Gardening With Tony

Mild Weather Is Still Problematic

UNITED STATES—It is amazing that so many orchards are so productive in California, and that so many similar orchards had formerly been productive in the urban areas in which so many of us now live. Nowadays, it takes so much work to care for just a few fruit trees in home gardens. Horticulture is not what it used to...

Vegetables Get Harvested At Their Prime

UNITED STATES—'Zucchini' is Italian for 'little squash.' They certainly can grow to become big squash, but by then, they do not taste so good. They are best before they get to about six inches long. As they mature, they get bitter and tough, and the seedy pulp within develop an unappealing texture. Maturing zucchini also waste resources that would...

Overgrown Shrubbery Becomes Small Trees

UNITED STATES—Those of us with 'maintenance gardeners' are likely aware of how rare it is to find someone who knows how to maintain hedges properly. It seemed so simple years ago. Several identical plants could simply be planted in a row, and then somewhat regularly shorn for confinement to a prescribed space. They were not allowed to exceed a...

Medicinal Herbs Versus Culinary Herbs

medicinal herbs coneflower
UNITED STATES—They are NOT the same thing! Many herbs can be useful for both culinary and medicinal applications, but the distinction between the two is very important. Culinary herbs are used to flavor foods. Medicinal herbs are used like pharmaceutical drugs; but they lack the main safety feature of standardization. That means that they are potentially toxic and seriously...

Do Not Forget Potted Plants

UNITED STATES—Aside from all the seasonal raking and dormant pruning, there is not as much to do in the garden as there was earlier in the year. Lawns do not need much mowing. Hedges do not need much shearing. Untimely mowing and shearing can actually damage lawns and hedges. Watering, which was so important while the weather was warm,...

Citrus On The Sucker List

suckers
UNITED STATES—A five pound kumquat is a problem! It means something went seriously wrong. Anyone who grew one would concur. They are huge, lumpy, and very insipid, with ridiculously thick pale yellow rind around a small handful of uselessly fibrous pulp. They are protected by dangerously sharp and rigid thorns that can get longer than three inches. Even their...

Saving Seed For Next Season

saving seed from coreopsis
UNITED STATES—The gardens with the most flowers need the most deadheading. This involves the removal of deteriorating flowers and any developing fruiting structures and seed associated with them so that they do not divert resources from subsequent bloom or vegetative growth. Old flowers that do not produce seed because they are sterile or lack pollinators might get deadheaded too...

Rain Makes Watering Seem Obsolete

UNITED STATES—Watering has not been much of a concern lately. All the rain has kept our gardens too wet to work in. Some of us have been more concerned with erosion caused by runoff. Automated irrigation systems are probably disabled until the rain stops. Soil can drain somewhat between rain, but will not really dry out until the weather...

Houseplants Bring The Outdoors In

UNITED STATES—Philodendrons, dracaenas, ferns, palms or any sort of tropical foliage inside our homes only create an illusion of closeness to nature. Naturally, these plants live in very different climates, mostly thousands of miles away. Not only do they have no business in our homes; they have no business on the North American Continent. Some can live in the...

Attack Roses While They Sleep

UNITED STATES—This theme may be getting a bit redundant about now. There is just so much that needs to be done in the garden through winter for what will bloom in spring and summer. We plant new fruit trees, and prune mature ones. When we finish planting spring bulbs, we can start planting summer bulbs. Berries, rhubarb and grapes...
Reach our newsroom now!