Tag - gardening

Superstars of the Summer Garden

When it comes to gardening, you always have to think ahead. So even though it’s barely spring, today we want to focus on the plants that will be superstars of your summer garden. By putting in the time, research and effort now, you’ll be reaping the rewards of your summer garden with satisfaction! Once again, these are all items that are relatively easy to grow for the newbie or inexperienced gardener. All three require a good amount of direct sunlight and can be started from seed indoors now or you can pick up seedlings from your local nursery when ready to plant in the ground. Tomatoes - No summer garden is complete without tomatoes and nothing compares to the taste of a homegrown tomato! They will want lots of sunshine, water and nitrogen in the soil. If you notice the plants turning yellow, this means they are lacking nitrogen. Adding a little bone or blood meal around the base of each plant is a quick fix. Just be sure to keep companion planting in mind and keep your tomatoes at a distance from our next suggested plant. . . bell peppers. Bell Peppers - Bees will cross pollinate peppers and tomatoes, ruining the flavor of tomatoes which is why they should not be planted together. Bell peppers love heat which makes them a superstar of the summer garden. They want sun all day long and do best in well drained soil, spaced about 4-6 inches apart. When they first begin to ripen, they’ll be a lighter shade of their color and are ready to pick when they turn bright and waxy. Summer Squash - These vining plants either needs ample ground space to run or you’ll need a sturdy trellis. This summer garden group includes both green and yellow zucchini, crookneck and scallop squash, all of which are typically ready to pick 60-70 days after planting. They also produce squash blossoms which are delicious sauteed, stuffed or dipped in batter and fried. We hope we’ve given you some inspiration to get out and get gardening! Here’s hoping for a great growing season and an ample harvest!
Read more...

Garden Planning – Companion Planting

  It’s a wise idea for new gardeners to familiarize themselves with companion planting for best success in the home garden. Certain plants offer protection to other plants against pests and disease. Today we’ve picked three very easy to grow plants that offer protection to each other. At the end, we’ll give you a few more ideas of what to plant and what not to plant next to each other for a successful garden! Green Beans - This is another plant whose seeds are directly sown into the ground. They are prolific producers that sprout quickly. Half runners are very popular because they are so tender but be advised that you’ll need to grow these alongside a trellis since they are a vining plant. Also, these beans have strings which have to be removed prior to eating. If you are looking for a simpler option, bush beans are the route to go. Beans really give back, helping to fix nitrogen levels in the soil, which makes them a great companion planting for another easy to grow option in the garden. . . Radishes - Radishes need nitrogen to thrive, which means they will thrive if you have companion planting in mind and place them near the green beans. These fast growers will produce in as short a time span as 21 days, making them a great “quick reward with little effort” for those of us impatient to have something pop up quickly. You’ll want to provide constant moisture and stay on top of harvesting so that they are crisp and mild flavored. To determine when to harvest, simply push back a little garden soil to see if there’s a bulb and pick and taste a few. Not crazy about raw radishes? Try baking them in the oven to bring out a little sweetness. Radishes are a great companion planting for . . . Cucumbers - Radishes are natural repellents of cucumber beetles! Other than that pest, cucumbers are super simple to grow. If you try sowing from seed, they will need to be started indoors about three weeks before going outside into the ground, after the last spring frost. They need well drained soil and ample sunlight. It’s a good idea to build a trellis for these plants to produce optimally. Here are some other good companion plantings to keep in mind. . .  
  • tomatoes with asparagus
  • eggplants with peppers
  • melons/squash with corn
  And on the flip side of companion planting here are some combinations to avoid. . .  
  • Keep the strawberries away from pest prone cabbage.
  • If you want both crops to grow hardy, keep the onions away from the beans and peas.
  • Fennel should just pretty much be planted far away from everything!
Check back next week as we’ll focus on the superstars of the summer garden!
Read more...