August 2013

The Vines Have It - The Art of Growing UP!

They shimmy up poles and curlicue around strings. They twist and turn, and keep us guessing. Go away for a week and come back to a glorious melon-laden trellis, a wall of heavenly blue—or a pole bean gone wild!

 There’s just something about vines that tickles the creative fancy. Challenge a gardener to come up with fun ways to prop up a climber, and the ideas spring forth like runner beans in high summer. Read More

A few fast edible and ornamental vines you can grow from seed:

Tendril climbers: Garden Peas, Cucumbers, Gourds, Melons, Mini-Pumpkins, Winter Squash, Sweet Peas

Twining vines:  Pole Beans, Tomatoes, Morning Glory, Black-Eyed Susan Vine, Cardinal Climber, Cypress Vine, Climbing Nasturtium, Hyacinth Bean Vine, Moonflower Vine, Scarlet Runner Bean, Mina Lobata

August in the Trial Garden
By Lindsay Del Carlo, Trial Garden Manger

Our mix of black oilseed sunflowers, planted several months ago, are really wonderful. They not only make a dramatic display in the garden with their large, brightly colored flowers on tall stalky stems, but they are an amazing food source for both birds and bees. First they were loaded with bright yellow pollen, and the bees were constantly foraging on them. Now the birds are feasting on the large, black seeds in the mature flower heads. The large, nodding flower heads are like a platform for the birds to land on and cling onto while plucking out the black seeds to eat. We will introduce these in September of 2014 and call the packet “The Birds and the Bees”.

Salvia splendens ‘Lighthouse Purple’ and ‘Lighthouse Red’ are blooming with vivid fire engine red and grape purple flowers. These quick blooming flowers look very tidy and compact and add wonderful color for months. Renee has decided to make a mix of Salvia splendens varieties in all the colors of wine grapes, so we probably use the Lighthouse Purple were going now as one component and trial some other varieties to put in the mix next season.

There are also mini Kabocha Squash that we have trellised along a wire fence. These early producing vines are loaded with many small, bright orange/red squash. We will let them sit on the vines for a while longer to accumulate sugars during the warm days. In a month or so, they should have a nice sweet taste, and have matured enough so we can cook and evaluate their flavor and then see how they store for later use.

Garlic Coming Soon!

Our grower is just finishing cleaning this year's garlic harvest and it looks fantastic! We plan to have it up for sale on our website within the next few weeks – in plenty of time to order for getting your garlic crop in the ground this fall.

What's On Renee's Blog

Visiting the Breeder Fields

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Best Wishes, Renee Shepherd

Recipe of the Month
Green Beans in Basil-Walnut Vinaigrette