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All Things Michigan

Michigan travels, events, photos, and more

Filtering by Tag: gardening

Favorite vegetables to plant in your garden

Andrew Norton

Mother Earth News magazine polled its readers last fall as to what their favorite vegetables were to grow in their gardens. The results were broken down by specific geographic areas such as Midwest, South, The top vote getters for the Midwest region are listed in this week's poll question for you to vote on.

[poll id="24"]

Gardening question for this week's poll

Andrew Norton

We've been getting our seeds started recently and that got me wondering what other people plant in their gardens. We plant tomatoes, pole beans (higher yield for space used), onions, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, and zucchini. We also have a number of herbs that we use for cooking like chives, thyme, rosemary, and a bunch of others that have slipped my mind. That brings us to this week's poll question. Vote in the poll and feel free to add in the comments the specific plants you grow and even how big (or small) your garden is. I have a feeling there will be a lot more gardeners this year due to folks wanting to save money.

[poll id="21"]

Do you plant a vegetable garden?

Andrew Norton

In these tough economic times a growing number of people are doing just that. Those with minimal property living in towns and cities are even going so far as to tear up their grass and plant a garden in its place. Record numbers are being set by the seed companies for quantity of seeds sold as people everywhere plant gardens. Not only does having your own garden save you money at the grocery store, it also guarantees that you know everything that was (or was not) put into the soil to grow those vegetables. Myself, I like to only use compost and water to turn out fantastic veggies from our garden. Ever since I read "The World Without Us" (particularly about the study of how long non-organic fertilizers remain in the soil) I have refrained from using chemical fertilizers.

[poll id="17"]

Park Seed

Update on my garden

Andrew Norton

When I planted pole beans this year I staggered the planting so we would have a steady flow of green beans during the summer. Our first planting began producing beans at the end of last week and we have already enjoyed two quarts of delicious and tender beans. The other plantings are catching up and should keep us in the beans through most of August.

We'll be digging up some of our red potatoes this week and I'm interested to see how those did. Our onions are ready for picking any time we need one. We've also been getting a couple of cucumbers every other day or so to add to our homemade sweet pickle brine.

Not much rain has fallen here lately (per usual during this part of the summer) so the sprinkler has been running every day. Earlier in the spring our tomatoes were looking a bit yellow and sickly so I gave them a few doses of compost tea and they not only bounced back, but they look bigger and better too.

Upper Peninsula gardeners practice patience

Andrew Norton

I'm a lower peninsula gardener and I sometimes rush things a bit to see how early I can get stuff growing in the garden. I would fail miserably if I was growing a garden in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Ironwood Daily Globe has an article about how residents of the U.P. cope with the much shorter growing season. Most folks start their plants indoors and transfer them to outdoor cold frames in order to get a jump on the June 15th deadline that marks the last day for a killing frost in the U.P.

As if the weather isn't a big enough obstacle, Yoopers must also contend with herds of hungry deer and wild turkeys chomping away the fruits of their labor. Strands of electric wire keep most deer away, but not the turkeys.

You have to be a dedicated gardener in the U.P. I tip my hat to them and salute them with my trowel.

Is Your Green Thumb Itching to do Some Gardening?

Andrew Norton

Is your green thumb itching to get back to work in the garden? Then we have some interesting tips for you to have a great gardening season in Michigan. Vegetables prefer a full day of sun, but if you live in a shady suburb you don't have to give up the idea of growing vegetables. Here are some minimum sunlight requirements:

  • Fruiting Vegetables - 8 hours of sun. This includes tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and vine crops such as cucumbers, melons, and squash
  • Root Vegetables - 6 hours of sun Carrots, beets, etc.
  • Leafy Vegetables - 4 hours of sun. These are your "greens" such as lettuce, spinach and collards

*Keep in mind that these are minimums. Increasing the amount of sunlight your vegetables receive will increase the yield and quality of your crop.

The benefits of manure await your garden. Behold the mysterious powers and follow the suggestions below:

  • Don't use dog or cat manure. These manures often carry diseases that can be spread to children
  • Never use fresh manure, since it contains soluble nitrogen compounds and ammonia that can burn plants and interfere with seed germination. Manure that is well composted or has aged for about six months is best. When added to the compost pile, manure will speed the composting process.
  • Manure tea can be used for periodic feedings or diluted and used every time you water. Do not allow undiluted manure tea to come into direct contact with foliage. To make manure tea, simply place a shovel or two of manure in a large container filled with water, and after a week or so, strain out the manure. To make the straining process a little easier, you can tie the manure in a burlap bag before placing it in the water.
  • Horse manure may contain a good many weed seeds, so compost it in a hot compost pile before adding it to your garden.