Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
A selfie of black sneakers on a lawn filled with sunny yellow dandelions

Benefits of Plantain & Dandelion “Weeds”

Hello fellow readers, Have you ever considered plantain, the flat-leaved weed with spikey seed heads that invade your lawn, a beneficial plant? It was news to me to learn that plantain is a valuable herb, though I’ve known for years that dandelions should be considered welcome l
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a single reddish orange nasturtium flower with foliage peeking throuhg wall boards.

Plant Companions for Vegetables

Hello fellow readers, Many of you reached back with kind wishes and shared stories about your furry companions. Your kindness means so much. Jolee recovered quickly from her foot full of porcupine quills. And as it turns out, Maria, the selfless hiker that stepped in to help, found me
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closeup of a black and white dog with a nametag Jolee

Three Sisters Gardening & Jolee’s Emergency

Hello fellow readers, I intended this week’s topic to be about Three Sisters Gardening—companion plants in your vegetable gardens stemming from Native Americans. They combined corn, pole beans, and squash, creating an ecosystem for sustainable gardening. Rather than planting in
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a leafless three foot wide trunk of an old black walnut tree ina late winter lawn

Fruits and Veggies near Black Walnut

Hello fellow readers, Last week, I had the privilege of visiting with Elisabeth, who moved back to Blairstown from Chicago to be near her family. She purchased a farm built in the 1800s and is amid renovating and restoring the house and barn. Elisabeth wishes for a landscape design fi
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a closeup of a peeper on foliage

Planting Following Nature

Hello fellow readers, Have you ever heard when the peepers are peeping, it’s time to plant peas? Or when dandelions bloom, it’s a cue to dig in potatoes?  It’s called phenology –observing animal migrations and when certain insects, amphibians, and hibernating animals
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the hands of a woman working on a tray of seedlings

Plant Grow Lights 101

Hello Fellow Readers, A few weeks ago, I heard from my high school sweetheart, who remains a lifelong friend. Rusty writes, “Sara is starting her hot pepper plants from seed this year. Is there effective plant grow lights that we should get? Many thanks.” I sent a long-ago
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red fox sleeping in lawn

Foxes in the Garden

Hello fellow readers, After a week’s transition in the garage to re-acclimate our ‘Baby Blue Eyes’ Spruce to the outside world, Ellie’s memorial Christmas tree now sits in a protected spot. She’s in front of the future vegetable garden where the rundown h
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white bowl with watermelon cubes and blueberries

Are Seedless Watermelon GMO?

Hello Fellow Readers, We attended a pool party over the weekend with close friends; the host is a full-fledged organic gardener. “Aren’t seedless watermelon genetically modified not to have seeds?” one guest whispered as we were dishing up the delicious fruit. “
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A woman cutting cabbage out of garden

Vegetable Garden Basics

Hello fellow readers, It is undoubtedly is a challenging time in the history of our country. I pray the precautions and consequences of the coronavirus brings us together—each of us sharing kindness, provisions, and seeds of love with our neighbors, which brings me to the topic of sta
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Garlic-closeup

When & How to Plant Garlic

Hello Fellow Readers, Karen of Washington, NJ, emailed, “When should I plant garlic? I’m going to put leaves in my raised beds. Should I mix them in with dirt or just lay leaves on top?” Two great questions! Garlic, Allium sativum, can be planted in the fall or early spring as soon as
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