Edibles with Ease: When to Get Growing from Seeds or from Starts? Read more »
In my side yard which is mostly shade, I have tried a variety of perennials that thrive in a woodland setting. Read more »
Make your garden even more welcoming to birds and butterflies: turn it into a certified wildlife habitat. Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Keep your lawn and your shoes clean and free of clippings by adding our innovative, sturdy Grass Catcher to your StaySharp™ Ree... Read more »
The Salsa Rain Barrel System makes it easy to collect up to 58 gallons of water for your garden and lawn. Our rain barrel is ma... Read more »
Make the most of National Craft Month by preparing some craft kits for your children - let them explore color, texture and dif... Read more »
This is the second how-to in a series focused on getting the most out of your basic paper punches. Read more »
Spring brings in the most wonderful colors and here is a fun way to add a touch of color to your gifts! Read more »
Our ProCision™ Rotary Bypass Trimmer features a unique dual-rail system that stabilizes the rotary blade, eliminating wiggle fo... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of crafting and mixed media tasks, our Amplify® Mixed Media Shears sense blade separation and force th... Read more »
Available online and at your local retailer May 2014 Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with... Read more »
My idea is to show everyone that they can make something cute and fashionable without spending a lot of money. Read more »
Embellishing a plain shirt using a reverse appliqué technique is easy - and your kids will love their personalized outfit! Read more »
This year, it seems like spring is way overdue at our house. Read more »
Perfect for tight, precise cuts, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force the blades back togethe... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
Perfect for users with larger hands or anyone who needs to make long cuts through multiple layers, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabr... Read more »
I always look forward to school being out for the summer (more so than my children, probably!) and the change of pace means we... Read more »
This fun project is a great way to send a little love note to your child. These lunchbox notes can be slipped into a backpack... Read more »
Here is a fun craft for St. Patrick’s Day that is not only adorable, it makes kids stop and think about how lucky they are. Read more »
Children love our Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the handle that’s shiny, bright and smooth, not “sticky” or “bumpy.” Teachers and... Read more »
Our Big Kids Scissors take the basic design of our teacher-recommended Kids Scissors and enlarge them for kids that are a littl... Read more »
Our Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those older children who ar... Read more »
Introduced to the world as a quality fabric scissors, the Original Orange-Handled Scissors redefined the standard for cutting p... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Super Pruner/Lopper, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear... Read more »
Our Comfort Loop Rotary Cutter with a 45 mm blade makes cutting a wide variety of quilting materials comfortable and easy. A cu... Read more »
Designers may select plant combos based on the amount of sunlight, water and soil type in a garden bed. They may create layers of beauty by weaving together mixtures of fuzzy, water capturing leaves with strands of hair like grasses. Or they may look at building a bed filled with layers of color that change throughout the year in an ever-changing rainbow of seasonal flowers, leaves and fruit. And, quite often a garden’s splendor is the result of a not-so-obvious careful combination of plants that provide for one another in ways that are nothing short of symbiotic. The result: healthy, gorgeous, productive and lower maintenance outdoor spaces.
One of the most well known cooperative-planting combos is known as a 3-sisters garden. In these designs squash, corn and bean family plants are grown in combination and are usually very lovely and bountiful. The corn provides the bean a climbing tower. The beans build nitrogen, which the corn craves. And the squash grows below, shading out weeds. Win-win-win.
At Summer Run Farm, Organic CSA farmer Cathryn Baerwald takes a different approach to building symbiosis in the vegetable beds. In some spaces, she plants crimson clover – a well-known cover crop – in the beds with her pumpkins and other fall squash plants. The clover fixes nitrogen and helps keep down weeds among the squash plants. If she gets the timing right, those clover flowers will attract the bees and other insects she needs to get the squash plants pollinated and forming delicious fruit. Plus, by the time she harvests the fall squash, it’s generally too late to till her soggy fields. Fortunately, she’s already got a growing cover crop in place for the winter ahead. And, the fields look fantastic!
Another trick from Cathryn’s fields of plenty is to mix pest-prone plants with plants that attract pest predator insects. Aphids arrive throughout the growing year, and before you know it, they’ll suck the life right out of your beautiful plants. Fortunately, lady beetles (aka lady bugs) and soldier beetles will devour aphids fast. Rather than pay to order bags of predator bugs from a nursery or farm supplier, consider planting their favorite foods near those aphid-prone plants. On the farm, Cathryn seeds cilantro in the shade of her corn. The cilantro thrives and produces a delicious harvest in a slightly cooler, protected environment, which the corn provides. Once the cilantro blooms, the nectar-loving soldier beetles flock toward the banquet, slurping up nectar and rounding out their sweet tooth with some protein-rich corn-sucking aphids on the side. And, bonus! The feathery white flowers above delicate cilantro leaves is stunning below the sturdy, masculine stalks of maze. Imagine how lovely that same lacy look would be combined with your aphid-ridden roses!
Even if your plot isn’t farm-sized, planting your garden with symbiosis in mind will help reduce your maintenance, improve your garden productivity, all while giving you a beautiful, healthy outdoor setting to enjoy at home.
**Farm photos provided courtesy of FarmGirlCSA.com