Labor Day's ambivalent spark (with a dash of basil)

(When WVFC asked its writers to contribute some thoughts about Labor Day and the back-to-school season, we were nearly overwhelmed with smart thoughts. Stay tuned for more pairings this week. Below, Ainslie Uhl and Diane Vacca speak to that elegiac edge, when we can't decide whether to grieve summer or push forward. -- Ed.) ...more

Digging the Dirt: Is Growing Your Own Economical?

Is growing your own vegetables economical? With many families starting new victory gardens this year, the question is timely. Michael Tortorello analyzed the costs/value of his new garden this year and his conclusion: based only on a cost/savings analysis, growing your own is anything but a money-saving hobby.  ...more

I don't have a backyard yet, but I received an indoor gardening contraption for ...more

Reflections of another 60 something gardener

From my good friend Fran Waksler, posted on my /website for women who are retired at ...more

More reflections of a 60 something gardener

Supposedly one of the consolations of getting older is that people get less neurotic as they age. I don’t know if I’m less neurotic in general, but I sure am less neurotic as a gardener. For one thing I don’t obsess about dead plants. My guess is that I’ve lost about one third of what I’ve planted. From my unscientific survey of other gardeners, this seems to be par for the course. I’ve accepted the fact that some plants (like some people) sicken and die before their time. It happens. ...more

Gardening in one’s 60’s

In my early 40’s I developed a passion for gardening. Unfortunately, my gardening mania developed after my husband and I bought a house with a tiny backyard. We liked the house, which was certainly big enough, but the yard was a postage stamp. I longed for more space. Container gardening just doesn’t do it for me. ...more

Digging the Dirt: Late Blight is Destroying Tomatoes and Farmers

Question: This year, did you purchase your vegetable gardens plants from a big-box home improvement/garden center store?  Or did you start your plants from seed, or purchase starters from your locally supplied nursery?  The decision of many home gardeners -especially first-time vegetable gardeners- to plant starters purchased from big-box stores is being called the reason for the Late Blight that has destroyed tomato crops along the North East and Midwest. ...more


I'm truly heart broken for the local organic farmers who were trying to meet a ...more

Creating a Beautiful Garden for FREE or on a NOMINAL Budget

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Tips for Preserving the Harvest.

I thought it was fascinating that many of the respondents to BlogHer's question: How do you practice a sustainable lifestyle? answer with some theme of gardening.  The same day I read this, I was chatting with a friend who mourned the loss from peeling all her peaches to make jam.  I realized that many may be embarking on the food preservation trail without all the help and guidance they could use.  So here we will be gathering tips and ideas for preserving ...more


While there are some fussy fruits and combos that may take a while to finally jell, I ...more

Kids + the garden = One fabulous home-grown lesson in horticulture

I’m the first to admit: as a kid, I was not all that helpful in the garden. By not all that helpful, I mean that my Dad and I spent a legendary afternoon (or, perhaps, a legendary 20 minutes, depending on who tells the story) when I “helped” pick beans at the community garden plot he cultivated when I was in middle and high school. My pre-teen attitude ensured I was never invited back to the garden again. ...more

I found out that most kids will only get involve when you make it seem like you're just ...more

Fried Freakin' Green Tomatoes

My sweet little brother has grown into quite a hard working, responsible family man. He has a cute little wife he's been in love with since he was like 12 years old and they are expecting their first baby in a couple of months. He's fixing up a little farm house for them to live forever in, and works the family business. (He's not all that perfect though, he is my brother, I lived with him for 25 years and know what he smells like, sounds like, and looks like after he's slept for 15 hours.) ...more