A fully ripe homegrown tomato is the highlight of the summer vegetable garden. Yet a ripe tomato is also susceptible to splitting, cracking, and pests. The good news is that there are two ways to harvest tomatoes; when the fruits are fully ripe or when they’re only partially ripe. There are benefits and drawbacks to each strategy. Keep reading to learn more about when to pick tomatoes.
In my house, we seem to need an endless supply of onions. While buying onions at the grocery store or farmer’s market doesn’t cost us as much as purchasing fresh herbs or vine-ripened tomatoes, growing your own onions can cut down on food costs simply for the sheer volume of onions households like ours consume (the average American eats 20 pounds of onions a year!). It also gives us a chance to ensure they are grown without the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, fungicides, or herbicides. While growing onions isn’t a complicated process (you’ll find details on how to do it here), curing onions properly after harvest is essential for ensuring you can enjoy the harvest for months to come.
READ MORE » about Curing onions for long-term storage and winter use
I first realized I had attracted hummingbirds to my yard when I was gardening. Earlier in the season, I had picked up a packet of ‘Pastel Dreams’ zinnia seeds and planted them in one of my raised beds. That summer, as I weeded and harvested, I would spot something flitting about out of the corner of my eye. I soon realized it was a hummingbird attracted to the profusion of zinnia blooms. Since then, I have planted a whole buffet of hummingbird flowers that also attract a variety of other pollinators to my gardens.
Many gardeners think they need to have a lot of color in order to have a beautiful garden, but that isn’t the case. There is much to gain from plants whose main attribute is their foliage. Whether it offers fun variegation, an unusual texture, or a unique shape, foliage is just as important to a garden as flowers. Rex begonias are one of the most unique foliage plants for shady gardens and containers. They come in a range of leaf colors and shapes, but among the loveliest is Begonia Escargot.
READ MORE » about Begonia Escargot: A unique foliage plant for shade
Shrubs serve so many purposes in the garden. They can create a hedge that adds privacy, provide a focal point in a foundation planting, add at least three seasons of color, and anchor a garden design. Dark-leaved shrubs are special because they have standalone interest due to their interesting foliage, but also offer the perfect backdrop against which you can plant any number of vibrant colors for an eye-catching garden montage.
Small pumpkins are so much fun to grow! They’re easy and productive, often yielding a dozen or more pumpkins per plant. Kids love them but so do adults and the mini fruits can be used as autumn or Halloween decor, in crafting, or baked in pies and muffins. The fruits can be as small as a couple of inches across and have orange, white, or even bi-colored rinds. Keep reading to learn more about planting, growing, and harvesting a bumper crop of small pumpkins.