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 woman in jeans and black boots from the waist down behind a broadfork

Starting a No-till Garden

Hello fellow readers, Last week, we learned about No-till Gardening thanks to Patti Doell of Little Big Farm. She began using the system for her flower farm three years ago and has remarkable results of improved soil, fewer weeds, and increased bounty. I asked if a homeowner wanted to
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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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Kearny Community Garden using strawbales

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—virtually, that is, like everything these days. Kelly Durkin, Manager of Catherine Dickson Hofman Branch of Warren County Library, looking
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spoon with tomato seeds and gel scooped out from a tomato

Saving Vegetable Seeds

Hello Fellow Readers, The idea of saving vegetable seeds came to me a few years back while buying produce at a farm market. One tomato weighed in at five bucks. True, it was a beefy one. When I shared my sticker shock, the farmer said it was an heirloom tomato grown organically. And s
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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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Ripening-Tomatoes-indoors

Fall Tomato Hand-me-Downs

Hello Fellow Readers, While wrapping up the fall planting season, providing garden tweaks for a longstanding client become friend, I had the delight of receiving veggie garden hand-me-downs. Ed of Bridgewater NJ was tidying up his pots filled with green tomatoes; some plants were stil
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Female-Zuchinni-Flower-Photo-Rimi-Studios

Birds & Bees of Zucchini Flowers

Hello Fellow Readers, I am a new owner of a big girl camera. A digital Nikon SLR. Previously I’ve relied on a point and shoot camera, “which is getting long in the tooth,” per my dear Curt. Funny saying, long in the tooth that stems from how horses’ teeth continue to grow, which indic
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