Soil Tests

T’is the season when many gardeners are thinking about soil tests.  Especially in instances when plants won’t grow, won’t flower or won’t respond to our best efforts, soil tests can be the logical next step. Bear in mind, however, that while the soil test results contribute to an overall understanding of the health of the…

When to Plant Which Veggies

Especially in Nebraska, spring weather can be variable.  You might even say “very variable”.  Warm and cold, wet and dry and combinations thereof make for a challenging early planting season.  With this in mind as an overarching consideration, we still need to start somewhere, with some kind of guidance.  A basic planting schedule as the…

Creating a Community Garden

A community garden is a collective place where local people grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers for local people.  There are many types of community gardens, ranging from neighborhood gardens to child care center gardens to food pantry gardens, and everything in between. The reason community gardeners garden is varied, with access to fresh food,…

5 Things to Know When Choosing a Spot for Your Vegetable Garden

Choosing the right place for your vegetable garden is an important first step in making gardening fun and productive.  Here are 5 simple things you can do when selecting a site. 1)  Vegetable gardens should be planted in full sun, but what exactly is “full sun”?  To be productive, vegetable gardens should receive 7 or…

In defense of Raised Beds

Why are raised beds a good option for gardening and why is the old practice of tilling up a spot in your yard bad? Learn a bit about soil structure and health in this rebuttal to an article demonizing raised beds in favor of tillage.

Cool Season and Warm Season Vegetables

Cool season vegetables are those that grow best during the cooler growing conditions of spring.  In some cases, a light frost will actually enhance their flavor.  Cool season vegetables can be planted/sown as soon as the ground can be worked in early to mid April.  The really terrific thing about cool season vegetables is that…

Crosnes—The Tubers That Look Like Beetle Larvae!

Master Gardener Glen brought me some crosnes, which he grows and harvests. What are crosnes and why would anyone eat them? The crosne, pronounced “crone” or “crow-sn” is a member of the mint family, Stachys affinis, and produces these neat little segmented tubers resembling beetle larvae. Crosnes are native to China and Japan but take…

The First Thanksgiving: A feast of native and local foods

Turkey, dressing (or stuffing, depending on where you put it or what you call it), potatoes, fresh bread rolls and pumpkin pie are the traditional fare for the celebration these days, but they are a far cry from what the original feast shared by the pilgrims and American Indians would have featured.

Pumpkins-on-a-Stick

Nothing says Thanksgiving like pumpkins, but have you ever grown pumpkins-on-a-stick?  “Pumpkin” is a bit of misnomer because these are actually eggplant.  The flavor of this eggplant is quite bitter and is used in Asian dishes, but this doesn’t preclude using it for arrangements. The color of pumpkins-on-a-stick is outstanding and they make a great…

Goofy Gorgeous Gourds

Along with pumpkins, corn shocks and mums, gourds are symbols of autumn.  Their quirky sizes, shapes, bumps, and lumps are fun and their color makes them terrific additions for fall décor. Gourds belong in the Cucurbitaceae family, which means they are related to cucumbers, zucchini, acorn squash, melons and pumpkins.  Gourd seeds can be directly…

Fall foliage colors are in foods and flowers, too!

As the chlorophyll fades, the other pigments in the leaves that can’t readily be seen while the chlorophyll is in place, become apparent. Most people don’t realize that the pigment colors that you see in the leaves are the same that you see in flowers and in the food that we eat.