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Showing posts from September, 2015

Pumpkins

My son loves to grow pumpkins. He has since he was a little guy. Truth be told, he is much better at it than I am.

I have mentioned before how much I love winter squash. They come in so many interesting shapes and sizes and the same holds true in regards to pumpkins. Everything from the tiny jack-be-little to the gargantuan Dill's Giant catch my eye in the seed catalogs over winter. Honestly, if I had more room I would have more pumpkins! We tend to grow sugar pumpkins for pie filling in our gardens but we also raise other varieties for jack-o-lanterns and other fall festivities.

One thing to consider before you even put a seed in the ground is exactly how long the particular pumpkins you are growing take to mature. Some easily exceed 100 days and that is cutting it awfully close to the first frost date in our neck of the woods. On occasion the best route has been to buy starter plants from one of the local greenhouses or even start seeds indoors to get a bit of a jump on things.…

Heirloom Tomatoes

Food that you nurtured from seed to harvest always taste better than anything you can buy in the store. This most certainly holds true when speaking of tomatoes.

I am almost embarrassed to admit how shocked I was the first time I ate a tomato out of my own garden. It was so full of flavor! In fact, I found much to my surprise, there were a number of different elements at play on my taste buds. It opened up a whole new world to me. I was no longer fooled by the bland, stiff, reproductions that sat under fluorescent lights at the supermarket. It has gotten to the point where, for the most part, I am willing to go without a tomato until they are ripe on the vine in my own plot. There are, of course, exceptions but I buy them in the store knowing full well what I am missing out on.

Over the years I have developed a few favorites but am always on the lookout for new and interesting varieties. A favorite in our household is the Lemon Drop cherry tomato from Seed Savers Exchange. We also lo…

Zinnia

Though it is true that my wife has a beautiful flower garden that adorns our front lawn the zinnias that we grow happen to be one of the few ornamental flowers specifically showcased in the main gardens themselves. This is not to say that we do not grow flowers among the vegetable and fruit, because we do, it just happens that the majority of them, such as the sunflowers, borage and nasturtium, are edible.

Every spring the Easter Rabbit is kind enough to leave zinnia seeds for the kids in their baskets. In turn, these hardy and vocal flowers are among the first seeds to be placed in the ground each season.

In my opinion there are a number of benefits to adding these lovely plants to any
garden. First of all, bees are wild about them and in truth that right there is enough of an argument for their spot in the rotation. There are also a number of species, nearly ten in all, so it is easy to find one that strikes your fancy. They happen to make great cut flowers because they can handle l…