Vegetable Gardening for the Hungry


Rows of vegetable plants, including these hanging tomato planters at Echter’s Nursery and Greenhouse, are ready for gardeners who want to participate in Denver’s Plant a Row for the Hungry effort. Echter’s, located in Arvada, Colo., is one of the sponsors of Denver’s Plant a Row campaign.

Denver’s Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign kicks off Saturday, May 15, and garden centers across the Metro area are ready.

Gardeners here–and everywhere–are encouraged to plant extra fruit, vegetables and herbs while gardening to donate to their local food pantries and soup kitchens.

Yesterday I was out and about picking up supplies for the free garden starter kits for the kickoff.

First, I stopped by Echter’s Nursery and Greenhouse, met Krystal Keistler, annuals manager, who gave me a stack of special vegetable plant coupons for the starter kits.

Plant a Row for the Hungry Gardening Event


The Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign in the Denver Metro area kicks off on Saturday, May 15 with free starter kits for gardeners.


Gardeners, farmers and other growers have a long tradition of sharing their harvest with others.

Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of a bag of home-grown tomatoes from a co-worker or an armful of squash from a neighbor. Maybe you were invited to glean after an end-of-season harvest at a nearby community garden.

Since 1995 the Garden Writers Association Foundation has organized a people-helping-people program called Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR). Plant a Row encourages home gardeners across the country to plant extra produce and donate it to food agencies in their communities.

This year I’ve volunteered to coordinate a Plant a Row effort in Denver as part of the Denver master gardeners’ annual Plant-A-Palooza plant sale.

Greenhouse Gardening with Jean Gallagher


This edition of Garden Clippings features guest blogger Jean Gallagher, publisher of OnlyGreenhouseReviews.com, a resource for the avid greenhouse gardener. Jean has gardened in her own outdoor greenhouses, in climates both temperate and extreme, and works to help other gardeners consider their gardening needs before investing in a greenhouse of their own.

When growing plants in a greenhouse, creativity is a must to use the space efficiently. Whether you are using a small lean-to greenhouse or one of the fancy large Victorian greenhouses the proper placement of your plants will increase your yield. Being organized doesn’t mean boring though, so use the ideas below as a guide before using your own imagination.

Using different size and shape containers enables you to adjust the type of soil nutrients and additives as well as moisture in the soil. You can increase the bounty of your harvest  by using separate containers to cater to each plant’s special needs.

Vegetable Gardening Made Easy


Vegetable gardeners in the Rocky Mountain states will find gardening can be a little easier and a lot more enjoyable with a new book from Cool Springs Press.

If you garden anywhere in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah or Wyoming, you have to get your hands on a copy of Guide to Rocky Mountain Vegetable Growing by Robert Gough & Cheryl Moore-Gough.

But that’s only if you want to have a successful vegetable garden this season.

My brand-new review copy of the book is already marked up, dog-eared and broken in.

Whether you’re an experienced vegetable gardener or you’re just getting ready to take your first tentative steps toward the garden bed, the Goughs have some advice for you. They wrote this book because it’s the resource they wanted to have when they first started gardening in such a challenging region.

New Tomato Growing Guide Now Available


The Get Growing Guide to Tomatoes is a new, 23-page eBook loaded with tips for growing a garden filled with America’s  favorite “vegetable.”

Although technically a fruit, tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown in home gardens. That’s why some gardeners prefer to call them “love apples.”

Tomatoes aren’t that difficult to grow, but they can be a little tricky. That’s why I wrote this guide, to help other gardeners have tomato-growing success. The guide explains how to amend the soil, gives seed starting instructions and provides methods to keep plants insect and disease free.

One of the first gardening articles I wrote for The Denver Post was a “how to grow” tomatoes article for those interested in entering their tastiest tomatoes in the annual NatureSweet Homegrown Tomato Challenge.

I had my own methods for sowing and growing great tomatoes, but for that article I also interviewed gardeners from across the Metro area, including the Homegrown Tomato Challenge winner from the previous season. He won with his Goliath Hybrid and a special “tomato toddy” he mixed for each planting hole.

Grocery Gardening with Jean Ann Van Krevelen


Jean Ann Van Krevelen is continuing the long tradition of sharing gardening tips and home-grown recipes with her new book called “Grocery Gardening.”

It may be difficult to decide where to keep your copy of the new “Grocery Gardening” book. Some of you will certainly want to keep it with your other gardening resources, but others will want to keep it handy in the kitchen.

Maybe you need to buy two copies.

Edible gardening is in fashion again and there are more new gardeners planting seeds and growing gardens than ever before.

“We’ve seen a resurgence of interest in edible gardening, but many new gardeners aren’t sure what to do with their bounty,” says author Jean Ann Van Krevelen.

“It’s very different to grow a couple of zucchini vines and harvest the squash than it is to pick up two at the store.”

New Botanical Interests Gardening Catalog


For the first time, Botanical Interests has produced a print catalog that features all of its seed offerings with its signature botanic illustrations.

I’ve been keeping up with new developments at Botanical Interests by following @BotanicalSeeds on Twitter. And I’m so glad I did.

If I hadn’t been following along, I wouldn’t have known the Broomfield, Colo., online seed company produced its first print catalog this year.

The catalog arrived in the mail this week, and I have to say it’s one of the prettiest catalogs I’ve ever seen. Each of the catalog’s 28 pages is filled with full-color botanical illustrations–the same ones the company uses for its one-of-a-kind seed packets.

A new line of seeds being introduced this year is called “The Botanic Gardens Series Seed Packet” line. Botanical Interests is working with botanic gardens throughout the country to protect native North American species that are rare and potentially endangered. The seeds from this new line will help prevent plant species from being lost to us forever.

New Crop of Gardening Books Sprouts Ideas


The 2010 gardening book season is in full swing and these three new titles will help gardeners of every level grow great gardens.

The first crop of gardening books to review arrived in my office this week and now I can’t wait for the growing season to begin.

I’m sure every gardener will find something they can put to use in each of the three new titles from Cool Springs Press, whether it’s a fabulous new recipe, a way to avoid plant problems or how to pinch a few more pennies.

I plan on writing complete reviews of each book over the next several weeks, but thought you might like an overview, just to whet your appetite.

Each attractive cover has an intriguing title, is aimed to a specific audience, and loaded with full-color photos, illustrations and all kinds of interesting tips, tricks and ideas. These are guaranteed to make gardeners want to get growing immediately.

Gardening with Sunset’s Feel-Good Foods


Chioggia beets are an Italian heirloom beet first introduced to U.S. gardeners in 1865. (Image provided by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.)

The January issue of Sunset Magazine features 10 feel-good foods for adding a little zip to menus for the New Year. Along with fresh sardines, artisanal tofu and bison are veggies like Chioggia beets, scarlet runner beans and quinoa.

The article promotes the feel-good factors of adding these new tastes to our diets, but doesn’t mention an added benefit: each of these can be grown in home gardens.

For example, Chioggia beets (pronounced KEE oh gee ya) are a small, pretty beet that can be grown just about anywhere.

Jere Gettle, owner and founder of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, has offered the beet seeds in his catalog for the last 10 years.

“They are so beautiful and taste so good, we grow them here every year,” he says.

Plan for Parsnips in Your Next Garden


Parsnips are now in season and every kitchen can find a use for this very versatile vegetable.

If you planted a fall garden with vegetables grown for their roots and shoots, you’re probably now harvesting the fruits of your labor.

As for the rest of us (who dragged our feet on planting until it was too late) we’ll have to satisfy our need for winter veggies by stopping by the produce department at our local grocery store.

But after paying nearly $2 a pound for organic parsnips this week, you can bet I’ll be making room in my garden–and time in my schedule–for some fall planting this season.

Actually, it’s worth it. Cold-weather vegetables are high in fiber, low in calories and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Some favorites, like broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, feature cancer-fighting phytonutrients, too.

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