Garden

Extra Homestead Income – Pussy Willow Branches

Pussy Willows & Pruners

There’s a hedge of pussy willows in my front yard. I started the hedge years ago from some cuttings my mother-in-law gave to me. The hedge supplies an almost endless supply of pussy willow branches to decorate my home and helps to bring the outdoors indoors. But my pussy willow hedge is also a seasonal…

Protecting Rare Corn From Crows

Test Plate For Early Butler Corn

Yesterday I started a germination test plate for some Early Butler corn seed that has been snoozing in my freezer for the past 2 years. Early Butler is a hard to find heritage variety of an early dent open pollinated corn that originated in Grand Valley, Pennsylvania. The corn makes wonderful corn meal and animal feed…

Peat Pellets For Seed Starting Sucesss

Geranium Seedling

Sometimes I use peat pellets to start certain types of slow-growing bedding plants indoors. If you don’t already know, peat pellets are small, lightweight disks that are used for seed and plant propagation purposes. The pellet design is clever. A small amount of dried sphagnum peat mixed with lime and a bit of fertilizer is…

Borage – A Popular And Beautiful Potherb

Borage In Early Summer

Borage is an annual herb with coarse hairy leaves and stems. It grows between 2 to 3 feet tall and often spreads as wide. Borage (Borago officinalis) is also known as “starflower” and is sometimes called “bee bread”. That’s because of the sky-blue star shaped flowers and because borage is a bee magnet. The honey…

How To Propagate Plants By Stem Cuttings

Day 1

One of the fastest and easiest ways to reproduce certain types of plants is by a method known as “stem cuttings”, “truncheon(s)” “striking” or “cloning”. It is an asexual method of plant propagation that usually requires only a small leafy section of stem from one parent plant. When the stem section from a parent plant…

Flax Straw Waiting To Be Rippled

Flax Straw Waiting To Be Rippled

Rippling Will Remove The Bolls & SeedsThe flax straw from this summer is waiting in the barn for me. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to “ripple” it this week. Rippling is the process by which the bolls and seeds are removed from the flax. If you don’t already know, a boll is the rounded seed…

Buckwheat Is Blooming

Buckwheat Flowers Starting To Mature Into Seeds

Here in western Pennsylvania buckwheat is blooming. Long fields of buckwheat carpet the countryside in a solid mass of tiny white flowers. The name “buckwheat” is a little bit of a misnomer because the plant is neither wheat nor any type of grain or grass. Buckwheat is actually related to common garden sorrel and rhubarb.…

Do You Know Which Way Vines Grow?

MorningGlory Vines Growing Counter Clockwise

The Morning Glories growing near my kitchen porch are beginning to bloom. It is an interesting natural phenomenon that about 92% of all vines and plants that twist and climb, do so in a counterclockwise direction. People living in the northern hemisphere use to believe that vines in the northern hemisphere twisted and grew in…

Growing Dish Towels In The Garden

Tied Flax Shock Against Fence Post

A couple of days ago I harvested the flax that I planted in the early spring. This year’s flax crop did very well because we’ve had plenty of rain. Lots of moisture is of benefit when growing flax. But rain is also a benefit to unwanted garden weeds. The flax plot this year was very…