Beginner Gardening Series: September Edition

September is the month where you can look at your garden and take stock of what worked and what didn’t, harvest the remaining produce growing in the garden (except for a few frost loving plants, will talk about that later) and put your garden to bed for the winter.   If you live in some of the warmer climates, you can now restart your garden!   For the plants that like the heat (like tomatoes and peppers), start the seeds indoors or buy starter plants. I, however, live in zone 5-6, so no replanting of the garden here.  I will be taking the steps to put my garden to bed and do what I can to get it ready for next Spring.

T A K E  N O T E

Get yourself a cute little notebook (don’t we all buy one everytime we go into Target?!) and take note of your garden.  What grew well in the garden this season?  Did your tomatoes get enough sun?  Did your squash plant succumb to mildew?  These are observations that will help you in planning your garden for next year!  Your placement of plants may change based on your observations.  For me, I need to move where I planted my squash because it was affected by mildew.  So…I need to find a place that gets more sunshine to prevent this from happening again.


W H E N  T O   H A R V E S T

Are you daily looking at your peppers wondering if they are ever going to turn red??  While it is ideal to let peppers, like tomatoes, ripen on the vine, there does come a time when all the peppers and tomatoes need to be harvested from the garden and left to ripen indoors, out of direct sunlight.  So yep, harvest your tomatoes and peppers, even if they aren’t perfectly ripe and let chemistry do it’s thing indoors. Now with this said, if you have planted some “cool crops” you can leave them in the garden until after the first frost.  Some cool crops are Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel Spouts, Spinach, Collard, Asparagus. A quick Google search of “cool crops” will provide a great resource if you are wondering if any crops you have planted are considered a “cool crop”.

 

 

 

TIP: you can leave carrots in the ground through the Winter (they may actually get sweeter as the carrot holds on to it’s sugar to combat the cold), however, you will need to harvest them before Spring as they will go to seed and not be edible.

P U T T I N G  the  G A R D E N  to  B E D

One thing I always need when going to bed is a blanket, your garden likes one too!   There are a couple of ways you can create a “blanket” for your garden.  You can grow a cover crop.  Stay with me here, this sounds much more complicated than it really is.  A cover crop is as simple as tossing some seeds on your cleaned out garden bed.  This helps create a barrier between the Winter elements and your garden soil.  Cover crops also give back vital nutrients that were taken from the soil to produce all your yummy veggies!  A seed that I recommend is Cereal Rye.  Sprinkle the seed ideally 4 weeks before the first hard frost, or as soon as you can after cleaning your beds.  Literally let nature do the work and watch it grow.  If planting another crop has you rubbing your temples, then a nice layer of straw or some other type of mulch will also provide a sufficient barrier for your garden soil against the harsh winter elements.

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Ultimate Gift Guide for the Gardener on Your List

Ultimate Gift Guide for the Gardener on Your List

Do you have a gardener on your list? Well, we have you covered! We have found 12 gifts under $50 that will be sure to please.  From the newest Garden to Table cookbook to a darling coffee mug to remind her how much you love her all year long, we’ve covered the bases and can’t wait to share them with you.

  1. Galvanized 4 Section Flower Caddy $29.95

Vintage-inspired caddy is made up of four conjoined French flower market buckets, which give it stability as well as unique style. Galvanized-and-wood handle for single-handed carrying ease. Gather long-stemmed blooms, dogwood, willow branches, winterberries, and more. It’s actually perfect for picking; with a little water in each bucket, cuttings will stay fresh until you can get them indoors. Get yours here http://bit.ly/2RTAb42

2. “Plant Lady” mug $15.95 Prime Shipping

Digibuddha™ Mugs are custom created in-house by professional designers exclusively for Digibuddha™. All production, packaging and shipping is also done on the premises by our small team. We truly love what we do and it shows!
Our mugs are made using fine white ceramic with a flawless glossy glaze finish. Each original custom made mug is permanently fused so the art becomes part of the mug, NOT decals or stickers. Microwave & top rack dishwasher safe.  Get yours here https://amzn.to/2FjAkMI

3. Essential Set of 3 Garden Tools $39.95

Three essential hand tools: trowel, twist fork, and rake cultivator. Antiqued stainless steel with smooth, ash handles and leather hanging cords. Storage tube prevents wear and tear when tools are not in use. Three fundamental gardening tools essential to any gardener’s toolbag in one handy kit. Part of our exclusive Intervale line of heritage gardening tools with the durability, classic design, and aged finish of cherished heirlooms. Packed in a eco-friendly paper tube — makes a great gift. Get yours here http://bit.ly/2z9MAd3

4. House Plant of the Month Club $12/mo

House Plant Shop delivers a custom crafted collection of house plants and house plant products in a simple monthly package. We use our large array of plants in our greenhouses to put together a uniquely themed box every month. There will also be random surprises included in the deliveries like plant fertilizer, planters, and display stands. Plant descriptions and care guide included. Only available to US customers. Healthy houseplants hand picked in Southern California. First box ships immediately, following boxes ship 2nd week of each month. Get yours here http://bit.ly/2RNeqmu

5. The Roo & Joey Apron $29.99-$32.95

The Roo is perfect in assisting you with harvesting your vegetables from your vegetable garden, pulling weeds or collecting anything that needs to be put away. No more using your shirt trying to get vegetables in from the garden, simply put on the Roo, fill the pouch and the cylinder chute allows you to deposit your collection without messy fallout. It will also eliminate the piles of weeds that follow you around your yard as you do your work. Adjustable cotton straps fit any size in comfort and are designed to fit over the shoulders rather than the neck to provide all day comfort. Made from industrial strength cotton. Water resistant nylon storage pouch. Self-adjusting straps allowing for a comfortable fit for all sizes. Machine washable. Get yours here https://rooapron.com/

6. Solar Powered Mason Jars $12.99

Versatility: A mason jar (NOT INCLUDED) with fireflies’ glow is perfect for indoor and outdoor decoration. Easily hang on walls or in the air, also can put it on shelves, tables, porches, trees, patios and pergolas. A great gift to children, family and friends. Get yours here https://amzn.to/2DnFpBf

7. Womanswork Arm Saver Gloves $32.00

Our exclusive new print was inspired by English cottage gardens. Extra long cuffs protect arms from light scratches, insect bites and sun exposure. Palms are made of synthetic leather with reinforced thumb and pointer finger. Summer weight cotton twill has a touch of spandex for extra flexibility. Machine washable. Available in women’s S, M, L. Get yours here http://bit.ly/2QIdlMuOur exclusive new print was inspired by English cottage gardens. Extra long cuffs protect arms from light scratches, insect bites and sun exposure. Palms are made of synthetic leather with reinforced thumb and pointer finger. Summer weight cotton twill has a touch of spandex for extra flexibility. Machine washable. Available in women’s S, M, L. Get yours here http://bit.ly/2QIdlMu

8. The Creative Kitchen $19.87

Award-winning author of The No Dig Organic Home and Garden Stephanie Hafferty offers a pathway to low cost, zero waste and as plastic free living as possible. She shows you the advantages and pleasures of cooking seasonally and making organic products for you and your family’s health and happiness. Learn how to be resourceful, creative and inspired by what is seasonal and close to hand for a 100% organic home. Get yours here https://amzn.to/2zaPyxX

9. Winterwoods Tea Sampler $33.00

Six Beautiful Glass Jar Tea Samplers Made With Only 100% Organic, Fair Trade Herbs. Handcrafted in Spokane, Washington. Artisan Blends From Winterwoods Tea Company. Blended by Hand in Small Batches. Loose Leaf Blend. Gluten Free/Vegan. Herbal Tea. 8 Servings Per Sampler

Six Pack Sampler
Your choice of six loose leaf tea blends. This makes a wonderful gift for tea lovers. Check out our line of beautiful tea strainers to complete your gift. Get yours here http://bit.ly/2DkqGqA

10. Garden Journal $20.00

Our Garden Journal divides each day of the year into three spaces for notes. You can write in your own numbers for the years. This way, you can start the journal whenever you want, and keep using it for at least three years. You will also find a section of graph paper in the back for additional notes, sketches, and so forth. Each new month is announced with a lively full illustration spread. All illustrations by Sonya + Nina Montenegro. Book layout by Charles Overbeck. Offset printed on 30% recycled paper by Eberhardt Press in Portland, Oregon. Get yours here https://etsy.me/2Pv1qVI

11. Better Homes & Garden Subscription $9.98 12 Issues

With nearly a century of experience, Better Homes & Gardens is the most trusted publication on home and gardening in the market. Since its 1922 inception, this women’s lifestyle magazine has featured lovely photos of lush garden spaces and unique living rooms from across the country that continue to inspire designers and DIY decorators today. Subscribe to Better Homes & Gardens and get your hands on helpful articles that cover a wide variety of topics, from food and cooking to home improvement and decorating. Designed for the everyday woman, you’ll also find tips on women’s beauty and style. But the Better Homes & Gardens subscription is most loved for its seasonal holiday, entertaining and decorating tips. Get creative with your home and find the color schemes, décor styles and renovation plans that were made just for you.  Get yours here http://bit.ly/2DnzHyX

12. Succulents & Cacti Screen Print $28.00

Succulents & Cacti 11 x 14 Screen Print

This botanical house plant screen print illustrates some commonly loved succulents and cacti. Each succulent or cactus has it’s name lettered near it for easy and fun identification. Perfect for the houseplant lover, self-proclaimed “plant lady” or anyone who appreciates these amazing plants.
Details: Screen printed with water based inks on professional equipment. Size: 11 x 14 inches (easy to frame!). Paper: 100# recycled natural card stock. Inks: Black, Green and Gold

Our high-quality screen printing inks are bold, opaque and won’t fade over time!

This print will arrive in a sealed plastic sleeve shipped within sturdy and safe packaging. Get yours here https://etsy.me/2OOs3QA

We hope you enjoyed scrolling through our collection of gifts ideas for the gardener and were able to cross some gifts off your list!

Fall Garden To Do’s : 7 Steps to Get Your Garden Ready for Fall

Fall Garden To Do’s : 7 Steps to Get Your Garden Ready for Fall

Jessica Sowards is among many other things, a gardening guru.  I was so excited and thankful when she agreed to guest blog and share her Fall gardening To Do’s.  Jessica shares 7 things she does in her garden to get ready for the colder months ahead, and trust me, if Jessica is doing it in her garden, you likely want to be doing it in your garden too!  More of Jessica can be found on Instagram @roots_and_refuge and her YouTube channel “Roots and Refuge Farm”.

In the Spring, Every gardening center, hardware store, and farmers co-op will be bursting to the seams with gardening supplies.  Even the big box stores will jump on the bandwagon and offer seeds to started plants and everything in between.  Fall, however, is a different story.  They garden centers have significantly shortened their hours and the box stores have already lined their shelved with Christmas decoration.  This doesn’t mean you should forsake your garden until Spring.

Your Fall gardening to-do list will vary greatly based on your desire to grow food thought the Winter.  If you covet the break from daily garden chores, tuck your garden in and pur her to sleep until next year.  If you desire to grow whatever food you can, and you are up for the task of providing a little cover to your plants, there are plenty of cold-hardy options that will grow through Winter

  1. Take advantage of the cool October days and clean out the remains of the Summer garden now.  If you have blight or disease in your plants, do not compost them.  Instead, designate a burn pile and destroy the remains of any sick plants.  Everything else can be either composted or fed to the chickens!

2. If you do plan on planting any crops to overwinter, you can sow a tillage crop to improve soil health.  Things like turnips or daikon radishes can be broadcasted over the entirely of the garden.  They will break up compacted soil, their greens can provide a covering for the earth. and in the Spring, as your prepare for planting, you simply till your crop under.  As it breaks down, it adds air pockets and organic matter to your soil, greatly improving soil health. 

3. It’s a little late to direct sow many Fall crops, but don’t despair!  You can still forw food this Winter!  Often, started lettuces, kales and brassicas can be found for sale as late as October. You won’t likely find them at bigger chain stores, but can call around to your local garden centers.  These plants are generally cold hardy to about 15 degrees Farhenheit.

4. If you are facing temperatures lower than that, provide cover from chill and wind.  Row covers made for this purpose can be purchased on Amazon, or you can make your own from 6mL contractors plastic PVC pipe.  IF you have a small amount of plants, you can even use inverted clear plastic totes.  Just don’t forget to water your plants if they will be shielded from the rain!

5. It isn’t too late to direct sow radishes and baby salad greens.  As long as the soil can be kept warm enough for these things to germinate (those inverted plastic tubs come in hand here too!) they will grow steadily and surely.  Some may be too stunted by the cold to produce much now, but they will be your first harvest as the ground thaws in Spring.

6. Before the first freeze, plant potatoes for a June harvest.  They should be planted deeper thank you would place them in the Spring with a thick layer of mulch mounded on top of them. Also, this is the time to get your garlic in for next year.  Plant hard-neck varieties to enjoy delicious scapes in the Spring, and plant soft-neck varieties to keep for long storing.

7. And lastly, whether you decide to plant cold weather crops or not, mulch, mulch, mulch!  Soil needs a covering to maintain a healthy ecology.  Laying a thick later of straw, dead leaves, or woodchips down helps facilitate that.  It will lesson the amount of weeds you have to deal with in the Spring.  The organic matter will break down and add to your soil health.  And I you have planted cold weather plants, mounding mulch up around them will keep their roots warm and growing longer.

Often, the end of Summer season doesn’t bring a huge wave of motivation to get in the garden and grow, but these simple measures can alleviate hardship later and bring a harvest sooner.

3 Simple Tips to Planting Garlic

3 Simple Tips to Planting Garlic

If you are like me, it’s tough to have too much garlic.  I love garlic; the aroma of it sautéing in a pan and the distinct flavor it adds to any dish.  Believe it or not, growing your own garlic may be easier than you think!  The time to plant garlic is now, and we have 3 simple tips to get your started.

  1. Garlic needs to be planted in well draining soil that has been recently amended: added compost and/or fertilizer. The ideal pH is 6.4-6.8. Here is an easy DIY way for you to check your soil pH at home

 https://www.thespruce.com/do-it-yourself-soil-ph-test-4125833.

2. Plant each clove root side down and pointy side up about 2-3″ deep 6″ apart.  Cover with about 2″ of topsoil. That’s it!  See, it is easier that you thought isn’t it?

3. Once you have planted all your cloves, cover your garden bed with about 6-8″ of seedless straw to add protection during the cold Winter months and  help provide a weed barrier come Spring.

So grab your favorite garlic variety from your local garden center or grocery store and start planting the cloves.  It is an easy way to enjoy garden to table goodness and keep the vampires away. 😉

5 Best Cheeses to Pair with Your Favorite Apples

5 Best Cheeses to Pair with Your Favorite Apples

We have been eating apples and cheese for days (not such bad thing, right?) in order to give you our favorite apple and cheese pairings.  We have listed some good ‘ole standbys; sharp cheddar and Gouda, but have you heard of Gjetost? If not, you are not alone. We were a little skeptical at first, but oh goodness, when paired with a granny smith or pink lady, it had us coming back for more!  So let us know what you think, is your favorite apple and cheese pairing on the list?

  1. Gouda Cheese.  With its nutty, buttery and somewhat caramelly flavor, Gouda pairs perfectly with sweet/tart apples.  Our favorites were the Braeburn, Pink Lady and Granny Smith varieties.

2. Kerrygold Irish Stout. With it’s nutty and stout flavor and the sharpness of cheddar, this cheese pairs perfectly with a mildly sweet apple. Our favorite apple pairing was the Fuji apple.

3. Blue Cheese. With its bite and tangy finish, Blue Cheese pairs perfectly with a sweet apple.  Our favorite pairing is the Golden Delicious and Jonagold.

4. Ski Queen Gjetost. It’s almost better to close your eyes and try out this cheese, as it’s brown color really makes you think you are eating caramel.  While Gjetost does have a bit of a caramelly flavor, the flavor of goat cheese is also present.  Gjetost pairs perfectly with a tart apple.  Our favorite pairing is the Granny Smith and Pink Lady.

5. Sharp Cheddar Cheese. As it’s name indicates, there is a sharp finish with this cheese.  Sharp Cheddar pairs perfectly with a sweet apple. Our favorite pairing is the Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp and Jonagold.

5 Steps to Get Your Roses Ready for Fall

Fall is a great time to take stock of the gardening year behind us. What worked and what didn’t. What should be changed or should remain the same.  Here in zone 8a, my roses begin to wind down for the year in late October and we occasionally see blooms as late as Thanksgiving.  As they begin the process of going dormant, there are a few things to consider:

Chris VanCleave

Redneck Rosarian

 America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed “The Redneck Rosarian”,  Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. A grower of roses “most of his life”, he is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President.

In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at About.com, in various magazines and on his popular website; RedneckRosarian.com,  where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening.

5 Steps to Get Your Roses Ready for Fall

1. Halt fertilizers about 6 weeks prior to 1st predicted frost in your area to protect any tender new growth from being damaged by frost and freeze.

2. Winter winds are often harsh and can damage not only the canes of roses, but will “rock” the rose bush at its roots and can cause damage. Trim roses that have grown tall by 1/3 to prevent winter wind damage.

Fungal disease remains in your garden beds until you remove it.  Clear garden beds of debris – especially any diseased leaves that may have fallen from your roses. This practice will help curb problems in spring. fungal disease will over winter in your garden and will be there to greet you is you don’t remove it…. Once the temps fall below freezing on a regular basis, you can apply a dormant spray. I use lime sulfur.  It will kill fungus on contact. I spray it on the ground and on every inch of the shrub. I have found that this one thing can help you start off the year with a disease free rose bed.  Also, never place diseased rose leaves in your compost bin. They should be removed all together from your gardens space.

3. Allow your roses to form hips. Hips provide color in the garden, are a good source of vitamin C for birds and like many plants that produce fruit, the formation of rose hips send is a signal to the rose to go dormant for the season.

4. By fall, the mulch you applied in spring needs to be reapplied. I add about an additional one inch layer to my beds. In colder climates, your roses may need additional protection. Mounding up mulch around the base of the rose will help. Throughout the year, mulch keeps weeds down and holds moisture in at the base of the plant where it’s needed.

5. Fall is an excellent time to remove any roses that are not healthy. Roses are a resilient lot. If a particular shrub requires a lot of care, remove it. You and your garden will be happier.

Check out all the new roses coming out for the next year. In zone 8a, we plant roses in fall. Excellent bargains can be found in many home and garden centers.

The Rose Chat Podcast is a great way to learn about new roses for the year. Listen on the go via iTunes or Stitcher apps FREE! Listen online at RoseChatPodcast.com

These few simple steps will help you create and maintain a beautiful garden space for roses.

Chris VanCleave

Redneck Rosarian

10 Interesting Facts About Dahlias That May Surprise You

10 Interesting Facts About Dahlias That May Surprise You

  1. There are 42 species of Dahlia within 14 groups.  My favorite being the Ball group pictured below.

2. The dahlia is at it’s peak when many other summer blooms are past their prime, with their peak blooming window being from Mid-Summer to just before the first frost.

3. Dahlias are considered by many professional landscapers and gardener as one of the most attractive and most requested flowers.

4. The flower heads on dahlias can grow to be 1ft. in diameter!

5. The Dahlia is named after the Swedish 18th century botanist Anders Dahl, who originally declared the flower a vegetable, as the tubers are edible.

6. In 1815, botanists in Belgium bred the first varieties of the “double flower” dahlia.

7. Dahlias were first recorded by Westerners in 1615, and were then called by their original Mexican name acoctli.

8. The dahlia was a favorite bloom of the Queen Victoria.

9. The dahlia is the official flower of both Seattle and San Francisco.

10. Dahlias can be found in nearly every color except blue!  Breeders are still trying to create a dahlia with beautiful blue blooms.

Just Fun Facts.com was used as our resource for the interesting dahlia facts listed above.  For the full original article, click here http://justfunfacts.com/interesting-facts-about-dahlias/