a flowery, colorful garden in late summer with a fountain
Photo: Jerry Pavia
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Tried and True Summer Garden Tips

Kay's planting strategy requires lots of transplants—hundreds of them—so she grows her own from seed. She has a 14-by-20-foot greenhouse now but got by with windowsills for 20 years. She suggests that beginner gardeners start by buying nursery flats of annual seedlings and asking longtime gardeners if they have any perennial plants to share. Kay has had people knock on her door with that question, and she's happy to oblige, since many perennials do better when they are thinned periodically anyway.

Because she plants so densely, Kay doesn't have to worry about spreading compost throughout the season to keep the soil covered. She does it once a year, in late fall or early spring, depending on the weather. She maintains two big compost piles so that she can harvest from one and add to the other each year. She alternates layers of her clippings with manure from her horses and vegetable scraps from her kitchen, and uses a garden tractor to mix the ingredients several times each season.

Shown: A fountain hewn from a rugged boulder adds the cooling sound of flowing water.
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