What’s going into Erica’s garden this year?

I have ordered (and received) my seeds! I may end up with more, at seed swaps and from friends, but I’ve made the basic purchases to fill in needs. For the first time in ages, I didn’t order any tomato seeds–I know, shock, horror–but I still have plenty and I’m going to cut back on the number of tomato plants this year in favor of peppers and other summer crops. Will everything I’m thinking of planting actually fit, either in my community garden plot or in containers at home? Only time will tell.

Anyway, I thought I’d give you all a glimpse into the reasons I chose a few of the plants I plan to grow. Below I will profile Amara Ethiopian Kale, Yellow Cabbage Collards, Dario Cocozelle Zucchini, Zipper Cream Cowpeas, and Nadapeño Peppers. I’ll link to the companies I ordered them from so you can read more, but doing so is not an endorsement by University of Maryland Extension.

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Time to think about fall planting!

Wait… what?

It seems like you’ve just put that spring vegetable garden in… though actually, come to think of it, there are tomatoes reddening and squash burgeoning and summer is in full swing. But still, fall seems a long time away. Can’t we wait to think about it until it gets chilly again?

Well, if all you want to grow in the fall are lettuce and radishes, and maybe some spinach, sure. Given our tendency to long, warm autumns, you may be enjoying your summer vegetables well into October, or even November, if we don’t get a hard frost, so who needs to plant anything else? But those long autumns also mean we have an ideal situation for keeping our production going into winter. And if you planted broccoli or cabbage or cilantro this spring, or any other plant that prefers cool weather, and were disappointed when it went to flower early or began to taste bitter, let me tell you: fall is better. Temperatures that start a little warmer for tender seedlings and grow gradually cooler, resulting in frost-kissed sweetness and beautiful greens or root vegetables–terrific! You just need to do a little work to get there. Continue reading

Yard and Garden Tips and Tasks for July

Spotted Lanternfly

Spotted lanternfly adults may be found feeding on many hosts, especially tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissma). Report any finds to the Maryland Department of Agriculture immediately, collect a sample or take digital photos of what you have found.

BagwormBagworm caterpillars are now very active. Look for little bags crawling around on evergreen trees and shrubs and be prepared to spray infested trees with the microbial insecticide, Bt by mid-July. Mature bagworms are not well controlled with Bt They are best collected by hand and destroyed or sprayed with insecticides containing spinosad.

Proper lawn mowing is critical to help it survive the summer. “Mow ‘em high and let ‘em lie” should be your mowing strategy. Cut your cool-season turf (fescues and bluegrass) to a height of 3-4 inches and leave the clippings on the lawn where they will naturally decompose.

BroccoliSow seed for fall transplants of broccoli, kale, turnip, and cauliflower in flats or containers by the 3rd to 4th week in July. Late crops of squash, beans, and cucumbers can be direct sown into your garden through the end of July.

More Tips and Tasks for July