What I'm Planting in July

Here in the Kansas City region (USDA zone 6a), July is the middle of the growing season.  We start looking forward to the fall.

The spring crops are finishing up and the summer crops are not quite delivering yet. You have empty rows where spring harvests used to be start to appear in the garden. Leaving the rows empty wastes precious plot space!

You know, it always has bothered me when bloggers promise something in the title but make...

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Your Garden Kit

When you are growing in a community garden, you have to travel to the garden, which means you don't have all your tools from home at your fingertips. You can't bring the whole tool shed with you, though! What's essential, and what is optional? 

I know how annoying it is to go all the way to the garden and realize you don't have the tool you need! I have some recommendations and suggestions to get your kit all set up!

Create a Kit

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Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

If you've shopped for tomato starter plants (or transplants) recently, you may have noticed the plant tags have a lot of information.

  • Variety name
  • Hybrid or heirloom
  • A series of letters that seem like a code.
  • Determinate or Indeterminate

The variety name is pretty obvious. It tells you what kind of tomato it is, like "Brandywine" or "Roma."

The hybrid or heirloom tells you whether this type of tomato was bred specifically by humans...

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How to Deal with Pests in the Garden

If you like vegetables, you can bet that animals and insects like them too. And this is is why we have garden pests.

Since I am an organic gardener, pest control is not exactly easy. I prefer not to use insecticides for the bugs or poisons for the small animals. Nevertheless, there are many things you can do to protect your vegetables to avoid problems with pests. I choose a multi-faceted approach.

Chicken wire fence...
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Reservoirs for Better Tomatoes

 

Tomatoes can be a bit tricky to grow. They require lots of nutrients (i.e. fertilizer) and lots of water, but not too much, and not all at once. The temperature at night has to be "just so" or they'll drop their flowers. They need lots of sun, except when it's too much sun and your tomatoes gets scalded! 

Rather particular, aren't they?

I love tomatoes so much that I'll deal with their quirks. 

While we can't...

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What I'm Planting in May and June

As May rolls into June, the weather is becoming more summer-like. The spring cool season vegetables are beginning to finish up their productive time. Fortunately, you can use their space to plant other crops that grow their best in the heat of summer. 

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to grow - and it's no surprise. There is nothing like the flavor of a home-grown tomato. I use starter plants...

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Let's Plant Starter Plants!

Starter plants can really help your garden produce quickly! These little individual plants have been growing for a few weeks at the greenhouse, and they're ready for you to buy and plant in your garden. They've successfully made it past the vulnerable sprouting process and are strong, healthy young plants, ready to mature and produce. 

There are pro's and con's to using starter plants, which I discuss in this article: Seeds vs....

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Community Gardens and Covid-19

As I write this, we are about 8 weeks into the COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. We are starting some tentative steps to reopen businesses and our society. It looks, however, like social distancing is going to be with us for a long while.

I was so worried that our community garden wouldn't open! It's a community group, so the natural reaction would be that people aren't allowed to congregate, so shut it down!

Thankfully, cooler...

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Getting Ready to Plant: Plant Labels

Plant labels are important. You think you'll remember where you planted everything and which varieties are where, but it's so easy to forget or get mixed up! 

I recommend using durable plant labels made of metal or plastic.

Many starter plants come with a thin plastic plant label stuck in the pot or six-pack. I do not recommend you use them. They look nice when you first put them in, but my experience is that after a month or two...

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Getting Ready to Plant: Marking Rows

Marking rows seems like a simple procedure - it almost seems like overkill, really. 

Planting in rows makes your garden orderly and beautiful. It also helps you space your plants for optimal production; additionally, it helps you recover if seeds don't sprout, if a critter sheared off your seedlings, or if your starter plant bites the dust. 

These things really happen! 

What is a "Row?"

Since you have your fence...

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