Growing Calendula

What do you grow it for?

Calendula is beautiful, so growing it just for that reason is great, but there are lots of cool health benefits from the plant to reap, too. I must be honest here and say I don't grow it to harvest it myself. I love the look so I let mine grow, then I support small herb companies by buying a container that's loaded with the petals!

Also known as pot marigold, calendula has been used for soups, fritters, teas and all kinds of culinary purposes, but it's also known for some medicinal properties. It's got vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, potassium and iodine, so it's often used in beauty products for the skin, and it's antimicrobial, antifungal, and contains antioxidants. Its use ranges from cancer and infection prevention to healing muscle fatigue. It's a little bitter for me (especially since I usually brew it with some green tea, too) but you can always add anything you like to improve the taste.

What do you like to use calendula for? Do you grow a lot or buy it? Share your preferences and uses in the chat!

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Unique Garden Plots

Share the coolest ones you've seen!

Botanical gardens always have a special place in my heart. We rarely travel but they are one of my favorite things to see. When I lived abroad I always made sure to see any local gardens, and my favorite of all time was at the Alhambra. Those Moor styles can be seen at other botanical gardens around the world, too, including the ones in my home city of St. Louis.

When I traveled, things weren't all the way in bloom yet and I sure would love to go again someday when they are. In the meantime, I do love to look at gardens online and could get lost doing so any day. I love labyrinths, unique garden arrangements and really colorful gardens--as well as mysterious or even night blooming ones!

What is the most unique garden you've seen? Share it in the chat!

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Your July Garden To-Do List

Share what's on yours!

Some of us gardeners like to fly by the seat of our pants. More serious gardeners have checklists of things they want to accomplish each month (sometimes each week, especially during planting season). I'm a combination of the two and I have to admit that last year I was much more serious than I am this year. I have more on my plate this season so I am not growing nearly as many crops, but I still have a few to harvest and water daily.

This is a great July checklist, although the cactus I tried to put outside did die on me, sadly. I think it had just been too far gone. It's definitely the season to harvest many veggies and fruits, even if there's still plenty of harvest season left. I love how this list gives you some unusual tips, like making a little container garden oasis around you! If I didn't have cats I would definitely try that.

What's on your July to-do list?

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Decorating the Garden For Pride

What are you decorating with?

The beautiful thing about a garden is that it's like a Pride flag all summer, especially if you have flowers and veggies of all different colors. I made sure to make a few boxes of rainbow colors this year and they look so pretty on the deck. But you can definitely do much more in terms of decorating for Pride.

Banners, buntings, wind socks and flags are all great ways to decorate. We put a few of these up alongside our flowers and they look so vibrant and energizing. My teen also made a banner out of yarn this year, which will look really cool once we get it on the dowel rod and hang it up! We are also thinking about painting a bunch of rainbow rocks to go around the garden year-round.

How are you decorating your garden for Pride, whether it's for the month or all year? Tell us your ideas in the chat!

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There's Still Time!

You can absolutely still grow and harvest some good crops this year.

While I'm bummed that we missed the opportunity to grow many of our regular veggies this year because time just got away from us, I'm still planning on growing plenty of fast-growers and you can, too. It might be too late for potatoes, but here are some crops we can absolutely still grow!

Beans

Beets

Radishes

Broccoli

Turnips

Lettuce

Collards

And many more! Don't write off your 2021 garden if you haven't started anything yet. Any of these crops could still yield an abundant harvest for you this fall!  You can also get starters to help you avoid germination time but honestly all of these grow so fast you should be fine with seeds.

What have you planted already? Are you planning to grow these or any cool weather crops in fall? Share your plans in the chat.

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The Funniest Gardening Advice

Share the most entertaining pieces you've heard!

Today I ran across a really funny video about gardening on TikTok and knew I had to share it. Frankie Flowers says that while reading old books about gardening, he's come across some really funny tips. One is to sit on the ground with no pants or underwear on to see if it's too cold for seeds!

There's actually a lot of helpful plant advice on TikTok if you know where to look, but pieces like this are just pure fun! It makes me think of all the old myths about the weather, the gods and crops and wonder what people still do today that really doesn't have any basis in science. How about singing to plants? Does that have any evidence for support of the habit?

What is the funniest piece of gardening advice someone ever gave you? Share it in the chat.

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The Compost Bin: Where's The Best Location?

Where do you keep yours?

The property we have is large enough to where we can keep our compost bin pretty far from our house against the fence, which I like because the bugs around it aren't going to be near our home. We don't compost nearly as much as we used to with so many chickens eating the scraps, but we still like to make some rich, earthy soil for the garden.

Said chickens, however, are now using the compost bin as a glorified perch, which is giving them access to the fence. They almost scaled it the other day, which means now we need to move the box. I love letting the girls free-range all day but if that's there I will constantly worry that they'll jump over. I have friends whose chickens never go far from home but if I didn't catch it in time...

So where is your favorite place to keep a compost bin? Share it in the chat!

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Edible Hedges Galore!

Share your fruit bearing bushes!

A couple of weeks ago we discussed dwarf fruit trees and I went to go pick some out... only to chicken out! I've planted some blackberry and raspberry bushes before only to kill them, so I want to make sure I know exactly what I am doing this time. It's been years and while I know most of the mistakes I made, I also want to be sure before I buy any berry bushes this time around.

There are so many varieties, for example, which means I need to research which grows best with which. I also want to make sure I mulch right, if necessary, and to be sure I have the best spot for sun. It's not like a small plant that I can dig up again and try somewhere else, right?

Do you grow berry bushes? Share your tips for growing in the chat! 

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Keeping Fleas Out Of Your Yard

Any tips?

Even with our flea protection, our dogs still get them each year, which means that our cats and we humans also get flea bites. Ew! A lot of people like to put flea poison in their yards, which just isn't going to work for me. I'm all about natural solutions so when I read that it could be as simple as introducing the fleas' natural predators, you can bet I was all about that solution.

Nematodes will consume fleas without bothering us. They are microscopic worms that are not only safe to use around people and pets, but they usually only need to be introduced to the environment once to get their population going. It's like using bats to keep your mosquito population down!

Do you have any other great tips for getting rid of garden fleas? Share them in the chat.

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Dwarf Fruit Trees

Have you grown any successfully?

So many people seem to be growing their fruits and veggies from dwarf trees lately and I'm so curious about it. As someone who's had little success with growing fruits (I struggle with an avocado seed plant and the best I've managed are my annual strawberries and tomatoes!), I really would love to grow fruit.

Veggies seem so easy, especially once you get the seeds to start, but I've had berry bushes that totally failed. We had a cherry tree once, but I was a kid and don't remember what happened to it. Boy was it nice having fresh cherries every year!

Do you grow fruit from dwarf trees, and if so, how do you do it? What tips do you have for someone new at it?

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