Growing up in the rainy Pacific Northwest, I thought spring and summer couldn’t come too quickly. I often tagged along with my mother on grocery shopping trips. As we wheeled the cart around the larger-than-life bins in the produce section, Mom would pull up to the display of oranges like a …

Now that we’re well into winter (as mild as it is), have you ever wondered how to compost during the winter, even if don’t have compost bins or a tumbler?

Last week’s assault on our nation’s Capitol by an angry mob left me feeling shocked, ashamed and sad. For a time I, like many people, were glued to their TV sets, radios or devices. But before long I couldn’t take it anymore.

Snow does more than brighten the landscape and encourage us to prepare for spring gardening. Snow can yield some great benefits to your soil.

Across the nation, gardening grew by leaps and bounds in 2020. And it’s not slowing down. In fact, more than 20 million new growers picked up the trowel and pitchfork in response to the pandemic. The good news is that many newbies had such a good experience, they will be back in 2021.

I am teaching myself how to play a 26-string harp. It’s a challenge and it’s not always pretty: My fingers aren’t as young and nimble as they used to be and I’m learning how to read music at the same time.

For today’s column I dipped into my archives, mostly out of curiosity to see what I was writing about back in 2000. 

When I think of holiday dinners of my youth, two things come to mind: oyster casserole (topped with crushed saltines) and a jiggling red tower of cranberry sauce. Following the example set by the grownups, I loaded my fork with what looked like an oyster and, with extreme trepidation, put it…

As we enter Thanksgiving week in this world of COVID, I’d like to focus on a few ways we can shed a little light for ourselves, our neighbors, our community and, since this column is mostly about gardening — our gardens. So for today, I want to cover a few indoor and outdoor projects, includ…

Can you think of a silver lining to COVID-19? It’s a challenge, what with the US continuing to set records for daily coronavirus infections. … Then, one of my newsletter subscribers from Switzerland offered a positive bent to the pandemic in this morning’s email: 

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Now that the elections are behind us, the topic of “what’s next?” is on the front burner of many tongues. I’ll let those who polish crystal balls get to work. Meanwhile, let’s take a look at what’s next in the world of ... weather. At least for the rest of 2020.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising against the door-to-door candy quest during the pandemic. Are you surprised?

Love it or hate it, “pivot” is the buzzword of the pandemic. Pivot refers to a significant change or survival tactic in a business, a household, a relationship or eating habits.


A certain man had a fine horse that was his pride and his wealth. One morning he got up early to go out to the stable and he found it empty. The horse had been stolen!

I went on slug patrol the other morning. Slug patrol means snooping around the garden in search of slimy gastropods. I collected them with my bare hands and then, with a slimy blessing, I tossed them over the cliff. Problem was, few of them ended up in the ocean, thanks to a low tide.

This summer has been like no other. Good weather plus more time than usual to spend in the garden — or fish for silvers, go for long hikes, and ... okay, so the berry harvest wasn’t so great. Yet, more than once I’ve heard people say, almost reverently in a hushed voice, “Where did the summer go?”

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn, when, for a micro-second, we teeter-totter at a perfect point between 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. Back on Earth, it’s time to make jam, put up pickles, smoke and can fish, and prepare the garden for next spring. 

For today’s column, I’d intended to dive into composting and how to harvest and store potatoes. Then my copy of GreenPrints arrived in the mail, and I changed my mind. Oh, yes, I promise to talk about compost and spuds soon. But for today, it’ll be different.

You know that carrots are good for you, but what else can you do with them besides eating them raw Bugs Bunny style, or grating them into topper for a dinner salad?

It’s been a dry summer. Precipitation is down 20% below the average for this time of year. Consequently, flowers, veggies, herbs and wildflowers and berries are moving along quickly. Wild grasses and Puschki are going to seed. So if you want to taste summer this winter, get out and pick the …

Here’s the deal: You bring home fresh fruits and vegetables, stash them in the fridge and then wonder what happened to make them shrivel, rot or go limp just a few days later. Most of the time, the problem is how you’re storing them. Here are a few tips to keep your produce fresher longer.

This week we are going to celebrate summer in four small bits. As in, mini-projects. I figured with COVID-19, many of us might be burned out on coming up with projects. It’s like eating salads: Why is it that a salad made by someone else tastes better than your own? With that, let’s get started ...

If the word “rat” makes you squeamish, then you might want to move on over to the comics. Today we’re going to cover a topic that affects everyone, whether you realize it or not.

Last year, on a sunny June day, I was giving B&B guests a tour of our garden. They marveled at the blue poppies and paused whenever a boat zipped by.  

Once upon a time, a friend had a summer job at premier nursery in the Pacific Northwest. She said that the nursery owner always had his new employees spend the first two or three weeks doing nothing but watering plants.

On our kitchen windowsill sits a small, barrel cactus with four stubby shoots that look more like fat noses. At only 3 inches tall, one might think she’s not much of a houseplant, but she’s my buddy. She keeps watch as I chop veggies, make smoothies and wash dishes.

Dear readers, I’d intended for this column to run on Monday, Memorial Day. Thing was, I forgot that there would be no newspaper printed on Monday, a holiday. With summer less than a month away, I’d like to focus on flowers, as in, the meaning of flowers.

When I drove by Mission Beach last Thursday, dozens of bald eagles were standing in the sand like fence posts. I pulled over to watch the action. There wasn’t much, save a little posturing between adults and “brown heads.”

Last Saturday’s plant sale brought dozens of folks out of the woodwork. And because we wore masks, the gathering of gardeners took on a masquerade look.

On a recent chilly morning, I carried my coffee outside and walked around the garden. I spotted new buds on the cherry tree and salmonberry bushes.

Last week, a gray whale made its way into the channel, and for a couple days it swam deliberate doughnuts and figure eights in front of cannery row, to the delight of local photographers.

 Dear readers, I don’t need to tell you how much comfort gardening can be in a time like this. The rules of social interactions have changed, but the “rules” of gardening remain the same. And I have to wonder, since gardeners are accustomed to dealing with the quirks of nature, if they aren’…

 After last week’s column about snow mold, followed by a stretch of pleasant weather, I decided it was time to cover a few Q&As. (I’m writing this from a safe distance, of course).

A few days ago, I took a walk around the garden. The sun felt warm and nourishing. As I pulled a weed next to a tired spinach plant, I glanced down at the ground and spotted a purple crocus. Yawning in the sunlight, it was a beautiful sight, in spite of the company it kept (twisted blades of…