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March 28, 2009


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emily waddell

Im makin 2x 4 foot troughs to grow some herbs and vegetables can u recommend what woild be the best to palnt and grow in them?much apprectaiated.Emily


Thanks for your advice, I will keep checking the soil and maybe drill more holes. I plan to sow my peas in the tanks so they can be done before my tomatoes go in. Wish me luck!


Valerie Easton

Hi Stephanie,
It's been a wet winter, with little warmth or sun yet to dry the soil out. I wouldn't worry yet - if the soil is still soggy in a month, maybe you need to check to see if the holes got plugged up, and/or drill more, larger holes....

We put a layer of landscape fabric in the bottom of the troughs so that soil wouldn't run out and plug up the holes - that might help...but the soil may well dry out just fine if the sun ever comes out...
Best regards,


Hi Valerie,
I put in some stock tanks in my front yard last Aug. We used a mix of compost, sphagnum moss and perlite. My plants and veggies did really well but over the wet PNW winter, the soil has become more wet. I am not sure if it will gradually dry out or if I can amend the soil. We have drilled a lot of drainage holes on the bottom and sides (near the ground). Am I worrying over nothing?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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New Book: Petal & Twig

  • Petal & Twig Made The New York Times!
    From Anne Raver's review: "Valerie Easton, a Seattle-based garden writer, discusses the art of growing and arranging cut flowers in “Petal and Twig: Seasonal Bouquets With Blossoms, Branches and Grasses From Your Garden” (Sasquatch Books; $16.95). Written as an informal diary, with photographs of arrangements from her own garden, and tips on cutting and keeping flowers fresh, the book inspires ideas not only on what to grow but on how to combine (or not) those beauties inside. See review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/garden/new-books-on-growing-and-arranging-flowers.html?scp=1&sq=petal%20&%20twig%20anne%20raver&st=cse
  • The first reviews on the new book are in! From Publisher's Weekly:
  • "Open your eyes and keep it simple: those are two lessons Easton passes on from her own 40 years in the garden. When selecting and arranging flowers for bouquets, you needn’t spend a bundle buying a bundle of imported flowers.....The result will be unique, local, imaginative, and inexpensive. Color photos throughout illustrate and inspire."

In the News

  • Montreal Blogger Reviews "A Pattern Garden"
    I was so pleased to find that "A Pattern Garden" is still being reviewed...check out Allan Becker's generous review on his Garden Guru blog.. I felt like Allan really understood what I was working towards in that book....he writes...."There is a delightful abstract quality to this publication. In it, the author takes good garden design to a higher, more spiritual level. Instead of discussing the aesthetic and scientific elements of design, as so many traditional garden design books do, she focuses on the role played in garden design by archetypal ideas - a.k.a. patterns - that reference the longings of human beings. These pleasure and comfort-rooted ideas are those that inspire designers to create gardens that are satisfying beyond their beauty." see more at http://allanbecker-gardenguru.squarespace.com/journal/valerie-easton
  • Planting art
    Check out this interview with Val in the Chicago Tribune on using art in the garden...

The New Low Maintenance Garden

  • Reviews Are In....
    "Over the years, countless books have espoused a low-maintenance approach to gardening. None have been as engaging, practical, or inspiring as this latest of Easton's contributions to the gardener's bookshelf,"
    - Pacific Horticulture magazine, Jan/Feb/Mar 2010

    "A handy guide to a garden you can raise without a corresponding increase in your blood pressure..handsome and informative...."
    - Metropolitan Home, Dec. 2009

    "This book is an invaluable addition to the garden library – destined to be a classic for many years to come."
    - Garden Design Online

Photo Credits

  • The banner and portrait photos were taken by Jacqueline Koch; all other photos by Val Easton unless otherwise credited.


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