If you are anything like me, at this point in the growing season you realize that you bought entirely too many plants for the space you have available to plant them. There may be more growing space than you think. The answer? Try growing some of your plants vertically. This converts the actual ground space a sprawling vine may take to just a couple of square inches instead and can be as simple as training vines onto upright supports.
Here are some of the basic consideration to keep in mind as you start growing up:
Squeezing a few more plants into the same plot requires a little more attention to the soil on your part, because more plants means more nutritional demands on the soil. Don't forget to feed your plants.
Situate crops so they get at least 6 hours of sunlight. It is also important to always position vertical support structures to the north end of your space to avoid leaving other sun-loving plants in the shade.
Train Early and Often:
Just planting stakes next to your seedlings may not be enough. Keep an eye on your support system. It helps to check every few days to see if the vines need help to reach the next level of support.
Blog by: Sabine Ehlers, CMG
There is nothing like eating homegrown vegetables... and it's not as hard as it may first seem. Why not give it a try? Now is a good time to start planning for your Vegetable Garden. So, here are a first few steps to help you select and prepare your site and start thinking about what to plant:
For those of you who (like me) are having a serious case of cabin fever and can't wait until the growing season starts back up, why not start early this year and try some cool-season vegetables? Cool-season vegetables require cool soil and air temperatures to germinate and grow well, which means you don't have to wait for our last frost date of April 15 to come around to start planting.
The solution to our Potato Poll is:
The potato is actually a shortened stem called a tuber.
For more info on everything there is to know about potatoes,
visit our vegetable page here:
You live and learn, you garden and learn. In fact, the never ending opportunity to investigate and explore is one of my favorite aspects of gardening.
This story began last year when I decided that I had grown far too many tomato plants, and I promised myself that I would try to regain some composure this year. Even with that promise in place, I had something new on the list to try this year; a tomatillo. In the plant family of Solanaceae or “nightshades”, tomatillos are in the genus Physalis. The tomatillo fruit is similar in size to a cherry tomato, and features a “paper like” husk. Depending on the source, you may also see tomatillo called Mexican husk tomato, ground cherry, Chinese lantern, and other names.
In keeping with my desire to not be overrun with tomatoes, I decided to start small and put a single tomatillo plant in the garden. Intrigued by its description of golden fruits with a hint of citrus flavor, I selected a tomatillo called the Pineapple Ground Cherry.
This plant grew wonderfully; vigorous, disease-free, no pests, beautiful! … It still looks great today. My tomatillo has been loaded with flowers, and I have eagerly watched for the first fruits to appear. At first, I blamed the lack of fruits on the record-breaking heat and drought. But, as the weather moderated and my Pineapple Ground Cherry outgrew its 5-foot tomato cage (still without fruits), I suspected a problem with pollination. Could it be that the tomatillo is not self-fertile, and my big mistake was in planting only one?
From Purdue University… “The Mexican husk tomato [Physalis] is highly self-incompatible. When the flowering plants are bagged, no fruits are set.” And, from Wikipedia… “Some species are self-incompatible and require multiple plants for fruit set.”
So, I gardened, I learned, and next year I will opt to grow several tomatillo plants. The beautiful little flowers on my lonely tomatillo make it a nice ornamental addition to the garden. Hopefully, next year, it will be a tasty
addition as well!
Blog entry and photos by Mark Murphy, CMG
additional sources: Purdue University Horticulture, Mexican Husk Tomato, Morton, J. 1987. Wikipedia.org: Physalis.
Yes, we are serious! Although it's still awfully hot, looking at the calendar, we are only about 11 weeks away from the average frost date: October 15 in our neck of the woods. So, now is the time to start planting your fall crop to make sure it has enough time to mature. Here are some tips to get you started:
Plant at the proper time.
Here is how to figure out when to plant what:
If Math is not your thing, UT Extension Publication SP291-G also gives average planting times for a variety of crops to get you going.
Maintain moisture during germination.
Vegetable seed will not germinate without moisture. For Fall Gardening, high temperatures and sparse rainfall can make conditions for seed germination even a bit more difficult. So, water the soil well before planting fall vegetables and plant the seeds 1/4 inch deeper than you would planting spring vegetables to help reduce chances of the seed drying out.
Fall Garden Care.
Fall gardens require more attention than spring gardens: More insects, more diseases, more weeds, less rain. Don't let this keep you from giving it a try! Just keep a close eye on your Fall garden: Control the problems while they are small and apply 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water weekly when it does not rain.
For more Fall Gardening information, come to see us at the FREE Fall Gardening Workshop at the Farmers Market (August 3rd, 9:30 am), visit our UT Extension Office, or Ask a Master Gardener.
Happy Fall Gardening!
Blog by: Sabine Ehlers, CMG
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