnight
If you live in an apartment or condominium, or on a small lot with no room for a vegetable garden, you can still grow your own food. The advantages of growing vegetables in containers are many. Containers require less maintenance, so you can keep up with your gardening chores. It’s less physically demanding because the containers are easier to reach.
May 17, 2009, midnight
Surely there is no garden flower more admired than the rose. With thousands of varieties available, there is a rose out there for everyone. “Regardless of your gardening experience, you can grow roses,” says Master Rosarian Lynn Schafer. “Prepare the soil, provide the food and water, allow for air circulation and protect them from the cold winter weather, and you will keep them happy and healthy for years to come.”
May 10, 2009, midnight
Even though the gardening season is getting off to a slow, chilly start, it’s never too soon to be thinking about ways to deal with insect pests. I take an organic approach to this because the whole point of growing your own food is to produce safe, healthy vegetables and fruits, right? The best method for avoiding insect problems and disease is to keep your plants as healthy as possible. Water them regularly, make sure they’re spaced properly and provide them with plenty of nutrients for growing.
May 3, 2009, midnight
This is a case of the little engine that could. In 1999, the Garden Expo had a humble beginning. Organized by The Inland Empire Gardeners and held in the Northeast Community Center, it attracted 350 people who came to buy garden products from two dozen vendors. Even though it was fun, club president ViAnn Meyer dreamed of transforming it into an event that would turn the Inland Northwest into a gardening mecca each spring.
May 3, 2009, midnight
If there’s such a thing as the king of vegetables, it’s got to be the tomato. I’m sure most would agree there is nothing quite so delectable as a sun-ripened tomato, fresh from the garden. I recently caught up with Elizabeth Casteel – known by many as “The Tomato Lady” – to learn her tomato-growing secrets.
April 5, 2009, midnight
Peter Chan is one of my gardening heroes. When the Chinese plant pathologist’s raised-bed garden was featured in a magazine in 1981, his methods immediately got my attention. As a result, I have gardened with raised beds ever since and I am totally sold on them. Why? Put simply, it’s easier to tend raised beds.
March 29, 2009, midnight
Inland Northwest gardeners are challenged annually by a short growing season that can include cold, wet springs, freak snowstorms in June and late frosts. Fortunately, there are many techniques we can use to grow productive vegetable gardens and even extend the season a little bit.
March 15, 2009, midnight
The first batch of vegetables that can be planted in the spring are cool-season crops. They include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, fava beans, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and Swiss chard. These vegetables thrive in our cooler temperatures during the spring. I often cover their planting beds with a floating row cover – a lightweight material that lets light and moisture through – the first two weeks to give them some frost protection.
Feb. 22, 2009, midnight
Don’t let the snow on the ground fool you. The garden season will be here before you know it. Until then, there’s plenty of planning and organizing to do so let’s get started. If you have never grown your own veggies, you’ve come to the right place. Each Sunday in this space, we’ll tackle all of the important topics that are necessary to growing a successful garden.
Feb. 1, 2009, midnight
It’s probably no coincidence that seed catalogs start arriving in the mail just when gardeners are ready for winter to be over. Perusing them is great fun and provides a welcome diversion from the bleak landscape outside. And it’s a good thing spring is still a long way off, since there is some serious planning to be done before then.
Dec. 14, 2008, midnight
Shopping for the right gift for each person on your list can be very challenging. But if your list includes a gardener, shopping will be a breeze, since anything related to gardening will end up being their favorite gift. Even though this is the off-season for gardening, most large garden centers like Northwest Seed & Pet carry a wide variety of gardening items that make wonderful gifts. Good mail-order sources include Gardener’s Supply ( www.gardeners.com), Park Seed ( www.parkseed.com) and Lee Valley Tools ( www.leevalley.com).
Nov. 30, 2008, midnight
If the thought of holiday gift-giving makes your heart skip a beat, you are not alone. This year, the last thing we need to do is blow the budget on store-bought gifts. A perfect solution is making simple gifts using goodies from the garden or going with a garden theme. Two creative ladies who enjoy doing this are Maralee Karwoski and Cinde Johnson.
Nov. 16, 2008, midnight
There are no rules for a wreath-making party except that you must have fun. Four friends recently did just that. Helen Hansen, Maralee Karwoski, Cinde Johnson and Jane Bitz got together on a weekend afternoon and created stunning holiday wreaths, all while catching up with each other and sharing ideas and techniques for this project.
Nov. 7, 2008, midnight
During the summer, our eyes appreciate the soothing greens in our landscapes: green lawns, green trees and green plants. But in the fall, our eyes skip over the green things and seek out the colorful aspects of the landscape around us instead. If your landscape looks fabulous during the warmer months but bland when autumn hits, take note of plants growing around town that sport eye-catching fall foliage or other interesting features. Then your wish list will be ready when it’s time to plant next spring.