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Month-by-Month Gardening Advice

Learn more about gardening, cooking, and other food-related topics from a large and growing set of monthly columns written by experienced Eagle Heights and University Houses gardeners.

Below you will find useful gardening tips from Robin Mittenthal's column "The Garden Plot," which is published regularly in the Eagle Heights Community Newsletter. We have accumulated them here for your convenience. Simply click on the link for any month and you will be able to download a .pdf version of the column.

The column was written from 2007 to 2009 by Robin Mittenthal, a gardener, former farmer, and graduate student who lives in Eagle Heights. His complete Gardening Manual, with much more information is also available free for download here. Beginning in January 2010, the column was taken over by Sarah Goupell. Sarah is a gardener, an Eagle Heights resident, and a professional writer.

More information is also available on the garden blog.

2007 2008 2009 2010 2011


April, 2007 - Planning a garden; buying seeds and plants; when to plant different crops throughout the season

May, 2007 - A discussion of cool-weather and hot-weather crops; more about where to buy plants; an introduction to mulch; planting hot-weather crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant

June, 2007 - An introduction to weeds; how to weed; problem weeds: thistles and quackgrass; more about mulch; watering

July, 2007 - More about watering; why you should stop planting tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash; reusing space where early crops have finished growing; a little about weeds and pests

August, 2007 - Tomatoes; when and how to pick them; how to process and store them; starting a quick compost pile; replacing warm-weather crops with crops for the fall

September, 2007 - Changes in the weather; when and how to harvest the last heat-loving crops; what you can still plant now; building and using a cold frame (miniature greenhouse) through the fall and winter

October, 2007 - Planting and caring for garlic

November, 2007 - Why write a garden column in the winter?; topics for upcoming winter columns; sprouting seeds to eat during the winter

December, 2007 - Ordering seeds for next year


January, 2008 - Economic and health benefits of growing your own food

February, 2008 - Growing it is just the beginning: how and why you should eat what you grow

March, 2008 - Caring for perennial plants (asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries, others)

April, 2008 - Fertilizers: what they are; why to use them; synthetic vs. natural fertilizers

May, 2008 - Salad greens: why you should eat them; different forms of salad greens (salad mix and heads); washing and storing greens

June, 2008 - How gardening is like going to the gym; what to do if you find you don't really like gardening, or like it but can't keep up with the work

July, 2008 - Proper spacing of vegetables in the garden: why it matters and how to do it

August, 2008 - How gardens are different from natural systems; Why growing annual plants is a problem

September, 2008 - We don't know where our food comes from, and that's a problem; How ignorance about food makes gardening seem easier than it really is

October, 2008 - Gardeners in the Eagle Heights Gardens must use organic methods; what it means to be organic

November, 2008 - Organic pest control, part 1: important basic information

December, 2008 - Organic pest control, part 2: organic herbicides and insecticides for common weeds and insects


January, 2009 - List of garden tasks for January; Introduction to a series of profiles of particular vegetables

February, 2009 - Garden tasks for February; all about onions

March, 2009 - Garden tasks for March; information about broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and related "cole" crops

April, 2009 - Garden tasks for April; some useful and not-so-useful-but-possibly-interesting information about lettuce

May, 2009 - Garden tasks for May; a brief history of tomatoes; a few key tips for growing good tomatoes

June, 2009 - Garden tasks for June; a thumbnail history of cucumbers; important advice for growing cucumbers

July, 2009 - Possible garden tasks for July; garden committee news; what soil is made of

August, 2009 - Possible garden tasks for August; garden committee news; what plants take out of the soil

September, 2009 - Possible garden tasks for September; garden committee news; how plants move nutrients from soil into their roots

October, 2009 - Possible garden tasks for October; garden committee news; how plants get _enough_ nutrients from the soil to grow well

November, 2009 - Possible garden tasks for November; garden committee news; nutrient deficiencies in plants, what to do if you see them, and how to prevent them.

December, 2009 - Possible garden tasks for December; some thoughts on agriculture, and how the production of crops got separated from the raising of animals.


January, 2010 - Keeping a garden journal: why and how to do it; recipe for roasted garlic.

February, 2010 - Sprouts -- an easy way to grow fresh vegetables in your apartment all winter long; garden committee news.

March, 2010 - Planting raspberries, currants, and other "small fruits"; garden committee news.

April, 2010 - Preparing the soil and planting early crops; garden committee news.

May, 2010 - planting a salsa garden; how to care for tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and onions; recipe for tomato-serrano salsa

June and July, 2010 - growing beans, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, pumpkin, squash, and herbs; how to build and maintain a compost pile

August, 2010 - how to plant cucumbers; recipe for slightly sweet Polish dill pickles

September, 2010 - characteristics of gourds, pumpkins, and squash and tips for growing, pruning, and storing them

October 2010 - how to start your own easy-care garlic crop from local cloves; when to plant and harvest garlic

November 2010 - keeping and adding bee-friendly plants to your garden; tips on attracting honey bees to your plot

December, 2010 - why and how to grow and buy organic, local, and seasonal produce; ranking of fruits and vegetables highest and lowest in pesticides


January 2011 - nutritional value, cooking uses, and growing tips for kale. Blog version of tips for kale

February 2011 - growing carrots and parsnips as winter staples; problems encountered with growing carrots. Blog version of growing carrots and parsnips

March 2011 - garden event announcements for spring 2011, perennial qualities of and how to grow rhubarb. Blog version of perennial qualities of and how to grow rhubarb

April 2011 - plant sale announcements for April and May 2011; growing cool weather greens, including less common varieties. Blog version of growing cool weather greens