Most gardeners who have planted a summer squash in their vegetable garden can attest to the prolific growth of healthy squash vines. And in good years, many can also recount the bountiful harvest, with fruits ripening faster than you can pick them at times. I think we’ve all found those enormous zucchinis that seemed to grow overnight like something out of jack and the beanstalk.
The spring-like weather this past week has been phenomenal. Although we may see a return to cooler weather since March is known to “come in like a lion”, it was certainly a sign of things to come. I’m really looking forward to March’s exit as it “goes out like a lamb” and the 2022 gardening season takes shape.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, many of us are stocking up on all the ingredients for our favorite dishes so we can contribute to the family feast. The Thanksgiving meal has traditionally been a celebration of the year’s harvest, making it a great time to focus on the bountiful harvest that has occurred right here in Illinois.
As the vegetable growing season quickly approaches fall frosts when production screeches to a halt, there is actually one crop that can be planted now in anticipation of next year’s growing season. Garlic (Allium sativum) is an easy-to-grow bulb crop that does best when planted now for a summer harvest next year.
In the heat of July, it seems out of place to consider fall frost, but it is an important detail for vegetable gardeners planning a fall garden. There are a variety of garden crops that can be planted in July and August for fall production, many of which are cool-season crops that actually perform better as temperatures drop in the late growing season. However, planning now is required to ensure plants have adequate time to reach maturity prior to the season-ending frosts that are inevitable.
What will your 2021 vegetable garden look like? Where will you source seeds or plants? What new crops are you interested in planting this year? All these questions are on the minds of many gardeners this time of year. In 2020, there was an unprecedented interest in all types of gardening since most of us had a lot of time at home. All signs indicate this trend will continues in 2021. So, whether you are ready for the gardening season or not, now is the time to start planning.
Vegetable gardening takes some forethought and planning to ensure your garden space is ready, select the best crops, and get everything planted while working around spring rains. Our enthusiasm and planning in early spring typically culminates in the planted garden and often wanes as the work and heat of the growing season sets in.
I am as guilty as the next gardener for not thinking enough about garden maintenance later in the year during the excitement of spring planting. However, there are some things we can think about now to setup of the rest of the season for success.
Although this past week’s weather trended toward more winter-like conditions, we all know that warmer spring weather is just right around the corner and next week looks quite promising. One of the key factors in knowing when to plant your vegetable garden relates back to weather since some plants are very sensitive to colder temperatures.
In last week’s blog, I covered the basics of site selection for a new vegetable garden. Finding the best location in your yard, or understanding that containers may be the winning option is a really important part of setting up your growing space for success. I would like to continue the discussion this week by taking a closer look at the growing medium, or soil, we choose for gardening.
Mentioning the ripe beets coming out of the ground this time of year doesn't get much excitement out of my kids, but they are certainly a favorite of mine. I have such fond memories of fresh beets from my grandmother's garden. She served them pretty regularly as a side, fresh when possible, and canned the rest of the year, and I actually enjoyed them quite a bit when I was a kid. The hearty root crops are edible top to bottom, relatively easy to cultivate, and quite productive for the garden space they occupy.
Nothing beats a homegrown tomato! Even when in season, the store bought varieties just cannot compare to a fully ripe tomato harvested at its peak from your own garden. So many gardeners across American choose tomato plants for their garden each year for this reason, making it the most planted garden crop in the US.