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Featured Articles!

Five Secrets for the Best Winter Squash

If you’re passionate about squash, you know the difference between great squash and mediocre squash. Great squash is sweet, with well-developed flavor and good texture. Mediocre squash is tasteless, watery and stringy. Sometimes it can be saved with butter and brown sugar, but ours often ends up in the compost pile.

It can be tricky to get good squash, since many varieties need 100 or more days to mature. Here are some secrets I’ve learned after 20 years of growing winter squash and pumpkins.

>> read “Five Secrets for the Best Winter Squash”       #Advice   #Fall   #Vegetables
Building a Scarier Scarecrow

If you have a garden, it’s more than likely that you also have a pest or three. It should be no surprise that pests and critters like our yards and gardens as much, or more, than we do. We are encouraged to invite wildlife into our yards and gardens because we love seeing them, and, in theory, they help balance our desire for our garden and nature to coexist. But what happens when they go rogue and start eating, digging and destroying all of our hard work?

Scaring them away, or we could say gently discouraging, wild and sometimes not-so-wild critters to “Step away from the garden,” is always a first and sometimes successful option.

>> read “Building a Scarier Scarecrow”       #Decorating   #Fall   #Pests
Transplant Those Plants Now

Nurseries and garden centers overflow with color on opening day in the spring. They woke the plants up early and grew them on to full foliage and bloom placing temptation before all the gardeners with cabin fever.

My wife and I are as susceptible to gardening siren calls as any other gardener, but over the years we have learned that there are plants best transplanted in the fall. September, October, and early November are prime months for bringing perennials, bulbs, trees, and shrubs into the garden.

>> read “Transplant Those Plants Now”       #Advice   #Bulbs   #Fall   #Shrubs
Better Late than Never

Traditionally, the Midwestern vegetable garden was considered a three-season affair, bounded by the last spring frost and the first fall freeze. True, cool-season gardens were popular in the spring and the fall, but the idea of year-round vegetable production definitely raised eyebrows. Recently, however, proponents of season extension, such as Elliot Coleman, have increased awareness of the possibilities, and enthusiastic gardeners across the region are embracing four-season vegetable gardening.

>> read “Better Late than Never”       #Fall   #Tools   #Vegetables
Soup-er Farmer’s Market Feast

In my mind, there is no better time to be in the kitchen than right now. The cooler temperatures cry out for warm, hearty meals that bring everyone together.

Normally I’m the only one in our house who will eat squash. But, there is something about this creamy, slightly spicy, butternut squash soup that makes it pass the test. Paired with a second season greens salad and a loaf of fresh bread – all purchased at the farmers market – it’s perfect for a fall lunch or dinner.

>> read “Soup-er Farmer’s Market Feast”       #Fall   #Recipes   #Holiday: Thanksgiving   #Vegetables
It’s All About the Berries

If you have ever seen a beautyberry in fruit, you are not likely to forget it. The brilliant, iridescent purple berries that cluster along the stems of Callicarpa dichotoma and C. japonica in late summer and fall will stop you in your tracks.

>> read “It’s All About the Berries”       #Fall   #Fruit   #Shrubs
Decorating Pumpkins Without a Knife

Here’s a kid-friendly project that won’t send shivers down your spine.

When autumn winds turn bone-chilling cold and children dream of becoming vampires, parents might want to have some crafty ideas in their bags of tricks. If you don’t feel like getting pumpkin slime all over the kitchen this year, try this DIY project that doesn’t require 30 minutes just for cleanup.

>> read “Decorating Pumpkins Without a Knife”       #Crafts   #Decorating   #Fall   #Kids
How To Start Vegetable Seeds

Today I'm going to show you how to get your seeds started for your fall vegetables. You can start vegetable seeds in just about any container you have available. Whether it's an egg carton or the containers from your grocery store delicatessen even to the flats and six packs you save from your spring and summer flowers that you buy at your garden centers.

The only requirement is the bottom of the container allow adequate drainage so we don't have seeds sitting in saturated soil . That'll lead to fungal issues and a condition called damping off as the seeds germinate. What I've done with this flat is line it with paper towels so it'll hold soil and allow adequate drainage at the same time. So, all we have to do is fill this flat with our soil until it's level and then pre-moisten the soil. And, again with compost and a mixture of vermiculite and promix, moistening the soil ahead of time won't be a problem.

>> read “How To Start Vegetable Seeds”       #Edibles   #Fall   #Propagation   #Seeds   #Video
Daffodil Dividends
Plant fall bulbs now for sweet spring rewards

Yes, spring is still months away, but now is the time to invest in planting spring-blooming daffodils. Just imagine the dividends — early dwarf daffodils blooming in a snow-covered rock garden, a drift of classic yellow daffodils gilding a hillside or clusters of double daffodils brightening an entry walkway. Plus, they’re affordable, low maintenance, hardy throughout most of the U.S. and pest resistant. As its botanical name Narcissus indicates ...

>> read “Daffodil Dividends”       #Bulbs   #Fall   #Flowers
Preserving the Fall’s Colors

From rocket reds to flaming oranges and sunshine yellows, fall's brilliant colors blow past our windows on breezy winds. Wouldn't it be nice to capture some of these amazing colors to see throughout the year, instead of only during autumn? The good news is that you can. Preserving leaves with glycerin is an easy craft that anyone can do. Leave preserved with glycerin will ...

>> read “Preserving the Fall’s Colors”       #Crafts   #Decorating   #Fall
The Traditional Scarecrow

I was halfway through my childhood before finding the nerve to watch The Wizard of Oz without hiding at some point during the film. I suppose it was the witch (the wicked one from the west) — it would be an understatement to say that she intimidated me. The scarecrow was a much more pleasant fellow but, truth be known, he was also a bit unsettling to me ...

>> read “The Traditional Scarecrow”       #Fall   #Holiday: Halloween
 
 
 

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