Two Minutes in the Garden

Two Minutes in the Garden

Bite-sized informative updates on gardening basics, solutions, myths, news and other subjects of interest to gardeners both new and experienced. From the popular Empress of Dirt website (, home of creative and frugal ideas for your backyard garden.


February 12, 2024 14 mins

A recent study claimed that urban-grown fruits and vegetables had a carbon footprint six times that of those from conventional farms. Rants ensued.

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Monarch Butterflies: How Gardeners Can Truly Help

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For the last 15 years, gardeners have been told that soil acts like an antidepressant, thanks to a particular bacterium. Is there anything to it?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Winter Sowing: Two Reliable Methods for Outdoor Seed Starting

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November 24, 2023 11 mins

It can do great things on farms, but does crop rotation make sense in a garden? What are the benefits claimed for crop rotation, and can we get those same benefits in easier ways?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: How To Compost In The Winter (Easy Method)

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Do nutrients really specialize in one aspect of plant growth, like roots or shoots? Why adding more of one nutrient to your soil, like phosphorus-heavy bloom boosters, often don't provide any benefit.

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Growing Poinsettias: Year-Round Care & Reblooming Guide

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Are you using a balanced fertilizer in your garden? It may seem like a simple and effective way to provide nutrients to your plants, but it could also cause problems for your soil and for the environment.

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Indoor Seed Starting: Best DIY Setup on a Budget

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Most countries use a confusing and outdated NPK labelling system for fertilizer packages. What do the numbers mean? Depending on where you live, it's probably not what you think. And why is a "balanced fertilizer" not so balanced after all?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: When to Take Down Hummingbird Feeders in Fall

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Our plants can't live without them, but how do we know that they're getting them? Do we need to feed them to our plants? And what are these essential nutrients?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: How to Make African Violets Bloom & Rebloom

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Not everyone wants them in their garden, but others grow them deliberately. They aren't even plants. So what are mushrooms and are they okay around our plants?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: 2023 Fall Hummingbird Migration (Canada & United States)

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August 1, 2023 11 mins

What kinds of soap should we be using -- or avoiding -- in the garden? What about liquid dish soap? And we're all familiar with soap, but what is it, exactly?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: 25 Vegetables You Can Grow in Shade

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Compost is great for your garden, but can you have too much of a good thing? What problems could there be if you use too much? Will it harm your plants ... or something else?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: How to Bring Plants Inside: Timing & Debugging Tips

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What can you add to your compost pile? Is it any organic material, or are there some things you may want to avoid? What about dryer lint or hair?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Hostas for Sun: Sun-Tolerant Options For Your Garden

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Calculating C:N ratios? Regular turning? For anyone who's been put off from composting because it sounds too involved -- it really isn't as hard as it's sometimes made out to be.

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Breaking the Eggshell Myth in Gardening

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When it comes to building healthy soil, there may be no more important tool in the garden than compost. So what is compost, and how does it help our plants?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: How to Propagate Sweet Potatoes to Grow New Slips

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We've heard that humus is good for our garden, but do we know what it actually is? And, for that matter, does ANYONE know what it actually is? And why has humus become a controversial topic?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Why Frogs & Toads Are Good For Our Gardens

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May 6, 2023 9 mins

We're told not to overwater our plants, but some popular houseplants grow fine with their roots fully immersed in water and nearly all outdoor plants experience overwatering at times. How does that work?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Tips for Choosing the Right Clematis Trellis

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No Mow May is a popular initiative that encourages people to stop mowing their lawns for a month to help bees and other pollinators. But does it really work? And what are the drawbacks? In this episode, we explore the pros and cons of No Mow May from a gardener’s perspective.

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: The Surprising Benefits of Moths in Your Garden

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Frogs enrich your garden in many ways: they control pests, provide food for other wildlife, and indicate a healthy environment. In this episode, we explore the fascinating world of frogs and their role in the garden ecosystem.

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: How to Get Rid of Weeds: Easy Tips For Organic Gardeners

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At the beginning of a new gardening season, temperatures are still low, but some vegetables thrive in cool weather and can be ready to eat in just a few weeks. Choose these vegetables and before you know it, you'll eating your first batch of produce fresh from your garden.

MORE FROM Empress of Dirt: 20 Fast-Growing Vegetables in 4-6 Weeks (Spring or Fall)

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Most bees don't live in hives and most don't live in hollow stems. They live in the ground and emerge from the soil in the spring and summer to join us in the garden. What can we do to make their winters easier?

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: Tea Time: How to Harvest & Dry Homegrown Herbs

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Deer can cause a lot of damage to your garden, but there are ways to prevent or reduce it. Learn about different types of fences, repellents, deterrents and deer-resistant plants that can help you protect your plants from these hungry animals.

NEW FROM Empress of Dirt: The Complete Guide to Growing Delphiniums in Your Garden

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