Growing Cool Weather Kale


Kale is a cool weather plant that can not only withstand some frost, it actually improves the taste. While many gardeners pass it by for more popular vegetables, it's a good, dependable plant that supplies vitamins and minerals that are so important during the winter months.Kale is the Northern cousin to collard greens, withstanding cold where the other likes the heat. Kale can withstand temperatures down to 20 degrees F., sometimes as low as … [Read more...]

How to Grow Swiss Chard


Swiss chard is a cool weather heirloom vegetable that is treasured in the garden because it's easy to grow, nutritious, has few pests and a long harvest season. The brilliant colors and textured foliage make it a must in the ornamental kitchen garden or herb garden.Swiss chard is a great addition to stir fries, soups, casseroles, dips and pasta dishes, much like spinach. It can also be prepared as you would greens such as collard or mustard, … [Read more...]

Cold Frames for Beginners: Part Two


In the first part of the post on cold frames I went over variations on assembling your own using the basics. Once you've collected the materials for the cold frame you'll need to decide where to put it. Locations are important for many reasons, most importantly, because it should be sheltered from the wind, but have the best access to the sun.Location: Facing the cold frame south is ideal, but if that's not possible, have it face to the east. … [Read more...]

Vegetable Garden Troubleshooting: Part III


I noticed several more questions in the comments, which were enough for another troubleshooting post.  Sometimes I know the answer from experience, other times I do research.  I love learning new things about the garden, so this is always something I enjoy.  Feel free to share your own experiences in the comments, especially if they differ from mine.Why do some cucumbers grow a massive curl while others grow straight? Will my cucs grow on … [Read more...]

Coldframes for Beginners, Part One


Coldframes are a worthy investment of your time and money, but they don't have to be elaborate, especially for the home gardener. Coldframes are essentially small, simple greenhouses used to extend the gardening season. They can be as elaborate as your budget allows, or as simple as a 4x6 structure using recycled materials. As with any first time gardening project, it's better to start out small until discovering how beneficial it will be to … [Read more...]

Midsummer Vegetable Troubleshooting: Part II


This is part two of the garden troubleshooting questions.  Depending on the response I may continue to do this every month.  Even those of us who have gardened for years seem to find ourselves stumped every now and then.  I've always believed one can never have too much gardening knowledge.My tomato plant is not forming new tomatoes, what can I do?Humid, hot weather can keep the fruit of the tomato plant from setting. Mother Nature … [Read more...]

Midsummer Vegetable Troubleshooting: Part 1


Troubleshooting isn't just for computers. Sometimes questions crop up because of a new problem or situation in our garden.  Just when we think we've got our bases covered, we spot a new pest on a plant or run across something odd in the garden.  Today I have three answers to fairly common problems in the garden to start off a "Troubleshooting" series at Veggie Gardener. Next week there will be three more problems followed by answers … [Read more...]

How to Survive a Heat Wave


Vegetable plants need nutrients, sun and water to thrive. If they are popped into the soil and left on their own they most likely will do poorly, unless your climate has the perfect amount of rain, sun and fertile soil. A heat wave with no rain and dry windy days will suck the moisture from the ground and leave the vegetables vulnerable. How can we protect the vegetable garden? Below are five actions that will aide the vegetable plants during a … [Read more...]

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