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HerbHouseplants

How to Grow: Aloe Vera

Sun Requirements Bright, indirect light outdoors and a bright room indoors Bloom Period and Plant Shape Outdoors aloe vera has yellow or red flowers in spring depending on the selection. Indoors aloe vera is mostly grown for its succulent leaves and rarely flowers. Mature Height x Spread Outdoors aloe vera can grow mostly to 2 to 3 feet tall and wide depending on the variety with some reaching 10 feet tall. Most indoor aloe vera only grow less than 1 foot tall.  Aloe vera is hardy in USDA zone 8 to 11. It's native to North Africa and...

Annuals

How to Grow: Alyssum

Lobularia maritima Other Name sweet alyssum Sun Requirements Full sun, part sun Bloom Period and Seasonal Color Blooms all summer in colors of white, lavender or pink Mature Height x Spread 4 to 6 inches x  6 to 12 inches Added Benefits attracts butterflies, attracts beneficials, deer resistant   Alyssum is a low growing annual that is known for its carpet of sweet smelling white, violet or purple colored flowers. It grows and flowers best during the coolest parts of the summer in New England, but in northern and coastal areas can be...

AnnualsPodcastVegetable

How to Grow: Amaranth

Listen to this podcast on how to grow for food and beauty. It's been called the Food of the Gods, superfood of the Aztecs and the next “quinoa”. But we known amaranth as mostly an ornamental plant with colorful weeping flower heads. However, more recently amaranth has gained interest as a leafy green in the garden. While farmers continue to experiment with growing amaranth commercially as a grain crop, another way to enjoy this native American vegetable is as a leafy green. Amaranth is related to the common weed, red rooted pigweed. But...

BulbsPodcast

How To Grow: Amaryllis

Learn how to force amaryllis bulbs indoors for winter blooms. Listen to podcast: This flower is named after a shepherdess who had unrequited love for a gardener. Each day she would walk to his door to impress him by piercing her own heart with a golden arrow. The blood that would drop to the ground would turn into scarlet flowers that would line his path. I don't know if that shepherdess ever got her gardener, but I do know her name was amaryllis. This South American tropical bulb is easy to grow and rewarding with its large, 10 inch...

Trees

How to Grow: American Elm

Ulmus americana   Other Name Elm Sun Requirements full sun   Bloom Period and Seasonal Color Grown mostly for it's unique vase shape   Mature Height x Spread 60 to 90 feet x 30 x 70 feet   Added Benefits native   The American elm was the quintessential, deciduous street tree throughout many towns and cities in New England until the Dutch elm disease wiped out many of the trees in the early 1900s. You can see why this was such a prized tree. The large trunk grows up to 90 feet tall and has a huge, vase-shaped top making it...

Perennials

How to Grow: Amsonia

  I first grew amsonia or bluestar perennial flower years ago in a public garden. I was impressed with the size, stature and beautiful light blue flowers that it produced in early summer and gorgeous golden fall foliage. Bluestar is a native plant that should get more recognition. It was the Perennial Plant of the Year back in 2011, but I rarely see it in gardens. Amsonia grows 1- to 3-feet tall and wide depending on the selection. It's an herbaceous perennial, but grows into a small, shrub-like shape with willowy-narrow leaves. There...

Fruit

How to Grow: Apples

Learn about ways to select and plant your own apple tree. Listen to Podcast: podcast transcript Apples (Malus domestica) are one of the easiest fruit trees to grow in our climate. Don't believe me? Just look around. There are thousands of wild apple trees growing in abandoned fields and meadows, left overs and off spring from cultivated varieties on old farms. Some actually taste pretty good and I love wandering fields in fall taste testing these wild apples. While most heirloom or old fashioned varieties grew on trees that could reach 40...

Vegetable

How to Grow: Artichokes

Learn about the best varieties and how to grow artichokes to fruit in one season in the North Listen to Podcast: podcast transcript   Most people think of globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) as a specialty vegetable from California. When I used to visit the Central California coast each winter, I enjoyed wandering the artichoke fields and eating “chokes” right from farm. But now I can grow artichokes right here in the Northeast, too. With new varieties adapted to our climate, globe artichokes no longer are a specialty item, but a...

Vegetable

How to Grow: Arugula

Arugula or rocket (Eruca vesicaria sativa) is an easy to grow, quick maturing Italian green that has rocketed in popularity the last 20 years. I love growing it in cold frames early in spring for the first taste of fresh greens. Because of its cold tolerance it can withstand freezing temperatures and still survive. I've even seen a fall crop overwinter with a little winter protection. It's best eaten while the weather is cool. The dark green, tender leaves have a nutty, spicy flavor. If grown in the heat, overcrowded, or water stressed,...

blogPodcastVegetable

How to Grow: Asian Greens

Listen to this podcast and read more about growing and caring for Asian Greens in the vegetable garden.   podcast transcript Asian greens (Brassica rapa, B. juncea) used to be thought of as just bok choi. However, with the advent of interest in Asian cuisine, people are growing a wide variety of Asian greens with flavors from mild to spicy. Leaf colors range from purple leaved mustards to the white-ribbed Komatsuna. The leaf shapes can be flat and spoon-shaped, long and round, or thin and serrated. I like mixing young or baby Asian...