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The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer harvests the power of coconuts to remedy poor soil

By Marshall Hinsley

One of the best ways to grow crops is in a raised bed garden, because you can create your own nearly perfect growing environment. You can add amendments to the native soil that correct its deficien ...


The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer plows all his efforts into saving monarch butterflies

By Marshall Hinsley

When I was child back in the early '80s, monarch butterflies were so numerous south of Waxahachie during their annual fall migration that they seemed like the common, ordinary butterfly. With a ...


The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer shares list of essential products for successful organic garden

By Marshall Hinsley

If not for my garden failure of 2011, when most of Texas was gripped by a record-breaking heat wave, this year's garden would have been my worst yet. Several setbacks left me overextended ...


The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer debunks old wives' tales and scams for organic gardeners

By Marshall Hinsley

Organic gardens are cropping up in more and more backyards, with tomatoes, okra and squash all grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. Organic gardening allows anyone to grow safe, delici ...


The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer defends maligned, misunderstood hornworm

By Marshall Hinsley

If it's your first time to grow tomatoes, you'll eventually walk out among your plants and find one or two of them stripped of their leaves. What may have been a robust tomato plant full of ...


The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer closes out summer garden with an ode to the butterfly

By Marshall Hinsley

In the final few weeks of summer, little remains growing on the farm. Melons peaked at the end of July. Tomatoes have stopped setting fruit; eggplants and peppers look haggard. Everything has died ...


The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer debunks idea of a fall garden

By Marshall Hinsley

With summer winding down, the gardening talk often turns to the idea of a fall garden. To me, the idea of a fall garden is misleading and has confused me since childhood. I can remember getting it ...


The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer thwarts grasshoppers with magical nontoxic substance

By Marshall Hinsley

Of all the challenges I face in my attempt to grow my own food sustainably, grasshoppers have proven the most difficult. As the temperatures climb to three digits, the infestation sets in. Every ye ...


The Farmer Diaries

Texas farmer shucks the mysteries of growing corn

By Marshall Hinsley

When people envision a farmer tending crops in a field, it is almost always corn: tall, hardy stalks with long, narrow leaves and tassels on top. Corn is emblematic of farming. Cornstalks covering ...


The Farmer Diaries

Rainfall in thick of drought revives Texas farm

By Marshall Hinsley

A windfall of rain in the last half of June, including nearly three inches of rain in one week, has made gardens across North Texas come alive. My squash and zucchini plants — no bigger than ...


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