Growing Blueberries

My mouth is watering thinking about all of the delicious things I can make with blueberries; Pie, Grunt, Jelly, muffins, Pancakes, Smoothies, Bars and cereal...And they’re good for you!

New England (zones 4-7) is the best area for blueberries to thrive. What’s great about these healthful anti-oxidant-rich berry is that they are durable and versatile and can grow in lots of other zones, as well. You can plant blueberries in the spring, but they’re also excellent to plant in the fall.  Planting blueberries doesn’t take much work.  Find a place to plant your blueberries where they will receive full sun at least 6-8 hours a day. If you are in more of an urban environment they grow well in clay or rocky soil, too!


Plant Files: Hostas

They’re everywhere and you may not even know what they’re called. They’re called Hostas and they are one of my favorite landscape plant. These hardy, herbaceous, perennials have leaves and stems that die down at the end of the growing season.  As you watch, you’ll recognize them. They’re all over doctors offices, public spaces, parks, lobbies, and in the backyards of all of your wise gardening friends.

Did you know there are over 2500 varieties of Hosta plants?  They’re so popular because of how easy they are to grow, their lush appearance, and the fact that there are so many varieties. Hostas come in blue, green, yellow, gold, and even “striped two-toned” varieties.


Green Resolutions for the New Year: Installing an Eco Lawn

An Eco lawn is the ultimate green solution. An eco lawn uses 75% less water than a regular lawn…watch, read and go green!

An eco lawn is a combination of seven different fescue grasses that can reduce your water consumption, be a friend to the environment and will be the best lawn experience you’ve ever had! Not only is an eco-lawn environmentally friendly, the lack of maintenance required will make this lawn your new best friend.  This lawn is virtually maintenance-free, drought resistant and insect resistant. It even grows in shady areas, rocky areas and in poor soil.


Designing Sustainable and Edible Landscapes

Americans think big! And our obsession with all things big has to change for the good of the earth. Large lawns were once meant to symbolize status. Back in the day, large lawns earned their reputation with good reason. Historically, a large “lawn” meant that there were plenty of sheep and cattle grazing on the land. That is usually not the case when driving through any town USA these days. Today’s large lawns only mean one thing: Waste!

Large lawns waste acres of usable real estate, use tons of water and maintaining them create noise and air pollution.  Additionally, the pesticides needed to keep grass alive, poisons our soil, sewers, and ground water with harmful pesticides and petro-chemicals. 


Design a City Orchard by Planting Fruit Trees

Ancient Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they will never sit in.”

The value of trees:

  • Trees combat climate change
  • Trees clean the air by filtering pollutants
  • The percentage of tree canopies have steadily declined in major metropolitan areas since the 1970's

Growing Strawberries A delicious ground cover

My advice is to plant more than one type of strawberry plant variety for a 
prolific and staggered harvest.

Strawberry Fields forever…Now I know what the Beatles were talking about…Although, I dutifully planted strawberries last year, I didn’t get the abundant harvest that I was hoping for. So this year, I have a new plan and I think I will be closer to those strawberry fields of the song…

Strawberries can grow in various climates and in most types of soil and most people are surprised to learn that when they bloom, they are covered in pink and white flowers. What you have to know is the type of strawberries you are growing.


How to Grow Apple Trees

In this video, I am going to take you on a little tour through my city apple orchard.  You will see that I have planted Semi Dwarf and Dwarf trees and they are Red Delicious Apples and Cortland Apples.  Both of these varieties are excellent for cooking but the Cortland apples are slightly tarter, making them perfect for salads. The most important thing to remember about growing apples is that they take a few years before they fruit. These orchards that we are walking through are the result of work that I did nearly two years ago.  So be patient!

I think the most important thing I can share with you is the importance of pruning your apple trees. Because apple trees can grow to be huge, in a city orchard it’s even more important that you prune them carefully; keeping them accessible without disturbing their natural growth patterns.


How to Grow a City Vineyard

Welcome to my Grape Arbor Trellis. Here you’ll see me training my grapes to grow upward on the trellis. I am using jute twine which is an organic material that complements the look of my garden. Because it’s natural it will eventually decay – but by the time that happens, my grapes will have already taken hold of my arbor.

As I attach the grapes, I do it loosely because the sun and rain will cause the jute to shrink. By giving the jute ample length in between each attachment, it allows the grapes and the jute to do what they do, without hampering the process.


How to Build a Water Garden

If you really want to bring your garden to life, integrate a water feature. Water features beautifully illustrate that a garden is a living, breathing thing!  This video shows you how I easily put together a water feature using common elements that are easily found in your neighborhood garden store. A while ago, I did a paving project and there was some leftover stone dust. As always, my water feature incorporates a raised bed, which very effectively houses my water feature. In the raised bed,  I fill it 1/2 way with a layer of stone dust. Then I dig a hole in the center of the sand dust where I put your pond liner. Then I back fill the area around the pond liner with soil. Once the pond liner is secure, I add some stones for a more natural look and to weight down the actual pond liner to make it more secure.


How to Install a Simple Garden Retaining Wall

I’m here with Kip Gardener from Filtrexx and he is going to show me how to use Gardensoxx to create a retaining wall for a sloping area of my garden that has a bad erosion problem.

Garden Soxx were originally invented for erosion control but because they are so versatile they have taken on multiple uses including planting in unexpected places. Today, we are going to see them being used as they were intended – to stop erosion. And then, of course I’ll use them to position plants in unexpected places.


What is Urban Sustainable Living?

It dawned on me, that since we met, you have been hearing me use the term "urban sustainable living." I say it all the time because I really believe in it. Perhaps you don't yet know what it means. Let me explain. Urban Sustainable Living is simply a holistic approach to living "sustainably" in our fast-paced, often wasteful urban and suburban lifestyles. USL incorporates permaculture design principles to manage natural processes that can directly benefit our families and our larger community.

Growing your own vegetables is taking the first step towards sustainable living. If you are able to provide just one fresh meal for your family per day for just six months out of the year, you are partially sustaining your own family. Imagine if everyone did that.