The Grumpy Gardener

Get your garden growing with the humor and wisdom of editor Steve Bender. Ask a Question


Eat Kale, Stay Out of Jail

I wrote the first story about growing kale that ever appeared in Southern Living and, as a result, was nearly hauled off to the pokey by an infuriated public. And all because I offered them insight and wisdom about this neglected, nutritious veggie.

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Evergreens Turning Brown? Blame It On Bagworms

Last week, your evergreen tree looked lush and green. Now it’s been turning brown and decorating itself with little seed cones. What the heck is going on? As always, Grumpy has the answer.

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Why Smart People Plant Chinese Pistache

Chinese pistache is a very good tree. Smart people plant them, which means so should you. Now is the time to do so.

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5 Southern Delicacies That You Love & I Hate

  Friends of Southern Living, please sit down, for I have shocking news. I hate raw tomatoes, as well as four other iconic Southern foods.

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Armyworms Are Marching In

People are always yapping about needing smaller lawns. Now that can happen and they won’t need to lift a finger. In fact, they can wake up in the morning to find their lawns completely gone — thanks to the infamous fall armyworm.

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How to Kill That %$!#@&! Mole

The one critter I get most complaints about is a mole digging up the yard. “How do I get rid of this agent of Satan?” Forget about Juicy-Fruit gum, gas bombs, poison peanuts, or any other solutions you’ve read about on the internet. Here is the only thing that really works.

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Should I Prune Off Crepe Myrtle Seeds?

Most people find the prospect of pruning only slightly less frightening than Carrie Fisher reprising her role as Princess Leia in the latest “Star Wars.” And one pruning question weighs upon them more than any other at this time of year. Should I prune off the seeds from my crepe myrtle?

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Why Can’t I Grow Killer Tomatoes?

When you have lavished your tomato plants with water, fertilizer, and love, love, love, it’s so disheartening when all the tomatoes develop disgusting black spots on the end. What causes this — fungus, Monsanto, the pharaoh’s curse? As always, Grumpy has the answer.

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Survive the Dog Days of Watering

Woof! It’s hot! It’s dry! And if you’re like Grumpy, you’re SICK TO DEATH of watering all of your plants day after day, only to come back the next day and have them looking wilted and pathetic like you were never were there. Here’s how you can keep them alive and looking presentable without running up a $1,000 watering bill.

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5 Bugs I’d Wipe Off the Face of the Earth

Mercy has always been one of Grumpy’s most endearing traits, but not when it comes to these five bad bugs. If the Big Guy granted me absolute power, I’d exterminate every single one of them right now.

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