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Home Gardening Inspiration & Education

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What is the secret to having tomatoes in my fall salad garden?

 
What you may not know about home gardening could be keeping you from enjoying your precious vegetables well into fall!
 
Here is the secret to having ripe tomatoes for Fall Salad Gardens:
 
Depending on your climate (hardiness zone) you can have established tomato plants while your newly planted lettuces are just maturing! Google “hardiness zones” and type in your city or zip code. This gives you average frost date windows for your area.  This means that tomatoes can survive until your expected frost date!  Kentucky spans Three Hardiness Zones: 6a, 6b, and 7.
 
More simply Google “how many days are in my growing season!”  Louisville, KY has a 205 day growing window!! That means we can expect to be gardening from April thru October.  Plant a blend of tender and hardy salad greens to enjoy before winter freezes (usually December around here).
 
Even better news for those of you that...
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Memoirs of a Farm Girl

Tears filled my eyes as I looked out upon those fields one last time. The memories came flooding back as the familiar wind hit my face.  I had stood before it for many a season, studying its needs and seeing its potential.  I had cared for it in foul weather, injury and illness.  It had me enveloped in its promise, engulfed its beauty.  I was mesmerized with wonder the way a mother stares at her young.  Humbled by how much it gave and fascinated by its ever-changing faces. 

One autumn, I lost my first pregnancy.   I had been riding on a tractor all day trying to beat the winter weather.  There is nothing you can do to cause a miscarriage, but I knew in my heart that I couldn’t do both.  Not for a while.  And that reality changed my entire world.  That was the beginning of a long hiatus from farming, and the season of baby-growing. 

A year passed by and our daughter was born.  She spent the first 2 years of her...

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Home gardens ease food shortage concerns

As a former Kentucky farmer, I take it seriously when friends DM me about food shortages happening in their area.
 
And I’m embarrassed to say, that I’ve lost touch with the reason I started growing food in the first place.  You may be familiar with it's romantic appeal.  It swept me away a long time ago.
 
I started growing food to make a difference in my community.
 
To provide quality food choices in my area, and in my home.
 
To contribute to local food production for local food security.
 
Like many, I feel in love with the art & craft of edible gardening and left the problem behind me.  
 
And now with the supply chains breaking down due to labor shortages, COVID-19, shut downs, etc - the problem is front and center again.
 
Everyone is beginning to feel the strain and frustration of unavailable products and services.
 
Some communities have been experiencing this lack for...
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Garden Bed Restoration

 

Amy is my neighbor, client, and new to gardening.   This year she tried tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, calendula, peppers, lettuces, green beans, and a few others.  Tomatoes and cucumbers can be difficult plants for a beginner.  They need to be in the soil longer, need more space,  more sun, and more maintenance than others. 

Her garden space is limited to an 8x2.5x2 bed.  We interplanted her bed to grow in underutilized spaces to maximize her harvests.  Her summer plants got huge which got a bit messy.  Next year we will redesign her layout to avoid overcrowding, but overall a great first season!

This is her garden box.  It's built with untreated Eastern Red Cedar, which is prone to lose its pinkish, purple color rapidly the first season.  The sides facing the sun were silver, while the sides facing away from the sun were more orangish pink.  Watch how quickly the pink & purple color returns with a bit of...

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Brighten up your Cedar Garden Boxes

 

Why Eastern Red Cedar lumber?  It's one of the best in our area (Kentucky)!  It rivals cypress and redwood (from California).  It repels insects and is a rot resistant hardwood.  It's used in several outdoor projects for that very reason.  If left untreated it will retain its aromatic properties longer.  Eastern Red Cedar ranges from purples and pinks, deep red, and a violet brown.   The wood can rapidly turn to a silver or grey due to the UV rays and oxygen.  

HERE IS WHERE WE COME IN:

Red Cedar Bed Restoration

Hire us for a yearly refresh to restore the vibrant color to your beds and begin to repel water and harmful UV rays.  This will preserve your lumber's integrity every year.  We will gently sand off the silvery gray top layer, and seal your beds with a our Eco-friendly, whey-based poly protein.  This will help water roll right off the beds so that it doesn't absorb it (which can soften the wood...

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Fall Garden Planning

I love this time of year!  It's hot, plants are flourishing, and seasonal changes are upon us.  We just started our Fall garden planning, planting & even some raised bed building!
 
August is the month to begin transitioning summer plants to fall plants. You’ll start to notice plant productivity begin to slow down. Those plants will eventually be removed to make space for your soon-to-be fall garden plants.  I like to cut the plants at their base to remove the stem and foliage, leaving the root system for the worms and microbial life to nibble on.  
 
Once you select a location, or make space, you may begin to sow fall carrots & beet seeds directly into the garden.   You may also transplant fall lettuces and brassica (broccoli, cabbages, cauliflower) plants now through early September.  You may try seeding radishes, spinach, and baby salad greens now as well.  It may be too hot yet, so reseeding may be...
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Summer Planting for Fall Gardens in KY

It's July in Kentucky and hard to think of fall when the summer temperatures are so hot, and the spring planting frenzy feels like its just over.   However, it is time to start sowing seeds and and thinking about where your fall plants will be tucked into the garden.   Think: carrots, beets, broccoli, cabbage, swiss chard, kales, and many other of your favorite fall fares. The smaller, faster growing greens like radishes, lettuces, spinach, etc will come later.

So where do we start?  First of all, let's just say that there is still time to sneak in a few last minute summer plantings.  Cucumbers, squashes, & green beans can all stand to be directly sown into the hot soil and will mature safely before threat of frost in late October.  

Now let's familiarize ourselves with three plant families: Chenopods, Umbelliferous, and Brassicas.  For edible plants, the Chenopod Family contains beets, swiss chard, and spinach.  July &...

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When and how to harvest garlic in Kentucky?

Woohoo!  Is your favorite part of June gardening the garlic harvest?  Mine too!   We've waited patiently as it grew for 9 long months.  We mulched it, overwintered it, plucked off the scapes, FINALLY the bulbs formed, and its ready to come out of the garden!  It's not only exciting because it will be so delicious, but it will also make space to plant something new... maybe pumpkins!

You know garlic is ready to pick when you notice the plant starting to "die back".  Look for yellowing or browning of the bottom leaves.  This in an indication of harvest readiness!

I like to do a "test dig" before popping up all my bulbs.  Pierce the soil with a shovel or harvest fork about 6 inches from the plant.  Go straight down then angle the fork to pop up the bulb.  This will prevent puncturing the bulb.  If you can see and feel well formed cloves, they are ready to harvest.  If the bulb is simply round, the cloves need...

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Monday Make-Over: Edible Gardens of Louisville

It all starts with a vision, and a consultation. 

Welcome to Kara and Stella’s front yard edible garden!

Kara wanted to garden for years, and especially now that her four year old is interested.  After touring Kara’s heavily wooded property, we decided that the front yard had the best sun, proximity to water, and to the kitchen window.  

Our designs consider not only the space, but the gardener's experience level too.  Her space could have accommodated several beds but as a beginner, we decided to start small. 

Kara ordered two red cedar raised beds sized 8x4x1.  We removed the Pachysandra ground cover, leveled the area, added pea gravel, and flag stone.  We trenched in the black edging and topped the beds with soil, plants, and trellises.  And wowza!  I will say it looks fantastic and I love love love that is in her front yard!  

These beds will be used by the whole family.  Stella, Kara's daughter,...

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Kentucky Garden Layout made easy

 
Is creating a planting layout a challenge for you?  
 
If so, I want to offer you my most precious tool = planting by size of the plant, & it’s duration in the ground.   
 
This Interplanting idea has made planting so much easier, prettier, & practical for me.  
 
It utilizes all the space without overcrowding.  It adds biodiversity to the garden’s ecosystem.  It doesn’t deplete any one nutrient from the soil.  It doesn’t attract all the pests all at once.  
 
Interplanting this way has been a game changer for my clients and myself.  
 
If you want your vegetable garden to have a diversity of colors, textures, and sizes, follow this philosophy!
 
If you’d like more personal help, you can join our local Garden Party series or sign up for a local or virtual consultation!
 
We can help you transition your existing garden, or start fresh!  We love...
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