Welcome. Black Hills gardeners awaited the Solstice on Tuesday, June 20 at 10:24 pm Mountain Time. Now summer is here. Warm nights and hot days allow us to watch the coming harvest in the throes of becoming strong. Windy days are mixed with now constant sounds of lawn-mowing engines, and the successive emergence of long-absent tall grasses. Alert growers keep a wary eye out for rattlesnakes. Gardeners radiate a sense of tranquility, proof of more time spent outdoors. Our lives are now preoccupied with maturing plants and atmospheric tempering. 

Questions or comments are always welcome.  We'll try to get back to you right away.  Email us, Cathie Draine and Brad Morgan at gardeners@blackhillsgarden.com

An updated guide to "Growing Tomatoes in South Dakota" is now available for download.  "Few vegetables inspire us more than home-grown tomatoes, bursting with vine-ripe flavor. Tomatoes are easy to grow in containers or in the ground, and are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, as well as cancer-fighting lycopenes."

Think of this column as an instructive tale with three main characters: native soil, yard waste mulch and water and three crucial vocabulary words: hydrophobic, hydrophilic and infiltration.  more

Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are rightly seen as the beginning of the planting season, if the thousands of hanging flower baskets that suddenly appear on decks and porches and in decorative pots are any measure. These baskets often contain some of my favorite flowers: pansies, snapdragons, violas and petunias. They are vigorous growers but often break gardeners’ hearts because they can become unattractive - leggy and stringy with few flowers or one sad bloom at the end of a long, seemingly naked stem. more

I had to check Wikipedia to get a solid description of the increasingly popular and loved garden broadfork. Local broadfork user, Piedmont gardener Brenda Pates lovingly calls her 28 pound, all metal 4-tined broadfork from Meadow Creature “the bomb.”  more

Warming days and slowly warming nights have every gardener I know eager, almost desperate to get his or her hands in the soil. And some are eagerly preparing  for an annual beginning of the gardening season event – tilling the garden.  more

Here’s a question for gardeners: “What is the NRCS and what does it do?” and the answer is not “Why should I care?”  The NRCS is the National Resources Conservation Service and is “…the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s principal agency for providing conservation technical assistance to private landowners, conservation districts, tribes and other organizations.”  more

This is a garden column I never believed I would write. Its topic is the helpfulness of computers for gardeners.  Many years ago – almost twenty, I started writing the Digs column.  I thought my computer might be a great help to me because of the statements, at that time, that computers were to be considered as research libraries.    more

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June gardening tip.  One tip reveals how money need not be wasted: "Mid to late June is an excellent time to take softwood cuttings of shrubs to start new plants. Some shrubs which can be propagated in this way are spirea, lilac and viburnum."  more


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Tomato-Growing Mistakes Every Gardener Makes

  • Why some tomato varieties need pruning — and some do not.

  • How to stop tomato leaves from spotting and yellowing.

  • Why to prefer heirloom varieties over hybrids.

  • Which type of fertilizers work best for tomatoes.

  • Why tomatoes grown in buckets can be even healthier than ones grown in the ground.


more such survival gardening from Off the Grid News