Zinnias, Zinnia elegans are the star of the summer flower show. For filler and contrast, try adding herbs, or coleus. It doesn’t always have to be leather leaf ferns or baby’s breath.
Summer-long blooms bring butterflies and pollinators to the garden. Zinnias meant “thoughts of an absent friend.” in the Victorian language of flowers.
Zinnias and Russian sage. Cutting Zinnia, “Hot Crayon Colors” ↑
Zinnias and mini marigolds. ↑ →
“Signet Starfire” marigolds. grown from seed. Little yellow and orange dwarf single marigolds keeps blooming until frost.
Zinnias and coleus.↑
Zinnias and Nicotiana. ↑
Zinnia and Coleus. ↑
Zinnias were named 1763 by Linnaeus in honor of Johann Zinn, a German professor of botany and medicine.
Zinnias and coleus. ↑ Cutting Zinnia, “Berry Basket”
These crayon colored flowers are long-stemmed cutting flowers with long-lasting blooms.
Zinnias and basil. Cutting Zinnia, “Berry Basket” ↑
Zinnias with oregano and basil. Cutting Zinnia, “Bling Bling.” These lovely cut flowers are bigger and brighter every year. Disease resistance has much improved through the years.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve included zinnias in your garden, take another look. Zinnias are disease resistant rebloomers that will keep you in flowers until frost.
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I got all the zinnias in this post from Renee’s Garden.
Zucchini is coming on daily. So far, picking squash when it is 6 or 7″ long, is working. I see a chocolate zucchini cake in our future…
Green beans are in a small patch we must collect a few pickings for a meal. In a couple of days, cucumber production will explode. For now, there are enough cucumbers for fresh eating.
There are plenty of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes for salad every day. The few red slicer tomatoes from My Garden Post were used for the first BLT of the season.
Read about the garlic and onions curing in the shade on the porch. Its garlic season
is all about the first juicy red tomatoes of the season. Those early full-sized tomatoes were grown on two foot tall plants!
I’m growing three different kinds of zucchini. Before you ask why, let me just say I love zucchini. To me, it would be like growing only one kind of tomato.
As production picks up, I get creative. Chocolate zucchini cake is a favorite. Details and the recipe are on my Hub Pages.
Soon, there will be days when I wonder why I planted so much. What was I thinking? Well, it’s a test. Which is the best, the earliest, most squash bug resistant, is attractive, has the longest shelf life and, most important: best tasting.
Zucchini belongs to the species Cucurbita pepo. The yellow variety is slightly sweeter. The round, “Eight Ball” or “Ronde de Nice” are bred for stuffing.
Clarimore is a pale green and slightly speckled. It has an almost creamy texture. Like most summer squash, no need to peel these fresh, young vegetables.
Dark green (almost black) Raven and Golden Dawn yellow zucchini and are the long, straight varieties we most often see when we think of zucchini.
I like Green Tiger, a European hybrid is named for its light-colored stripes. It has a mild and sweet flavor with a tender crunch. Green Tigers slightly nutty flavor is good cooked or raw in recipes. Not as straight and cylindrical as other zucchini and is best when served small.
Zucchini prevention tips
for stuffed zucchini blossoms. Pick them in the early morning (or at night) when the flowers are closed. The closed blossom makes the perfect vessel for stuffing.
More blog posts about summer squash:
I’ve been snipping lettuce leaves and pulling radish and onions a few, each day, for a couple of weeks. But today I got a basket full. So, let this be 2015’s first harvest basket of the season.
There is enough lettuce for a sandwich or to add to store-bought lettuce. Radish and onion from our garden make it close to perfect.
This little bunny, maybe the third generation so for this spring, is “hiding” by the kitchen door. I can only hope this one does not like green beans.
I mix lettuces together when sowing. This allows for a beautiful variety when thinning and harvesting.
Slow to bolt and rarely bitter, Green Ice leaf-type lettuce, it’s wavy, fringed leaves are a dark green color and crisp.
Flashy trout back lettuce, a European heirloom Forellenschluse (Austrian for speckled like a trout’s back) romaine is a prized lettuce varieties. Soft, tender, juicy.
And so, without further ado,
Vertical Gardening with My Garden Post.
My Garden Post (MGP)* Cool Season Crops.
The star of the salad garden was Crimson Crunch. A bright red radish with snow-white flesh, these perfectly round radishes are crisp and crunchy. If I could grow just one radish, it would be Crimson Crunch.
I planted these radishes in the corner of the garden and forgot about them. When I discovered them, they were huge. Probably, they measure 1 ½ inch diameter. And, they are NOT HOT!
These are beautiful red globes are solid and crispy, not spongy. Crimson Crunch is mild, perfectly smooth and round. This fall, they grew faster, milder and bigger than last spring.
Another pretty radish that is the star of my fall garden is the imported French Breakfast. Very crisp bi-color radishes, grow quickly in cylindrical shapes and perfect ball shapes.
French Breakfast radish from Renee’s Garden includes both shapes in one packet. I still have a few in the ground, mostly just to see how well they keep.
When you order radish seed, order extra. They are always a good spring salad accent and I will always plant them in a fall garden. Red globe radishes have plenty of potassium, vitamin C and folate.
Because they come up so quickly, use radishes as row markers as you plant other vegetables in the garden. Mix them and plant in with lettuce and spinach greens. Peppery radish sprouts are great on salad or sandwiches.
Radishes are also the last thing out of the garden in the fall. In mid November after a couple of frosts, I picked radishes in my zone 6 southeast MO USA garden.
I’ve been making mini raised beds. Little one foot wooden boxes without a top or bottom and 8″ tall. It is a little raised bed for the raised bed.
Here’s how: cut four 2 x 8 x 12 wooden pieces. Cedar lasts longer, pine is cheaper. Scrap lumber makes me happy. I call it a Carrot Box because I made it to grow carrots.
Loosen and add organic matter or compost to the raised bed. Set the box in your raised bed garden. Fill with a light soiless mix.
Thinly sow carrot seed. Cover. Firm. Water. Details are on my hub page Grow carrots weeks ahead of the last frost.
For the best results, thin the carrots to 2″ apart.
Using a double-deep container with extra fine soil will be the key to growing carrots. It is critical that you fertilize and water carrots regularly.
Rose Marie Nichols McGee at Nichols Garden Nursery has one of the best gardening blogs, The Gardener’s Pantry and newsletters.
She has good information How to raise carrots without using a spade or hoe
I don’t know where the original recipe came from, but it is the best.
1 1/2 Cups vegetable oil
1 3/4 Cups white sugar
2 Cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
2 Cups peeled and grated carrots
1 Cups chopped pecans
1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple
Beat together oil, sugar and eggs until well combined. In a bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves. Add to the eggs and sugar. Mix well. Drain the pineapple, add carrots, nuts. Mix well. Pour into 9 or 10 inch tube pan or a 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or check with toothpick.
2 (8 oz.) cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 box powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
Cream cheese and butter together. Add sugar gradually until complete box has been added. Add vanilla. Refrigerate for an hour, then frost cake. Use all frosting.
I met Renee Shepherd at my first Annual GWA Symposium*. I admit to being a little star struck meeting Renee of Renee’s Gardens.
“You’re Renee! Of Renee’s Gardens! I recognized you because you look just like your picture,” I said.
She was kind enough not to say anything.
It was about that time when I realized that I sounded like I had the IQ of a seed packet. “OMG, I just told this woman who she was.”
Then, I quickly left, praying that Renee had not read my name tag.
I always order way too much seed for the spring salad bowl. Lettuces, arugula, radishes, scallions, and spinach come up by the crisper full. I love salads. Plus, I like those generous seed packets that have enough seeds for succession planting all season. I will always plant more lettuces and radishes every single week of the spring until it just gets too hot.
I can never have too many spring greens, baby leaf lettuces, chopped salad, wilted lettuce. Top with chive blossoms or lacy chervil leaves. Serve with the lightest of dressings.
Renee’s Garden Seeds has a big gourmet greens selection. The only problem will be limiting your salad selections to the size of your garden. I like Renee’s combo selections because the seed combination’s are a thrifty way to get a lot of variety into a small garden.
Container lettuce, “Ruby & Emerald Duet” is a perfect pairing of emerald-green baby butterhead rosettes with red and crispy mini leaf lettuce. The “Caesar Duo” romaine lettuce combo of red and green baby size lettuces. These Romaines are the foundation of the best homemade Caesar salads you’ll ever make.
Romaines also grow to crispy, crunchy leaves, perfect on sandwiches. The “cut and come again” mescluns are a jumble of color, size and texture in containers or hanging baskets. Lettuces, radish and green onions will be gone before you need the baskets and containers for their warm weather annuals.
Last spring I tried the “Paris Market Mesclun”, a mix of several baby lettuces, chicory, endive, and arugula. Small successive plantings stretched the flavors, textures and colors of this “cut and come again” mix through the whole spring.
Yes, there is a real Renee. And yes, she selects, grows and eats this stuff before she offers it to us in her beautiful online only catalog. Plus, the website tells how to plant, grow, harvest, prepare and cook all these amazing vegetables.
Renee’s Garden Sowing in seed-starting containers to transplant into your garden will get you headed in the right direction.
Renee’s Garden Seeds offered seed to garden writers. It’s a great way to grow and share information about what’s new for home gardeners. For example, I grew “Little Prince” a container eggplant. I was smitten. It was beautiful. The lavender blooms alone would be reason enough to grow Little Prince.
Being a garden writer and blogger is great fun because I get to share the joy and pleasure of gardening with others.
Small and tender, marinade little eggplant halves and quarters then, grill. Serve as a warm side or add other grilled vegetables for a cold marinated vegetable salad.
* GWA = Garden Writers Association
There are also some young kale, broccoli and, cauliflower plants still in the garden. The plants are slow-growing and may not have time to make before the cold weather settles in. I’ll harvest the young kale leaves.
Build a bed this fall. Get a jump or the spring garden season. Try simple wood framed easy raised bed. Build the basic garden this fall. Get a jump on next spring’s garden.
Baby kale is sweet and crisp.
The baby kale will be part of Zuppa Toscana, an Italian potato soup with sausage and kale. It’s one of the many soups collected on the Bread and Soup board on my Pinterest .
Add kale in the last minutes of simmering so it will stay bright and green.
Daucus carota. There are lots of carrots out there in the garden. They are sweet, orange and about three inches long. I’m curious, they have been thinned and are growing faster than anything else.
I’ll just watch and see how long they keep growing. Carrots as a fall crop are new in my garden. I’ll sow more carrots in the spring.
A packet of carrot seed has about a gazillion seed. Buy it and you will have enough for two crops a year. There are dozens of varieties. You can get a generous packet of carrot seed for two bucks at Nichols Garden Nursery
I pulled up some short fat carrots, Chantenay Red Core Carrot, I think. It’s an old heirloom and it is growing well in my Southeast Missouri garden. They take up so little space in the garden. Try to grow carrots if haven’t.
Parsley is loaded with vitamin C. It’s a real asset in chicken soup. I’ll add a heaping helping in the last minutes of simmering.
Some parsley will stay in the garden because it is a biannual and will appear early in the spring. It will flower and go to seed in the second year.
And finally, perky little blooms are hard to come by in November. Calendula, “Flashback” is a volunteer. They frequently self seed. Anywhere this colorful plant appears, it’s welcomed to stay. This bright orange bloom brings pollinators to the garden.
Nichols Garden Nursery – Fine Seeds & Herbs. Has some good carrot growing tips. Plus, they have 11 varieties of carrots. several good varieties that are under $2 a packet. I may have slightly exaggerated in saying there are a gazillion seeds in a packet.
There are approximately 18,500 carrot seeds per ounce or 650 seeds per gram.
In the soup pot today: Washed and coarsely chopped chunks of these Leeks, kale, carrots, onions, oregano, garlic, parsley and rosemary are simmering in a big pot destined to be a vegetable broth by tomorrow. Beef, chicken, or vegetable both will make any soup brighter, adding another levels of taste.
When cooking a chicken for chicken soup, cook it in your homemade broth instead of water. The resulting golden chicken broth is the best. Really. I mean it. Double broth may have originally come from heaven.