The Garden Digs

New to gardening? Create your very own raised garden bed easily with these tips!

Gardening is fun and easy, even when constructing a raised garden bed.

First, select an area with ample sunlight and easy access to a watering hose. A 4’ x 4’ configuration is a standard size for a raised bed because it is easy to reach the middle without disturbing the soil. A common building material is wood, such as naturally rot-resistant types like cedar or redwood. If using wood, be sure to select untreated lumber as treated lumber could leach into your fruit and vegetables over time. If you don’t have wood, there are all sorts of materials you can upcycle. Consider cinder blocks or bricks to construct your frame!

Raised bedsRaised Bed Kits

Once the frame is complete, line the bottom with cardboard to suppress weeds; the cardboard will breakdown over time. Next, fill your bed with a garden compost blend. Lastly, follow your seed packet instructions regarding plant spacing and pay close attention to varieties that can be directly sown into the bed vs. those that need to be started indoors, then transplanted into your bed.

Try growing tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens like lettuce and kale, herbs, root vegetables like carrots, beets, and radishes, and other garden staples like cucumbers and peas.

Be sure to keep your bed well-watered and fertilized for a bountiful harvest all season long!

Have You Met Garden Therapy?

Have we told you how much we LOVE Garden Therapy? We have been following Stephanie Rose’s popular Garden Therapy blog for some time now. It focuses on plants to grow for wellness, using gardening as a means of physical therapy and exercise, as well as the joy that comes from working in the garden or creating a crafty project inspired by nature.

Stephanie Rose
Garden Therapy’s tagline is, “better living through plants,”  - the belief that anyone can feel immediate benefits from spending a short while outdoors, digging in the earth and connecting with all that gardening brings. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a brand new sprout, Garden Therapy helps the DIY gardener get their hands dirty and create something beautiful.

Garden Therapy was originally created by Stephanie Rose as a way to track her journey of healing in the garden. The blog grew and blossomed into a way for Stephanie to connect with others who were using gardening as a form of therapy. Stephanie began sharing more and more garden tips, DIYs, and recipes to help others step into the world of Garden Therapy and experience the delight and benefits of getting creative in the garden. The projects on Garden Therapy range from practical gardening know how to DIY plant-based beauty products, garden-to-table recipes, and nature-inspired craft projects.

Garden Therapy's Seed Starting Journal
We are THRILLED to be partnering with Stephanie this year to create an exclusive line of Garden Therapy kits for sale on GardenTrends! Each kit contains a handpicked collection of seeds and a bonus item (or three) that turn seed starting into a Garden Therapy DIY project. But, we can’t share those with you just yet. They are launching soon, so keep an eye out for them as they will be only available for a limited time. Get them first, before they are gone!

Even though we can’t share our kits with you quite yet, today, we are sharing some of Garden Therapy’s most popular crafty projects that incorporate nature so you can get a feel for how Stephanie lives better through plants!

Bug Hotel
By attracting beneficial insects to your garden, you will bring in your own squad of garden helpers who keep out unwanted pests, pollinate plants, and generally help things run smoothly in the garden. You can encourage beneficial bugs by building them this easy DIY habitat that looks like a piece of stylish garden art.  See the DIY here

Bug Hotel
Bee Bath
A bee bath is an easy way to attract bees to your garden and give them a helping hand. This DIY bee bath is a simple and attractive way to supply a water source for our buzzing friends. See the DIY here.

Bee Bath

Mosquito Repelling Planter
Unlike bees and other beneficial insects, we’re not so keen on attracting mosquitoes to the garden. We’re also not so keen on bug sprays full of harsh chemicals. This planter project shows you how to create a beautiful container garden full of plants that deter mosquitoes naturally. Set it on a patio or other outdoor entertaining space to keep bugs at bay. See the DIY here

Mosquito Repelling Planter
Lavender Oatmeal Soap Cupcakes
These homemade soaps look lovely and make a darling gift. The melt-and-pour soap technique used is very easy even if you have never made soap before, so this is a great project for beginners. Oatmeal is soothing on skin and the scent of lavender relaxes and calms the mind. Lather up and enjoy! See the DIY here

Lavender Oatmeal Soap
SunPatiens Hanging Birdcage Planter
A vintage birdcage or decorative candle lantern looks gorgeous planted up with vibrant SunPatiens and a little moss. As the planter fills in and grows, flowers will begin to spill out through the metal frame of the birdcage, creating a look that is both romantic and whimsical. These planters would be equally lovely in a backyard or as décor for an outdoor event like a summer wedding. See the DIY here

SunPatiens Birdcage Planter

Quick and Easy Preparation and Cooking of Winter Squash

One of GardenTrends' customers, G and S Orchards, is a full-time family owned farm specializing in high quality fruit and vegetables with exceptional flavor. Over the years they have had many people ask how to cook winter squash, so they have put together a guide for preparing and cooking this popular and delectable fall vegetable.

Cooking Winter Squash

Other options:

Butternut squash or neck pumpkin - Slice in ¾ to 1 inch slices, brush each side of the slice with oil and grill until tender.

Spaghetti squash - Once cooked, remove squash, toss with oil and grated cheese.

Honeynut Butternut Squash Seeds Vegetable Spaghetti Squash Seeds

Acorn squash
- Pre-cook halves in microwave and then stuff with seasonings or meat and finish in a conventional oven.

Hubbard squash - Drop to break into smaller pieces. Cook until tender and then put in plastic freezer bags for the winter.

Confetti Acorn Squash Seeds Blue Magic Hubbard Squash Seeds

Special Notes:

You don’t have to cut the squash in half or into pieces but you do run the risk of them blowing up in the microwave so be sure to stab several holes in the skin. The squash will be moister if it is cooked with the seeds left in the cavity and scooped out after the pulp is tender.

Watch our video on The Colorful World of Winter Squash!