Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

PostHeaderIcon Planning and Planting a Vegetable Garden

1307758_10344768The first year I lived in a “real house” I was excited to get a garden started. I just couldn’t wait until spring when I could plant all kinds of vegetables, and reap the benefits all summer long. I dreamed of home cooked meals and snacking on raw veggies, canning for the winter and having the most beautiful garden on the block.

While this seems like a good idea and a nice dream, it really wasn’t. Being a new gardener  I let my excitement get the best of me. Luckily, my family made sure I still had a very nice garden that year, and helped me learn how to make a vegetable garden the right way.

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PostHeaderIcon Backyard Garden Ideas

Spring is finally here, and it’s time to start planning our gardens!

It’s hard to believe 10 years ago I was just starting on my first vegetable garden, and attempting to overwhelm myself with too many varieties of plants. Luckily my dad stepped in with a tiller and tomato plants, or we wouldn’t have had a good harvest at all.

Over the years we’ve tried several different types of gardens and techniques. Some have failed, some have not. The important thing is we’ve learned from our mistakes.

For those just starting out with a beginner backyard vegetable garden, I have three suggestions.

1. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a great starter plant for beginners or with limited space. It’s recommended you start with a live plant from your local nursery, or start your plant inside. Planting seeds directly in the ground doesn’t work as well, although it can be done.

These little buggers grow almost anywhere, and don’t take up a whole lot of space. I know the popular thing is to buy those new “hanging” tomato plants, but I’ve yet to hear anything good about the way they grow or how much they produce. With any common soil, though, you can grow your own tomatoes in the dirt. Sure it’s not as “clean”, but who wants to stay dirt-free while gardening? Isn’t the point to play in the dirt? ;)

2. Peppers
These work especially well for those with very limited space or a small backyard, and for those who can easily pull weeds around the pepper plants. They take a little extra work sometimes, but are worth it. Especially in the midwest, peppers are slightly picky. With proper care, though, any variety can be a hearty plant with decent yeild.

Peppers are also a perfect compliment to your tomatoes (the two together make EXCELLENT homemade salsa!). Just make sure you leave enough room between them, or the tomatoes will take over and kill your pepper plants.

3. Pumpkins

If you are really ambitious or have the space, you may also want to think about planting pumpkins. These come in handy around Halloween, which is about the time you’ll see your best harvest.

A huge warning with pumpkins, though – they will take up A LOT of space, and will grow in places you may not want them. Also, if your area has a problem with squash bugs, you may end up with nothing (it took us two tries of having the squash bugs eat everything before we finally gave up). However, some areas have no problems growing pumpkins, so it’s something you can try if you have the room to do so.

Looking forward to hearing your backyard garden ideas!

PostHeaderIcon DIY Tips for Gardening

It’s about that time of year again when we have to start planning our gardens and figuring just what we plan to plant.

Instead of re-hashing what we covered last year, we figured we’d just give you a few links to our 2009 gardening series. It covered all the main topics and ideas for planting flowers, herbs, and vegetables both from seeds and bulbs/plants.

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to request a free catalog from Nature Hills. Sometimes the best ideas for what to plant come from just browsing a catalog! Plus of course they have some really interesting plants and seeds for sale, so do check them out after you request a catalog.

To start the series, we started with the obvious – planting seeds inside. This included flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Generally on spring break is when we start planning our garden, and planting all our seeds inside. Mid to late March, basically. Sometimes we hold off until April if it’s been a pretty ugly winter and we know we won’t see our garden under all the snow until late May.

To finish up the series, we covered some information on flower bulbs and vegetable plants. These of course you’ll hold off on until late spring when all the threat of frost is gone. Although flower bulbs can also be planted in late fall, but if your doing your garden in the spring, best to wait until frost has past.

For seeds, bulbs, plants, and other gardening supplies, be sure to see Nature Hills Nursery, Inc.