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Archives for May 17, 2014

When Tudors ruled and gardens bloomed

When the first Tudor monarch came to the throne, the kingdom was at last at peace after the long Wars of the Roses that had kept England in turmoil for many years.

Both lord and peasant could could look forward to a more prosperous and happier life. The gardens of the aristocracy in medieval times had been used as sheltered enclaves and those of the ordinary farm or cottage were entirely utilitarian in aim.

The nobles freed from the need to surround their castles with walls could erect stately homes surrounded by formal gardens. The humble cottagers began to fill their lots with flowers and vegetables familiar to us today. The monasteries were great landowners and their orchards and gardens were mainly filled with fruit, vegetables, and savoury and medicinal herbs. Because of the requirement for the population to eat fish on Fridays and Holy Days ponds were stocked. Recently, TVO has been running a series of programs on Sundays called Tudor Monastery Farm which informs us about the horticulture and peasant life of that era.

By the 15th century the poorer parts of the community had established themselves in a better and more independent position as against the aristocracy and monastery alike. Chaucer, in his Canterbury Tales, tells us that the peasants had consumed mainly vegetables but this was changing as the discovery of the Americas brought new food crops.

Also, they could keep more livestock for themselves and grow fruit like cherries and strawberries for the market.

What was being created was the “šcottage garden”š as it has come to be known. Among the plants they would likely grow were fennel, pot marigolds, caraway, leeks, wormwood, monkshood, rosemary, camomile, daisies and pansies.

All of these are mentioned in William Shakespeare’s works. He lived during the time that the Tudors ruled England.

In the gardens of the rich would be cultivated not only edible plants but flowers to decorate the interiors of the houses. Restfulness, seclusion and aesthetic qualities became the prime considerations. The gardens could be surrounded by walls; paths were gravelled or sanded; arbours and other structures were placed about. Suitable trees and shrubs were clipped to make formal hedges and the art of topiary was born. Plain beds gave way to knotts, whose interlacing geometric patterns were outlined by box hedges, best seen from upper storeys of the houses. Summer houses, statuary, fountains and mazes were added.

The garden at Hampton Court can show how extensive, complicated and ornate landscaping had become. Travellers on the continent brought back the ideas of the Italian renaissance and the formal French formal designs.

With the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, their lands were taken over by the lords and gentry who supported the king. Their charitable work was replaced by landlords whose interest was in the bottom line. The income flowing into the coffers of the upper classes allowed them to spend part of their wealth on landscaping.

In his Essay on Gardens, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) wrote about the vast formal gardens, then the rage, bordered with arched hedges filled with such plants as lilacs, the Damask rose, salad burnet, cowslips, sweet marjorum, violets, pinks, gilly-flowers (carnations) and lime trees. He might have added honey-suckle, jasmine, vines and clematis when Mr. Justice Shallow gossiped with Falstaff, “šover last year’s pippin and a dish of caraways.”š

It was during the reigns of the Stuart kings that the English style of landscaping replaced the formal gardens of the wealthy. Meanwhile, the humble cottage garden continued to grow their cabbages.

Denzil Sawyer is a local freelance writer and a Master Gardener.

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Park Lane advisory group to discuss trees, community engagement at Kirkland …

The Park Lane Advisory Group will discuss the most recent developments in the continuing redesign of Park Lane at 10 a.m., on May 21 in the Kirkland Library.

Kirkland residents and business owners are encouraged to attend as well.

One of the topics the advisory group will be discussing is how to create a series of community-engagement events out of the four-month construction process that begins January 2015.

Field trips are one way, say project staff.

“We’re going to be installing some interesting green technology along Park Lane,” Kirkland’s Park Lane project engineer Frank Reinart said. “One example is the bioretention technology that allows tree roots to grow deeper into the ground, rather than directly beneath the surface of the street and sidewalk. This technology will be visible for a very brief time, which offers a brief opportunity for the public to learn how we can more seamlessly incorporate natural infrastructure into our built environment.”

Another idea is to use the construction fence as a community canvas of art, created by Kirkland residents.

“These are ways to engage residents in the construction process,” Reinart said. “We are sure there are other ideas out there. And that’s what we will be discussing Wednesday.”

The advisory group will also be learning about the safety of some of Park Lane’s older street trees. Some of those trees are nearing the end of their lives.

“These trees would live for only another five, 10 years max,” said Eric Schmidt, the Park Lane design team’s principal landscape architect. “To save this green canopy and park-like atmosphere for now and the next generation, we need to improve the conditions of the healthy trees and replace the ailing ones.

Of course, several of them-about a dozen of them-have already reached the end of their lifespans. The city of Kirkland replaced most of those trees already. A few summers ago, however, the tree in front of Cactus fell.

“There wasn’t even a breeze and during Summerfest, a giant limb fell down,” said Bonnie McLeod, owner of McLeod Insurance, which operates on Park Lane a few paces west of where the tree fell. “It happened at night. People are saying, ‘Why are we taking down these trees.’ Well, it’s because of the danger.”

Landscape architect Schmidt will present the design’s solution for the ailing street trees at the May 21 advisory group meeting.

The May 21 meeting is the second of a half-dozen advisory group meetings the city of Kirkland has planned throughout the design process of Park Lane.

The city is redesigning the vital pedestrian corridor into a plaza-style street, with drivers, walkers and cyclists all traveling on the same level. Rather than using a curb and sidewalk to separate walkers from drivers, the design will rely on landscaping, bollards and surface textures.

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Workers find a balance between work and worship

Jung Sun Park packs up more than teriyaki, sushi and the house special bibimbap into her to-go orders at her Korean restaurant Happy BiBim Bap House in downtown Salem. The petite owner, who looks younger than her 55 years, sends people off with a blessing.

Park and her husband, Dueg Soo, 62, have owned the small restaurant two years this month. Born in Korea, they spent 32 years in New York, where they also ran a Korean restaurant, before moving to Salem three years ago.

The “blessings to go” started in New York after Jung Sun Park became a Christian four years ago.

Using an interpreter — her pastor, David Jeon of the Korean Church of Salem — Park said that while she was praying one day, “God moved her heart” to write a message to her customers. It started with her writing on her take-out boxes the Bible verse “Love your God with all your heart and with all your mind and also love your neighbor as yourself.” Since moving to Salem, she has changed it to “I send God’s love to you” with a big happy face, though she sometimes will put Bible verses, too.

“Most people respond with thanks,” she said through Jeon. “Many customers say they are moved.”

The notes may lead customers to think that Park, with her friendly smile, speaks English better than she does, but it has taken practice getting the English words she writes just right.

“Even though there are language barriers, they like to show constant love to their customers,” Jeon said.

In addition to the written blessings, the Parks also said they pray every morning before opening for business, and Jung Sun Park describes her customers as angels sent by God, of whom they try to greet and treat as such.

Planting a seed

Like the Parks, other business owners say their faith is an integral part of their work week.

Aren Jensen said he’s learned how to mix business and sharing God’s treasure from his dad, Arne Jensen, who started the Salem company Arne Jensen Landscaping nearly four decades ago.

“He’s done something neat that has affected me,” the younger Jensen, who now co-runs the company with his dad, said. “Live by example on the job site. I learned how to serve people by watching him.”

Aren Jensen, like his dad, carries around his story of faith typed out on a neat, crisp sheet of white paper that contrasts with the landscaper’s mud-striped pants and dirt-caked fingernails.

If at the end of a job, it feels right, he will ask customers if he can leave them his story, a short testimony of how he said God restored him and how he believes, because of the Bible, that the same is available for everyone. But it’s always at the end of a job, he said. And he encourages them to call him if they’d like to know more.

“I know the only way they will receive it is if we have backed it up with our work ethic, how we live, our character,” he said.

A singles/young adult pastor at People’s Church, Aren Jensen said his landscaping job can open a door, build a bridge.

“I’ll tell them I’m a pastor and talk about Jesus early; it forces me to come up to that standard,” he said. He also said he looks for opportunities to help customers beyond their plant and lawn needs, including praying for people when life hits.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” he said.

Room to study

And it’s not just business owners who are finding a balance between work and worship. When Fred Swain joined the City of Salem’s Information Technology Department 37 years ago, he joined a lunch-hour Bible study. A couple years later, he was facilitating it.

Though the group has fluctuated over the years from a few to more than a dozen, it has consistently met weekly in a conference room at the department during the noon hour.

Swain said they have been privileged to be allowed to use the space and haven’t had problems with management or received any complaints over the decades.

“You have to be careful in how you invite people, not print invites on work printers or use work email,” Swain said. “Usually, it’s word of mouth, ‘If you’re interested …,’ very low key.”

He added low key also means not being pushy or annoying, which can cross a line and push people away.

He said another reason the group has worked could be because, while being Christian-based, it is open to all faiths and accepting of their thoughts. Swain said now the group consists of him — a member of Salem Alliance Church — a Jew and a Mormon. In the past, Swain said, Hindus also have attended.

The group opens in prayer but focuses most its time on reading a portion of a book of the Bible or a book on a specific faith topic, then discussing it and hopefully, Swain said, finding application for their daily lives. Right now, they are reading Galatians.

“People are afraid that they might run afoul of separation of church and state, but maybe it’s worth that risk to see if it will work,” Swain said, noting their lunch group is on the work site but not on the clock. “It’s always strange to be part of the secular workplace and bow your head, but after awhile, it becomes natural. It’s good for the workplace to have a spiritual element.”

Tell us if you have any faith-based story ideas. Contact, (503) 589-6920 or follow at


Happy Bibim Bap House

Where: 635 Chemeketa St. NE, downtown Salem

When: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m Mondays-Saturdays; 10 percent off after 2 p.m. for students and, after 5 p.m., 10 percent off for 2 or more people and 20 percent off for groups of four or more

Information: (503) 585-1530 or

Arne Jensen Landscaping

Contact: or (503) 363-4706

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Rain gardens relieve sewer main system

The heavy rain we’ve seen over the past few days usually means a lot of storm water run-off in the sewer system.

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Garden column: Master gardener classes gearing up soon in Northeast Florida – Florida Times

If you have an interest in gardening and serving your community, check out the master gardener classes that are gearing up in Northeast Florida.

Master gardener is a title given to individuals who receive in‑depth horticultural training from county extension agents and, in return, give 75 hours of volunteer service helping their local extension office. The program is under the direction of the University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Master gardeners join the program for a variety of reasons. Transplants from other climates find that gardening in Florida has special challenges and they want to learn how to duplicate their previous successes. Some grew up on a farm and are returning to their roots. Others simply enjoy digging in the dirt and want to have a nice landscape. Whatever the reason, there is a common bond among gardeners and they are an eager, nurturing group that loves to share information and plants.

The county extension offices in several Northeast Florida counties train master gardeners in late summer and fall. If you are a resident of Duval, Clay, Bradford, Nassau, St. Johns, Putnam or Baker counties, the classes coming up are open to you.

Most master gardener trainings will be held on Wednesdays beginning in late July and ending in October. Training sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 3:30 p.m. The cost to attend the program varies, so check with your county extension office.

Training will include topics such as basic plant science, plant propagation, entomology (insects), plant pathology (diseases), nematology, vegetable gardening, fruit culture, woody ornamentals, turf management, animal pest control, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, irrigation basics and planting/care of common landscape plants. The master gardener training is the most comprehensive horticultural classes offered in our area.

Master gardeners give their volunteer hours to extension offices in many ways. Many Duval master gardeners help residents by answering telephone calls about gardening and landscaping issues. In addition, they troubleshoot plant problems brought into the office, test soil for pH, conduct plant clinics, teach 4‑H youth about plants, plant and maintain demonstration gardens, teach groups about landscape techniques to protect the environment, work with school garden projects, help clients at the Canning/Nutrition Center, and assist with city beautification projects.

Applications for a limited number of openings are being taken in area county extension offices for upcoming classes. Anyone may apply for the program regardless of race, color, sex, national origin, or disability.

Terry Brite DelValle is a horticulture extension agent with the Duval County Extension Service and the University of Florida/IFAS.

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Surfrider Foundation provides workshops for DIY water-conservation landscaping

Another view of the Culver City house shows how roof greywater not absorbed by the permeable landscape is directed to a dry streambed, which feeds a seasonal, recirculating fountain found in the vertical rock. The water is stored in a tank under the rock. Courtesy the Surfrider Foundation


Ventura County Waterworks: 6767 Spring Road, Moorpark. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. RSVP: 508-378-3000.

conservation groups

Surfrider Foundation: Learn more about Ocean Friendly Gardens and workshops, 949-492-8170,

G3 Green Gardens Group: 149 S. Barrington Ave., Suite 758, Los Angeles, 310-694.8351,, and its Watershed Wise Landscaping Programs,

When water from sprinklers, a hose or rain flows down the street toward the storm drain, it picks up pollutants: fertilizer, motor oil, brake pad dust, trash, dog poop. This, says the Surfrider Foundation, is the No. 1 cause of ocean pollution.

But the nonprofit organization, dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans, believes it can be stopped.

Several years ago, Surfrider launched an Ocean Friendly Gardens program aimed at promoting water conservation and soil absorption at home, which would prevent pollution from entering the ocean through urban runoff. With so much of the region paved over, TreePeople estimates that for every inch of rain that falls on Los Angeles, 3.8 billion gallons of water pour into the Pacific. That’s close to half of the more than 8.5 billion gallons of water used outdoors by households in the U.S. every day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“It’s like a giant pipeline to the ocean,” says Paul Herzog, who coordinates the Ocean Friendly Gardens program. “If we can use that water for our plants, then we won’t have to rely on imported water or ground water and we’ll eliminate pollution from urban runoff. It’s a great two for one.”

Part of the program focuses on hands-on workshops led by Los Angeles-based G3 Green Gardens Group. Do-it-yourselfers learn how to transform a garden into a sustainable, urban wildlife habitat with California native and climate-appropriate plants.

“By planting plants that are from our area, it connects us to where we are instead of just having palm trees and grass everywhere,” Herzog says. “You get the birds and the bees and the butterflies dependent on those native plants. The monarch butterfly’s young depend on milkweed, so that would be a great plant for everyone to have.”

The three-hour class walks participants through every step, including turf removal and soil preparation through sheet mulching (also known as the lasagna method, with its alternate layers of paper and mulch). Installing irrigation and adding dry stream beds and other permeable hardscapes, such as decomposed granite, capture water so it can soak into the ground, providing hydration for plants and replenishing the aquifers.

“If you have these little ‘sponges’ everywhere, you’re so much more likely to not only prevent runoff and pollution, but you don’t need a big solution anywhere,” Herzog says. “It’s difficult to clean up water at the end of a storm drain — it’s high volume, it’s moving fast and you need a lot of room or you need some expensive technological device.”

But to have small solutions all over the region?

“It creates multiple benefits,” he says. “You get plants and healthy soil, you get habitat and food for native wildlife. If you plant a tree, you get shade for your car or house. These are things you don’t get by putting a filter at the end of a pipe.”

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5 tips for gardening on a budget – WBIR

Master Gardener Carl Parsons offers some advice for keeping your garden looking good for less. (5/16/14)

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Get Growing, tips from local Master Gardener Cheryl B. Wilson: Weeding time

Plants are popping out of the ground these days thanks to the warm temperatures and lots of rain. It’s time to get ahead of weeds before they overwhelm perennials and all those annuals you are about to plant.

Maple seedlings are in abundance this year and should be removed promptly. They grow amazingly fast into 6-foot trees. Chickweed has been blooming merrily and crabgrass is about to germinate in all the bare spots in lawns and garden beds.

Hand-weeding is much preferable to toxic poisons and this means you need good weeding tools. My favorite three-pronged weeder has gone missing and I must replace it at the garden center. The substitute I’ve been using just isn’t satisfactory. Many gardeners love the sharp-edged triangular Ho-Mi Korean weeder, which can be quite lethal so watch out when using it. A dandelion digger is great for garden beds as well as for lawns. A friend gave me a long-handled knife-like tool for use in between paving stones, bricks and cobblestones. You still have to get down on the ground to remove the weeds but the knife slices through the roots quickly. Vegetable gardeners can rely on a variety of hoes but they are seldom helpful in a perennial flower garden where plants are close together in haphazard patterns.

Mulch is the ultimate defense against weeds. It also holds moisture in the soil, a boon during dry spells. Wood chips around trees and shrubs are a great idea. Just be sure never to create “volcanoes,” those cone-shaped piles around tree trunks. Keep the mulch several inches from the trunk to avoid harboring diseases and insect pests. Mulch makes gardens look neat but the downside in perennial beds is that desirable self-sown flower seeds won’t germinate. You have to decide whether to reduce weeding and help retain moisture or provide a hospitable environment for forget-me-nots and little bulbs. Vegetable gardeners don’t face that dilemma. Straw — not hay, which has too many weed seeds — or grass clippings are great for vegetable gardens. That is assuming you never use pesticides on your lawn.

Get all those plants you bought at local nonprofit plant sales into the ground as quickly as possible and start a weeding routine for all your gardens. Gardening season has finally arrived and we need to keep ahead of Mother Nature.

NATIVE BEE POLLINATORS: Learn about essential native bees who pollinate food and ornamental plants on a walk at the Hitchcock Center in Amherst tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to noon. Joan Milam, a research associate at UMass, will lead the walk. Suggested donation, $5. Register by calling 256-6006.

BOREAL FOREST WALK: Aimee Gelinas will lead a spring ephemeral boreal plant and tree walk at Tamarack Hollow in Windsor tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., under the auspices of Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Fee is $16. Call 584-3009 to register.

NATIVE WOODLAND PLANTS: Learn about native medicinal plants on an herb walk on Skinner Mountain Tuesday, 6-7 p.m. Herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson will lead the walk. Meet at the main entrance to Skinner State Park off Route 47. Suggested donation, $10.

PLANT EXCHANGE: The Belchertown plant exchange is Tuesday, at 6 p.m., at 253 Warren Wright Road in Belchertown. Elaine Williamson organizes this twice-monthly exchange. Bring perennial divisions, seedlings, seeds and a box to take home your treasures. Fee is $2.

WILDFLOWERS: Uncommon ferns, yellow lady’s slippers and pitcher plants will be among the wildflowers expected to be seen on a hike at High Ledges in Shelburne on Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to noon. Botanists Janet Bissell and Connie Parks will lead the walk for Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary. Bring a hand lens and field guide if possible and be prepared for ticks. Fee is $8. Register at Arcadia, 584-3009.

GARDENING WITH MUSHROOMS: Fungi Ally will hold a workshop on growing mushrooms on May 24, 1-4 p.m., at Hacker Farm, 141 Franklin St., Belchertown. Fee, $30. Participants will take home a log inoculated with mushroom spores. Register at or call Willie Crosby contact at 978-844-1811 or

PLANT SALES: Here is a list of plant sales scheduled in the next month. Visit as many as you can!

∎ May 17: Easthampton: Pascommuck Conservation Trust, 8 a.m. to noon, Big E’s Foodland parking lot. Perennials, ornamental grasses, shrubs, garden stepping stones, bird houses and a raffle of wicker rocking chair with gardening items. All proceeds benefit the trust, which is dedicated to land preservation and trail building; Easthampton Garden Club, 8 a.m. to noon, Emily Williston Library, 9 Park St., 527-1031. Holyoke: Wistariahurst Museum, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the museum, 238 Cabot St., 322-5660. Pelham: Pelham Library, 9 a.m. to noon, the library at the corner of Amherst and South Valley roads. Perennials, annual seedlings and vegetable starts. Benefits library programs. Shelburne Falls: Bridge of Flowers, 9 a.m. to noon, Trinity Church Baptist at the corner of Water and Main streets. Proceeds fund Bridge of Flowers maintenance. South Hadley: Council on Aging, 9 a.m. to noon, South Hadley Senior Center, 45 Dayton St. Soil testing and garden advice available from master gardeners; Mount Holyoke College Talbott Arboretum, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Benefits purchases for the greenhouse and campus grounds. (Sale also on May 24.) Southampton: Southampton Woman’s Club Anita Smith Memorial Plant Sale, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Conant Park. Locally grown plants at reasonable prices. Sunderland: Sunderland Public Library, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Graves Memorial Library at the corner of School and North Main streets. Plant donations accepted there on Friday.

∎ May 24: Amherst: 4-H plant sale, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Amherst Farmers Supply, 320 S. Pleasant St. Hanging plants, patio pots, vegetable plants, flowering plants, herbs and perennials. Leverett: Leverett Historical Society’s Plant and Garden Book Sale, 9 a.m. to noon, Leverett Town Hall. To donate plants or books or to help, contact Dawn Marvin Ward at 367-9562 or Julie at 367-2656. South Hadley: Mount Holyoke College Talbott Arboretum, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Benefits purchases for the greenhouse and campus grounds.

∎ May 31: Amherst: Grace Episcopal Church, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., on the Town Common. Plants, including house plants, garden tools, decorative pots and books. Proceeds finance landscaping at the church. To donate plants call the church office at 256-6754.

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This week’s gardening tips: fertilize container plants, put a stop to tomato … – The Times

During dry weather, don’t forget to occasionally water your compost pile. Dry organic matter will not break down. It can be helpful to shove the hose into the compost pile to make sure water reaches the inner parts.

  • Apply a slow-release fertilizer to your outdoor container plants to keep them well fertilized throughout the growing season. One application will feed for many months, saving you time and effort.
  • Most of the cool-season vegetables still lingering in the garden will be cleared out this month. As cool-season crops finish and are removed, rework beds and plant heat-tolerant vegetables for production during the summer.
  •  Caterpillars will feed on the foliage and flowers of ornamentals and the foliage and fruit of vegetables. The tomato fruit worm eats holes in tomatoes. Spinosad, BT (organic insecticides), carbaryl or permethrin regularly applied will keep them in check.
  •  If you want to control broadleaf weeds in your lawn with a weed killer, do so now. High temperatures can lead to lawn damage if herbicides are applied when temperatures hit the 90s. Many brands of lawn weed killer are available, but do make sure the label states that the product is safe to use on the type of lawn grass you have. Do not lawn herbicides now if you recently applied a weed and feed fertilizer.

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Tips for high yields in a small or thirsty garden – Bryan

How can you get the most yield from a garden where space is limited, and water is too?

Plant smart, and pay attention to the soil.

“Your garden is only as good as your soil,” says David Salman, chief horticulturist at High Country Gardens, a Santa Fe, New Mexico, catalog that specializes in native and low-water plants.

Find out what nutrients your soil has — and what it’s missing — with a soil test, available through local cooperative extension offices at a nominal fee (home soil-test kits are less reliable, according to the Colorado State University Extension).

Encourage plant health by fertilizing with natural, organic fertilizers, which include fish emulsion and liquid seaweed, says Salman. Limit the use of chemical fertilizers because they don’t help build the soil.

“You will have more nutritionally complete vegetables if you have healthy soil,” he promises.

One trick Salmon recommends, especially for gardeners living in new housing developments, is adding a soil inoculant called mycorrhiza, a beneficial fungi. It’s found naturally in healthy soil, but often needs to be added to a new garden.

“New gardens in new subdivisions, their soil is scraped off as part of construction,” says Salman. “You need to put beneficial fungi back in.”

Peas, beans and soybeans could benefit from legume inoculants, which are species-specific (a soybean inoculant cannot be used to improve peas’ growth). Read product labels carefully or ask your gardening center for assistance.

“Your beans will do OK [without it], but if you really want to crank out the beans, you can do that with the inoculant,” says Salman. “It’s kind of a ‘grandma’s secret’ to growing great beans.”

Plants that can offer high yields with low watering include leafy vegetables such as kale, lettuce and spinach; beans, snow peas and sugar snap peas; and some varieties of cucumbers and squash, he says. Plant vining beans and peas if you have space or can grow them up a fence or trellis; plant bush beans and peas in large pots if space is limited.

Sarah J. Browning, an extension educator for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, suggests planting radishes, carrots, peppers, zucchini and summer squash for summertime bounty. Peppers grow well in dry conditions, says Browning, and root crops don’t need frequent watering.

“If you watered them well and then mulched them, I think you could get a crop with fairly small amounts of water input,” she says.

Plant radishes early in the season or in part shade, and mulch them and other plants to retain moisture and combat weeds.

Browning recommends the cherry tomato cultivar Sun Gold and the slicers Big Beef and Celebrity as great-tasting high producers. Also look for disease-resistant tomato varieties, which are easier to grow. Browning refers tomato lovers to Pennsylvania State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences Extension’s “Tomato Report 2011,” which lists the best varieties in its tomato trials.

Melissa Ozawa, a features editor for gardening at Martha Stewart Living magazine, recommends growing okra and Swiss chard; both are heat- and drought-tolerant. Melons also can handle less water once established because of their deep root systems, she says.

Not all vegetables grow well in all regions, so read seed packets, matching days to maturation to your region’s growing season, Salman advises.

“One of the big problems with horticulture in this country is everyone tries to be one-size-fits-all, and this is just too big of a continent to do that,” he says. “You don’t want to grow a 120-day watermelon in Denver. They can grow those in Texas, but the maturation period in Denver is much shorter.”

Prolific, water-wise herbs include basil, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary, says Browning.

Salman offers space-saving planting tips for herbs: Plant lavender and oregano along the dryer edges of your garden, since they’re the most heat-tolerant, and plant Greek oregano and dill, plus annual herbs such as basil and cilantro, among the root vegetables.

Try growing perennials such as rosemary, English thyme, tarragon and lavender in your ornamental beds. They don’t require your vegetable garden’s mineral-rich soil, says Salman.

Drought-tolerant flower varieties include coneflowers, hummingbird mint, salvia and blanket flowers, according to Ozawa. Other cutting-garden winners are cosmos, zinnias, sunflowers and larkspur, says Salman. His favorite late-season bloomer is the Mexican sunflower.

“If there’s a bee or butterfly in a 10-mile radius, they’ll find that Mexican sunflower,” he says.

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