Covering Ground

Your Brain on Houseplants: Consider the Research

Houseplants for better mental and physical health? Here's a sample of studies that, one by one, make a positive case for plant life in the great indoors. (Also please see: "Winter Doldrums? Put Your Brain on Houseplants.")

Broomsedge meadow grasses and pathway on November 4, 2015 To lawn or not to lawn? Ongoing conversation has long history.

In some parts of the U.S. today, the lawn is disappearing due to droughts. In other places, pesticide bans are pushing both the willing and unwilling towards organic lawn care. Concern for pollinators and the lack of time for meticulous lawn care inspire others to ask a once-unthinkable question:

"To lawn or not to lawn?"

Foliar Feeding at a Tree Farm Take a Microbe to Lunch

It's mid-summer. Should we declare a National Be Nice to Soil Microbes Week? Several soil health experts would probably encourage it. 

Microbes, after all, form a complex underground community and offer plants much of the sustenance they need.

And if that surprises you, how about this?

Out With the Old, In With the New Garden Beds

Maybe the lawn is so full of weeds you can't stand to look at it anymore. Maybe you're dreaming of a colorful garden bed along the stone wall you can see from the kitchen window.

Starting over may seem daunting. But sometimes it's the only way to go. 

Spencer Curry Aquaponics 4 Bags of Goldfish, a Head of Lettuce

March 2015: What happens when a couple of new college grads get some goldfish and an aquarium? Maybe not what you think. I had the good fortune to visit Fresh Farm Aquaponics recently at a Glastonbury greenhouse.

Meadow in bloom, August, Waterford, CT Podcast: Meadows, lawns, and much more

Meadows, lawns ... How are they different? Where are meadows appropriate? 

A blanket of snow protects the winter lawn How we can protect the lawn in winter

Recently I wrote about ice melt products and what they can do to lawns and gardens.

Icy sidewalk When ice melt products meet lawn and garden

Simplicity is a beautiful thing, but you won't find it among ice- and snow-removal products. A bewildering array of ingredients pop out of these bags when we're on that mad dash down the driveway.

Unfortunately, products that increase sidewalk safety for people may not be safe for the lawn or garden you lovingly tended last summer. 

Nancy Ballek Mackinnon It's winter. Are houseplants happy?

Can we lose the insects and still keep the flowers? According to greenhouse grower Nancy Ballek Mackinnon of Ballek's Garden Center in East Haddam, CT, we can. She and her team grow several thousand indoor species at their retail greenhouse where, on a recent visit, I found myself in a riot of flowering houseplants.

Books by fireplace The gift of good reading for gardeners

Garden books and magazines have been some of my best friends over the course of my career in the outdoors. Here are some suggestions from 2014 that may please the gardeners on your holiday list and you, too. These four were featured in my recent column in The Day community papers.