web analytics

Tag Archive | "harvest"

Extend the harvest this season


AWE-Extend-the-harvest-seasonBy gardening expert Melinda Myers

 

Didn’t get enough gardening in this season? Don’t worry there is still time to grow garden-fresh vegetables and herbs this fall and winter.

Purchase transplants and seeds that will grow and flourish in the cooler fall and winter temperatures. Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, root vegetables, edible pansies and calendula as well as cole crops, like broccoli, are a few to consider.

Those gardening in colder regions need to select short season crops like lettuce, spinach and radishes that will mature before extremely cold winter temperatures set in. Extend the fall garden season into winter with the help of floating row covers, coldframes and portable greenhouses. Many of the elevated garden systems now have built in cold frames or row cover attachments to make extending the season much easier.

Try container and elevated gardens like the VegTrug™ (www.gardeners.com) to extend the growing season and increase your enjoyment. These contained gardens allow you to plant herbs, vegetables and flowers anywhere. Place a few right outside the front door or on the balcony for fun and convenience. Plus, contained gardens can easily be moved to a sheltered location or covered and protected from frost.

Or move your garden indoors. Select vegetables and herbs that can tolerate the less-than-ideal indoor growing conditions. Greens, onions and root crops, like radishes and short carrots, will grow in a sunny window. Expand your selection with the help of artificial lights.

Basil, oregano, thyme, sage, parsley, chives and of course mint are a few favorite herbs to grow on your kitchen or other sunny windowsill. Increase your harvest with the help of artificial lights or try an indoor tiered grow light stand to save on space.

Take cuttings from healthy herbs growing in the garden, purchase new transplants or start herb and vegetable plants from seeds.

Take four inch cuttings from healthy herbs. Remove the lowest set of leaves and place the cut end in a well-drained potting mix. Once rooted, plant the herbs in individual containers or mixed with other herbs in a windowsill planter.

Start the seeds in a flat, in individual pots or directly in a planter. Keep the rooting mix warm and moist until the seeds sprout. Move to a sunny location or under artificial lights as soon as the seedlings break through the soil. Wait until the seedlings develop two sets of leaves and then transplant them into their permanent planter if needed.

So get busy planting and soon you will be enjoying the tasty benefits of fall and winter gardening.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips. 

 

Posted in Awesome Autumn, FeaturedComments Off

Maximize your harvest with limited space


DIG-Maximize-harvest-Cucumber-7.11by gardening expert Melinda Myers

 

Increase your garden’s productivity even when space, time and energy are limited. Just follow these six simple planting, maintenance and harvesting techniques for a more bountiful harvest.

Maximize your planting space with wide rows. Leave just enough room for plants to reach their maximum size. Make wide rows, 4 to 5 feet wide, so you can reach all plants for maintenance and harvest. Minimizing walkways means more planting space.

Try interplanting. Grow short season crops like lettuce and radishes between long season crops like cabbage, tomatoes and peppers. The short season crops will be ready to harvest when the long season crops are reaching mature size. You’ll double your harvest and grow more vegetables, not weeds between your longer season plants.

Grow more plants per row with succession planting. Start the season with cool season vegetables like lettuce and spinach. Once these are harvested and temperatures warm replace with beans and onions. Harvest these and plant a fall crop of radishes or lettuce.

When you use these intensive planting techniques, be sure to incorporate a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer, at the start of the season. Then add a mid-season nutrient boost if needed. The slow release nitrogen won’t burn even during the hot dry weather of summer. Plus, it won’t interfere with flowering or fruiting.

Go vertical. Train vine crops up decorative or functional trellises and supports. You’ll not only save space, but you will also reduce disease problems and increase the harvest. Growing cucumbers and melons increases light penetration and airflow, reducing the risk of fungal diseases. Pole beans are much easier to harvest and produce an additional picking. Secure large fruited vegetables like melons to the trellis with a cloth sling.

Be sure to plant vegetables in containers if in-ground space is limited. A 5-gallon bucket or comparable size container is perfect for a tomato. Peppers and eggplants will thrive in a bit smaller pot. Grow vine crops in containers and allow them to crawl over the deck or patio instead of valuable gardening space. Mix flowers and herbs in with your vegetables. You’ll increase the beauty while adding additional fragrance to the pot.

Harvest often and at the proper time. Zucchini and other summer squash should be picked when 6 to 8 inches long or in the case of patty pan squash it reaches 3 inches in diameter. The flavor is better than those baseball bat size zucchini and you’ll have plenty to eat and share. Harvest your head of cabbage when firm and full size. Leave the bottom leaves and roots intact. Soon you will have 4 or 5 smaller heads to harvest and enjoy.

With a bit of planning and creativity you can find ways to increase the enjoyment and harvest in any size garden.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment TV and radio segments and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers web site is www.melindamyers.com    

Posted in Diggin' SpringComments Off

Harvest time


Landon Prater, 5, picked some juicy Concord grapes at his grandma and grandpa’s house in Cedar Springs last week. They were sweet and delicious, and would be great in grape jelly!
What fall fruit and vegetables are you picking and how are you using them? Email us at news@cedarspringspost.com.

Posted in NewsComments Off

Enjoying the fall garden’s bountiful harvest


(ARA) – When the calendar turns to fall months, temperatures drop and local football teams come to mind. With the approach of the cooler weather, many of us also begin to yearn for the warmth of comfort foods like hearty soups and stews or freshly baked pies, but these traditional favorites need not be boring and unhealthy. A modern take on comfort foods uses what is fresh and available during the season, but also explores new ingredients and stretches your imagination to look at old ingredients or recipes in new ways.
Regardless of where in the country you live, fall produce is becoming abundantly available. For some regions, families have begun making their annual pilgrimage to the local orchard to pick apples or pears, and pumpkins are maturing in the backyard garden waiting to be turned into jack-o-lanterns. But even if these crops aren’t possible to grow in your area, fresh autumn favorites like pumpkins, apples, parsnips and kale are still most likely making frequent appearances at local farmers markets and grocery stores.
Roast them, stew them, can them or bake them. Pumpkin, squash, root vegetables, apples and pears make for great cuisine that the whole family can enjoy. For a new take on old favorites, try adding rutabaga slices to your au gratin potato recipe or pop some cubed squash in while cooking up your family’s favorite beef stew.
Get the whole family involved and take the kids along to the market to find new vegetables to sample. Getting everyone interested in new flavors can be exciting. Sample some unfamiliar items and find new favorites. Kids will enjoy comparing the flavors of roasted carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, yams, potatoes, jicama and squash when marinated in a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Decide which flavors your family prefers and make this a seasonal tradition to cook up together annually.
Whether you’ve grown your own produce or pick it up at the market, America’s Test Kitchen and Miracle-Gro have teamed up to provide fresh new recipes and tips on fall gardening at www.scotts.com/GroYourOwn. Sample some of these delicious recipes while incorporating fall plants and produce into the menu and even learn which fall crops are best to grow in your area of the country.
Of course, nothing compares with the satisfaction of growing your own produce. Even if you didn’t plant a garden this year, why not make plans for one next year? With just a sunny place for a container on the balcony or a small plot in the backyard, you can easily plant your own garden to grow fresh squash, rutabagas or carrots in the spring to be enjoyed by your family next fall. If you prefer the crunch of a freshly picked apple, try planting a dwarf apple tree instead.
As the temperatures drop, enjoy the season’s harvest by incorporating locally grown produce into the menu. Start reviewing new recipes to try for family and friends and test their reactions. With the hearty flavors of freshly grown and harvested vegetables from the garden, everyone will be clamoring for more.

Posted in FeaturedComments Off

Veggies aplenty? Ways to share your bountiful harvest


(ARA) – Plenty of tender, loving care went into those vegetable seedlings planted this spring. Weeks of watering, weeding, pruning and feeding have likely resulted in a harvest so bountiful it is beginning to overwhelm the kitchen.

What an exciting sight to have watched that seedling grow with sunshine, water and good soil in the backyard garden or patio container garden to produce such a plethora of fresh vegetables. By harvest time, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cucumbers weigh down the vines and stems of the formerly tiny seedlings, and many gardeners are running out of storage space and recipe ideas for all the incredible vegetables picked at the height of freshness.

So what can be done with the garden leftovers? Donating and gifting are two great ways to help friends and the community with fresh produce. Miracle-Gro and America’s Test Kitchen teamed up to provide  recipes that are perfect for parties, providing a delicious meal for a shut-in and sharing with co-workers.

Tomatoes from the garden can be canned and easily transformed into chili, spaghetti or pizza sauce even into the winter months. From salsa and pico de gallo, to zucchini bread and cucumber salad, these popular foods will have family and friends enthusiastically eating garden vegetables all summer long. Expand the menu options by growing some different vegetables or herbs each year, and investigate new recipes that may become family favorites.

Create gift baskets for friends and neighbors with excess fresh produce. Whether celebrating the summer holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or for no reason at all, summer crops can inspire a variety of gifts. Ask your friends for their favorite recipes featuring delicious vegetables and herbs. Then, print out the best recipes on colorful cardstock and bundle up the ingredients, including fresh produce from the garden, giving the whole package as a gift. Who wouldn’t be overjoyed to receive a fabulous gourmet meal in the making?

Donate any extra harvest to a local food shelter where it will benefit members of the community. Contact local food pantries prior to harvesting the vegetables to find out what restrictions they might have on garden vegetables. If the local food pantry does not accept fresh produce, contact area churches to see if any have a food donation program established.

While the first harvest is exciting, do not forget to continue nurturing remaining plants in the garden. Some plants will produce vegetables until the weather gets considerably cooler, allowing for the enjoyment of fresh produce well into the fall. Ensure that plants have aenough water, and continue pulling weeds competing with vegetable plants for water and nutrients.

Posted in Bloomin' Summer, FeaturedComments Off