Garden Dilemmas, Delights & Discoveries, Ask Mary Stone, New Jersey Garden blog
Kearny Community Garden with straw bales lined up in a row,

Straw Bale Gardening Builds Community

Hello, fellow lovers of all things green, As we approach the end of winter, we begin to think about vegetable gardens. I hope to have an attractive fence this year rather than my workaround stakes and deer netting. Not so pretty, but the veggies are. In addition to the No-Till Gardeni
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white bowl with watermelon cubes and blueberries

Oxymoron of Seedless Watermelon

Hello fellow readers; Independence Day is a day to celebrate and cherish the freedoms our forefathers fought for and to thank those that serve to protect our freedoms today. Along with the July 4th festivities comes watermelon. Remember the seed-spitting contests? Maybe young uns don&
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a white cotton candy looking nest of fall webworms in a tree against a bright blue sky

Fall Webworm vs. Tent Caterpillars

Hello fellow readers, Have you noticed what looks like cotton candy decorating trees? I thought they were Eastern tent caterpillars, also called tent worms, we see in spring. But it turns out the white webs, often two feet wide, are fall webworms –tent worms’ close cousins. Comp
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a pruned hedge of yellow flowering forsythia along a white farm fence

Forsythia Hedge at Hospice

Hello fellow readers, I’m a fan of allowing plants and people to grow to what they are meant to be. Not mold them into something they are not or prune them into unnatural shapes. Although formal gardens often call for pruned hedges or topiaries and such. And so, there are except
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Looking up at a native oak tree with the sun shining through the leaves.

Native Plants, especially Oaks, are Essential

Hello Fellow Readers, Native plants, especially oaks, are essential in maintaining the balance of nature. And it begins in our yards. I recently had the privilege of attending a Plant Symposium hosted by the NJ Landscape & Nursery Association themed around organic practices and na
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a hand holding dark brown worm castings tat looks like grainy soil

What are Worm Castings?

Hello fellow readers, We spoke about a hot pepper crop grown in containers last week. Russ and Sara used worm castings added to their potting mix (link to the story below). “What are worm castings, and where do you get them?” asked Joe from Hope, NJ. I’ll cut to the
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a cluster of Japanese Beetles looking lifeless

Japanese Beetle Time

Hello, fellow readers, Caught in the act! I found the culprit of Carolyn’s holy rose dilemma we spoke about last week. As I arrived with Pyrethrin in hand, there they were, the shiny green and rust-colored beetles chomping away. Yes, indeed, it’s Japanese beetle time. Thei
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a woman from the waist down in jeans and black workbooks demonstrating no-till gardening using a broadfork.

No-till Gardening

Hello fellow readers, I adore learning from Patti Doell of Little Big Farm, a cut flower farm in Blairstown, NJ. We spoke in late winter when her seed-starting was underway, and I found out she adopted the no-till gardening technique. Also known as no-dig gardening, it’s the pra
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Kearny Community Garden with straw bales lined up in a row,

Vegetable Gardening Basics

Hello, fellow readers, Thanks to Anita from Blairstown, NJ, who sent me an alert; I sat in on an informative talk about Vegetable Gardening Basics. Kelly Durkin, Manager of Catherine Dickson Hofman Branch of Warren County Library, looking springy in a lovely floral dress, introduced L
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brown patches on lawn

Brown Patchy Lawn Dilemma

Hello fellow readers, After our volunteer sing at the Karen Ann Quinlan Home for Hospice last Friday, my singing buddy, Ken of Branchville NJ, asked about grub remedies for his lawn riddled with brown patches. He tried a product from a home store, but it didn’t help. It may not be a g
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