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Roasted Tomato Sauce

An easy and delicious way to process Summer’s bounty! Almost every backyard gardener grows tomatoes. Their plump red-orange globes are one of the signs that summer is in full swing. In Seattle, with our typically cool nights and short growing season, we were lucky if we had tomatoes to harvest by August. The last few… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • July 10, 2014

The Wildflowers of Mt. Rainier

Part 1: Bursts of Color on the Drive to Paradise The week found me on Mt. Rainier—what we Seattleites like to call “The Mountain.” I see it daily rising from behind Lake Washington on my walk through Seward Park, but I only get the chance to visit once every few years. We took our tiny trailer… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • July 5, 2014

Going to Seed

Spring Flowers Fade as Summer Dawns With the passing of the Summer Solstice, my garden marks the transition of my spring flowers from blossom to seed. Though I am always sad to see many of my favorite blooms disappear for the next nine months, I know that it is just part of the cycle of… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • June 23, 2014

Celebrate National Pollinator Week!

June 15–21, 2015 Eight years ago, the U.S. Senate proclaimed the third week in June as National Pollinator Week to help publicize the decline of pollinator populations and to promote gardening and agriculture practices that nurture these essential species. The Pollinator Partnership was formed as a resource for accurate information and to spread the word. From… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • June 15, 2014

Organic Pest Control – Part II

Block or trap those pesky insects. My previous post on beneficial insects showed how you can keep your garden relatively free of crawly plant destroyers like aphids and cabbage moth larvae. This post gives you tips to deal with flying insects that like to bore into your apples and other fruits and veggies. It wasn’t… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • June 10, 2014
  • 1 Comment

Beneficial Insects Make for Organic Pest Control

Another Reason to Say No to Chemicals in Your Garden After four years of research, Rachel Carson brought the devastating side effects of wholesale use of the pesticide DDT to light with the 1962 publication of her environmental science book, Silent Spring. Because of challenges by U.S. chemical companies, it took nearly 10 years to… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • May 31, 2014

My Garden’s May Flowers

Hooray for April Showers! I could not resist sharing the beautiful flowers that grace my garden in May, and the beneficial pollinators and insects they attract, with this photo essay. We were conscious about planting to have a continual progression of blooms as close to year-round as possible. The garden is a riot of color beginning in… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • May 23, 2014

What’s in My Garden in May?

Veggies Are Coming Up—Can’t Wait for Harvest! Seattle’s growing season starts earlier than Syracuse, NY (where I grew up), and later than San Antonio, TX (where I lived for 15 years). Our growing season is relatively short, but our summer days are long. With a bit of effort, we’ll be eating fresh from the garden… Continue reading →

  • Words by Andrea Leigh Ptak
  • May 13, 2014
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