How to Grow Spinach

Ah, spinach. One of the best vegetables to grow in the garden. Every year I allocate some space to spinach for salads.  If you haven't tried it yet, let me encourage you to do so.

Spinach-Growing Season

Spinach is a cool season crop and grows best in spring and fall. In warmer parts of the country, spinach can be grown in the winter. Using a cover over the growing spinach plants can protect them when the weather gets unexpectedly cold,...

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How to Grow Beets

Beets are an easy crop to grow and in the last decade or so, they've become more popular on the plates in American homes and restaurants.

Beets are a root vegetable. Their binomial name is "beta vulgaris," which basically means "common beet." Curiously, Swiss chard also has the binomial name "beta vulgaris," because they are closely related. They originated from the same plant subspecies centuries ago. 

Beets are easy...

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Late Season Frost

 

Here in the Kansas City region, we've awakened to a mid-April snowfall today (April 20, 2021) and a temperature of 32 degrees Fahrenheit. It's unusual, but it does happen some years. Technically, we're past our average last freeze date (April 17), yet this morning it was 32 degrees, which technically is a freeze!

If there's one thing I've learned living in the midwest for the past 17 years, the weather here is unpredictable. It can change...

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Must-Have Herbs to Grow Fresh

People don't always think of herbs when thinking about putting in a garden. If you cook at home, growing herbs is one of the easiest ways to get a "return" on your gardening. 

The price of fresh herbs at the grocery store is outrageous. I understand why they the price is high - most herbs are low-volume sellers and they end up throwing out much of their herbs when they go bad. The higher price compensates for the waste. For $3...

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I'm a Complete Beginner - Where Do I Start?

Every once in a while I see a plea for help from a complete beginner, who has never gardened before in online forums. 

  • I've never gardened before! I'm a complete beginner!
  • I have NO IDEA where to begin!
  • This will be my first garden ever!
  • How do I start gardening?

It's courageous when someone jumps in, admits they're starting from scratch, and looks for help. And we always need more gardeners, so I'm happy to help however I...

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Succession Planting - How to Extend Your Harvest

Succession planting is a wonderful technique for the home garden. It's a way to enjoy fresh-picked vegetables from your garden for a longer period of time. 

When you plant all of your seeds for a crop at the same time, they all get started at about the same time and they also become ready for harvest all at once.

This is great if you want all of your harvest at one time, but if you're gardening for fresh eating, you may become...

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Sowing and Thinning

Seed packets often have the terms "sow" and "thin." Let's look at what these terms mean.

Sow

Sow in this context is a verb and it rhymes with "toe." It means to plant the seeds and the term is used in the context of farming and gardening for growing crops. For example, planting acorns usually isn't described as "sowing" oak trees to regenerate a forest. You also do not "sow" transplants or seedlings.

Sowing...

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Plant Spacing Guidelines

Most seed packets provide a few basic guidelines for planting. How far deep should I plant the seeds? How far apart should I plant these seeds for them to grow well?

Here's a typical seed packet back with a small table containing planting guidelines:

What it doesn't tell you is that there's an underlying assumption on how your garden is laid out. Their guidelines aren't very helpful if you aren't planting in that way.

The...

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How Old is "Too Old?" (for Seeds)

I think I'll stick with the topic of seeds for a few weeks. Last week, I posted a tutorial about reading a seed packet, and because of the length of the tutorial, I didn't get into much depth about some of the details. 

The "Packed For" Date

Seed packets (sold to consumers like you and me) are supposed to have on them some indication of their age - this is usually done with "packed for <year>" printed on the package. It should...

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Tutorial: A Beginner's Guide to Reading Vegetable Seed Packets

Seed packets for consumers like you and me are required by law to contain truthful information about the seeds in the packet. The intent of the law is to ensure the buyer knows exactly what they are buying, and to provide the consumer with some basic instructions for how to plant and grow the seed successfully. 

It seems pretty obvious. The information on a seed packet is regulated at a national level to provide...

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