Gardening

12:51pm

Tue February 28, 2012
The Salt

Weird Winter Has Gardeners Itching To Plant, Despite The Risks

Plant now, and in a month your spinach might look like this. It's a hardy plant that can survive late frost.
iStockPhoto.com

Right about now, gardeners are aching to get out and plant. Usually, in the February dregs of winter, that desire is dashed by cold, wet, maybe even frozen soil. But this year is different.

Here in Washington, D.C., snowdrops came up almost a month ago, and the daffodils have been blooming for two weeks. It's tempting to think that if these harbingers of spring showed up three weeks ahead of schedule, it's safe to plant early, too.

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10:47am

Wed February 22, 2012
The Salt

Can Gardening Help Troubled Minds Heal?

Women's Correctional Community Center inmate Lilian Hussein checks on ti leaves she planted as part of the prison's farming and gardening program in Kailua, Hawaii. The green ti leaves are often used to wrap food or weave into leis.
Jennifer Sinco Kelleher AP

If you haven't noticed, gardens are popping up in some unconventional places – from prison yards to retirement and veteran homes to programs for troubled youth.

Most are handy sources of fresh and local food, but increasingly they're also an extension of therapy for people with mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; depression; and anxiety.

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1:17pm

Tue February 14, 2012
The Two-Way

Warm Winter Leads To Early Blooms In Northeast

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 4:16 pm

Kristin Schleiter, of the New York Botanical Garden, in front blooming red camellias.
Margot Adler NPR

If you live in the Northeast, this has been a wacky winter: It has been deathly cold in Eastern Europe, as flowers bloom in New York City and temperatures rise to the high 40s and even 50s.

I went in search of flowers in bloom and was not disappointed. There were bushes of red camellias, and gorgeous yellow flowering Adonis. Kristin Schleiter is the acting director of outdoor gardens at the New York Botanical Garden. She took me to an outdoor test garden.

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11:01am

Fri February 10, 2012
Garden Report

For Color, Variety and Flavor, Try Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom varieties including Black Princes, Green Zebras and Riesentrauben
Bethany Nowviskie Flickr/Creative Commons

Thinking about trying something new in the veggie garden this season? If so, KUNC Gardener Tom Throgmorton suggests trying something old...

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12:04pm

Thu January 26, 2012
The Salt

Gardening Map Of Warming U.S. Has Plant Zones Moving North

The new version of the map includes 13 zones, with the addition for the first time of zones 12 (50-60 degrees F) and 13 (60-70 degrees F).
U.S. Department of Agriculture

It's official: Gardeners and farmers can count on warmer weather. If that's you, it might be a good time to rethink those flower and vegetable beds for this year's growing season.

That's the word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which released a new version of its "Plant Hardiness Zone Map" this week, the first update since 1990. The color-coded zones on this map of the United States are widely used as a guide for what perennial flowers will survive in a particular area, or when to plant your vegetables.

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