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Beginner Gardening Series: September Edition

by | Sep 13, 2017 | beginner gardening, garden, gardening, gardening organic, harvest, raised beds, Uncategorized, vegetables | 0 comments

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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Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots: What Does It Mean?

fiddle leaf fig brown spots

Fiddle Leaf Fig Brown Spots: What does this mean?

What do I do? You are not alone in asking these questions. We have a couple of tips on how to care for fiddle leaf fig.

fiddle leaf fog brown spots

The large brown ends of the leaves indicate that you may be underwatering. You can cut the brown ends off with sharp gardening scissors. Give it a big drink, soaking all of the soil, once every 7 -14 days when the top soil is dry 1-2″ down.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care

Ensure excess water is able to drain and be discarded from the bottom of the pot (they do not like to have wet feet). In the Pacific Northwest, indoor plants need more water in the arid seasons like winter and summer. Also, consider supplementing with a fiddle leaf fig fertilizer.

fiddle leaf fig brown spots

Can you stick your finger in the soil? They do like to be root bound (tight in their pot), but you don’t want the soil for the fiddle leaf plant to be compacted or often pull away from the edges. If this is the case, find a planter for fiddle leaf fig and repot in the spring in a pot 1-2″ larger than the current pot with quality ficus-specific soil.

Fiddle Leaf Light Requirments

 

Small cracks and brown bits look like “bruises”. When the leaves get brushed against or damaged, they show it. There are specific fiddle leaf fig light requirements. A lower-traffic spot with a lot of indirect light is ideal.

 

fiddle leaf fig brown spots

15 Gardening Gifts Under $75

If you’re looking for a meaningful, useful gift for a gardener but don’t want to overspend, shop these 15 gardening gifts for under $75. Whether it’s a stocking stuffer, birthday gift, Mother’s Day gift or just a little pick-me-up, any green thumber is sure to love these thoughtful, budget-friendly gardening gifts.

1. A Pretty Gardening Journal

gardening journal

Help your gardener keep track of their plantings, plan for the future and wax poetic about their beautiful landscape with a journal that includes three years’ worth of pages. 

$25, etsy.com

2. A Roo Apron Bundle

gardening apron

Available in four colors and patterns, there’s a Roo Apron, kneeling pad and trowel for every taste. This comprehensive kit makes gardening cleaner, easier, more efficient—and if you ask us, more fun.

$62.95, rooapron.com

3. An Appropriately Named Candle

garden scented candle

Infused with scents like tomato and honeysuckle, this gardener-scented (yes, it’s really gardener, not garden) candle is sure to evoke the feeling of a rewarding day spent digging in the dirt. Gift it in the winter months to transport your gardener to warmer days ahead.

$36, nordstrom.com

4. A Joey Apron Bundle

joey gardening apron and shovel

If the gardener in your life lives in a warmer climate or has a smaller space, the belt-style Joey Apron may be the perfect fit for them. Help make their harvests handier with a Joey, kneeling pad and coordinating trowel.

$56.95, rooapron.com

5. A Fun Yet Functional Hat

garden life hat

Nothing takes the fun out of a day in the garden like a sunburn. Shield your gardener in style with a “Garden Life” baseball hat they’ll love wearing everywhere they go.

$21.99, rooapron.com

6. A Wow-Worthy Coffee Table Book

garden themed coffee table book

Give a book filled with gardens to not only gawk at but also seek inspiration from. We love books that depict ecologically minded landscapes, such as Planting in a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes, by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, but you can browse bookstores for a topic your gardener is passionate about.

$25.49, amazon.com

7. A Beautiful Seed Storage Container

seed container

Anyone who’s ever planted seeds without a system knows that at the end of the day, the ground is littered with half-used packets—and nowhere to put them. Make seed collecting and storing fun and beautiful with a hand-carved box with divided compartments for easy organization.

$68, terrain.com

8. A Fresh Pair of Gardening Gloves

gardening gloves

Avid gardeners can burn through a pair of gardening gloves just partway through the growing season. Replenish their stock with a new pair, available in a variety of sizes and colors.

$8.95, rooapron.com

9. A Self-Watering Planter & Propagation Station

self watering pot

The perfect gift for a houseplant aficionado, this three-in-one planter does it all: It lets gardeners grow a plant, water it and start a new one all at the same time.

$59, uncommongoods.com

 

10. A Growing Gourmet Botanical Gift Box Set

gourmet botanical set

For gardeners who double as foodies, give them everything they need to grow and harvest their own hydroponic basil, along with a playful tea towel.

$68, modsprout.com

11. A Botanical Garden Membership or Pass

Give the plant lover in your life unlimited access to green spaces with a membership to their local botanical garden, or simply a ticket to visit for the day. Many botanical garden memberships come with perks like class and gift shop discounts, so your gift can keep on giving. 

Prices vary; visit publicgardens.org to find a location

12. A Houseplant Delivered to Their Doorstep

indoor houseplant

Send a far-away gardener a houseplant gift through an online-only plant shop, such as The Sill. Choose from a myriad of plants and coordinating containers so you can find the perfect combo for their skill level and style.

Prices vary; thesill.com

13. A Do-It-All Hose Nozzle

garden hose nozzle

While perhaps more utilitarian than some of the other gifts on this list, hear us out: A good hose nozzle can make watering a peaceful, almost meditative task. A bad hose nozzle, on the other hand, can turn it into a frustrating, messy chore. Give your gardener the former with this classic from Dramm, which features nine different spray patterns and comes in a host of bright colors.

$14-16 (prices vary by color); amazon.com

14. A “Pot it Like It’s Hot” T-Shirt

garden themed tshirt

This clever T-shirt in super-soft fabric is versatile enough to wear while gardening or for every day. Create a collection by pairing it with a “Fresh Foodie” T-shirt and our “You Grow Girl” T-shirt.

$14.99; rooaprons.com

15. A Garlic Grow Bag Kit

This garlic-growing kit makes the ideal gift for veggie gardeners who are out of space or just want to try something different. If you’re lucky, they’ll share their harvest with you.

$54.95, gardeners.com

10 Houseplant Gifts

10 Houseplant Gifts for Your Indoor Gardener

indoor houseplants
Houseplant gifts are a thoughtful present for anyone with a green thumb. If someone special you know is looking to grow their collection, here’s a list of indoor plants perfect for gifting any time of year, along with a handful just for the holidays.

 Year-Round Houseplant Gifts

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, a housewarming, your office BFF, or simply adding to your loved one’s evergrowing plant collection, these giftable plants are solid picks, no matter the occasion. 

1. Aloe Vera

aloe vera
The cooling, gel-like substance inside aloe vera’s thick, fleshy leaves is the primary ingredient in storebought sunburn soothers. This plant not only looks pretty but is widely believed to help heal burns and scrapes. To set your recipient up for success, gift aloe vera in a terra cotta pot with a drainage hole in soil intended for cacti and succulents

2. Bird’s Nest Fern (Asplenium nidus)

birds nest fern
Look no further than bird’s nest fern for fun, funky foliage. These humidity-loving plants are right at home in a bathroom with a shower and a window. It can be tricky to get the amount of moisture just right, so ensure your recipient has some houseplant experience under their belt.

 

 3. Chinese Money Plant (Pilea peperomioides)

chinese money plant
The rounded leaves of Chinese money plant (also referred to as UFO plant or pancake plant) symbolize wealth and prosperity in Chinese culture. Whether you gift it to a recent grad, a new homeowner or someone who just landed a big promotion, this easy-care plant is a great way to wish them continued success. Be sure to plant it in well-draining soil in a container with a drainage hole.

4. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

peace lilly
Peace lilies are widely regarded as a symbol of—surprise!—peace. They require less light than many houseplants, making them a great option to add color and texture to empty corners or darker rooms. Peace lilies are relatively low maintenance aside from weekly waterings.

5. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

spider plant
Think of the spider plant as “the gift that keeps on giving.” As a spider plant grows, it produces baby plants (also known as pups) the owner can remove, plant in soil and gift again. It looks great in a hanging basket, too.

6. Snake Plant (Dracaena trifasciata)

snake plant
Need a gift for a cubicle mate or a gardening novice? Look no further than the snake plant. This low-light houseplant requires infrequent watering, making it ideal for anyone who wants a pretty plant without the work. Just don’t give it to your mother in law: Its spiky leaves have earned it the nickname “mother-in-law’s tongue.” Consider yourself warned.

7. Sweetheart Hoya (Hoya kerrii)

sweetheart hoya
Hands-down, the award for cutest indoor plant gift goes to sweetheart hoya. This succulent makes the perfect Valentine’s Day plant gift and starts small, but eventually grows into a series of heart-shaped leaves. It does best in bright, indirect light, and the soil should dry out to the touch between waterings.

 Holiday Houseplant Gifts

Some giftable indoor plants double as treasured holiday decor. Look no further for the perfect plant to put under the tree.

8. Amaryllis

amaryllis
Amaryllis are usually purchased as bulbs around Thanksgiving. They take several weeks to grow and bloom, revealing large blooms on tall stems around Christmas or shortly after. Growers introduce new varieties in a wide range of colors, patterns and sizes each year, so there’s always a fun new kind to give as a gift to your favorite gardener.

 9. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera)

christmas cactus
Christmas cactus is a rainforest-native succulent with relatively high moisture needs. However, that extra H2O is totally worth it when growers are greeted with vibrant red, pink or magenta blooms in midwinter. Christmas cacti are long-lived houseplants that have been known to live 100 years or more. Your gift could become a family heirloom!

10. Poinsettia

poinsettia
When you think of a holiday houseplant gift, chances are you’re picturing a poinsettia. These lush plants feature bracts, or leaves that change color, in classic red as well as shades of pink and white. Their leaves pop against greenery as part of your Christmas decor, and with proper care, poinsettias can last well beyond the holiday season.
house plant gift idea

Best Fall-Blooming Perennials

The 15 Best Fall-Blooming Perennials

fall lanscape

While many people fill their gardens with the spring-blooming flowers they snatch up on Mother’s Day weekend, if you ask us, the real showstoppers come at the other end of the growing season. If you want to fill your garden with late-season colors that come back year after year, look no further. Whether you’re getting your garden ready for fall or dreaming of next year, here are 15 fall-blooming perennials to suit every landscape.

1. Autumn Crocus

purple crocus

You may assume crocuses only bloom in early spring, but a second round of color awaits when you grow Colochicum, also known as autumn crocus. These pint-sized plants look lovely as groundcovers in front of your other fall favorites or in containers. And while you wait for it to bloom, you can enjoy its lush foliage.

2. Aster

purple aster

Available in a wide variety of colors and sizes, asters take center stage in mid- to late-summer, with many types lasting until frost. Low maintenance and drought-tolerant asters thrive in Zones 3 to 9 and make a great lasting alternative to those throw-away annual mums you find at the grocery store.

3. Black-eyed Susan

black eyed susan

Although their showstopping yellow starts mid-summer, reliable black-eyed Susans (aka Rudbeckia) bloom through fall. Available in sizes from 1 to 3 feet tall and wide, their signature yellow-orange hue pops in any full-sun area. These unfussy fall perennials are largely deer- and rabbit-resistant, too.

4. Coneflower

coneflower

Also known as echinacea, coneflowers are aptly named for their spiky, conical centers. They traditionally come in shades of purple, but newer varieties offer a wider span of color choices. A prairie native, coneflower thrives in drier, well-drained soil and stands up to drought.

5. Coreopsis

coreopsis

A tough native plant, coreopsis resists deer, drought, and more. And while many varieties come in yellow, you can also find plenty of shades of pink. Plus, its feathery foliage adds texture and interest to wherever it grows. Check your plant tag to ensure it’s hardy to your area.

6. Dahlia

dahlia

While technically a bulb, dahlias are an interesting flower that can be grown as perennials if you live in a warmer climate or dig out the tubers and store them for the winter. With a seemingly endless number of varieties, you’re sure to find a dahlia in your favorite color. Blooms can reach a jaw-dropping 12 inches wide on aptly named “dinnerplate” varieties.

7.Goldenrod

goldenrod

This sunny stunner adds an immensely cheerful pop of yellow to any landscape. Note that taller varieties may need staking. Different varieties have different soil and sun needs, so consult plant tags carefully before purchasing.

7. Helenium

helenium

While it’s sometimes called sneezeweed, and it does bloom around the same time as allergy culprit ragweed, there’s no actual sneezing to be found here—it earned its moniker because its leaves were once used to make snuff. A member of the daisy family, helenium offers the same cheerful, round flowers but in bold shades of red, orange, and yellow. To keep the blooms coming longer, deadhead (or remove) flowers after they fade.

8. Hydrangea

hydrangea

The perfect back-of-the-garden plant, many hydrangea varieties bloom in late summer and into fall—or, worst case, their earlier-season blooms still look beautiful. ‘Limelight’ is a classic variety whose green blooms turn dark pink as the season wears on.

10. Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed

Pollinator magnet Joe Pye weed can grow 8 feet tall and wide. If you have the space, its pretty purple flowers and textured foliage can serve as the anchor of your fall garden. This fall-blooming perennial grows in full sun and can even help create privacy.

11. Russian Sage

Russian Sage

Russian sage’s wispy purple blooms and soft green foliage can help balance out and soften some of the bolder hues of other fall-blooming perennials. This low-maintenance flower thrives in Zones 4 to 9 and fares well in dry conditions.

12. Salvia

salvia

Salvia comes in a rainbow of colors. It features wispy flowers that look right at home in a container or the landscape. A big draw for hummingbirds, some salvias are grown as annuals in northern parts of the country—check the plant tag or seed packet to ensure you’re growing one that can overwinter where you live.

13. Sedum​

sedum

Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is a group of drought-tolerant, easy-to-grow succulents that make gorgeous groundcovers. A myriad of varieties bloom well into the fall, but you can seek out seasonal stunners like ‘Autumn Joy’ and ‘Autumn Fire’ for guaranteed fall color.

14. Sweet Autumn Clematis

sweet autumn clematis

Just when your spring-blooming clematis looks spent, Sweet Autumn clematis swoops in with its delicate, star-shaped flowers and powerful fragrance. It can grow up to 20 feet tall and can become invasive in warmer climates if not maintained.

15. Turtle Heads

turtle head flower

With pretty pink and white flowers and lush foliage that emerge when many other plants go kaput, we’re not sure why this fall-blooming perennial isn’t more popular. Also known as chelone, turtleheads thrive in moist, shadier areas. At just 1 to 3 feet wide, it’s the perfect middle-of-the-garden plant.

fall garden

Vegetables to Plant in Late Summer or Early Fall

7 Vegetables to Plant in Late Summer or Early Fall for a Bountiful Autumn Harvest

joey apron with beets

 If you only plant produce in the spring, you’re missing out on a whole second growing season. In fact, plenty of veggies flourish in the cooler temps and shorter days of late summer and early fall—and may even taste better after a light frost. If you ask us, planting veggies should be on everyone’s list of fall gardening to-dos. Read on for seven vegetables you can plant in late summer or early fall for a bountiful autumn harvest. 

 

First things first: Let’s determine your average first frost date. This is the average date temps dip below 32 degrees Fahrenheit where you live. It marks the end of the growing season for most plants and serves as a helpful date to work backward from to ensure your late summer and fall veggies have enough time to develop. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has a frost date tool that will give you an average date based on your ZIP code. Your local Extension office may be able to help as well.

1. Beets

Direct sow beet seeds roughly six to eight weeks before your average first frost date. Because they only need to be planted about one inch apart, you can pack plenty of beets into even a small space, then harvest and preserve them for the winter. Plus, their greens make for a fantastic sauté.

2. Carrots

In Northern climates, direct sow fall carrots from early July to early August so you can feature a homegrown Thanksgiving side dish. Those in Southern climates without a hard freeze can plant as late as November. Alternatively, you can simply plant a second set of carrot seeds after you harvest your spring batch.

3. Kale

Some gardeners believe this leafy green tastes even sweeter after a light frost. Plant from mid-July through early September in the Northern half of the country. If you live in the South, you can enjoy fresh kale throughout the winter.

4. Kohlrabi

Direct-sow cool-season kohlrabi about two months before your first frost date, or grow it throughout the fall and winter in the South. Harvest when bulbs are about 3 inches—any bigger, and they turn tough and woody. You can freeze it or store it in the fridge for up to two weeks

5. Lettuce

If you grew a spring garden, chances are, it included lettuce. Bring it back for fall by directly sowing or transplanting seedlings in mid-to-late-summer for unforgettable autumn salads. Plant them near radishes for the ultimate companion plant.

6. Radishes

Start direct-sowing radish seeds four to six weeks before your average first frost date. Because radishes are fast to mature—sometimes in less than 30 days—plant a fresh patch every one to two weeks, so you have radishes at the ready ‘til frost.

7. Spinach

Whether you purchase seedlings or direct sow, plant spinach six to eight weeks before your average first frost date. Don’t hesitate to grow a little extra to freeze for smoothies and soups throughout the winter.

Tips for Growing Late Summer and Early Fall Vegetables

  • Fertilize when planting: If this is your second crop of the season, chances are, your soil could use a nutrient boost. Apply a fertilizer designed for vegetables according to package directions.
  • Have a cover handy: You can purchase or build cold frames or row covers to protect delicate plants from late-summer heat or an early frost.
  • Surround with mulch: Once all seedlings have sprouted, adding a thick layer of mulch not only insulates the soil, but also helps keep the temperature and moisture levels more consistent.
  • Water, water, water: Because it may still be hot and dry when you first plant, ensure your garden receives about an inch of H2O per week. 
  • Don’t plant too early: Cool-weather crops can stall out or turn bitter—also known as bolting—when temperatures get too high. Resist the urge to plant during the dog days of summer and wait until the optimal time for your plants to thrive.

Green Zucchini 3 Ways

If you grow zucchini, you know you have a LOT of zucchini. While a warm loaf of zucchini bread is hard to beat, knowing additional ways to enjoy green zucchini is a bonus. We have gathered three mouth-watering recipes that may even have you considering how you can grow more zucchini next year!

Bacon Zucchini Fries

Get Recipe from Delish HERE

Italian Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Get Recipe from Delish HERE

Cool Ranch Zucchini Chips

Get Recipe from Delish HERE

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