Sweet-tasting and tapered, ‘Deep Purple’ carrots grow to 7 or 8 inches long. They’re dark purple inside and out, although the color fades when the carrots are cooked. Try quickly stir-frying them to preserve the color.
The yellow flowers of tomatillo plants bear a striking resemblance to tomato blossoms. Tomatillo blooms must be cross pollinated to form fruit. This means you need two or more tomatillo plants. Arranging plants in a block in the garden makes it easy for bees to pollinate effectively and efficiently.
In the garden, tomatillo plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall and sprawl up to 3 feet across. For easiest harvest, support plants with a large tomato cage to keep branches off the ground. If branches touch soil, they’ll root.
Galvanized troughs add a touch of whimsy and personality to this veggie garden. They're also too tall for rabbits and have a gopher-thwarting bottom. Nearby, colorful flowering plants draw pollinators to increase garden productivity.
Turn to landscape timbers for an easy DIY lawn edging that keeps grass from invading planting areas. To install, you’ll need to dig down a few inches to create a stable footing for the timbers. To help timbers last longer, it’s a good idea to add a layer of landscape fabric topped with gravel between the timber and soil. Nestle timbers into soil as deeply as you want, but try to keep them raised at least a few inches to create a grass-proof barrier. Use a wider timber (6 inches minimum) if you’re stacking timbers and want them to serve as seating.
Creating a simple, low-cost garden path doesn’t have to be difficult.
Easy Solution: Remove existing grass and cover soil with a layer of thick cardboard (for weed control), securing it with anchor pins pounded into soil. Top with a layer of straw. This type of path works easily in vegetable gardens or perennial borders. It’s also easy to upgrade later to a more formal hardscape material.
The non-profit Seed Savers Exchange says ‘St. Valery’ was mentioned in gardening literature as early as 1885. This heirloom has red-orange roots that grow to 12 inches, with a fine-grained flesh and sweet taste. 'St. Valery' keeps well in storage.
One of the fastest ways to drop an edge between lawn and planting areas is using concrete edger or paver stones set upright, on edge. Cast from concrete, these stones create the most effective edging if they’re dug into soil so the base sits slightly below lawn level. Keep an eye out for grass creeping around or under concrete edgers. Hand pull or spot spray with grass killer. Look for concrete edgers in a variety of shapes and colors. They give a garden a more formal flair, which looks nice whether it’s lining beds full of flowers, herbs or vegetables.
Straw is a more utilitarian mulch typically used in vegetable gardens or strawberry patches. Straw is simply the stalks of grain plants. Ask your local straw supplier if their product is clean (doesn’t contain grain heads) and weed-free. Prevent weed seed issues by spreading three sheets of damp newspaper under straw. Some gardeners let straw bales sit a few weeks so weed or grain seeds germinate. This leads to moldy straw—plan to wear a dust mask if you have allergies. Expect to get one to two growing seasons out of straw, depending on how thickly you spread it.
Develoepd by Bejo, a Dutch seed company, 'YaYa' (F1) is an early Nantes-type carrot with smooth, blunt roots. The tops have good disease resistance and hold up well if you’re taking your carrots to market. The roots have a sweet, tender flavor.