Tuesday, September 2, 2014


The Garden is beginning to wind down for me this year. Cucumbers are done, tomatoes are finishing, squash is going strong, beans are also winding down. But one would think that we are done for the year. Well kids, you would be wrong. Start your fall planting! In the midwest there are two major growing seasons, Spring and end of summer! All of those cold crops that you were growing at the beginning of the year are able to be planted again right now. Actually probably should have started planting a month or so ago. Oh well, don't let your fear of failure stop you from proceeding with what you can do. Get out there and plant that lettuce. But don't stop there, there are lots of things you can plant, Head Lettuce, Cutting Lettuce, Radishes, Beets, Turnips, Carrots, Beans, Peaseven some Cucumbers and Squash. Here are some of my lettuces that are coming up. If you are unsure of what to begin or which plants to plant, then its very easy to determine what to plant. Look at your seed packet, they all have listed the "Days to Maturation" on it. Then count backwards from your First Frost Date. If you have leeway, then you can do it! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Kohlrabi

Hi kids, each year I feel like I grow the same vegetables over and over again, although they may be new variations of them, they are still the same thing. I wanted to mix it up this year and try something a little bit different, Kohlrobi. Now back when I lived on the farm we grew Kohlrobi and it was beautiful. So I wanted to give it a try this year. I found some kohlrabi starts at the local nursery so I picked them up and started to plant them, planting two different crops so that I could stagger out when I would harvest my plants. And boy did they do well. The whole plant is edible from the leaves to the bulbous stem. 


So let's take a look on how to grow them. If you ever grown cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower then you'll be a pro at with Kohlrobi. It's in the same family as the other brassicas so it enjoys the same type of climate. Start them off early in the years they can get a better start growing and I'm little bit cooler environment. Amend the soil with organic matter and watch them grow. Now with my Kohlrobi that was really all I had to do, but My second crop might have been a little bit harder since I started to get cabbage moth caterpillars on my plants. They only affected the leaves and not the bulbous stem. The chickens loved them though!

If you are seeing wholes in your leaves bug you don't know who is doing the damage, look under the leaves and this is the little buggie that you will find. Now you can spray the plant to kill the bugs, but I just find it easier to pick them off. And the thing is, it's so much easier to just pick them off and do the 'real' organic pest control form.




Now the bed that I have them in now is very good soil with lots of rich humus. Plant them them in the spring about the beginning of May. Now every two weeks plant some succession crops so as to continue your harvest. Now I harvested my first pair in the second week of June and am still harvesting here in the second week of July. 

Harvesting:

So when do you harvest this alien looking veggie? When the bulbous stem gets to be around 4 inches in diameter is about when you should harvest. It will still be young and tender. The danger with harvesting later is that you may risk the kohlrabi becoming fibrous inside. Although I many times pick them 5-6 inches wide and they are still delicious!
When it does come time to harvest there are a couple ways. The correct way that I first started doing but then got tired so I switched to the lazy. 

Correct Way:
As indicated here in the picture, the proper way so as not to disturb the soil would be to find the base of the plant and snip it with a pair of snippers.












Incorrect Way:

   To pull the whole plant out of the ground, roots and all (like an onion), and lop off the root-ball of dirt.

Both ways are correct and both ways give you a good result.

Later I will post a recipe for a kohlrabi fitter!



Monday, July 14, 2014

Canna 'Musafolia'

One of the things that I love most about my blog is that I'm able to look back from year-to-year and look at the things that succeeded and maybe some other things that didn't succeed. Well today I wanted to share with you something that I know will be the future addition to my garden next year. It's called Canna 'Musafolia' or banana canna; and as the name suggests it resembles a tropical banana plant.  Now I'm pretty familiar with most cannas but I've never heard of this one before. I plant different cannas every year and they always give me such a show  (that is if the squirrels don't dig them up). Normally the ones I grow are for the flowers and for the unique foliage and Canna 'Musafolia' is no exception. It can grow up to 10 feet tall by Midsummer and even taller in ideal conditions.


In the Great Lakes region where I live (zone 5b), getting the tropical paradise look, that so many love, is an extreme challenge. Because of our cold winters anything tropical die back. But with banana canna it is now possible to have the backyard hammock and Corona sitting by the pool in your "banana tree". 

I learned about this particular Canna when I was catching up on  "A Way to Garden with Margaret Roach", I never heard of it before so I looked it up online and my mind was blown. Although I have yet to figure out where exactly I'll place it in my garden, I know that I will be growing it next year. And hopefully if all goes well (please squirrels give me a break), I'll be posting pictures of my own beautiful 10 foot tall cannas. 

Below are some photos that I pulled from online. 



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How 2's: Marigolds

Hey Kids, I've got another How To for you today. I though we would talk about Marigolds. Nothing is as beautiful as a flowing bed of marigolds. They are the flower that gives without giving up. By being drought resistant, disease tolerant, and ever flowering, this plant has become a staple in many gardens. Its common folklore that Marigolds will even keep out unwanted pests when planted around the garden. The flowers are edible and are also used as dyes and teas. So all together its a good flower that you should have in your yard. They are also really easy to start from seed!


By using a heat mat I got my seeds to germinate in 2 days! I am planting Queen Sophia, just because I love the full mum look. But there are so many different looks that are available. You all know how much I love Livingston Seed Co. there seeds are the best quality for the smallest price (no they don't sponsor me). Click HERE to see my blog comparison of seed companies. 


Marigolds are so easy to start from seeds. This tray that I am planting in has 72 cells/plants for $1.29 as compared to the flats at the nurseries that only have 24 cells/plants for $12-$16! Not to mention that in one packet of seeds I was able to plant 2 trays or 144 plants for $1.29. Now that's a bargain!

Monday, June 9, 2014

What is this



So check this out! I am used to seeing grubs when I am digging and planting, normally they are small maybe a half inch. While I was planting some noble giant spinach, I ran across this guy! look how big he is, almost half the size of the plant tag. probably 2.5-3 inches long! If I grew up in the Amazonian Forest, I would think that he was a tasty little meal, fortunately I am not. I found one like him two years ago. I have no idea what he is!!!!!!

I gave him up as a sacrifice the the robins who have some young little birdies in the nest. If you have any idea what he is, please let me know.
Huge Grub that I found in my garden, probably 3" in length. If you know what it is, please let me know.
Update 5/9/14:

I found out what this is. I believe it is a cicada larva! this year I found around 50 of them in the garden! Yuck!

This is only a portion of the grubs that I found. But let me tell you, that the robins really liked me a lot.
The robins were really happy with me. They would wait for me in the garden and when I found a grub I would throw one to them and they were ever so happy!

Fairy Garden DIY: Potted Succulent


Okay kids, I've got another fairy garden DIY for you today. This one is pretty easy (I'm getting all of the easy ones out the way frost before tackling the harder ones). Fairy Garden Succulent Planter, it's way too easy. You know if you have succulents in your yard how quickly they begin to reproduce. I simply found one of the tiniest tiny succulent out in the yard I could. If there are no tiny ones just stip the top off a larger succulent stip the lower leaves and plop it into a container of potting soil. Make sure to keep it constantly moist to encourage rooting of the cutting. 
Materials-
: thimble (or other small container
: succulent or other small plant 
: potting soil 

Directions-
1) find your succulent 
2) place it inside of the container
3) water


Go see see my other fairy garden tutorials:


Monday, May 26, 2014

Neem - The organic insecticide






Neem is one of my favorite things to use when it comes to controlling disease and pests. Its Organic, and as you all know when growing your vegetables, why use anything that wasn't organic.

You want to get a 70% Neem Oil Like this one!





As Mike McGrawth, Host of "You Bet Your Garden" says,  "I like [to] use neem oil as the oil form of this plant seed is a very effective anti-fungal. (In another, harder-to-find form, neem acts as an anti-feedant; and if pest insects eat anyway, they die. You go, neem tree seed!) 

Anti-fungal! Do tell you say!


Neem oil can be used to treat a number of garden ailments, including:
  • Insects: Neem oil kills or repels many harmful insects and mites, including aphids, whiteflies, snails, nematodes, mealybugs, cabbage worms, gnats, moths, cockroaches, flies, termites, mosquitoes, and scale. It kills some bugs outright, attacks the larvae of others, and repels plant munchers with its bitter taste.
  • Fungus: Neem oil is also effective in preventing fungal diseases such as black spot, anthracnose, rust, and mildew.
  • Disease: As if that wasn’t enough, neem oil also battles viruses that can harm plants.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fairy Garden DIY: Picture Frame



Fairy gardens are my favorite things to look at. Last year I did an article on fairy gardens that I saw at the garden centers. They were so fun. I have started to collect my own supplies and I will be doing a series on creating your own Fairy Garden! To start us off nice and easy here is how I made Fairy Garden picture frames that are made from plant tags.

The Great thing of using plant tags is that you never have to worry about the pictures turning bad since they are plastic. We all have these things that we have laying around and end up throwing them away. I don't know about you, but I think they look pretty good.