Catmint/catnip, to help your get more produce from your garden..... read on!

Photo credit: Jennifer Benner

What can I say?  --it’s been a strange year for gardening.  My garden has not been completely planted yet, and a lot of what was put in, didn’t make it.  We had enough rain and snow in May to hit half our precipitation average for the year.  Beans and corn were planted three weeks ago; the corn came up in crooked rows (I think they got washed out a little bit), and only two of the bean plants have made an appearance.  I may have to replant.  The volunteer tomatoes are finally up; they were this size a month earlier last year.  But they are up.  That’s good.   The plants that are doing well are the ones that were established before all the wet weather hit.  Onions and celery overwintered, and the volunteer lettuce came up in March or April.

If you’re still putting plants- or seeds- in the ground, consider companion planting.  The concept is that one plant can help another.  Garlic and onions tend to keep insect pests away from anything real close, and flowering plants attract pollinators.  Find something that the bees like, plant it close to your vegetables or fruits, and see your production go up. 

The plant in my yard that always has the most bees around it is catmint (nepeta).  I've been growing Walker's Low (which is named after a location, not how short the plant is- it's about 2 feet tall.) It  looks similar to lavender, blooms longer,  and can tolerate colder temperatures- down through USDA Zone 3.  See it at http://www.finegardening.com/plantguide/nepeta-x-faassenii-walkers-...

And here's a great find; a video series called "Home Grown/Home Made", produced by Fine Gardening magazine.  The description is "Welcome to Homegrown/Homemade, a video series from FineGardening.com and our sister site FineCooking.com. We're following a gardener (Danielle Sherry) and a cook (Sarah Breckenridge) as they plant, maintain, harvest, store, and prepare garden vegetables".  They include tomatoes, basil, squash, carrots, blueberries, potatoes, arugula, and peas.  Check it out, and see what you think!



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