Posts Tagged ‘Renees Garden’

Cool climate gardening


2013
01.20
Todays Harvest Basket Sept 18, 2012

Tomatoes and peppers are easiest and most popular home grown vegetables.

When my favorite Canadian cousin asked for advice and gardening suggestions, I thought about NicholsGarden Nusery. I’ve been ordering from Nichols for 20 years.

Cousin Sheila wanted to know what seeds would be good for her friend, a new gardener in Alaska.

They raise cabbage in Alaska that make my Missouri crop look like Brussels Sprouts. The first people I would turn to if I wanted to know about gardening in Canada are her parents, my Uncle and Aunt.

Nobody knows Alaska gardening better than Jeff Lowenfels. His column in the Anchorage Daily News is helpful for all gardeners, especially Alaskans.

I was going to suggest some of the best catalogs for colder climates, but Jeff’s suggestions are exactly what I was going to suggest. Seed Catalogs for Alaska gardeners.

If your friend wants to follow a great Gardening Blog, Kathy Purdy’s
Cold Climate Gardening is one of the best.

Rose Marie Nichols McGee introduced me to Indigo Rose. “It’s the worlds first high anthocyanin tomato,” she said.  “Oh, really,” I said. (Note to self, What the heck is anthocyanin? Find out.)

Rose Marie sent seed, and I grew little blue tomatoes last summer. So, I grew beautiful little saladette Indigo Rose tomatoes.

Indigo Rose ripe

When exposed to full sun, these Indigo Rose tomatoes turn blue. Photo Patsy Bell Hobson

If I was a new gardener, I’d buy a couple of  tomato plants and a pepper plant. Then, I would grow leafy greens from seed. Lettuces to start, then chard, kale, and/or spinach.

Or, if I am planting a first garden in Alaska, I might grow these vegetables from Nichols. Rose Marie Nichols McGee has a great blog on the Nichols site, The Gardener’s Pantry Blog.

Garden 1. Salad, tomato, squash. cucumber

Start with salad greens, radish and spinach

lettuce and spinach will be suceeded by pepper plants

lettuce and spinach will be suceeded by tomato and pepper plants. Photo PBH

  • Mesclun – (mixed lettuces) Nichols Organic Mesclun “The Eclectic Eleven”

Why? Because you get a lot of different salad greens, all in one packet.

  • Radish – Easter Egg Radish

Why? Because there a several colors and all taste the same (not hot).

  • Spinach – Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach and/or chard or kale

Why? – Fresh spinach salad with hot bacon dressing

Sungold tomato. photo: PBH

Sungold tomato. photo: PBH

  • Tomato: Sun Gold – The sweetest cherry tomato ever.
  • Tomato: Glacier – Very early medium sized tomato
  • Tomato: Oregon Spring – Large early fruits from compact plants.
  • Squash: Jackpot Zucchini – early, non stop production.
  • Cucumber: National Pickling – compact, small for pickling and fresh.

 

Garden 2. Tomatoes, squash and green beans

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Stupice heirloom, early producer. Photo: Renee’s Garden

Another choice for a first garden: Tomatoes, squash and green beans are a good starter garden. I’ve gown these plants in my garden, and they will do well in Alaska too. These seeds are from Renee’s Garden.

  • Tomato: Stupice – Early bearing, cold tolerant, with richly flavored fruits on short vines. Heirloom.
  • Tomato: Italian Pompeii – loads up early with heavy harvests of meaty plum tomatoes.
  • Tomato: Little Red Pear – vigorous vines load up with clusters of petite pear-shaped ruby-red fruits. Heirloom.
  • Green Beans: Rolande – French “haricot verts”, long skinny, tender full flavor green beans.
  • Green Beans: Provider – Great tasting, highly productive and reliable variety. Heirloom.
  • Squash: Tricolor Mix – three beautiful zucchini summer squash in one packet.

Join Renee’s Comunity Garden.  Find fellow gardeners and get your garden questions answered here. I’ll see you at Renee’s Community Garden.

More Help:

Top Tomato Tips: How to Plant Tomatoes

Decoding Tomato Plants Tags

What is a F-1 tomato?

Grow wild wasabi arugula


2012
11.09

Plants From Seed

Try something new this spring. photo: Renee’s Garden “Wasabi” arugula.

Something new and green that I’ll be planting come spring: wasabi arugula. It tastes  just as snappy as you might imagine. And, while you probably won’t want a salad bowl filled with it, a few leaves on a plate of fresh mixed greens is delicious.

When my seeds came in the mail, I thought the packet was empty. When I opened and looked inside the packet, it was hard to even see those tiny seed. Traditional arugula seed dwarf these teeny tiny wasabi arugula seed by comparison.

Sow sparingly every 2 or 3 weeks from the earliest date you dare plant in your area. In my zone 6 SE Missouri garden, the plant did best in spring and fall.

I encourage you to grow this tasty new arugula variety. Once it is growing  in the garden, you will think of many flavorful ways to use it in the kitchen. Add a few leaves to your own mesclun mix.

We tucked it into fish tacos, roast beef or tuna salad sandwiches, even topped a pizza with these greens as soon as it came out of the oven.

Hub pages has more information: How to grow organic arugula.

Buy the seed from Renee’s Garden. But don’t limit yourself to just one variety of arugula, I’ve tried several of Renee’s selections. My other favorite arugulas are “Rustic” and “Rustic Style.” “Wasabi” Arugula is a Renee’s Exclusive, a wild discovery that really does taste like it’s namesake.

Renee’s Garden has the best new thing in the early spring garden: “Wasabi” arugula. Photo: Renees Garden.

 

Growing Herbs in Winter


2011
12.15
fresh cut herbs

fresh cut herbs brought indoors, will stretch your fresh herbs by about two weeks.

I’m starting seed in the Aerogarden this week.

Aeroponics is a soil-free growing method where plant roots are suspended in air within a 100% humidity, highly-oxygenated growing chamber. Because the roots are bathed with ideal levels of nutrients, water and oxygen, plants grow significantly faster, are healthier and have a higher nutrient content than plants grown in soil. It’s like having a little green house on the kitchen counter.

I’ll grow bright green lettuces and herbs all winter. The 70 million Americans buy organic products weekly will appreciate the simplicity and convenience of Aerogrow.

This little table top garden is a defiant cabin fever cure for us die hard gardeners. AeroGarden is not promoted to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or “cabin fever.” Still anything that tricks my plants into believing the sun is shining, has a positive affect on my attitude.

Gardening is America’s #1 hobby with more than 70 million active gardeners. There are 18 million fresh herb gardeners which is up 41% since 2000.

Small, sweet as candy, little strawberries that you can grow from seed. photo PBH

This little table top garden provides fresh herbs for my cooking all winter. A sprig of fresh basil or parsley will add sparkle to any dish.

In the spring, I start seeds in the AeroGarden. Last spring I had great success getting tiny sweet strawberries to grow from seed. Picking these tiny French Alpine strawberries (fragaria vesca) are like finding candy in the garden. Buy strawberry seed at Renee’s Garden.

Time for Four o’clocks


2011
07.28

Many people have memories of four-o’clocks in their family garden. These beautiful flowers have been popular plants for generations.

photo Renees Garden

Four-o’clocks (Mirabilas jalapa) self seed. Often you can find them still growing in a long-abandoned garden spot. It’s an old Southern tradition to plant them near the front door. These jasmine-scented flowers will greet your guests.

In South America, where these flowers originated, four-o’clocks are used as a dye. The root is used medicinally and is said to be a hallucinogen. In herbal medicine, parts of the plant may be used for diuretic, purgative or vulnerary (wound-healing) purposes. I can’t speak for any of these herbal or medicinal uses—I have only enjoyed the flowers and their fragrance.

I’ve also read that the flowers are used in food coloring. The leaves may be cooked and eaten as well, but only as an emergency food. An edible crimson dye is obtained from the flowers to color cakes and jellies.

7-26-2011-four o'clocks
Four-o’clocks are also also known as the ‘Marvel of Peru’.
Photo courtesy
Renee’s Garden

Four-o’clock ‘Broken Colors’ are a special variety with starry, 2-inch blossoms that are beautifully splashed with showy, contrasting colors. Their delicio7-26-2011-renee's garden four o'clocksus jasmine fragrance floats on summer breezes. These flowers are both easy to grow and reliable. You can find the seeds on Renee’s Garden’s website for $2.79 a packet.

Before planting, soak the seeds in water overnight to speed the sprouting. These flowers are trouble-free, love full sun and have only moderate watering requirements.

Your four-o’clock flowers probably won’t bloom at exactly 4 p.m. Mine bloom at about 6 o’clock. The blooming time depends on your time zone and the plants’ exposure, but whenever it blooms it will stay consistent. You can count on your flowers to bloom at the same time every day. However, if it is cloudy or rainy, it may throw their solar clock askew.

The Great Sunflower Project


2011
05.26
Herb gardeners know how important bees are to our gardens. One of every three bites of food we eat come from a plant pollinated by wild pollinators. Unfortunately many pollinators are declining. That’s what the Great Sunflower Project wants to change. 

05-10-2011-3

Grow sunflowers to attract butterflies, bees and finches. Photo by Patsy Bell Hobson

The Great Sunflower Project, a project that plans to unravel the mystery of the disappearing pollinators, pulls together data that you help them collect. With this data it will create a database to help understand what is happening to the bee pollinators and how our green spaces are connected. Sunflowers is an easy-to-grow plant that gives height to the herb garden and is wildy attractive to birds and bees.

Sign up and plant your sunflowers.
Watch your sunflower for 15 minutes: Write down how long it takes for the first five bees to arrive at your sunflower. After 15 minutes, you can stop. If you haven’t seen 5 bees by then, the Great Sunflower Project want to know!
• Enter your data online.

By watching and recording the bees at these sunflowers, you can help with the research the Great Sunflower Project is doing to understand the challenges that bees are facing. Grow annual ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflowers (Helianthus anus). I got mine from Renee’s Garden. ‘Lemon Queen’ is a lovely branching variety that is particularly attractive to bees. Other herbs that bees are attracted to include basils, borage, catmint, lavender and rosemary.

05-10-2011-2

Win ’Lemon Queen’ sunflower seeds and participate in the Great Sunflower Project. Photo by Rhonda Fleming hayes/Courtesy Flickr

Win ’Lemon Queen’ sunflower seeds and participate in the Great Sunflower Project.
Photo by Rhonda Fleming hayes/Courtesy
Flickr

Seed Packet Giveaway

Renee’s Garden is giving away three packets of ‘Lemon Queen’ sunflowers to three lucky blog readers.

HOW TO ENTER

• Post a comment in the comments section below telling us why you grow, or why you want to grow, sunflowers.

• End date: June 1, 2011 (12:00 a.m. Central Time)

Good luck!

 

What is Succession Planting?


2011
02.15

Stretch your garden harvest by planting the same crop ten days later, and then again in ten more days.

lettuce and spinach will be suceeded by pepper plants

Another method is to replace one crop with another. For example, I’ll plant spinach in the early spring. As the weather gets warmer, I’ll plant green beans where the spinach was. I’ll plant half the row, and then, ten days later, I’ll finish planting the row with more green beans. Later, I’ll plant turnips in the row that grew green beans.

This method of gardening maximises your garden space. Even a tiny garden or big container can be used in this way.

Early peas will be replaced with green beans

Renee’s Garden has one of the most productive guides to using and reusing your garden space.

Renee’s Kitchen Garden Design Plans designed to maximize space.

Renee’s FAQs site gives you an organic gardeners short and sweet answer, not a science lecture. Her site is especially helpful on ferilizing and storing seed.

Zoning In

Find your plant hardiness zone. Use this guide to buy plants and learn when to sow seeds. I think the line between 6a and 6b runs right through my front yard. Depending on the investment – how much money I spend on the tree or plant -  I go back and forth, my answer could be different on any given day. I live in zone 6a. Or is it  6b?

US National Arboretum “Web Version” of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map

A Garden Lovers Valentine


2011
01.23

These are the kind of flowers a gardener loves to get:

Shirley poppies are a fragrant heirloom

Valentine’s Day Special at Renee’s Garden 20% off through Feb. 14 on selected “lover-ly”  flowers  that are sure to win the heart of that Special Someone.

I, of course, went a little nuts ordering Shirley Poppies, “Falling in Love” (Papaver rhocas) because I think you can never have too many poppies. There are other selections in this sale, including a fragrant heirloom sweet pea.

Most new or inexperienced gardeners wait too long before they plant poppies. In my zone 6 garden, I will sow poppies in Feb or March. I direct sow these teeny, tiny seed in the garden two months before  tomatoes.

http://www.reneesgarden.com

Oh, attention sweethearts everywhere: though it is a loving gesture, the purchase of flower seeds does not let one off the hook for chocolate.

See you in Renee’s Community Garden.

It’s dill pickle season


2010
06.27

Patsy Bell Hobson is a garden writer and a travel writer. For her, it’s a great day when she can combine the two things she enjoys most: gardening and traveling. Visit her personal blog at http://patsybell.com and read her travel writings at Ozarks Travel Examiner.

Best known for pickling, dill (Anethum graveolens) is also a good herb for succession planting. If making dill pickles is on your Summer To-Do List, try this variety: dill ‘Dukat’. This variety, which is bred in Denmark, has finely cut leaves that stay fresh longer than other varieties.

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Hanging herb garden hung by the window to grow in Brooklyn.
Photo by Dory Komfeld/Courtesy Flickr

I like this newer variety of dill. It is pretty enough to plant in a sunny flower garden and it’s more compact than taller, older varieties. This is one of the few herbs that I enjoy to use both the ferny leaves and the seeds. Those beautiful lacey leaves are often referred to as dill weed. After this member of the carrot family has bloomed and set seed, cut it and hang it upside down in a paper bag to collect seed.

8 June Caterpillar
While the black swallowtail butterfly is a caterpillar, it feeds on dill.
Photo by Ken Pomerance/Courtesy Flickr

I suggest that you start this plant from seed—it has a long tap root, which means that transplanting it will have limited success. Plant a few seeds every two weeks to extend your season of fresh dill and to grow more than you need to share with local butterflies. Grateful butterflies will enjoy finding this smaller, more compact variety in your garden and caterpillars will appreciate its ready supply. It’s a well known fact that dill (as well as parsley and fennel) will attract butterflies to your garden.

To preserve, freeze your dill plant by cutting the branches into sections short enough to fit into heavy plastic freezer bags. Do not chop the leaves into bits until it is ready to use. This will brighten the fragrance and flavor when you use it in any recipe. Dill will keep in the freezer for about six months.

8 June Dill and Garlic
Use dill and garlic to make homemade pickles.
Photo by Sarah Reid

Use dill for more than pickles and dilly beans. Try a little dill in a favorite biscuit recipe. If you are serving pre-made biscuits, brush a little dill-infused butter on them. Also, I couldn’t make potato salad without dill weed.

This dill seed is easy to find. I bought my seeds at Renee’s Garden, Burpee and Nichols Garden Nursery online catalogs; several other companies also sell dill seed. But if you don’t want to find them on your own, enter my garden giveaway!

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