Entries by Ryan Brower

7 Tips for Better Overwintering New Plants

It was a pretty brutal winter this year (2022-2023), reaching -2 this December, then the usual up-and-down warm and cold weather in February and March.     For two good weeks this year the early spring bloomers were just fantastic.  Quince, flowering almond, magnolias, and the forsythia were having one of the best parties I’ve been […]

Bone Meal: Help or Hype?

One saying that stuck with me early on in my plant adventure was, “For every dollar you spend in the garden, .90 cents should be on the soil.” I would add, soil and roots.  The size of the plant/root system matters almost as much as the soil you put it in, not to mention that […]

What to do about the Darn Clay

Almost all plants prefer rich but well-draining soil.  Clay is rich in nutrients but terrible at draining.  Sand is great at draining but very low on nutrients.  In the middle is loam to varying degrees. The goal when we plant in our good ole red clay is primarily to improve drainage to help the roots […]

11 of Our Favorite Plants of 2022

Sombrero Sangrita Coneflower It’s the middle of July, and a great time to reflect on the season while we hide in the shade in the middle of the day with an iced tea.  We stretched ourselves with the amount of plants we grew this season, maybe a bit too much.  Here are some of our […]

8 Tips for Growing Tomatoes in WNC

Some of these tips are from learning things the hard way and some are from my chats with old-timers that knew better.  Take what you like, with a four-finger pinch of salt. Fertilize the heck out of them.  Tomatoes are hungry plants and often under fertilized.  I use Ozmocote in a pink bottle, but it’s […]

2 Must-Have Electric Landscaping Tools

Ego 56V with turbo, baby We’ve come a long way with electric tools. Some still aren’t there yet (I still haven’t found an electric weed whacker I like), but ther are two in my toolbox now that I wouldn’t do without. First is an electric blower. I’ve used a few different models, and with these, […]

The Easy Way to Prune Spring Blooming Shrubs

Electric tools have come a long way.  Two of my favorites are my 40V hedge trimmer and 56V blower. The hedge trimmer won’t get through big branches but is perfect for shrubs that tend to get leggy, like the pink flowering almond in the video above.

To Till or Not to Till

Tardiva Hydrangea A few years ago I was lamenting my clay soil at work one day when a friend mentioned Ruth Stout and the lasagna gardening method. It sounds great, skip the tilling and layer hay between green organic materials and boom, great plants without any weeding, tilling, or digging. This simple idea set the […]

How to Grow Strawberries in WNC

When it comes to growing strawberries in Asheville and WNC, it REALLY matters to your success (and sanity) which type of plant you decide to grow.  I may be 62% full of it, but believe me on this one. There are a slew of issues that bother strawberry plants.  Once you make it past the […]