Cool plants for the Edible Garden

Every garden has a purpose. It may be as simple as a spot of spring color or as ambitious as culinary self-sufficiency. Gardening can and should be a source of pleasure, relaxation, and healthy physical activity, not a grinding and relentless task adding pressure to life. Adding some exciting new plants to your garden “wish list” and incorporating edibles into your flower beds will invigorate an old garden or provide inspiration to start something new. Here are a few varieties that might be fun to try for this season. Some may be relatively new to you, but others such as the Black Krim tomatoes are proven heirloom varieties that perform well in our climate.

Blueberry ‘Pink Lemonade’: First introduced in 2009, the first ever pink blueberry, this is a medium-sized, glossy, bright pink fruit. This plant also provides year-round beauty and interest. Pinkish-white, bell-shaped blooms appear in spring. Summer brings pale green fruit that quickly turns deep pink for harvest. Autumn leaves are bright orange and red. Fruit is deliciously sweet and mild; nice firm texture. There are many studies touting the many health benefits of blueberries, and they have the highest sources for anti-oxidants of all fresh fruits. They prefer full sun and an extremely acidic soil so can be a challenge for some, but with help from the right soil amendments it is achievable in our area. 


Bell Pepper ‘Chocolate Beauty’ This one is a must for the gourmet edible garden. Not only excellent in salads, but   beautiful when sautéed with green and red peppers, or as a stuffed pepper. This shiny green bell pepper has a sweet flavor when green, but don’t be tempted to pick. Let it ripen to a full gorgeous chocolate brown for full flavor. Plant in average garden soil with sufficient organic matter, or use in a container garden. Growing just 3’, it is the perfect fit for the center of a wine barrel. Surround it with herbs and lettuce and you have a perfect “mini-edible” garden. Peppers use quite a bit of water but prefer to be watered deeply and not too often. Blossom pruning will improve fruit size. Try this one if you are looking for a very productive addition to your kitchen garden this year. (70-75 days)

Melon: ‘Minnesota Midget’: Here in northern Nevada where nights are cool and growing seasons are unpredictable this melon that matures in only 75 days is an excellent choice. Plant produces good yields of small 1½ lb melons, the perfect size for two people to enjoy in one serving. The melons are 4 - 6" across with golden yellow flesh and high sugar content. The plant has small 3 ft vines and produce up to 18 fruits per plant. These compact plants are ideal for small gardens or containers. (75 days)

Tomato: ‘Black Krim’: Originally from the Isle of Krim on the Black Sea in the former Soviet Union. Totally unique and great tasting, this once rare variety is now available from most garden centers or seed catalogs. A beautiful and outstanding heirloom, the plants yield 3-4" slightly flattened dark-red, almost chocolaty colored beefsteak tomatoes with deep green shoulders. Low acid and has a fantastic, intense, slightly salty taste, perfect for those on a low-salt diet. It is similar to, but larger than, ‘Cherokee Purple’, another fun heirloom to try. An indeterminate variety (meaning it will produce all summer rather than just one large crop) it is also very suitable for container/patio garden. (75 days)

Kale: ‘Tuscan Black’:  (aka Dinosaur, Nero di Toscana) Thought by many to be the tastiest of the true kales, and due to its dark green color, likely the most nutritious. This variety comes from the Tuscan hills of Italy, where it can be found in nearly every garden. The plants with their long blistered dark green leaves are so beautiful they make an excellent addition to your edible garden or as a backdrop to your perennial flower beds. The leaves can be harvested a few at a time throughout the growing season, or all at once at the end of the season. Like all kales, becomes sweeter after frost.  Because it is so fast growing (55 days), make sure and plant a crop in early spring, and then again in the fall because like most kales, it becomes sweeter after frost. 

(This article was originally published in Edible Reno Tahoe magazine. All content by Susan Henderson)

Since I am now writing for Every Bloomin' Thing I wanted to go a little further and recommend some soil and fertilizers that you should be using when planting these noted above. Blueberries require an acid fertilizer and soil. So you would want to use Gardner & Bloome Acid Planting Mix for those. As always a good quality fertilizer is going to assist your plants in having a healthy start. For that we recommend Starter, also by Gardner & Bloome. For the other veggies you could use Gromulch or their special mix for Raised Beds.  Mulching with Compost is always going to help as the nutrients leach in to your soil with every watering. Enjoy your new edible garden and let us know how we can help you reach your bountiful goals. 




Gardening Matters

If you live in this area than you know that it can sometimes be extremely difficult to have the lush green landscape that most of us seem to be hungry for.  We want the soft dappled shade of large trees, the eye-popping reds and yellows of perennial beds lined with vibrant green hosta and ferns, and the lush soft lawns that they always show in the magazines.  What we sometimes forget in the quest for the perfect landscape is that we live in an area that sometimes does not give us nutrient wise what our gardens need.  I am not saying that is not possible to have all of those listed above, just drive around town and you will see them. But they come with a price, and the nice thing is, it is a price that doesn’t have to break the bank. All that is really needed to have the landscape you are searching for can be summed up in a few words: Improve your Soil!!

Organic matter, or rather “lack of organic matter” is the main gardening problem that people face. If you don’t take the time to correct your soil before you start a planting project, you could possibly be throwing away all the money you paid for the plants, or all the time it took for you to start and nurse your seeds along.  Compost is the quickest and most effective way to have the garden of your dreams.  You can start a compost pile of your own for free! Just start piling up those grass clippings, leafs and kitchen scraps. Turn them with some water occasionally and before you know it you will have rich black compost. Ok, maybe there is a slight bit more to it than that, but not much. Don’t have room for a compost pile or think it might look unsightly in your neighborhood? You can purchase ready made ORGANIC SOIL AMENDMENTS right here at the nursery. The added benefit to that is the quick fix that you will achieve.  

A large majority of the country is now realizing what our grandparents’ generation tried to teach us; that by tending to the soil, we can not only grow our own vegetables in a healthy and productive way, but we can benefit also from the joy and satisfaction of gardening.  Adding nutrients before you even plant can almost guarantee that you will have a bountiful harvest.

Perhaps you are making plans this year for your very first vegetable garden, or expanding on an existing one.  You might be encouraging a young child with their first garden by helping them start some seeds.  Whichever direction you are headed this spring, just remember to Feed the Soil with some compost, and let the soil in turn feed your plants.

Recommended products by Kellogg's Garden Products for that quick fix to your soil;

Time to Rev up the Lawn


It's not to early to start thinking about the gorgeous green summer lawn. Now is the time to get all your gear in proper working order before the super busy gardening season starts. If you haven't already, get your lawnmower blades sharpened and clean up/ oil the mower. Make sure you have trim for the weedeater and that all your sprinklers are working correctly. Coverage, or lack of,  is one of the biggest problems. Make sure your sprinklers overlap so that you are covering every piece of your lawn. Don't forget to re-adjust your sprinkler times as the weather gets warmer too.

Another great way to get your lawn ready is to have it aerated or thatched. This lets air and nutrients penetrate your lawn easier. After having that done, make sure and add a nice thin layer of Topper by Kellogg's to your lawn. This is a soil amendment that will work it's way into the roots and help all summer. 

You can also go ahead and get your first helping of fertilizer going. We recommend Gardner & Bloome Lawn Fertilizer. Because it is organic, it is slow release and you lawn will wake up beautifully and happy. 

A few steps now will make you the envy of the neighborhood all summer. 

Raised Beds, the perfect solution!

What exactly is a raised bed? Basically it just means that you are growing your plants above ground in a container that will hold soil and be large enough for roots and nourishment. In our climate and soil conditions, sometimes it is the only way to get the produce that you want. But there is another even better reason for using them. Control! Everything you can plant in the ground, you can do in a raised bed, often times with much better success. You can control the soil by using a perfect organic mix made for raised beds. We recommend planting in straight Gardner & Bloome Raised Bed & Potting Mix. EVERYTHING you need is in there! The slightly woody texture adds the ideal combination of porosity and moisture retention to the soil. Additional coir and peat moss ingredients offer increased moisture-holding capacity, making it great for container flower gardens too. Added organic fertilizers like composted chicken manure, kelp meal and bat guano ensure both an immediate and extended release of nutrients to keep the soil healthy. You can control pests easier by covering with row cloth, and you can control nutrients because it is only going to go right where you want it, the root zone. 

This beautiful set-up is an example of what you can do with a large area. Notice the fence to keep their prying "tomato loving" labs out. Everything is on drip for easy watering, and plants are grouped together for companion planting to avoid pests. This beautiful garden was designed and built by local gardeners, Oli and Kevin. They preserve all their bounty through canning and we will showcase more of their garden as the season progresses.

This beautiful set-up is an example of what you can do with a large area. Notice the fence to keep their prying "tomato loving" labs out. Everything is on drip for easy watering, and plants are grouped together for companion planting to avoid pests. This beautiful garden was designed and built by local gardeners, Oli and Kevin. They preserve all their bounty through canning and we will showcase more of their garden as the season progresses.

A raised bed can be anything from a large set-up like that above, or a dresser drawer that you have repurposed into a lettuce bin. Shallow roots give you options to use items you never would have imagined would work in the garden. Another perfect container for tomatoes and peppers is the 1/2 wine barrell. Fits most anywhere, and if there isn't enough sun where you first planted it, you just strap that baby to a handcart and move it somewhere else in the yard.

Get your creative cap on and start figuring out how you can grow the produce you long for this season. Send us pics of your raised beds and we will add them to a future post. 


Beating the Winter Blues

Susanville Snow.jpg

One of the hardest part of gardening, is looking out over the snow covered landscape and patiently wait for Spring. But there are still many ways that you can enjoy your garden while there is snow on the ground. Maybe a bird-feeder can be added outside your kitchen window, or you can do what we do - START SOME SEEDS! While it may be really early to start things like tomatoes and peppers, you can sure get some herbs going. Pick a sunny window and use a great soil like Gardner & Bloome seed starter to get them off to a great start. Brew up a good cup of tea and peruse some seed catalogs and gardening magazines when you are done. Spring really isn’t that far off.