The okra plant produces cream colored flowers. Once pollinated, these will produce the okra pods to harvest and cook.

Growing up in East Tennessee, okra was one of the most common vegetables I both ate and grew. Now that I live in the Midwest, I don’t see the crop as often in community gardens and at farmers markets. Yet you may have found this summer, as I have, that okra deserves a place in the summer garden.

Freshly harvested cucumbers, eggplant, beans, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, beets, & turnips.

The fruits of our summer labors have started to ripen and will soon be ready for harvest. As gardeners, it is common we overplant. Most of us end up with more produce than we can use. Neighbors, friends, and others typically benefit from the overflow. Keep the tips here in mind to help get the longest life out of your harvest.

Ripe and Unripe Strawberry Closeup. Photo Credit: Enoch Lau, Wikicommons

Summer is here!

As we approach the halfway mark for the month of June and look forward to summer plans, one thing many people are excited about is summer strawberries. Whether you are growing everbearing or June-bearing strawberries, harvest time is here for some and on its way for others.

Strawberry varieties 

June-bearing strawberries, depending on the variety, can bear fruit from early June through the Fourth of July. All four of these berries are noted for their taste, texture, suitability for being grown in Illinois

Everbearing pineberrries are unique white berries with red seeds. Photo source: Emmbean, Wikimedia Commons.

Strawberries (Fragaria species) are one of summer’s best treats.

Strawberry varieties

Depending on the cultivar, strawberries differ in when they produce berries and what their berries look like. 

  • June-bearing strawberries provide a large crop of larger berries.
  • Everbearing strawberries produce smaller berries throughout the growing season.
  • Novelty types of strawberries can range in color (purple, yellow, white) and flavor.

One unique novelty strawberry is the pineberry.