Life with Nature


I’m not a political person. However, I do believe in sharing best practices and good news when I get the chance. So after reading an Audubon Society how-to article about reducing carbon foot prints, I thought I’d share a few of my own good practices.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs most of you know I grew up in Minnesota where you must learn to live without electricity during those days and weeks when the Alberta clippers blast bone-chilling freezes across the Midwest and dump twenty-feet of snow. It’s an excellent learning experience in conservation.

I’ll begin by sharing the secret to fifty-dollar electric bills. Live in an energy-efficient, wind-resistant geodesic dome. Or install solar.

imageMow what grows in your yard -no grass monocropping – and leave the watering to nature. You won’t need fertilizer or pesticides, and the birds, squirrels and critters will create their own sanctuary outside your home.


2014-03-22 17.25.24Let shoes, bicycles, and kayaks replace the SUV when ever possible.

Last, think differently.

– Waste nothing, save for a rainy day.
– Stock up, invest for days when you have nothing. Even squirrels do it.
– Use dual fuels, give nature a chance to regenerate.
– Don’t rely on someone to provide for you. Be a giver instead, and you’ll be rewarded with a comfortable and happy life even through the hardest of times.

Enjoy life with nature in your days ahead!

Winter Gardens

swiss chard

WHEN choosing plants for winter gardens, consider plants that bolt quickly in the heat of spring, such as lettuce and spinach. Another tip to keep in mind is that plants with short growing seasons, such as chives and radish, will also grow well in the fall. These plants thrive in cooler temperatures and do not need long periods of bright sunlight to mature.

Plants for the winter garden:

  • Culinary Herb: parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano, chivesmints
    Mints: peppermint, spearmint
    Leafy greens: lettuce, spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard
    Roots: carrots, onion, leeks, parsnips, beets, turnips
    Cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower

Maximize Timing – know first frost dates

Plant your winter crops early enough to allow them to reach full maturity before the first killing frost arrives, usually late December for southern Mississippi, early October for northern gardens. If frost arrives sooner than expected, mulch the plants heavily and cover them with a soft sheet or Visqueen to protect them from the cold or create a cold frame. Old Farmers Almanac cold frame directions here.

Days to Maturity

  •  30 days: lettuce, chives, spinach, radishes
    60 days: turnips, leeks, cabbage, Swiss chard and collard greens
    90 days: carrots, beets, Brussels sprouts, parsnips

To extend your growing season, use succession planting every two weeks especially on the quickest growing vegetables.

Happy gardening.

Karin Boutall

fallcropEd Hume Seeds


On Gardening


Several years ago, I received Master Gardener Certification in the State of Mississippi after a rigorous program that included a lot of homework and hands-on training. Since then, I have volunteered on gardening projects for cultural centers, libraries and the Audubon Society, where we collectively learned to install, grow and care for a variety of plants in a variety of climates.

After completing a year of solid volunteer work, I began public speaking at herb festivals, blueberry festivals, bookstores and garden clubs. Topics varied from rain gardens to herb planting. At each event, listeners taught me much more than I could have dreamed. It has been a privilege.

This year, I will begin writing a new column for the Master Gardener Newsletter, called Garden Tips which I will share on this blog under the header, On Gardening.

Thank you for your support and as always, happy gardening!

Karin Boutall



Garden Tips: About Weeds

It’s a fact. One person’s weeds are another’s flowers. So let at least one weed grow till you’re certain it’s a weed.


Night exposure of Crinum Lily that looked like a weed.

Read more: Continue reading “Garden Tips: About Weeds”