In snowy winter climates, aim to clean up the garden before early snowfalls arrive. Doing this helps to reduce winter resting places for pests and diseases that go into hiding once snow flies. It’s also easier on you—no frozen fingers.
Find a carrot variety that's right for your garden; not all carrots form elongated roots. Blunt-tipped Nantes types are the easiest for most backyard gardeners to grow. Imperators are the long, straight, tapered types usually sold in stores. Chantneys are short and stubby, and shaped like cones. You can also find mini varieties and radish-type carrots for growing in containers or heavy or rocky soils.
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.
Some seed sellers say that white carrots were grown as far back as the Middle Ages. Today, the cream-colored roots of ‘Lunar White’ offer cooks and gardeners a mild flavor and small cores. While carrots with colorful pigments are thought to offer more health benefits, this variety is a good source of dietary fiber.
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.
Colored plastic mulches are the result of university research, which has shown that certain vegetables have higher yields when grown on colored plastic mulch. The increased yields are most pronounced with plants growing under less-than-ideal conditions, such as less than six hours of sun daily. Red is the color for tomatoes. Other colors include green or blue for melons, silver for peppers and blue for summer squash (like zucchini or patty pan) and cucumbers.
This home's property is large enough to include a chicken coop, raised garden beds for growing vegetables and a garden shed. Pea gravel walkways stand out handsomely against the wood trim, fence and shed.
Your kitchen garden can be as elaborate as a large plot of land sporting many raised beds and trellises or as simple as a few pots on a sunny balcony. As long as you have a spot that gets five to six hours of sun (hopefully near the kitchen, thus the name), well-amended soil or a good potting medium and are committed to the process, your garden will thrive.
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.