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There are plenty of ways to garden in a small space: grow in containers, choose compact varieties, and grow up with trellises and obelisks. Let's not neglect the most obvious vertical space - walls! Below are a few options that we are offering at BGC this year:
Plant in a pocket (above left). Woolly Pockets are made of recycled materials, can be used indoors and outdoors. They are great for herbs, salad greens, strawberries, and annuals.
The framed succulents are planted in a self-contained watering system from Bright Green designed for indoor use as well as outdoors. Available in stained walnut or paintable frame.
The planter with colorful annuals is a Pamela Crawford Vertical Garden. Easy to mount and easy to plant. It works well with annuals and herbs.
This vertical garden from Gronomics is a true space saver. It's made from rot-resistant cedar and comes with a drip-irrigation system. We planted it with salad greens, herbs, pansies, and even tomatoes! The photo on the right was taken one month after planting. It's time to harvest!
All of the vertical garden systems are easily mounted on a wall. An old door would work well, too.
Organic fingerling seed potatoes have just arrived! Grown without any chemicals to prohibit sprouting so many do have sprouts. According to the grower, if you break sprouts off, it will take longer for the vines to emerge and the number of vines will increase which results in a smaller sized potato. Who knew?!
More great growing tips:
* Leave at least two eyes on each seed potato.
* If cutting them, let them heal for a day before planting.
* Dust seed potatoes with sulfur to prevent fungus and diseases.
* Add humus or compost to the soil before planting which adds organic matter and nutrients.
* Potatoes grow best when soil pH is 5.2-6.8. They also respond to calcium, so adding gypsum to the planting hole is recommended.
* Potatoes can rot if the soil is too cold. The ideal soil temp for planting is 55-70 degrees.
* To plant, dig a trench 6-8" deep; space seed potatoes 12" apart; cover with 3-4" of soil.
* Hilling: when the plants are about 8" high, cover them about half way with soil or straw. Repeat in about 2 weeks and again in another 2 weeks. This loose medium is where the tubers will develop.
* Fertilize using fish emulsion as a foliar spray every two weeks until they flower.
* Harvest when the greens are brown or killed by a heavy frost. Waiting this long will result in bigger and better tasting potatoes.
'All Blue' is a fingerling that has deep blue skin and blue flesh - it really is all blue! It has a rich taste. Keep them blue by not over-cooking and add vinegar to the water.
Stop in and see all our varieties of fingerling potatoes.
Feeding Your Family is a blog by a Wisconsin family and features delicious recipes for fingerling potatoes.
There's something new in the world of tomatoes - something big that we haven't seen since the 20's and 30's when tomato hybridizing began. Grafted tomatoes have roused the interest of many gardeners. The Europeans have been grafting tomatoes for decades, but it's relatively new to American gardeners.
What is a grafted tomato and what makes it better? It's two plants fused together to make one better plant. Many of our favorite heirloom varieties, like Brandywine, are not very disease resistant and fruit later in the season. By grafting Brandywine to the root stock of a hardier variety, they now are more disease resistant. This can be a huge benefit for those gardeners short on space and can't rotate their crops.
Grafted tomatoes also fruit earlier and longer into the season, and offer higher production rates (up to 50% more). Their extensive root system, makes the plants more drought tolerant but may not perform their best when grown in a container.
1. When planting, keep the graft above the soil level. This is the most important thing to remember. Typically we plant tomato seedlings deeply to encourage a strong root and support system. That's not necessary with grafted tomatoes. The roots of the root stock can spread to over 6 feet!
2. Actively prune it throughout the season. These plants are vigorous and grow quickly. Keeping it pruned will send more energy to fruit production.
3. Cage it or stake it to keep it off the ground. Don't let the bushy plants ramble all over the ground as the vines will root in and ruin the effectiveness of the root stock.
4. Remove any suckers that might form below the graft or roots that appear above the graft.
We are offering the following grafted varieties this season: Big Beef, Brandywine, Early Girl, Mortgage Lifter, San Marzano, and Sun Sugar Cherry.