gardening

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There’s a foot of snow on the ground and that’s not even counting where we’ve piled the stuff we’ve shoveled. So you might think you’re off the hook for preparing your garden. But gardening contributor Melinda Myers says you may want to rethink that. If you’re especially motivated to add some non-monetary green to your life, mid-February is not too early to get going. 

Maksim Pasko / Fotolia

Does the headline sound too good to be true? Stacy Tornio, author of Plants You Can’t Kill, assures that it’s not. In her new book, Tornio highlights different types of hardy plants for beginner gardeners.

"You basically need to know whether you're putting it in sun or shade, and you know, anyone can figure that out," says Tornio. "But you don't need a lot of like, fancy knowledge or background in gardening. This is truly: pick it up, randomly turn to a plant, and try it." 

Susan Bence

This month, Boerner Botanical Gardens in Milwaukee’s Whitnall Park has taken on an exotic look. The visiting display called China Lights covers eight acres of the gardens. At night the display lights up.

The welcome gate pulls you through a world lined with peach trees. Just ahead flowers sparkle in a sunken garden. Turn your head to discover colorful lotus fairies, turn another direction and pandas at play appear.

And you’ve barely seen anything – including the 22-foot tall dragon.
 

Artist Ziming Luo created the show.

Amoung the cream puff stands and the livestock barns at State Fair, you can find gardening expert Melinda Myers. Myers gives demonstrations twice each day of the fair, and this year is no different.

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich took the portable recording equipment and met Melinda to find out what’s on offer, and what it takes, to maintain a garden oasis in the midst of a busy fairground.

J.H. Fearless / Flickr

It's growing season, and eager gardeners are already starting their plants for the summer. The promise of fresh fruits and vegetables is what keeps people coming back to their garden plots. But gardening is messy business, and setting up your garden can be strenuous. For many, the worst part is preparing the soil. It's a painstaking process of digging and tilling, which can feel arduous and unrewarding. 

Gardening contributor, Melinda Myers, knows this all too well. That's why she suggests something called, "lasagna gardening." 

Pickle Smith / Flickr

It's the time of year again. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and the ground is ripe for planting. It's a good chance to check out heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and even flowers. 

If you're more likely to buy your produce than grow it, don't worry. It's also the season for farmers' markets and gardening centers. 

Contributor Stacy Tornio shares her list of heirloom plants to brighten up your garden (or salad):

Fotolia, nd700

If you’ve consulted a calendar lately, you know that it’s (technically) spring.  However, if you’ve looked out a window recently, you might beg to differ. But true spring will arrive in the Midwest soon with the temperatures in Wisconsin trending upward, albeit slowly.

Courtesy of The Home & Garden Show

Whether its cleaning off or furnishing a patio, planting the first flowers or vegetables of the season or springing for new windows, new landscaping or new plumbing,  the organizers of the annual Milwaukee Realtors Home and Garden Show are aware that the shift in seasons brings spring cleaning and home improvement. 

S Bence

Charlie Tennessen’s trade is software development but his passion is farming. Ten years ago, he moved onto a 4-acre parcel in Racine County to pursue that passion.

His "team" is comprised of Sebastian, Rosey and Cassie - they’re miniature donkeys. Their job is to pull a homemade sled loaded with compost the resident chickens, goats and sheep contributed.

Tennessen says this is the perfect time to spread the nutrient-rich load. “Winter time is going to be moving compost and summertime, primary tillage on the field,” he says.

yaquina, flickr

As temperatures hover in the low 60s downtown throughout this summer with only a few warm days, there were some people who theorized that maybe we skipped summer altogether and jumped straight from spring to fall.

That might be cause for concern if you have a garden growing – we’d hate to have a killing frost in August this year.  Fortunately, that probably won’t happen.  But the temperature swings are a concern for Lake Effect's gardening contributor, Melinda Myers.

barbndc / Flickr

Did you spend any time working in your yard over the weekend?  We’re in that great period of time right now when we can enjoy the warm weather without yet worrying about mowing the lawn.

But Lake Effect gardening contributor Melinda Myers says that doesn’t mean we should ignore our yard as the last piles of snow disappear.

Mitch Teich photo

It's not intended as hyperbole: A garden center in Oak Creek is like none other in the world.

Lionel Martinez / Flickr

The weather has made a statement - summer is behind us. 

S Bence

Holly & Joey Baird launched The Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener with with a gardening-related Facebook page and the video camera Holly Baird won at work.

Deb Collins/Flickr

With the recent snow and single-digit wind chills, most of us have already packed away our gardening gloves. But Lake Effect gardening contributor Melinda Myers says there's still work to be done.

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