Category Archives: Organic Gardening Tips

Watering And Pruning Plants In Autumn

The winter damage to which trees and shrubs are susceptible often stems from their inability to draw water from the frozen earth. Although we don’t necessarily equate wintry conditions with desert conditions, the winter landscape in cold climates is, essentially, a desert, making plants susceptible to the “winter burn” I mentioned on Page 1. Properly watering the plants in fall, then, can be an effective means of minimizing injury to trees and shrubs during the winter.

  • Try watering plants sparingly throughout early autumn, until the time when the leaves of the deciduous trees fall. Watering plants sparingly in early autumn will allow them to transition more smoothly from the growing season into the dormant season.
  • In late autumn, after the deciduous trees have dropped their leaves, give both evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs a deep watering.

Watering plants properly in fall isn’t the only “preventive medicine” to administer to trees and shrubs. Proper pruning can also go a long way toward winterizing them.

And part of proper pruning is knowing when -and when not – to prune.

  • Don’t prune trees or evergreen shrubs in the early part of fall. Pruning at this time would encourage tender growth, which you don’t want.
  • If you need to prune trees or evergreen shrubs, wait till the latter part of the season, late winter or early spring. Look to remove weak branches that might otherwise snap in winter.
  • Early-blooming deciduous shrubs are often pruned after they’ve finished flowering. Later bloomers are often pruned in early spring. Again look to remove weak branches that might otherwise snap in winter.
  • Do you have tall trees near your house? If any of their branches are hanging over the house (thereby posing a safety hazard), have a professional come over to “limb” the trees. This is for the house’s sake, not the trees’!

What To Plant In Fall – Part Two

Spring bulbs

All spring-blooming bulbs need a period of cold dormancy to bloom. Plant bulbs in fall to ensure a beautiful spring display. If deer or other critters frequent your yard, plant bulbs they don’t like to nibble, such as daffodil, crown imperial, grape hyacinth, Siberian squill, allium, fritillaria, English bluebell, dog’s-tooth violet, glory-of-the-snow, winter aconite, or snowdrop.


It’s fine to plant perennials in the fall, especially specimens with large root balls. Fall is a good time to divide and replant hostas. Peonies should always be planted or transplanted in the fall. Avoid planting them too deep — no more than 2 inches above the bud on the root — or they won’t bloom. Late summer and early fall are good times to plant and transplant irises.

Chrysanthemums come into full glory by late summer and early fall, but it’s not the ideal time to plant them. Garden mums do best when planted in spring so they get fully established before winter. Sadly, the big, beautiful pots of florist mums you can buy already in bloom at a garden center won’t survive the winter if you plant them now.

Any fall-planted perennials should be carefully watered until the ground freezes to keep their roots healthy and strong. Don’t overwater, but make sure the plants get at least 1 inch of water one time per week.


What To Plant In The Fall – Part One

Spring may be special, but fall is fine for planting. Trufgrass, spring-blooming bulbs, cool-season vegetables, perennials, trees and shrubs can all be effectively planted in the fall. Fall has distinct planting benefits. Its cooler air temperatures are easier on both plants and gardeners. The soil is still warm, allowing roots to grow until the ground freezes. In spring, plants don’t grown until the soil warms up. Here a couple of suggestions if you’re having trouble deciding what to plant this fall.

Trees And Shrubs

Fall is an ideal time to plant trees and shrubs. The weather is cool but the soil is still warm enough for root development. Before digging, always check with your local utility companies to locate any underground lines. Always plant trees and shrubs at their natural soil lines. Keep newly planted trees or shrubs well watered until the ground freezes so they get a good start before going into full dormancy during winter.


Fall is the best time to plant pansies because the still-warm soil temperatures give their roots time to establish. By planting in fall, you’ll get two seasons of enjoyment out of these cool-season favorites. Remove spent flowers sot eh plant doesn’t use its energy to set seeds, and keep the soil moist. After the soil freezes, mulch plants to prevent freezing and thawing cycles that can heave plants out of the ground.

Organic Foods That Are Worth The Money

Organic food is an awesome thing, everybody knows that. However, the fact to the matter is that it costs significantly more than ordinary, “normal” food. And therein lies the catch. Or question, better to say. And that question is: Is paying more money for organic food really worth it or is it just a waste? Well, in our opinion, it is definitely worth it, especially due to the fact that today there are many products that are well-worth paying extra for. Some consider it an investment into their own health, while others view it as common sense. Either way, it is something everybody should try. Here are some organic foods that really pack a mean punch (in a good way).

1. Cantaloupe

Cantaloupes often contain five of the longest-lasting chemicals, one of which is dieldrin, an exceedingly toxic and carcinogenic insecticide. Though it was banned in 1974, residues still persist in soils and are taken up through the cantaloupe’s roots and absorbed into the edible portion. When preparing a non-organic cantaloupe, make sure to thoroughly wash the outside of the melon, since a knife can drag exterior residues through the flesh as you slice it.

2. Grapes

Because grapes ripen quickly, tend to mold, and attract insects, growers hit them with multiple applications of various chemicals. The worst are Chilean grapes, which are treated with as many as 17 of them. (Ninety percent of the grapes eaten in the United States from January to April are Chilean.) Make sure to search out grapes that are grown domestically; they tend to be treated with fewer chemicals.

3. Strawberries

Strawberries are one of the most contaminated of all produce items in the world. Do your best to choose local berries over long-distance ones (which generally involve more spraying.) The package should say where they’re from, or the supermarket’s manager should know.

How To Grow Organic Coffee

In general, if you want to grow organic coffee but you’re new to this organic “thing”, you can buy one year old organic coffee trees. Most of these trees are started from “Arabica typica.” If you’re planting more than one coffee tree you should space them in the following fashion. Plant your rows running north to south leaving 6 feet in between trees and 12 feet in between rows. This is important if you intend to maximize your crop as it will allow the maximum amount of sunlight to hit your trees (it will also allow easier maintenance).

Once your trees have been planted it is important to establish a routine for feeding and watering them. If you intend to use some organic fertilizers it’s important to use them when the weather is rainy, cloud cover good and the soil is moist. Watering depends on the weather. Irrigations systems can cost a fortune, so be ready to water your coffee trees “by hand” if that becomes necessary.