High Plains Public Radio

gardening

Happy Thanksgiving  to all of our HPPR listeners!

To mark the holiday, I'm shaking free a few loose memories from beneath the pecan trees of my past. They say this holiday is all about reflecting on our blessings and spending time with family -- even if a few of our relations can be a little nuts.

Enjoy this Thanksgiving edition of Growing on the High Plains, and I wish you all a peaceful meal full of bounty and gratitude...and a big slice of pecan pie! 

While home gardening has certainly seen a rich resurgence in recent years, planting food crops for the purposes of conserving and preserving dates back to a time of meager means.  

Today on Growing on the High Plains, I'll share some history and context regarding the American "victory garden." Self-sufficient citizens that planted and maintained food plots helped supplement shortages in a time of war. Nurturing fresh food for the troops (and the family table) provided a sense of service, pride, and community.  

Finding enough space for a hearty garden is not a problem you would think affects most of us on the High Plains. However, gardeners all over the world have become increasingly adept at creating a manageable growing space in a compact area.

Today's installment of Growing on the High Plains looks at one smart solution: straw bale gardens. They're raised, tidy, hospitable to seeds, and can yield a spectacular crop with care and attention. 

Have you ever wanted s'more information about the origin of those squishy, sweet puffs we all take for granted around the campfire?  

Today's Growing on the High Plains peeps at the ancient origin of the marshmallow, and it's hiding in plain sight. Join us as we tap the root of the "mallow plant," commonly found around marshy wetlands. 

From mucilaginous medicine to confection perfection, this treacly treat goes WAY back -- and the story of its cultivation is more than just fluff.

This week's edition of Growing on the High Plains features a regional bird of paradise that's both easy to maintain and brilliant when in bloom: the bromeliad. With minor maintenance, this sturdy plant will continue to grow, gracing your garden with its glory. So it's a lot like public radio! Please help HPPR continue to "pretty up" your days on the High Plains. Donate today during our Fall Membership Drive.  

This week's installment of Growing on the High Plains provides an inside scoop on how best to beckon bashful butterflies to your High Plains garden. 

  From deadheading your branching mums to seizing (rather than sneezing) rods of gold, these well-worn pointers will ensure an influx of "flying flowers" to your all-you-can-eat growing space.  Learn what to plant and how to prune so that you'll optimize unannounced visits from thirsty nectar collectors.   

"The fairies break their dances and leave the printed lawn." —A.E. Housman

This week on Growing on the High Plains, I have an offbeat tale about odd circles that seem to crop up supernaturally on the grass. Rest assured: there's a logical reason for the peculiar presence of these "fairy rings," especially given this summer's peculiarities.  Whether they're marked by darkness or puffs of white, learn more about this serpentine fungus among us.  

They pray. They prey.

But pray/prey tell: why is it that gardeners have been seeing more of these elegant insects this year? Whatever the reason, they're a welcome sight -- not only for their alien-esque arabesques, but also because they feast on pests like something out of a horror film.

Hear more about mantids on this week's edition of Growing on the High Plains.

And it's a good one! (Don't forget your popcorn.) 

Children seem to experience a singular wonder when you put them in a garden -- something beyond the splendor of the grass, the blush of a plump pear, and the inviting smells and creatures. They also tend to tune in to what that garden says about its curator.

Today we'll take a walk through my garden, but please enter with a child's honest curiosity. As you survey the bean vines flanked with flowers, perhaps you'll see an unlikely shelter. I know I did. 

Don't let chaos reign in your flower garden!

 Join me as we embark on PART TWO of our segment discussing those beautiful-and-beastly blooms: perennials. On today's show, you'll learn to parse out the "spreaders" from the "clumpers." 

Plus, just a few tips on digging up the mother plant, handling the root ball, and singling out which species might be invasive.   

  

Gardeners have a saying about perennials: "The first year they sleep; the second year they creep; and the third year they leap."

Today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll unearth a few common myths about these boisterous blooms, which are quite misunderstood by beginning gardeners. If you go into the ground with a deeper understanding of what to expect from perennials, you'll sooner reap the sweet smell of success.

Green Bean Therapy

Jun 29, 2016

Let's talk about the life cycle of green beans, learn a little history of the plant, and talk about my favorite variety.  I enjoy picking beans in the cool morning.  In the company of my cats, I let my mind drift to the past and search out the future, line out chores to be done, and sometimes I find lost perspectives.  Leave your day planner on the desk and come out to the bean row if you really want to put your life in order.    

www.goodlifegarden.ucdavis.edu

Picking and shelling peas is a labor of love, not practicality. After three evenings bent over knee-high vines finding and shelling full pods, I conceded the payoff—healthy calories—doesn’t match effort expended. Some folks might wise up and start buying canned or frozen peas at the market, but they’d miss what some researchers call the intangibles.

wordsforworms.com

A card from a dear friend inspired me to think awhile about all the quotes about gardens.  

I was surprised to find some of my favorites were about weeds, like this one said by Eeyore, "Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.  

I've also been fond of Luther Burbank's, "Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful;  they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul."

Or these two that made me stop, and consider carefully what my garden says about me:

Four Letter Words

Apr 15, 2016
thodasasomething.wordpress.com

Most of us have heard about four letter words. The minute you mention them, many immediately think naughty words. But this time of year, hope is a four-letter word. As is soil, seed, rain, bird, root, stem and grow. Four letter words-- every one. As I roamed about my yard planting hollyhocks, bachelor buttons, sweet William, zinnias, and other butterfly attractors, I kept thinking, I hope for moisture and that the hard little hulls I tucked in the earth would sprout roots and stems to unfurl skyward under warm, spring sun.

wikipedia.org

Just when the winter doldrums are about to  win the boredom trophy, here comes a breath of fresh air and springtime!  Colorful pansies are just the thing to get you going in the garden, as they survive frosty weather.  And if it’s still too arctic outside, you can start them indoors by nesting them in a bowl of potting soil. 

Bewitching Botannicals

Oct 28, 2015
0599.com

 This week we'll look at some historical herbs that have reportedly been a part of witchcraft for centuries.  But many of the plants have both a good and bad side in history,  Modern medicine has adopted and adapted some of the plants from the dark side into treatments for various diseases, and today's gourmet table can feature food from plants once thought inedible.

Gardening goes green

Oct 14, 2015
pithandvigor.com

A review of some of the things the home gardener can do to be a part of the solutions to looming ecological dilemmas.  Some of the things we'll look at concern soil additives, use of aerial sprays, and the growing amount of plastic that has become a part of a gardener's world. 

childrenshospital.vanderbilt.org

This week we'll visit about companion planting, and more specifically about what's probably the most famous coupling of a threesome of vegetables.  Based on an ancient Native American technique called the Three Sisters, we'll explore the support system provided when you plant beans, corn, and squash together.  And we'll throw in a couple of extra 'sisters' for good measure.   

My August Kitchen

Sep 23, 2015
homejoys.blogspot.com

    One thing that keeps me in the annual gardening go-round  is the idea of growing and creating good food for a good cause.  This week we'll visit about the incredible amount of work that goes into dealing with the harvests of August, and the friendship and camaraderie of canning that all that work creates.

weddingchicks.com

    This year my husband and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversay, and the week of festivities brought to mind a GHP story that I felt we needed to repeat.  So without further adieu, here's the scoop on what happened at the dinner table when a Yankee boy met and married a distant member of the sister sorority known as GRITS - Girls Raised In The South.

Creepy Crawlies

Aug 12, 2015
idahoweedawareness.net

A look at perennial and annual weeds that vine, twine, and torment gardeners throughout the HPPR region.  These creepy crawlers require almost daily purging, whether by hand weeding or a healthy spritzing of weed killer.  And still they often return, like the cast of a bad horror flick!  

Nutsedge Nightmares

Jul 29, 2015
customwise-turftree.com

There's a new weed at my place that has been making an appearance the last couple of years and shows no sign of leaving.  It's a true bad boy of the garden, and it's called nutsedge, though some plant people commonly call it nutgrass.  But be warned, it's not a grass but a true sedge which can replicate itself by segments, roots, seeds, or nut-shaped underground tubers.  This week we'll try to get a handle on how to handle it, but be forewarned that it's a tough nut to crack! 

commons.wikimedia.org

 A visit to San Francisco brought me to the historic estate and nationally recognized garden called Filoli, slightly south of the Bay Area.  The day-long visit included tours of the 46 room country house and the magnificent gardens, orchards, fountains, and pools that surround the structure.  Built by a wealthy family that survived the Earthquake of 1906, Filoli became a showplace during America's Gilded Age.  Fortunately the entire estate was deeded to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975, and is host to visitors from around the world.

Sweet Annie

Jul 15, 2015
farmgirlfollies.com

 A favorite herb has responded to our recent rains and taken up an expanded residence at my place.  I welcome it with open arms and nasal passages, as its aromatic aura clears my head and provides fresh potpourri all around the house.  It's also a good keeper in the dried stage, filling in dried floral arrangements with lacy backgrounds that last well into the winter months.  Though it has a somewhat colorful past in the wormwood family, its gentle fronds and somewhat spicy scent are best known by it's common name of Sweet Annie.  

Tomtato/Pomato

Jun 12, 2015
kplu.org

This week we'll look at some new doings in food production, as science makes the scene in both the garden and the fruit orchard.  A brief history of efforts to produce grafted tomatoes and potatoes brings us from the early 70's to today's promise of a single plant with tomatoes on the top and spuds beneath.  But this is nothing new to folks who have been grafting fruit tree limbs to produce tangelos, plucots, plumcots, and more.     

Calendar Confusion

Jun 3, 2015
denimandplaid.blogspot.com

This spring's harvests of blooms and berries have really been a guessing game.  A bin-buster harvest of strawberries came at least a month earlier than usual, along with irises.  But normally plentiful peas and other cool-weather crops seem to playing a waiting game.  I have to place the blame on an on-again-off-again winter weather season, but what else is new in our corner of the world.

wikipedia.org

This week we'll look at the hows and whys of growing gourds, on both an ornamental or functional level.  Related to squash and cucumbers, few varieties are popular as edibles, but numerous types can serve in various ways.  Most of the work of producing gourds comes not with the growing but with how they are treated after the harvest.  Curing and cleaning are the first steps in a process that can produce bird houses, feeders, nifty containers, or art objects.

The Gourd People

May 20, 2015
Skip Mancini

A trip to the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show brought me face to face with a family of gourds that were watching me as I was watching them.  This whimsical art form has been mastered by a garden artist named Betty Finch, and she does wonderful things with gourds big and small.  Don't miss the slide show!

Here's a link to Betty's website: finchgourd.com  

Kitchen Gardens

May 13, 2015
mountvernon.org

This year I'm making some changes in my vegetable garden layout, and moving some of it closer to the kitchen door.  On the way, we'll look at a brief history of the term 'kitchen garden' and find out what things usually grow there.  

Pages