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Raise, Grow, Harvest, Eat, Repeat

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

Wrapping Up the Summer Vegetable Garden

As summer comes to a close this Labor Day weekend, most of your summer crops are still going/growing strong. The Extension gardens in Jo Daviess, Stephenson, and Winnebago Counties are still producing tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and cucumbers with some fall plantings of cool season crops soon to happen. While our gardens are still active, you may have reached an end to your summer garden (or given u...

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Growing Great Garlic

Attending the Midwest Garlic Fest last weekend in Elizabeth, I was reminded yet again of the wide range of varieties grown in Northern Illinois. Many of these varieties are unique in their flavor and heat. I also, inevitably, get the phone call in the spring asking if you can plant garlic now and unfortunately, it is too late. While many other members of the allium family (onions, leek, shallots)...

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Tomato Hornworm
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Monthly Report- July 2017

Pest Update As you know, July was extremely wet for us in Northern Illinois. This caused a lot of serious problems for some growers due to the amount of rainwater that we got in fits and spurts. Typically in the growing season, we need 1-1.5 inches of water a week. If your plants received too much, they may have shown wilting symptoms, a physical response to too much ra...

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Haskeep Berry 6 22
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Monthly Report-June 2017

  Pest Update With rains and seasonal weather, disease has begun to creep in. In the last week, I've seen apple scab and in a new twist, scab on stone fruit. For apple scab, it's too late for sprays to be effective in controlling the disease and you are better off removing fruit that has fallen around the trees. Removal of fallen leaves is also recommended. I've...

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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...

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Potatoes Compost
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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...

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The Mildews of Summer

Last summer, I focused on profiling tomato blights which you can still find here . As we've dealt with a rainy, colder June and now July so far, it may be that we start to see mildews particularly downy and powdery. Both of these mildews can cause problems for many plants but many times we only consider it targeting the cucurb...

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Eat Your NEW Greens: The Greens You Didn’t Know You Could Eat

We're at peak right now for the harvesting of cool season vegetables. These vegetable families include swiss chard, kale, cabbage, lettuce, kohlrabi, bok choy, spinach, and many others. When you hear about greens, many people think about the ones mentioned along with turnip and collards greens. These can be prolific producers depending on the season. But there are a number of other greens that...

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Save the Scapes!

If you've grown garlic before, a couple of weeks before harvest you'll start to see the stem growing. It will then curve like a tail as shown in the picture below. These are the garlic scapes and you should use them in your cooking!...

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Companion Planting: Anecdotal or Tried and Tested?

Companion planting is a management strategy of planting crops together. The idea is that each of the crops will benefit one another. Perhaps one repeals insects that attack another. Maybe one of the companions provides nutrients that the other plant can use. One plant could keep sun from the soil and impart weed management. In general, we hope that a companion planting will: manage inse...

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Tomatoes: Get Growing

Probably like me, you've been waiting for the end of May to get here. As we've patiently moved past Mother's Day and into mid-May, I've been looking at the 10 day forecast just hoping that we are finally past the last frost in the area so I can plant my tomato plants. With nightly temperatures in the 40s, it has not been ideal for tomatoes. Now though it looks like we are in the clear for plant...

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Cover Crops Week: Day 1-Introduction

I apologize for the delay in getting back into the blogosphere. As most of you have dealt with this fall, there is unevenness. Some weeks are still allowing for tomatoes and peppers to cling on. Then the first very, very light snow mixture occurred in Freeport on Saturday, October 4. This week has been more mild with temperatures in the 50s and 60s so perhaps there has been a recovery on the pa...

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Recap of our Late Summer Field Days...so far!

If you've not gotten a chance to join us at our late summer field days this summer, you have certainly missed out. We've had two different field days so far this August. We had great turn out at both our IPM/Mixed Vegetable and Hops. Both of these gave new/experienced growers the opportunity to think more about what they are growing and how they are growing their crops especially when it came t...

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Pest of the Week- Imported Cabbagworm

Pest of the Week: Imported Cabbageworm I'm not entirely sure why I even decide to plan out which pest will be profiled when if I make a visit to University of Illinois Demonstration Garden, there will be a pest there waiting to be found and have a profile made on it. As luck would have it on this Monday, Imported Cabbageworm was found on two different cabbage heads and thus let it be kn...

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The Blights of Summer

As I mentioned last week, I wanted to wait and talk about both Early and Late blights in a separate post as both of these can have serious consequences if they make it into your yard/operation. Late Blight is such an important disease that the USDA has a website for the mapping of Late Blight in the US ( www.usablight.org ). Not many plant diseases out there...

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Pest of the Week- Striped/Spotted Cucumber Beetles

Pest of the Week- Stripped/Spotted Cucumber Beetles As with most cucurbit plants (cucumbers, watermelon, squash, zucchini, melons), this time of the year can produce an onslaught of striped/spotted cucumber beetles. These insects are fairly small and tend to hide inside the flowers and underneath the vines and leaves. The beetles are notorious for defoliating cucumber plants. Furthermor...

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Wilt, Spot, and Speck…Tis Tomato Disease Season

  The last week has proven a large infiltration of these disease causing pathogens of Fusarium/Verticillium, Bacterial Spot and Speck, and Septoria Leaf Spot. As I talked about previously on water, some of these can be worse than others and spread much easily. When it comes to diagnosing what you have, it can sometimes be quite complicated. Many of these look the same with early and lat...

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