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Letters from the Garden

raised bed vegetable garden

The ultimate guide to raised beds

I love gardening in raised beds. In fact I’d argue that everything about gardening in raised beds is easier than growing in the ground. Well, everything except for the part where you make them. But other than that there are so many advantages to growing in raised beds and they are worth considering for anyone who is growing for their …

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garden arbor

The great fence color debate: a conclusion

I’ve asked the opinion of my dear readers many times and it’s always an illuminating exercise. It’s interesting to get a feel for a direction others think my garden should go, even if you only know it from photos and descriptions. But in the nearly 10 years this blog has been in existence, there has never been an issue as …

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How to build a garden arbor

How to build an arbor regardless of the season

A quick note: This post is a partnership with Lowe’s Home Improvement. But you know that all words and opinions are my own. I also apologize for the messy basement visible in this post. Imagine a vegetable garden full of orderly but abundant raised beds on a bed of charcoal-colored gravel. At its entrance is a charming gate under an …

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how to do a soil test

What a soil test said about my vegetable garden

If you’ve gardened for any amount of time you’ve probably been told test your soil. In fact you’ve probably been told to test your soil multiple times. Sorry to break it to you, but I’m not going to give you a pass on this one. You really should send a soil sample to a soil lab and get a proper …

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Fenced vegetable garden

A garden fence … finally!

If you had told me last March when I wrote on this blog about my rather grand plan for a new vegetable garden that I would still be updating you on it nine months later, well, I probably wouldn’t have done it. Suffice to say, I had no idea what a big project I was dreaming up. But progress on …

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veg garden shadow

Now’s the time to plan for next year’s garden

Well, it’s time to think about next year’s garden. I can hear what you’re thinking: But Erin, you haven’t even finished cleaning up this year’s garden! Aren’t you still trying to get a fence up around the vegetable garden this year? Have you even found all the tools you stranded in the garden yet? And you would be making some …

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Snow-covered sedum

How to suck the ambition out of a gardener

Well this was not in my plan.  An early season snowfall has put a damper on my fall gardening plans and even worse, it has pretty much killed any desire I have to be in the garden. It’s just so hard to get inspired to garden when the option is getting your winter gloves dirty or freeze wearing just your …

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The Impatient Gardener blog was started in 2009 and its library of posts includes practical how-tos, plant guides, favorite garden gear, successes and failures and much more. If you’re looking for something specific, the search function at the top of the page can help.

Thank you to Wave Petunias for partnering with me on this post.  I’m often asked a question that is perplexing to me: “Do you grow annuals or perennials?” I don’t fault the people asking the question as I think there are some people who grow one or the other, and perhaps that was more typical […]

Nothing stops me in my tracks more than when I’m looking at a garden jam-packed with color and texture and come across a spot of bare soil. It puts a screeching halt to well-planned flow.  Gaps in the garden happen because the plant that was supposed to be growing there didn’t, or perhaps because other […]

What more can we ask from a gardening book than to be inspirational and education? Two new books with more than a little in common manage to strike the right balance of both, complimenting each other, much as the personalities of these enthusiastic and generally delightful gardeners do. Claus Dalby, the Danish gardener known for […]

If there is a support group for planter addicts, let me know, because I need it. I love a good container, but finding one is a different matter.  I have two non-negotiable requirements for most planters: they need to be big and they need to look good. Weight, style and even cost are all things […]

Is there any task that has so many rules and yet so many people tackling it in different methods more than growing plants from seeds? It can make the whole process even more confusing. Each way to start seeds has its pros and cons, and although some are better than others for starting particular seeds, […]

There’s a well-established garden-making process around here: Every other year I make a new garden space. It is a lot of work, puts me behind in other areas of my arguably already too-large garden and takes a bit bite out of the plant budget. By the end of the project I swear I’m all done […]

What can I say about the 2021 garden? I have been putting off thinking about it too much because well, I have regrets, and when we are only given so many summers in this lifetime, it stinks to use one on a garden that you don’t love. Don’t get me wrong, I am way more […]

No matter how much I’d like to be one of those people who makes notes throughout the year of gift ideas for family and friends, I am but a mere mortal who, in the throes of a panicked gift-buying season, ends up scouring online gift guides that claim to know the innermost desires of the […]

At a time of year when there’s no shortage of faux decor—faux trees, faux berries, faux garlands, faux mistletoe, for starters—it’s nice to have a few real plants around. The plants we typically think of as “holiday” plants don’t usually bloom at this time of year. Rather, they are forced (although perhaps “t

Growing oddball plants—those plants that aren’t commonly grown in the area—is almost always rewarding. Since there is no real way to measure success, any sign of a plant doing what it’s supposed to do is chalked up in the win column. In other words, I keep my expectations low and hope to be pleasantly surprised. […]

Thank you to Inside Outside House & Garden for partnering with me on my post. As usual, all words and thoughts are mine. Check out the promo code at the end for a free trial. “No new gardens.” Perhaps you’ve heard me say this a few times before, but it turns out no matter how […]

I’ll admit it: My gardener brain switched into fall to-do list mode awhile ago. But somewhere along the line in between planning where bulbs will go and remembering which plants need to be moved, I looked up and found some great plants showing off in the garden. It was, once again, a good reminder to […]

This time of year is all about soaking in the garden and making mental (or more likely, photographic) notes about what worked and what didn’t. Some things are as simple as a plant that just didn’t perform or as complicated as being happy with how a design sketched on paper came to fruition. But somewhere […]