Early Summer Crop Rotation Smarts in Your Backyard Garden

This week in June is a good time to think about what plants to add to backyard gardens after you’re ready to take out what you might have planted at the end of April or the beginning of May—likely radishes, turnips, lettuce, other cool season greens and maybe spinach. Erica Lavdanski of B & H…

Plant with Soil in Hand

Want to Reduce Waste and Improve Soil Structure? Compost!

“Landfills are full of things that don’t have to be there,” says Beth Finlay, Master Gardener Coordinator at the Penn State Extension in Berks County.  The issue of reducing garbage is close to home for Beth.  In scenic Berks County, there are four large landfills, one of which receives an average of over 5,000 tons of garbage…

Protecting Pollinators in Your Vegetable Garden

My heart always lifts when I see a honeybee in my vegetable garden.  Like many people, I’ve known for several years that honeybees are in trouble.  In 2011, my sister showed me the documentary “Vanishing of the Bees,” which explained how honeybees had been disappearing across the globe due to colony collapse disorder and emphasized the…

Edible Landscapes: Planting for the Palate

Adding plants with beautiful colors, textures and shapes to flowerbeds and garden space always makes sense, but joining permanent edible landscape plants to your yard is another bright idea that can benefit your family at the kitchen table. Anne-Marie McMahon, founder and owner of Sugarbush Nursery in Robeson Township, Berks County, gladly advocates installing edible landscape…

Harvest Fresh Strawberries from Your Backyard

Every year, the garden center at Wolff’s Apple House features an abundance of strawberry plants for home gardens, and every year that I hear about this it still sounds magical.  Really?  You can harvest strawberries from your backyard?  And not just those tiny, gritty wild strawberries, but lush, flavorful homegrown strawberries? I shouldn’t be too…

Herbs

Putting a Full Herb Garden to Full Use

Some people grow up surrounded by fresh herbs.  They watch, or help, as their parents grow herbs, chop herbs and garnish dishes with soft handfuls of basil, oregano, parsley or sage. Other people discover the magic of fresh herbs later in life, and meals are never the same afterward.  Discovering fresh herbs marks a turning…

Gabbing in Garden-Speak

Nan Reinert of Chubby Pickle Farm in Robeson Township, Berks County, is always happy to help others learn about smarter and more efficient ways to garden, knowing quite well just how stressful this therapeutic effort can become if you take on too much. “I am passionate about growing and getting people to grow,” she says…

Farm Film of Media Premieres January 16 and 17—Watermelon Magic

With much respect given to what farms are to us, director and producer Richard Power Hoffmann is proud to bring the premiere of his film Watermelon Magic to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, N.J. this week. The Hoffmann Family resides in Media, Delaware County and is known to frequent Wolff’s Apple House for…

Natural Fertilizers at Home: Feed Those Tomato Plants

With so many chemical fertilizers on the market today, it’s nice to know that there are plenty of natural versions of fertilizers and soil amendment possibilities right at home when you’re ready to feed the tomato plants you’ve purchased from Wolff’s Apple House. Eggshells Save your eggshells after breakfast or baking. Eggshells are rich in…

The Lesser-Known Uses and Benefits of Herbs

Rosemary is known for bringing out the impeccable flavors in Mediterranean cuisine, but it’s also quite a perk to skin. Not only does it help to shrink the appearance of capillaries, but it also acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, so it reduces redness and irritation of skin, which can be helpful with acne or a suddenly…

Grafted Tomatoes: Delicate Heirlooms Made Hardy

By Ashley Wolff A tomato connoisseur knows that heirloom tomatoes are usually the tastiest, juiciest and most oh-so-delicious ‘maters on the block.  But there is a reason that we seldom see abundant displays of these tasty gems in stores: they are often harder to grow than hybrids and have a shorter shelf-life. They were grown…

Gardening 101: Planning, Preparing & Planting

When you walk into Wolff’s this time of year, a sea of vibrantly colored flowers greets you. Some of these plants are ready to go in the ground, like Pansies and cold-tolerant annuals like Alyssum, Diascia, Dusty Miller, Lobelia, Nemesia and Snapdragons. Other early season perennials are also waiting for their turn in the dirt,…