Question: I planted my first vegetable garden from seeds this year. I am surprised about how thick the plants are growing. Do I need to remove or replant some of them to make more space for them to grow?
A common mistake made by homeowners is to purchase plants, bring them home and plant them without carefully checking to make sure they will grow in the locations where they are planted.
When spring and summer bring warm days, I keep our meals light and garden-fresh with a minimum of cooking. Cold soups, abundant salads, tapas and antipasti are elevated to dinner course level, providing simple and refreshing nourishment, while greedily taking advantage of the farmers market bounty.
Question: My annual flower beds have not always been as pleasing as I would like. Could you give me some suggestions on choosing flower colors and color combinations?
I am a little late to the ricotta party. For a long while, this Italian whey cheese has been relegated solely to lasagnas and other filled pasta dishes. Aside from that, ricotta has not played a role in much of my cooking. This is likely due to unfortunate first impressions, the ho-hum resul…
Question: I want to plant tubs and baskets for both sunny areas and shady areas. Which plants should I use in these different conditions?
There is more to tuna than the mayo-based sandwich filler. In fact, if there is one fish that can handle a robust marinade and the fire of the grill, it would be tuna. Tuna is thick and dense, and it holds its shape while you take the time to sear it golden brown. The key is choosing which k…
Question: My lawn looks very good right now, but when summer comes, my neighbor’s lawn looks thicker and greener. He says I should raise my mowing height. Does mowing height really make that much difference? The golf course mows fairways shorter than I do, and they always look good.
I work from home, and while it's how I've always worked, it still presents a few challenges. Namely, structure and discipline. One trick I rely on is to schedule a lunch break. Easy to say, but the ritual of leaving the desk, moving into another room, and, most important, stepping away from …
Question: Slugs damaged a lot of my flowers and vegetables last year right after I planted them. They also riddled my hostas. Are there controls that will not be harmful to my children and pets? Are there any other pests which I should be aware of?
Spring is here, and it's time to celebrate by adding a little freshness and lightness to your favorite year-round dishes, such as risottos and pasta. Primavera means springtime in Italian, but pasta primavera, while Italian in name, has American roots. It was created in the '70s in the famou…
Question: Could you share with us how we can prune different kinds of shrubs to keep a natural look?
The key ingredient in this simple and delicious soup is orzo. Orzo is the Italian word for barley, but names can be deceiving, because orzo is not a grain. And despite its rice shape, orzo is not rice, even though orzo is also known as risoni in Italy.
A glazed ham is an easy way to prepare a celebratory dinner — or any dinner, for that matter. It's also a gift that keeps on giving, yielding a generous portion of meat that can be shared and repurposed in sandwiches, eggs, hash, soups and salads.
Question: I recently purchased begonia, lily, dahlia and gladiolus bulbs. Which can I plant outside now, and which should I wait to plant?
Question: I have very limited space to plant vegetables. Are there some vegetables I can grow in containers on my deck? How soon can I plant them?
The name of this dessert is potentially misleading. It's not exactly a cake, nor is it a bowl of fluffy mousse. But imagine the two concepts combined in a sublime chocolate confection that literally melts in your mouth. It's flourless, too, which is wonderful for gluten-free diets, Passover,…
Question: My lawn is not turning green as soon as it did last year. What kind of fertilizer would be best to get my lawn green? Is now a good time to fertilize my trees and shrubs? What kind of fertilizer should I use?
Spring is right around the corner, and while the weather might not look like it's received the memo in some areas, this recipe is a bit of spring inspiration that will surely lighten up your dinner plate no matter where you sit. It's a fresh and lovely pasta dish, bright with citrus and brim…
Here is something for your winter dinner rotation: chunky vegetables and slow-cooked beef swimming in a stock of beef and beer. This hearty no-nonsense beef stew is a must-have for a dreary winter night. And, while this stew is indeed simple and humble in ingredients, there are a couple of i…
Question: I plan to plant more perennial flowers this spring so I don’t have to replant every year. Could you share with us some of your favorite perennial flowers? How do they bloom in comparison to annuals?
How do you define comfort food? For me, it's a meal or dish that is easy to make and undemanding, yet deeply flavorful and homey, as though it has been tended to for hours to reap delicious results. Sheet pan recipes often fall into this category.
Question: When I asked my neighbor why her plants grow better than mine, she said it is because she has improved her soil. Can you give me suggestions how I can improve my soil?
For many of us, corned beef tastes delicious every day of the year. But its popularity soars on St. Patrick's Day — Irish heritage optional.
Question: I have a problem with the annoying flying gnat-type insects that are on my indoor plants. I have tried several things, some of which have been temporarily helpful, but they are back in a few days. Is there a way to get rid of them forever?
Even this deep into winter, I still crave the flavors coaxed from winter vegetables. Root vegetables, such as turnips and parsnips, easily transform into roasted sides, soups and mashes. Potatoes offer exquisite comfort in any form. Cabbage, one of the world’s most versatile vegetables, sing…
Question: I have noticed that individuals working from home in news broadcasts seem to almost always have live plants and flowers in the background. Is this just because of the pandemic, or are people using plants more in home and office situations?
Question: I read your article on pruning fruit trees. I have some junipers that have overgrown my sidewalk. Is this a good time to prune them? Should I just prune them off at the edge of the sidewalk?
Question: I read that I should prune my fruit trees every year. Mine have not been pruned for several years. Could you please explain how and when to prune fruit trees?
Banana bread was one of the most-searched recipes online during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, and for so many good reasons. It's cheap and easy to make, features over-ripe fruit that might otherwise get tossed and strikes a chord of comfort and familiarity.
Question: I love trailing house plants but have not had the best luck growing them. Could you suggest some varieties that are easy to grow inside a typical home? I particularly like plants that I can start more from.
Question: I know it is too early to think about planting a vegetable garden, but I want to make a better plan so I have more success than last year. I had too many vegetables which did not mature. Could you give me some suggestions on selecting varieties and ways to speed growth so I can har…
Winter is chicory season. Chicories are the often-labeled bitter greens, which include radicchio, endive, puntarelle and escarole. Bunches and heads of chicory are prolific throughout the season, difficult to miss with their with dramatic frilly, spiky and cone-headed leaves. And while their…
Are you feeling the winter doldrums? January can be a blue time, post-holidays, when the dust settles and winter stretches ahead. It's tempting to daydream about far-flung escapes to steamy destinations, away from the cold, snow and darkness. Reality, of course, keeps us home for many practi…
Question: I have read about some new vegetable varieties I would like to try this year. I have not had good luck finding plant starts of new varieties locally. I would like to try starting my own plants from seed. Could you give me some suggestions for starting tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, sq…
Brunch. The dine-in restaurant occasion I miss most during this pandemic.
Question: I have reduced fertilizer for my indoor plants in the winter because of the slower growth rate. I have not fertilized since early November. When should I begin fertilizing my indoor plants again? Do you recommend a particular indoor plant fertilizer?
Three new vegetables have been given awards by All-America Selections, the non-profit testing organization for new flowers and vegetables.
Needle-leaved evergreen conifers are the main source of green in most of our landscapes this time of year. However, there are a few broadleaf evergreens that are especially appreciated in mid-winter when most broadleaf plants are leafless.
All-America Selections, a non-profit testing organization has announced awards for three new flowers for 2021 gardens. Test gardens with professional judges are scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada. Display gardens featuring All-America winners can be visited to view winners. The display…
Question: We just moved into a new home. The developer will be planting a lawn and a few plants for the front. We need to landscape the back. The furnished front landscapes of other homes in this development are not very appealing. A few homes have done a more extensive planting in front. We…
Question: I have a friend with many indoor plants. When I asked her why she had so many, she said plants cleanse the air and add oxygen. Do plants actually improve air quality?
Question: I asked two of my gardening friends for help with my houseplants. One said I am watering too much, and the other one said I am not watering enough. I water all my house plants once a week. Do think that is too much or too little?
Question: I have had mixed success with indoor plants. I don’t have the best light situation in my home. Could you suggest some indoor plants which would do better under my low light conditions?
Question: Our family prefers real Christmas trees. How can we be sure we are getting one that will not lose a lot of needles before Christmas?
Question: My friend has offered starts of her Swedish ivy plant, which I admire. I have never started indoor plants from cuttings. Could you give me some suggestions on how to do this?
Question: Could you explain how the poinsettia became the most popular Christmas flower?
Question: Most of my indoor plants do not thrive during the winter. Their color is lighter and duller and they lose a lot of leaves. Are there some things I can do now to keep them healthy and attractive during the next few months?
Question: My neighbor suggested that I drain the gasoline out of my lawn mower for the winter. Is that really necessary? Do you have any other suggestions for winter preparation?
Question: I had good success with dahlias and begonias which I planted from started bulbs purchased in pots. Can I dig those bulbs and replant them next spring? Is it too late to plant tulips and daffodils?
Question: My husband and I have different viewpoints on our landscape. I like lots of colorful shrubs and flowers. He wants to keep things simple for easier maintenance. I would like to get my children more interested in gardening. What has been your experience in family gardening?
In normal times, food trends often started in restaurants, with top chefs. Maybe they got written up in food magazines or blogs. After some time, you could find the trending ingredients on grocery store shelves.
Question: How can I use my falling leaves to improve my garden and landscape?
Question: I would like to start some bulbs in containers for winter bloom inside. Could you explain how to do this? What kinds of bulbs should I plant?
If you are a teacher or a parent, back-to-school season can mean a ramped-up schedule with less time to cook. If you’re a college student in your first apartment or dorm room, you might be cooking for yourself for the first time. And no matter who you are, the pandemic means you’re probably …