The garden is just about finished transitioning from spring plants to summer plants.
The garden is just about finished transitioning from spring plants to summer plants.
With my career change last year came a huge change in my priorities in life. My job keeps me super busy, but also super happy. Gardening and working in the greenhouse used to be my “escape” from the unhealthy stresses of my old job. I now find myself in a much better state of mind at the end of the workday and do not have the need to decompress for hours on end with plants in my hands. That being said….I still love to grow and still love to help people have amazing gardens, but things will be scaled back a bit for now.
I have a great lineup of tomato and pepper plants this year and they are looking very good and ready to be transplanted in the next couple of weeks. I will not be planting the huge numbers of each variety though. I’ll have a lot of plants for sale, but may run out of some types quickly. It will be first come, first served again this year, so stop by early to have your best chance at getting the types of plants you really want to grow.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as I transition into my new awesome career.
My plant sale dates will be as follows:
April 16th: GO NATIVE Event at the Discovery Center (FREE Native plants, trees, seeds and landscaping advice)
April 23rd: 8-4
April 30th: 8-4
May 1st: 8-noon
May 7th: 8-4
May 8th: 8-noon
I am at 215 East 97th Street, KCMO.
If you’re like the vast majority of gardeners, by the end of Summer, you’re getting tired of the garden for the year. The tomato plants are sad looking or dead, the squash bugs have devoured all of your plants, what the squash bugs didn’t eat the grasshoppers munched down or fungal diseases of every sort have obliterated most of your garden. Maybe you’ve got a few pepper plants that are finally putting on ripe fruit or you’re eyeing the last of the green tomatoes and wondering when they’ll ripen. Perhaps your sweet potato vines are covering everything in their path and you can’t wait to find those buried treasures in the next few weeks. At any rate, most of us are not nearly excited about gardening as we were back in March when we could barely wait to get our hands in the soil.
Despite all of the hardships of summer, the cooling weather is your signal to get back in there to finish the fight so that next year’s gardening can be that much easier and even more successful. Hopefully some of you planted fall crops such as beets, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, turnips, and radishes. If so, you’re one of the few brave souls still eating fresh veggies from your garden beds. Even if you don’t have anything harvest-able, get out there and remove all of the dead plants and toss them in the compost pile. Leaving the dead plants in the garden can encourage pests to over-winter in the debris and could contribute to the spread of plant diseases.
Add a healthy layer of compost to each bed and till it into the top few inches of soil. This allows the nutrients in the compost to be fully available to your plants in the spring. It also makes it much easier to plant next spring as the soil is ready to accept seeds or seedlings with little extra effort other than a gentle raking. Many gardeners have delayed planting in the spring because they have to wait for their soil to dry out before working it…tilling in the fall while it is drier can definitely give you the edge next spring.
It’s not too late to plant a few things now. You can definitely plant garlic as this is the the peak time to get those cloves in the ground for a harvest next June. You can also sow the seeds of lettuce and radishes, but be prepared to cover them in a few weeks when that first threat of frost looms.
Now is a good time to reflect on this past gardening season. Write a few notes about what worked and what didn’t do so well in your gardens this year. Make a list of “Must Grows” for next year as those seed catalogs will be coming in the mail in just a couple of months. Make a sketch of your garden or use one of the many garden planning websites or programs to help you get organized and be able to hit the soil running once winter starts to lose her icy grip on us next year!
We pushed the envelope of ripeness this year, but managed to have 48 varieties ripe and ready to taste this morning. It’s half of what we had last year, but with the crazy weather we’ve had, I was very grateful to have the diversity we had. About 100 people joined us for our 7th Annual Tomato Tasting…many old friends and a lot of new faces as well! We were very fortunate with a comfortable breeze which made it very nice to be outside this morning…the heat returned soon after we were finished so having the tasting in the mornings seems to be the best bet!
The Local Pig did a great job as our hosts and they broke out big pans of smoked ham, pepperoni, and sausages for all to enjoy. I saw a lot of our tasters taking home brown paper sacks full of locally produced meats. I can’t thank Alex, Matt and their whole crew enough for all of the generosity and help during the past three years!
I took a few pictures of the tasting and stole some pics from tasters who posted on FB…thanks to the shutterbugs who captured some great moments!
We also did our totally unscientific voting for the favorite tomato and we had some surprising results. Sungold was toppled as one of the perennial winners!
|Kiss the Sky||12|
|indigo Cherry Drop||8|
|Aunt Ruby’s German Green||4|
|Sun Lucky +Anna rossen x Sungold||3|
|Missouir Pink Love Apple||2|
|Noir de Crimee||2|
|Hege German Pink||2|
|Plan 9 From Outer Space||1|
|Sun Lucky type Beef||1|
|Sun Lucky Indigo Red||1|
|Sunlucky x Sungold||1|
Last year’s Tomato Tasting was one for the record books with 100 varieties of tomatoes available for tasting! This year….we’re definitely going to be much lower than that number. The heavy rains and lack of sunshine in May and June have us a few weeks behind schedule. Some varieties are ripening though and we’ll have a decent selection of varieties to taste for sure.
The tomato varieties are the star of the show, but the awesome meats The Local Pig breaks out and the scrumptious dishes everyone bring to share are reason alone to spend your Saturday morning in the east bottoms with us!
Please review the F.A.Q.’s below to help make your trip to the 6th KCTTTT a memorable success for all of us!
The big hit of every tomato tasting is the creative dishes people bring for others to sample. Break out your favorite tomato dish recipes and we look forward to devouring them!
Also,you might want to bring a lawn chair to sit in as seating will be very limited with the large crowd we are expecting.
Order your garlic in July and August to get the best varieties. Due to the popularity of growing garlic, most growers sell out of their best types by the end of summer. There are two types of garlic: Rocambole (stiff neck) is my personal favorite as the flavors are more complex and vivid. The other type of garlic is the Soft Neck which is what you usually find in the grocery store. The flavors of soft necks are pretty simple with less heat than stiff neck types. You can also grow “Elephant Garlic” which is not truly a garlic, but rather a type of leek.
Garlic is best planted in early to mid-October. Plant individual cloves about 3-4 inches apart and 1 inch deep. Make sure you plant the cloves with the pointed side up and the root side down so they can grow properly. Water them well and in a few weeks you will see the small tops of the plants poking above the soil. They will only grow about an inch or so above the ground during the winter. There is no need to cover them or protect them in any way as they are very cold tolerant.
The following March, you’ll want to sprinkle some balance fertilizer and/or corn gluten meal on them to feed the plants. The corn gluten meal will help to keep the weeds down a bit as well. Keep them weeded and watered once a week andwatch them grow all spring long.
In May, they will start to produce flowering stalks or “scapes.” Cut these scapes off as soon as they appear an use them for some delicious dishes. We like to roast them, saute them, or turn them into pesto. Removing the scapes not only provides for lots of yummy meals, it allows the plant to put more energy into making larger bulbs.
Depending on the weather, at some point in June the outside leaves will start to yellow signalling the time to harvest. Gently pull the garlic at an angle out of the soil or use a garden fork or shovel to dig them out of the ground. Garlic roots hang onto the soil tightly and it takes a bit of work to get them out of the ground.
Tie them in bundles, or braid them if you’re fancy like that and then hang them in an airy, warm, and shaded area like a garden shed or garage. Let them cure and dry for a few weeks before removing the stalk and storing them in a dark and cool area such as your basement.
Eat about 2/3 of your harvested bulbs and save the other 1/3 to plant again in October. You’ll have a supply of plenty of garlic all summer and winter and enough left to keep growing year after year after year!