Garden-Fresh Creamy Garlic Veggie Pasta

IMG_5123Summer and fall are a fantastic time to experiment with recipes that use your garden harvest. This recipe is one of my favorites because you can add or subtract a lot of different vegetables depending on your taste.

It is so versatile and works great as a side dish or is filling enough to serve as the entrée. A few other vegetables to try in this creamy pasta are: broccoli, artichokes, asparagus, peas or whatever has popped up in your garden! You can serve this dish over zoodles for another way to slip in more veggies and skip carbs! Stir in chicken or shrimp or serve it alongside your favorite grilled protein if your family prefers meat on their dinner plate.

Let’s Talk Blueberries

Blueberry Chandler

In honor of July being National Blueberry Month, let’s talk blueberries! Blueberry bushes make an attractive addition to your landscape and offer delicious sweet berries that provide a wealth of nutritional benefits.

Blueberry bushes make an excellent all seasons plant for your edible landscape. In the Spring, blueberry bushes offer delicate bell-shaped flowers followed by lovely blue-green leaves. During the ripening period, blueberries change from beautiful hues of green to pink to deep blue. In fall, the leaves turn bright red, providing eye-catching color well into winter.blueberry-jellybeanpot

Traditional Italian Marinara Sauce

IMG_4764

Home-grown tomatoes are one of the best parts of summer! There are a wide variety of tomatoes in abundance this time of year. Let’s celebrate those juicy fresh from the garden tomatoes with a recipe that highlights the amazing flavor of the famous San Marzano tomato.

Curious why we use the San Marzano tomatoes over another variety in this recipe? What makes the San Marzano “The” tomato for a perfect marinara is that they have fewer seeds, less water content and a firm flesh that almost dissolves after cooking. The flesh mixes smoothly with the pulp for a more concentrated sweet and tart flavor as well as a thicker sauce.

Understanding Heirloom and Hybrid Varieties

Tomato Hybrid Chocolate SprinklesGardeners today have access to a large number of different varieties of flowers, herbs, and vegetables. In some crops, there are so many varieties available that choosing what to grow can be difficult or even overwhelming, especially for new gardeners.

Historically, most plant varieties have been “open pollinated”. This means that when seed is saved and replanted, the resulting seedlings will be very similar to the parent plants. Gardeners of the past had to grow some plants specificially for seed production, to ensure that they would have seed to plant in future seasons. Growing open pollinated varieties allowed them to save seed each year. Over time, this often resulted in locally adapted varieties that grew well in a given region.

Peach Leaf Curl Disease

Wondering what’s wrong with your plant? We love talking plants and are always happy to help with any gardening related questions!

Question: “My peach trees have distorted leaves and I do not know what is wrong. What is happening to my trees and what should I do to stop it?”

Pear_Leaf_Curl_Disease060716-2 Peach_Leaf_Curl_Disease060716-1

Answer: This is caused by a fungal disease called Peach Leaf Curl. This is a disease that is not uncommon in peaches when there is cool, wet weather in the spring, as we have had this season. Infected leaves have odd, distorted, lump, gall-like growths, often with a red-brown color and they may be twisted. Usually the infected leaves will drop after a few weeks. At this point, these leaves can be raked up and disposed of.

How to Get Large Hosta Leaves

Hosta and HeucheraHosta plants are fantastic for shady gardens. I have hundreds of them in my own Midwestern garden and love the amazing variety of hostas, either bare root or potted that are offered on Jung Seeds Website.

These tough little plants can survive drought, but prefer a moist, loamy soil whenever possible. In the northern states the foliage collapses when cold weather hits, but the little leaves will pop up out of the ground reliably in the spring. In order to have the best success with hosta plants, I simply plant them and ignore them except for an occasional water. Dividing of a hosta is not necessary unless the plant becomes overcrowded.

Straw Bale Gardening

Strawbale_garden3

Introduction

Straw bale gardens are easy to create and can be ideal for creating new garden beds or developing a brand new garden. They can be used to overcome difficult soil conditions or areas where soil-borne diseases are present. Bale gardens are a creative way to compost, are space efficient, and they have reduced weeding needs.

When setting up a new straw bale garden, consider starting small. Even a single bale or just a few bales will serve well as a starter garden. Think of each bale as a 40 gallon capacity container.

Garden Setup

Thoughtful Gardening Gift Ideas for Mom

Mother’s Day can be overwhelming with all the gardening gifts available. Let us help you match a thoughtful gift with special meaning to the unique Mom in your life!

Does your Mom love flowers? Each flower has its own meaning, show her how much you care with a symbol that best represents her.

Roses symbolize love and classic beauty. The spring-time colored roses represent a caring rose-dick-clark-grandifloranature, while white roses are associated with purity and brightness. They are a great choice for a mother who is traditional yet elegant and sophisticated.

Beets for Greens

Beet Greens When I was growing up on a farm in Indiana, my most important dinner table goal was avoiding beets and brussels sprouts. Who could have known that I would grow up to love them with such a passion?

Beets make one of the most fantastic ornamental edibles to mix in with flower containers and work well in a cool season garden or for successive planting. Generally grown for their root, the beet green is my favorite part – it’s ornamental above ground and can be harvested for a delicious salad several times throughout the season.

How to Grow Purple Broccoli

Purple Broccoli Photo © Shawna CoronadoBroccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables – it is full of nutritious vitamins and is excellent roughage for a healthy diet.

This season I experimented with Summer Purple Sprouting Broccoli, which produced amazing purple flower buds which were very tasty and produced a continuous stream of veg. I left the plant up and harvested the tops in snips and starts until I’d exhausted each plant’s summer growing season.