Swiss Chard - A Love Story... with Recipes

Oh, how I love, love, love Swiss Chard...

It's not the most popular vegetable here in the United States, and I didn't grow up eating it. Until about 15 years ago, it never even crossed my mind to grow it. 

The suggestion to grow Swiss Chard came from Mel Bartholomew's Square Foot Gardening books. The author suggests many vegetables to grow in a square foot garden, including Swiss Chard, and he raves about how wonderful it is. I gave...

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How to Dry Herbs

As the weather gets colder, we start to think about the end of the growing season. Many tender annuals will die in the cold, and perennials will die back and go dormant for the winter. 

While your herb plants are still lush and full, it's time to decide if you want to dry them. The best tasting dried herbs come from the freshest herbs from your garden. 

I enjoy drying my homegrown herbs because it's a way to...

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Neglected and Abandoned Plots

By now, it's pretty clear who maintained their community garden plot and who didn't.

It's sad when a plot is neglected or abandoned. 

Plot Choked with Weeds

Rather than getting all judgmental, let's approach the problem with compassion. It's easy to accuse a gardener of "being lazy" or "neglecting their responsibility." But real life happens; sometimes things just come up unexpectedly. For example:

  • Job transfer...
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3 Ideas To Use Up Tomatoes

recipes tomato tomatoes Sep 09, 2021

Do you find yourself with "too many" tomatoes?

Maybe you remember your parents or grandparents canning the abundance of the tomato harvest. Canning is still alive and well in the US, but it takes a lot of work, special equipment and a good chunk of time. It can also be messy. If you're going to do it, you might as well have at least 20 pounds of tomatoes and plan for a half a day to get it done. 

Those of us with small plots...

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Spun Polyester Row Covers

Spun polyester is a type of garden fabric that can be used to help your garden succeed when conditions are not ideal. It is a white fabric that is placed over crops to protect them. 

In this article, I'll use the term "spun polyester" to mean any type of white, light and water permeable plant protector fabric. This type of fabric is made from a polyester or any number of similar materials.

Benefits of Spun Polyester

It is useful to the...

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Thinking About Growing Garlic?

I started growing garlic in 2019. It was easy and fun and I was thrilled with the results! I put in 10 cloves and got 10 heads of garlic that looked as good as grocery store garlic. Wow!

I'd dabbled in it before then and never really got good results. By dabbling, I mean I would notice a clove sprouting in my garlic keeper and think, "maybe I should plant this and see what happens." Spoiler alert - not much happened. Months later when I dug it...

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Short Season Crops for Fall

It certainly feels like summer here in the midwest, and it probably does for you, too. But, the growing season is drawing to a close, sad to say. 

It's not completely over, though. There are several vegetables you can plant and harvest before your first frost. Some crops will tolerate a bit of cold as they finish up maturing, and even a few that survive a freeze.

The first frost is usually the time when we stop gardening...

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Rainwater is Better for Your Garden

Have you ever noticed that after a rain, your garden seems to look especially lush, green and healthy?

No, you're not imagining things. Rainwater actually is better for plants.

It comes down to the chemistry of rain water when compared to tap water. The water that comes from a hose is tap water, too. 

Benefits of Rainwater

Rainwater absorbs a small amount of nitrogen (in the forms of nitrates and ammonium) from the air as it...

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Plants are Weird

Ever notice that Mother Nature seems to have a sense of humor?

Like this - what the heck? 

This is a fungus called - get this - a Stinkhorn Fungus. Nice name. It's pretty common in gardens around the United States and it tends to emerge from wood chip mulch that's breaking down. Like mushrooms and other fungi, it seems to pop up suddenly, out of nowhere!

Its scientific family name is Phallaceae, and yes, it means exactly what you think...

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There's Always an Exception....

Last week's article was about pruning suckers from your tomatoes to keep the plant from getting too large. I shared some pictures of suckers and discussed how to identify them.

The majority of indeterminate tomato plants look just like my pictures. Suckers emerge out from the "joints" between leaf branches and the main vine. Technically, these joints are called "axils."

But last year, I grew San Marzano tomatoes for...

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