Blog Banner

Raise, Grow, Harvest, Eat, Repeat

A blog for growers, consumers, and backyard gardeners to grow, eat, and connect in the local food system.

Sweet Potatoes: Right on Time

Commonly the question I get asked is if it's too late to plant sweet potatoes. Most of this comes from the fact that in Northern Illinois, we are planting potatoes around Easter, March-April. So gardeners tend to think that sweet potatoes should be planted with regular potatoes. That isn't the case of course. Sweet potatoes need to be planted after our frost free date which for us in Norther...

Read More >

Potatoes Compost
click image to view 2 more

On the Deck: Potatoes in Compost Bag

Like some of you, I don't have access to land to grow fruits and vegetables. My space is confined to a 10 x 10 ft deck that gets about 6-8 hours of sunlight a day. While some might find this limiting, I've risen to the challenge to see how much produce I can actually get off this deck this summer. Because I don't have land, this means I can't grow the vining crops like cucumbers, squash...

Read More >

SeaberryFruit Comp northDakota
click image to view 2 more

Berries and Brambles: Unusual and Uncommon Berries

Posted by Grant McCarty -

Unlike the berries and brambles I've written about in our berry and bramble series, I occasionally receive calls and emails asking about growing alternative berries. These are berries you've probably heard about in the last couple of years due to their increasing popularity based on the fruits having high antioxidants and large concentration of beneficial vitamins. For instance, Aronia is a tar...

Read More >

Primacane drawing

Berries and Brambles: Raspberry Management and Pruning

Posted by Grant McCarty -

Now that you've decided on the type of raspberry you are going to grow, you'll need to address the plant's needs through management. Raspberry plants benefit from mulching around the plants. This should be no thicker than 2 inches to avoid rodents. The mulch can help with weed control and keeping water in the soil. Raspberry plants should have frequent, shallow irrigation of 1-1/2 inches every...

Read More >

raspberry2
click image to view 2 more

Berries and Brambles Series: Getting Started with Raspberry

Posted by Grant McCarty -

  Raspberry plants tend to grow quite well in Northern Illinois. You'll find raspberry plants at many fruit and vegetable farms in our area. Unlike blueberry and strawberry plants which tend to stay intact based on their growth habits, raspberry plants are a prickly shrub with long canes that the fruit will be produced on. Known as brambles, they produce primocanes in the first year whi...

Read More >

AnthracnoseStrawberry

Berries and Brambles Series: Strawberry Pests

Now that you've got your strawberry system setup and are managing them, you may have diseases and insect pests to deal with. Strawberries tend to have many different diseases that target them. They can affect the fruit, leaves, stolons, and the roots of the plant. Insect pests on strawberries are those that may eat the leaves, fruits, and flowers. When dealing with what you suspect is either in...

Read More >

strawberry-plant-anatomy

Berries and Brambles: Managing your Strawberry Plants

Posted by Grant McCarty - Fruit

Strawberry management focuses on weeding, watering, controlling the stolons, and renovating the strawberry patch. Some of these are ongoing such as weeding and watering while other ones like renovating will come in to play in year 2-3. Many of these practices will depend on what your strawberry setup looks like. Smaller plantings may control weeds with hand-weeding while rows of strawberries wi...

Read More >