Last updated on September 8th, 2019
Can you get away for a moment? I’d love to offer you a virtual garden tour of my Kitchen Garden. After weeks of cold, wet, and downright- dreary weather, the veggies and flowers there are finally singing “June is Bustin’ Out All Over.”
I hope you know that Broadway song. It’s from the 1956 musical “Carousel.”
To join the tour, simply click the “play” arrow below:
I hope you enjoyed this little garden tour. Also, I hope you will forgive your host. She seemed overly-chatty today. Oh, the trouble one has finding decent docents. Or at least sober docents.
As mentioned, Proven Winners (a national plant-propagation company) sent me a few plants (okay, 36 plants) to “test” in my garden. The plants are new for 2020.
Why Proven Winners selected me for this (unpaid) plant-trial job, I don’t rightly know. I suspect the selection had something to do with the well-dressed audience that reads the blog I’ve been writing for the past 10 fun years. In any event, I’ll review the plants in detail when summer is over. So please stay tuned.
And please, please, please post a comment below, telling me about your own garden! I’d love to know if your plants, like mine, got a slow start this summer due to less-than-ideal growing conditions. On the other hand, if you’re already harvesting tomatoes, please know that I AM JEALOUS OF YOU.
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Jody Mandel says
Yes, I had problems with some New Guinea Impatiens that almost died
because of too much water.
I lost a couple of begonias because of all the water.
I must say though that my shrubs look very lush and green because of all the rain.
This must be what spring is like in the UK.
Now that it has finally gotten warmer, I need to remember to water…..
That lovage looks interesting. I think I’ll try. Thanks for the tip!
Love your videos!
Zone 7 here – Annapolis – and I picked and ate my first Sun Gold cherry tomatoes yesterday. Yum!
Kevin, do you get any particular straw to use for mulch? I have read about others using it and ending up with tons of weeds from seeds in the straw? What do you think about fresh grass clippings? I love your gardens and videos!
We are on the eastern coast of NC. Due to poor soil and high winds I stick to container gardening. So far so good! Lots of tomatoes already. Cucumbers and eggplant are on their way!!
Kevin, Love , Love your YouTube videos!! You have shared good tips and your beautiful garden!
Marcia Chambers says
Lots of disasters with too much water, not enough sunlight, not enough warmth. Great crop of peas, but also world record weeds.
Beth Yeko says
Hi Kevin, I loved your kitchen garden video. Here in southern Wisconsin, we had similar weather as you and my garden has been slow to grow. My tomato plants are now flowering and hopefully will start to fruit soon. The flowers are beginning to grow because summer weather is finally here, as are the mosquitos. I used a lot of the Proven Winner plants in my pits each year and have typically been pleased with the end result. Thanks again.
Shelagh from Ailsa Craig says
I would love to know more about your irrigation system and how you have kept weeds out of your garden paths. Mine are a disaster with weeds springing up everywhere. I’m having A1 weed success but tomatoes a month behind due to cold & rain. Wondering if I over composted garden beds as zucchini leaves turning yellow.
Love your garden and all the room you have to create and nurture!!!
Priscilla Zachary says
Gd Sunday morning Kevin…I liked your tour of the kitchen garden and envy all the spce you have to work in. My garden also got a slow start here in Indiana due to all the rain and gloom..but now that the sun is out and the temps are reaching into the 80’s and 90’s…my plants are “taking off’! My favorite plant so far this year has been the Chinese Forget-me-nots. they have bloomed a fantastic blue and greet me every morning from my deck boxes.
Another great tour, Kevin! Interested in your response to Chris’ question about using straw for mulch. We here in central MD had a rainy and cool start this year again (not complaining about the mild temps!)…like Marcia I had a good crop of peas this year and I’m still harvesting cilantro. Speaking of which, I wish you’d post on how you preserve things like spinach, lettuce, cilantro, and other leafy crops. I’m experimenting with freezing spinach and cilantro, but would like to hear your experience. Thanks, Kevin…always look forward to Sunday mornings and your posts!
Here in Utah, we have had a very wet and stormy spring. I’ve had to protect my plants from hail and heavy rain storms. Everything is sluggish and (like yours) finally growing now. Fingers crossed! Thanks for the tour. You are always so inspiring.
Mary W says
Talk about late starts – I planted mine two days ago. Gorgeous, beautiful kitchen/herb/cottage garden just outside my front door. It was a gift from my daughter and SIL and they had someone design and dig and plant it finishing on Friday. I’m overwhelmed at it’s beauty and tasty inhabitants. Not really vegetables but herbs and edible plants with a few others I can’t resist. It includes a tiny path, gorgeous granite edging, and a soon to be found bubbling bird bath. I keep going out to just look. My favorite part was the day it was done, my grandkids asked to walk in it and taste stuff. They went to each plant and asked if they could taste it and I told them if it was edible and how to pick a leaf or flower. Then they had to tell me what they thought it was. They are 4 and 10.. It was a happy day for me to have them laughing and learning and tasting – what a joy. All this time I didn’t realize I could eat the flowers of my gorgeous big althea that became the centerpiece of this tiny garden – they are delicious. I have saved a bunch of dandelions to add in among everything as I pick the flowers each morning for a cup of tea. It hadn’t rained in my area of Florida in quite awhile but on Friday night it broke open and Sat AM I went to see how it survived and they were all standing higher and straighter and happier than before. I’m a happy camper right now and enjoyed visiting your garden. Will make a cucumber/mint sandwich for lunch.
We had so much rain this winter and spring that took a toll on my garden (I garden in Maryland). Most of the bulbs I planted this spring did not come up, and some I planted this fall as well. The bare root plants I tried also had a high failure rate. The aphids are infesting most of the plants, and I spray daily with Neem. I am considering ordering lady bugs. Has anyone tried this remedy?
The trees, shrubs, and weeds however loved all the rain! The trees must have grown a foot! I have a 1 and1/2 acre yard with many beautiful trees, so that makes me happy.
I will try to replant this fall when, hopefully, we have better weather. Sounds like weather has been challenging globally with France setting a record of 113 degrees this week! Unfortunately, I believe we will be dealing with these challenges now every year.
Jennifer Barrett says
Reading your weekly email has become a nice little habit of mine while enjoying my first cup of coffee on Sunday mornings. I particularly enjoyed watching your garden tour video this morning, and I thank you for that. You have inspired me to revisit my “in the ground” garden next year, particularly the relatively deer proof onions and leeks. I have a tomato, some peppers, and some herbs in containers on the deck. My most joyful deck experience this year has been the goldfinches on the feeders.
Very slow start in my northern WI garden, too, but now growing strong. My scarlet runner beans are sprinting up the fence!
I noticed a potato-leaf tomato plant in one of your photos and wondered which variety it is? (My favorite is the potato-leaf Stupice tomato).
Colleen Carroll-Nisbett says
Good morning from Canada!
My garden was slow, IS slow because of the cold and damp spring. Waiting for the heat to help things take off, my plants need sun!!
The trees and shrubs are the most beautiful this year! My dream of a garden that has all year interest is coming to fruition with flowers, texture and foliage color in succession.
Zinnias are not as happy- Like you, I planted in early June and had to replant to get the spindly creatures I have now-
Maybe July and August will bring them into bloom.
Susan-Marie Beauchemin says
Lovely tour! Thanks. My fellow east-central Vermonters (villagers & mountain folks, too) have gardens also sluggish until the sun really began its job, just a few weeks ago. Everything seems to be happily popping now 🙂
Oh ghee. I’m glad to see it isn’t ME. My Western MA garden is pitifully slow this year. I did get garlic scapes, but even they were slow coming. Tomatoes are now approaching knee high to the gradshppper and my snap peas are FINALLY puttin’ out. Yep. We need SUN – all those overcast days put a hurtin on growth for sure. Let’s all do a SIN DANCE for the wellbeing of our food sources.
…might have to try leeks next year
cindy meurer says
Thanks, Kevin, for sharing your photos and commentaries with all of your readers. We were on vacation in May for 3 weeks. When we drove up to the house, we COULD NOT BELIEVE what the beds looked like! The perennials had potential if they could battle the giant, lurking weeds. Have been working to clear those out. We live in n.e. Ohio, in area #6.
Thanks for the tour!
Here’s a question: At what point in the potato plant’s life do you stop covering the leaves? I always thought that they needed to be hilled up until fall. I like your approach better; it would be great if you could clarify!
We, too, had torrential rains this spring, and while the trees and shrubs all loved it, the weeds were the clear winners. It’s been challenging to keep up with the weeding, but we did have our first Early Girl tomato last week: a 1.5″ little beauty that tasted like heaven. Surely a sign of more good things to come! We planted a willow tree in the wettest corner of our yard, in hopes of it both thriving there and helping to control some of the flooding. It’s an ongoing battle, I’m afraid.
Did you know that you can pick a lovage stem, trim it and use it as a straw in a bloody Mary? The stems are hollow. It would work in V-8 or any other savory drink. It is a useful herb, but a little goes a long way.
Spring this year has been wonderful for hydrangeas, gardenias, hellebore and azaleas. Now we are in the 90’s plus, so trying to keep things watered is a challenge. My herb pots are doing well, but my impatiens are being pulled up and enjoyed my darling little squirrels. They think the pots are planted for their snacking. Crape myrtle are starting to bloom and putting on a lovely show. Knockout roses have bloomed, been cut back and already blooming again. Lots of birds, lots of flowers, happy butterflies and bees, what more could I want except a little cooler temps.
Your videos always inspire. Cucumber and mint sandwiches coming up today.
Your garden is thriving and lovely to look at. I can’t grow much because of my oak shaded property but I’ve potted a determinate tomato in a patch of sun and it’s finally flowering, although I have to determine what is eating the bottom leaves. I love your vlog on a Sunday morning and follow you on FB also. Don’t know if you follow others, but Proven Winners partners with a site called “Garden Answer” to test some of their test plants. I think you would enjoy that site, being the garden lover and master that you are. Thank you for sharing, Kevin.
Dorinda Uhl says
Rain was my not my friend as it seems you had the same experience. Planted many Petunias in containers only to have the weather from hel…well, you know. God awful. Finally this week the last week in June I have notice some maybe hope. Some plants have thrived and others are down right looking like…well…again, you know. I gave up veggie growing since there are way too many deer,ground hogs,rabbits,raccoons,ummm…did I leave anybody out? I have done it in the past with tall 6′ fence above ground and 2′ buried only to watch a ground hog climb the fence. I kid you not. We have lot of wonderful farmers markets and farm stands around us so i’ll let them fight the animals etc. Enjoyed your tour.
Cold and wet spring resulted in things going in late and poor seed germination – except for the weeds, they came up fine. Now it’s hot, humid and the mosquitoes and biting gnats are horrible. Not fun to be in garden.
Thanks so much for the lovely tour (sans mosquitoes!) makes me miss my Michigan garden so much.
Mosquitoes and humidity go together like peas and carrots except the mosquito offers no benefit. The bites can get infected plus who knows what viruses mosquitoes are carrying! There is a natural way to help control this nasty pest and add beauty to the garden at the same time: Purple Martins, dragonflies and damselflies all provide the same courtesy to gardeners – they eat mosquitoes. Thousands per day! To attract the Purple Martins requires a condo-style tiered birdhouse. Living near a pond or lake is also helpful. For the dragonflies/damsels, an artificial backyard pond will do. Make it from scratch, a kit or a barrel. No aeration necessary. Lotus flowers or water lilies provide to right surface for these beneficial insects to lay eggs. Of course, bats are voracious insect eaters too but most gardeners prefer not to attract them. The Purple Martins and dragonflies worked for me in Michigan. Hope this works for you too. Thanks for the lovely tour!
We’ve had FEET of rain and (until last week), lovely, moderate temps here in Southeastern PA. The weeds are ginormous… on the plus side, we’ve had great lettuces, spinach, radishes, carrots, peas, cabbage, and herbs. Thank heaven vegetables have no calories!
Sunni Dupuis says
Horrid weather for gardening. Always a short challenging growing season in the north woods. Yields are minimal at best. Loved the tour….left me drooling.
We are in Upstate New York so we had the same weather conditions as you did. My green beans never came up (the poor things probably drowned) so I’ll replant a row or two and see what happens now. My pepper plants, broccoli and kale are all so happy–it must be all the rain. The cucumbers are doing well, too (I bought plants), and the tomatoes are looking very good. You have reminded me to check those suckers. Our sweet potato plants are doing well but I am thinking of looking for some white potato sets after seeing yours. I’d at least get some small potatoes. What do you think? Thanks for your tour. It means a lot to all of us!
Samantha Gray says
Wet, cold sprig on Long Island, so everything got a late start here also and, like you, I had to replant. Now with sun and heat, it’s all shooting up. My zinnias are strong, The calendula is taking over and bachelor buttons are finally growing. The peas have been wonderful, beans (purple, green and wax bush varieties) are flowering now, and the cucumbers and tomatoes are beginning to gain some height. All the daylilies are flowering, and so is the Bouncing Bet. I believe every garden needs a little wildness – just like people – so I let the Bouncing Bet, Greater Celandine, three kinds of Violets, Goldenrod and Sedge live in the gardens here. They were on the property when the house was built, along with a thriving stand of blackberries which I saved from the over-zealous builder’s machinations. (“Take these out at your peril!!”). Yes, we have to dig out the shoots to keep them under control, but they give us quarts of fruit every summer, so they are well worth it. Love your garden tours – thank you for sharing with us!
What a wonderful white euphorbia…I’ll be looking for that next year from Proven Winners. We’ll have to see if it survives the winter and comes back next year in your own garden. Thanks for the tour!
Marcy MacDonald says
Just moved back to Illinois and my tomatoes and cucumbers etc are doing wonderful. The dirt here is so nice and black and I can dig down with my hands instead of using a shovel. Tn is wonderful but it was hard planting nothing but clay. Had to go and buy dirt to plant. But minus the dirt Tn. was so beautiful, I will miss that part.
Always a pleasure watching your videos, especially the garden. I can no longer garden due to health issues but I love it vicariously through your blogs!
Like you I am not having any luck with seeds coming up. I will be looking forward to seeing your harvest as the season progresses.
Karen Schadel says
Wonderful tour…thank you for sharing it with us! I noticed your drip irrigation watering system and am wondering what you do with it in the wintertime? Do you just disconnect everything from the faucet water source? Recently moved to NC from Upstate NY and need to install an irrigation system as individual watering is far too time consuming, but still need to be concerned about hoses and winter temperatures here. Thanks for any watering tips you might have.
What a beautiful garden. Thanks for all your wonderful ideas
Suzanne K says
I’m in So Cal. I was going to take a year off from most gardening (planned on just taking care of everything already here, no new plants, no seeds, no veggies…) but I’m a sucker. I had two volunteer cherry tomato plants and I just don’t have the heart to not take care of them, sooooo…. I will have cherry tomatoes this summer! I’m envious of all the delicious goodies that everyone will be harvesting this summer and fall, but will enjoy my time off, for now.
Pam R. says
Thank you for your tour, Kevin! I’m jealous as usual. Even with the rough start, the garden looks wonderful. Here in SW Florida, I will start my container gardening in the fall. My purple basil, thyme and flat leaf Italian parsley are doing fine in the shade of my porch, with their daily watering.
Looking forward to your next garden video! Or any video you make!
I enjoy reading all of your articles.
What is that pretty lavender plant with the yellow on it that is shown on this page? It kind of looks like a snapdragon but I’m not sure.
I’m an avid flower gardener living in zone 8, Alabama. I shop through catalogs to buy lots of my plants, this way, I can get a beautiful variety of them. I love anything that blooms and preferably a perennial that will come back year after year.
Kevin Lee Jacobs says
Hi Deborah – Thanks for watching the video. The plant to which you are referring is Nemisia fruiticans ‘Aromance Pink.’ It has a lovely scent. The plant will be available from Proven Winners in the spring of 2020. Perennial in zones 8-11; annual elsewhere.
Love your garden! I’ve just harvested a small basket of tomatoes and cucumbers here in southwest Virginia, but I can’t seem to get my zinnia’s to grow this year and I love my zinnias.
Thanks for the garden tour. Your gardening articles are what inspired and started my obsession with indoor and outdoor gardening. I had wonderful blooms all winter long from bulb forcing and am now reeling the benefits of winter sowing. Of all the gardening websites and podcasts I’ve tuned into since, your site is still my favorite.
I’m also in zone 5b and my tomatoes are struggling with “catfacing.” The recent hail storm wrecked havoc in my garden but like your zinnias, we just keep on keeping on.
Janet G. Metzger says
I have many tomatoes on the vine (2 different heritage types); they have sat there green for at least 2 weeks; I am starting to pick them and bring them in to see if they will turn red. I have picked some okra, but it is not setting or ripening quickly. Thousands of cucumber blossoms. Not one cucumber (that has been since May? June?) There are a few bees in the fennel, a very few butterflies in the Greg’s Mist, and one hummingbird on the new salvia gregii. Zinnia have just started to bloom…….So that’s the news from Duncanville, on the south side of Dallas. An unusual beginning…..
Kevin… love your tours… rain rain rain and did I say more rain in St. Louis. Thus zinnias off to slow start, coneflowers in full bloom with lots of beautiful bees…. and I’m enjoying the tea I make from the purple coneflower leaves… which I also slip into my smoothies. The tomatoes… (all from last years seed from the tomatoes I grew). finally have blooms on them with small fruit… I plant the globe, and grape. I also have a few surprise plants that popped up… and nurturing them… love surprises. Had to plant basil. 3 times… I think seed washed away… finally popping up again. And my cukes… trial number 3 …. the birds or squirrels know where the seeds are and dig em up. I protected them this time and finally have cukes about 3 inches high. My mint is glorious and I’m on 3rd harvest for tea…. I use it fresh and dry it to store up for winter. All the evergreens are lush and my boxwood large and small doing fabulously. Coral bells are thriving wonderfully and the sole complaint about my hostas are the bugs…. I do use mint spray… which keeps them at bay… but when it rains I’m out spraying again. FYI… I use essential oil peppermint spray as a natural bug spray… works great around house lights… porch lights… but you need to reapply frequently. Meanwhile, I’ll endure the humidity and heat… and yes more rain is expected. Have a lovely safe fourth… and you’ve inspired me to try the lovage.
We are in Missouri and had a longer, slower, wet spring that has been great for our flowers. I have cherry tomatoes in pots on the deck because trees are shading the raised beds too much. I think I’ve picked five tomatoes, and I know a squirrel got at least one, because it bit it in half and just LEFT it. Such a waste. The sugar snaps have finished, which is good because the dahlias I planted between them needed the vines to go away so they could get more sun. My zinnias (also in former veggie beds) are doing well. The basil is having a terrible year, and I suspect it’s the excess rain. I am trying leeks for the first time, and am very excited to see how they do. I have a few peppers developing, and more to come. I think that’s about it for my sadly shaded veggie garden….except for more herbs which are fine. Oh, and my chard doesn’t look great. Possibly not enough sun in its corner. Thanks for the tour!
Greetings from Ottawa, Ontario!
Super slow start over here as well. Our lilacs were in bloom almost one month later than normal. Tulips came out right on time for the Festival, almost miraculously after so much rain and cold.
Cherry tomatoes are still just a wish, but plants are now looking happy.
It is delightful to visit your beautiful garden, thank you!
We are in N. Illinois and also experienced heavy rains and slow growing gardens.
My Zinnia are not doing well either.
I love Nemesia. I have grown it for the last 3 yrs. but have a hard time finding it.
This year I sent for seeds from Etsy co. But none grew!
badger gardener says
That nemesia is so pretty. I have had a similar start to the garden season here in WI, cold and wet. The last 2 weeks have been lots of thunderstorms, heat, and humidity so things are starting to take off now.
Appreciate the tour! Looking forward to your posts about the Proven Winners plants and your herb garden tour. I have not planted much this year, so it’s fun to see what other gardeners are doing and to get ideas for next year. Thanks, Kevin!
Yes to a very slow start, and plants still not doing well in south central KY. The sun lovers have almost drowned, begonias have rotted, mildew and a host of other things have attacked everything.
What’s left are attacked by beetles. Then the sun came out on several near 90 degree days and scorched the remaining leaves. It’s been a hard season for plants and especially new trees.
Vicki K says
Hi Kevin, Greetings from Florida. I enjoyed your garden tour secretly wishing I had that much room to grow all the veggies I love. I now container garden and it can be a challenge. The weather here is unpredictable with extremely hot days for weeks and then the rains come. I managed to keep a petunia growing all Winter and now in Summer I switch out plants that are stressing with ones that love the heat. I have a jungle on my patio and just love to enjoy my morning coffee with the birds and plants.
I live in SW Missouri 50 miles north of Springfield. Like you we started off damp and cool. But the garden is in full swing now. We just had a 5 inch drenching with lots of electrical action. The garden is just ‘electric’ right now.
Barbara Williams says
Kevin – If you haven’t been to the Proven Winners trial gardens in NH, you should go. You would love it – it is an extraordinary place and one learns SO much!
Karen at Country Gardens of Oley Valley says
Kevin, love your site. well here in Oley, PA ……RAIN, RAIN, RAIN. I have some huge tomatoes in my Earth Boxes, (I am up in the hills of Oley Valley and I grow tons of rock) but are green. wow, just looked out the window and the sun popped out. At least I think it is called sun. had down pours last night and will get more tonight, and Monday, Tuesday and, and, and. My spider worts are doing fantastic and the bees are loving them. Something ate my small sun flower. only two zinnias lasted. my reblooming lilies are doing fine. blueberries are finally doing well, except I have some caterpillars and their webs – have to take a bucket of water/soap out and get rid of them.
Sue in Oregon says
We have eaten several tomatoes from our loaded vines and we live on the OR coast. I must add that I cheat a little. I buy transplants when they first come out and find the biggest they have. Then, I bring them home to my cool type greenhouse, repot them and let them grow until it is time to be planted outdoors. By then they have loads of blooms and even some tiny tomatoes on them. This year we planted them in black landscape fabric on top of rich compost soil. On top of the landscape, we laid drip tape. I cannot believe the difference all of this made in the earliness of our tomato crop. Oh…and of course, they are in a nice warm spot reserved just for them.
Pam Barker says
It’s amazing watching your ‘tours’ from here in hot and sunny Shropshire in England. My tomatoes don’t even have flowers yet ! We had such high temperatures at Easter, that was back in mid April, since when it has been cold, wet and windy. Now we have another very hot spell. Mostly the garden is very green and lush with roses, mimulus, pansies, wallflowers, lobelia, lilac and butterfly bushes all in bloom. The apple tree is weighed down with fruit. That’s my garden today.
PS I love your new cookbook.
Those teardrop tomatoes look neat! Might be good as fried green ones if you can’t wait. Love radishes. Thanks for recipe. And remember… You’re always “thumbs up” with me.
Such a beautiful garden. I live in Northern Canada and growing season is pretty short. Thanks for sharing
Your garden looks great! My garden are a mess. My veggie garden was wet for the first month so it was sluggish getting started. We were away for a week and the weeds grew like… Weeds. Lol. I’m planning warfare for tomorrow. The plants at my house in the yard are beautiful. The weeds took over the back garden so I’ll be planning warfare there soon too. No rest for the weary.
I live in the northern panhandle of West Virginia. I was late putting in the garden because of cold and wet weather. It has finally taken off because now the weather is very hot and rainy. The only problem I am having is no tomatoes on the plants until lately because the nights were so cold at first. Hopefully they will be okay because there is nothing better than home canned spaghetti sauce. I put newspapers and straw on top for mulch. Very labor intense at first but now I don’t need to weed only enjoy vegetables from the garden.
Lauren Ziemski says
Hi, Kevin! Greetings from Down The Shore, New Jersey where we’re wringing out the underthings we left on the clothesline to dry. Talk about one helluva wet summer so far! The great news is that I built your tomato trellis and my heart sings every time I go out to visit my beauties! I just love the contrast of the blond wood against the lush greenery. Oh, and it holds up the tomatoes well, too. Like a good Jersey girl, I am growing San Marzanos, (still green) but the real joy has been in watching my two little girls pick the Hawaiian Currant variety from the vines and pop them into their mouths like candy. Snap peas did great, as did the arugula. Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans are still… wondering when to stop growing, I think, so they can finally make beans. Lotsa pole. No beans. Zucchini nearly rotted to death (because of water? Bugs?) but we still harvested a few. Pickling cukes coming in slow but steady. Love your advice and your enthusiasm! Please keep sharing! My garden wants to be your garden when it grows up 🙂
Last year my favorite tomato plants were Sun Gold and this year is Taxi which is a lovely yellow determinate, all growing well as well as bell pepper plants. I live in the Hudson Valley, here in NY. I love your background music
Today was the first ripe tomato. I faithfully followed your suggestions to grow my tomato, first time in a raised bed. The salad was great. Planning to try the blueberry yogurt cheesecake I stumbled across in an old posting. Thank you.
Jay Oldridge says
Kevin, I have had probs with straw introducing unwanted bugs into my gardens, so I looked for a cost effective alternative mulch… now, as I used to raise Scotties, I still had left over bags of horse bedding that I had used for the baby Scotties airing yard…..so, you guessed it, I used the cedar bedding for mulch this year- and NO BUGS! It hold water beautifully, smells great, does not seem to have any adverse effects on my veg or fruit plants or even flowers and I am so happy! One BLOCK of this is about 3 ft long and produces as much mulch as three bags of regular mulch, and so is VERY cost effective… any cons you can think of? Thank You for the lovely ideas for co-planting flowers with Veg and herbs! I always love your tours. Jay