Favorite gardening tools

I thought I should write a post on the basic tools in random order that I use whenever I am gardening.

1. Long sharp chef’s knife from dollar stores: you will be quite surprised how useful they are when you are dealing with those  seedlings that are grown in Styrofoams and sold at stores or local farmer’s markets. I always found it difficult to separate the plants by detangling all the roots. With a chef’s knife, you just cut straight into little cubes and transplant from there.

2. Garden wire: they come in extremely handy when your plants need support as they grew taller.

3. BBQ skewer (wood) and bamboo sticks: Wonderful tools to support the growing plants. You will also need garden wire or something to help tie it up.

4. Watering can: one can be cheap and not buy any watering cans. Simply use plastic jugs with a handle.

5. Liquid root stimulator: I always use those products because it really helps my plants recover from transplant shock. Also, it has some nutrients to help those little plants grow.

6. Gloves: keep all the dirt away while keeping hands safe from cuts and potential health problems.

7. Trowel and hand fork: helps you dig holes and get grass out of the way.

8. Garden fork: usually used when dealing with big gardens. I do not use it on my balcony garden.

9. Various types of garden shear: good for pruning thick branches and plants. I usually use it when I cannot use kitchen scissors.

10. Kitchen scissors: quite useful to cut small things if you do not want to invest in a garden shear.



a) Plastic pots: very good for patio gardening.

b) Clay pots: very useful for plants that cannot tolerate too much moisture.

c) Soil that is already ready: more expensive, but easier to use than mixing soil, peat most and manure in a cart.

So, what are your favorite tools when you are out gardening? Please feel free to share!

On Rosemary

I have always love the taste and smell of Rosemary to the point that it took me three victims before I “figured” it out.

1) First Rosemary probably succumbed to over watering when it was in a plastic pot.
2) Second Rosemary died in what I think is either over watering in a plastic pot, then too “close” to the heat bar (indoor) OR lack of sunshine in winter. I did move it around to other places, but it did not work out.
3) Third Rosemary suffered from a horrible aphid infestation last winter. Even if I used insecticidal soap, the bugs just kept coming back. In order not to infest my other plants, I just had to let it go by throwing it out…

This summer, I got myself a Creeping Rosemary and one upright. They look awesome for now! (Let us see what happens when I bring them in for winter)

creeping rosemary

upright rosemaryLittle lessons that I learned from websites, people and personal experience:

1) Rosemary do well in well drained soil, so put it in a clay pot for drainage. (I wrapped my clay pot with bag so that I do not need to water it as much during hot days. It is part of my experimentation)
2) Occasionally check for bugs in your plants!
3) Try to figure out what is wrong when you see dead leaves. It could be anything from not enough water, too hot or not enough sunshine.
4) A farmer once told me that Rosemary do really well indoors with South facing windows. I currently have one at my in-law’s South facing window. It is an ongoing experiment.5) The same person told me that you can leave Rosemary outdoors until frost hits. So, I assume as long as temperature hovers above 1 degree Celsius, you are still OK! (I remembered it worked for #2 last year, but will continue my experimentation this year as well)

I hope you enjoyed this post! Do you have more tips for growing Rosemary?

On Balcony Gardening

In my experience, one can start a garden as long as there is enough space and sunlight. If you are tight on space like in a condo, you can always use your balcony (if available) during the growing season and bring the plants indoors in winter. However, one should look out for bugs like gnats or other pests. It gets a bit challenging to kill bugs without natural predators and constant air circulation.

Humble beginnings in 2013

Even if it is a Northeast facing balcony, you can grow lots of things as long as you check the sun requirement either on the plants’ seed packaging, seedlings’ labels or do some extra research to find out the mystery plants’ identities.

Here is what is grown this season:

Lowneyian Farm with logo 1
How it looks like in 2014

1. Lemon Grass
2. Lemon Balm
3. Stevia
4. Creeping Rosemary
5. Sage
6. Echinacea
7. Basil
8. Marigold
9. Chocolate Mint
10. Edible Violets
11. Carrots
12. Beet
13. Mimosa Pudica
14. Tiny Basil
15. Chives
16. Cherry Tomatoes

Lowneyian Farm with logo 2
The other side of the balcony in 2014

1. Rosemary
2. Lavender
3. Eucalyptus
4. Freesia
5. Chamomile
6. Pomelo seedling
7. Columbine flower (mixed seed)
8. Mystery plants
9. Coriander
10. Lemon Thyme
11. Winter Thyme
12. Orange Thyme
13. Lemon Verbena
14. Spearmint
15. Ground Cherry
16. Zuccini
17. Lettuce (mixed)
18. Cherry Tomato
19. Ginger Mint
20. Green Bean


I certainly hope you have enjoyed my post! If you have any comments or question, please feel free and send me a message via contact me section.

Welcome to P’s not so secret garden!

My name is Phoebe. I started this blog as I am extremely passionate about gardening, experimenting with new gardening ideas and cooking.

From here, you may see three kind of posts:
1. Gardening
2. Experimentation with ideas found on the internet
3. Recipes using produce that are grown in my garden(s)

More categories may appear as this blog progresses! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me using this form! Enjoy your stay!


because gardening is fun!