Wood Prairie Farm Gardening Catalog Review

Fingerling potatoes are narrow little tubers shaped like fingers or crescents and have colorful names like Swedish Peanut, Rose Finn Apple and Russian Banana.

Fingerling Potatoes BlogWhen I posed the question to readers about their favorite seed catalogs, I learned about the Wood Prairie Farm in Maine from TheYarden’s LaManda Joy.

She mentioned she likes the Wood Prairie Farm catalog for its graphics, but she loves the potatoes, too.

Wood Prairie Farm is a family farm in the small town of Bridgewater in the northeastern corner of the state, population 612.

All of its food and seed items are certified organically grown, with most of the crops grown right there on the farm.

The farm has a lot to offer, but organic gardeners will certainly appreciate that owners Jim and Megan Gerritsen have signed the Safe Seed Pledge to not buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants.

Tomato Growers Supply Gardening Review

Tomato Growers Supply Company sent the seeds for my Giant Belgium tomatoes as a free bonus offer for ordering last year. This nearly two-pound tomato lived up to its name.

Giant Belgium blogIf tomatoes are the most popular “vegetable” grown in home gardens, then the Tomato Growers Supply Company catalog must be one of the top catalogs in the country.

Although technically a fruit, tomatoes are grown as a vegetable and just about every gardener I know will go to great lengths to ensure a hearty tomato crop.

Tomato Growers Supply Company is based in Fort Myers, Fla., and carries about 400 varieties of tomatoes, including 10 new varieties for 2010. Despite its name, the Tomato Growers Supply catalog also carries many kinds of peppers, eggplants and tomatillos, too.

Last season I ordered 1 packet of Poblano peppers and 5 kinds of tomato seeds: Marianna’s Peace, Green Zebra, Sprite, Black Cherry and Paul Robeson.

Happy New Year from My Gnome to Yours

Brian, the Garden Gnome, will no doubt bring good luck and more wild birds to my organic garden this year.

Brian the Gnome blogHappy New Gardening Year to you! I hope your year is off to a great start.

If you’re like many other gardeners, you spent some of the cold days of December thinking about your 2009 garden and planning ahead for the 2010 growing season.

Some of the resolutions gardeners posted here for our resolutions contest in December, appeared on the Baltimore Sun Newspaper’s website in Susan Reimer’s “Garden Variety” blog on January 1.

I think every gardener can relate to other gardener’s resolutions. Who hasn’t vowed to set a garden budget and then blow it at the first garden sale in spring? I’m also guilty of going plant crazy, buying too many beautiful plants and then searching for a spot to plant them.

Wacky Poinsettia Suits My Gardening Style

The beautiful colors of this novelty poinsettia are due to unstable genetics.

Sonora Glitter Poinsettia blogPoinsettias are the traditional potted plant for the holiday season and most people prefer those with brilliant red bracts.  Others opt for snowy white or shades of pink to match their decor.

Then there are other plant lovers (like me) who can’t keep their hands off the most unusual plant on the pallet.

That was the case the other day when I was at Home Depot looking over the fresh shipment of poinsettias and caught a glimpse of the one that stood out from all the rest of the picture-perfect specimens. It was the only one like it in the entire display.

The Sonora Glitter has crinkly, red bracts speckled with white and dark green foliage, but some of its bracts are pink and white. I just had to learn more about this plant and tracked down the grower, TGE, from the plant tag.

Denver Botanic Gardens at Night Slide Show

If you won’t have the chance to visit the Denver Botanic Gardens and its holiday light show, here’s a glimpse into the Blossoms of Light winter wonderland. John Pendleton captured these images using the night scenery setting on his camera and a tripod for each long exposure.

Click on “view all images” to see the slide show and to enjoy each scene individually. Be sure to look for the full moon captured in the Peace on Earth photo.

2010 Gardening Resolutions Contest

With the 2009 gardening season just a pleasant memory, it’s time to start planning for 2010.

Gardening Resolutions blogOne of the most important lessons I learned talking with other gardeners at the Garden Writers Symposium in September was that no matter what part of the country you live in, there are gardening challenges.

Too hot or too cold. Too much rain or too little. Hail. Bugs. Poor soil. Short seasons.  Squirrels.

But every gardener I talked with works hard to overcome the obstacles. It could be by using a  new planting technique, a simple trick to improve the soil, choosing different plant varieties, adding more of this or less of that. Sometimes we’re successful and other times we simply give up and resolve to do things differently next time.

Is there something you’ve resolved to do differently next gardening season? I’d love to know.

Santa Loves Molasses Sugar Cookies

Molasses sugar cookies are an old-fashioned favorite.

Molasses Sugar Cookies blogIn December I just can’t stay out of the kitchen. For one thing, it’s warm in there so it makes a perfect refuge for days when the thermometer won’t budge much above zero.

The kitchen is also where I love to pull out old recipes and greet them like long-lost friends.

Molasses Sugar Cookies are John’s favorite cookies and I try to bake at least one batch every holiday season. Ingredients like cloves, ginger and cinnamon combine for a wonderful fragrance that reminds me of an old-fashioned Christmas.

These cookies are easy to make and they bake up crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Because molasses is the key ingredient, these cookies are almost good for you.

Molasses, a sugar derived from sugar cane or sugar beets, gives these cookies their delicious dark brown color and adds a deeper kind of sweetness. The thick brown liquid also contains vitamins and minerals, like iron, calcium and potassium.

Blossoms of Light Kicks Off Holiday Season

See the Denver Botanic Gardens in a whole new light and kick off the holiday season as the Blossoms of Light show returns to the York Street location this year.

Blossoms of Light
Last year the Denver Botanic Gardens was in the midst of its huge renovation project and the annual Blossoms of Light extravaganza was dark in December. I really missed being able to stroll through the gardens on a frosty night, oohing and ahhing at the fabulous light displays and stopping for a hot chocolate along the way.

But Blossoms of Light is back and I can’t wait for the opening this weekend.

If you haven’t seen the gardens decked out in 1 million sparkling LED lights, you haven’t seen it in its full potential.

I love the trees wrapped with red and white lights so the trunks look like giant candy canes. The evergreens decked out in electric blue are stunning, the scene by the lake is something out of a fairy tale.

Gifts for the Gardener in Your Life

The gardeners I know prefer to receive down-to-earth gifts that help save time and effort in the garden, like this basket designed for gardening fun.

Gifts for Gardeners blogIt’s December 1 and time to start thinking about what will warm your gardener’s heart this holiday season. Garden centers, gardening catalogs and web sites  (like aHa! Modern Living) are loaded with gardening gear and gadgets sure to please the gardener in your life.

Need some ideas?

Every gardener I know appreciates high-quality garden tools that will hold up under the toughest gardening chores. Stainless steel tools with hardwood handles are guaranteed to last for many seasons, as are trowels made of a single blade and shank.

Electric hedge trimmers, chipper/shredders and tillers are thoughtful additions to the wish list. Combination tools, like a knife and trowel, simplify transplanting and weeding tasks.

Put the Giving Back into Thanksgiving

The day before Thanksgiving is the day to tie on an apron and deliver a loaf of bread or other baked goodie to someone in need.

Tie One On Day blog
National Tie One On Day
was started by “apron lady” EllynAnne Geisel to help us put the giving back in Thanksgiving.

Her idea is that each of us should use the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as a time of sharing instead of stressing. It’s time to temporarily stop fretting over preparing the large holiday meal and focus on others.

It’s easy to get started. Just take a moment out of your day, wrap a loaf of bread or other baked good in an apron or a towel and deliver it to someone who could use a kind gesture.

This year has been a particularly difficult one for so many of our neighbors, family members and friends, I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t appreciate a home-spun surprise like this.

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