Building a Low Tunnel

A low tunnel frame.One of the biggest challenges in having a winter garden is protecting it from the weather. Most people do not live in regions where the weather is perfect all year-round. So, in order to have a winter garden, most gardeners need some level of protection for their crops.

There are so many ways to protect your crops from the winter weather: greenhouses, high tunnels, low tunnels, cold frames, or a simple cover over wires. Each one of these options has its advantages and disadvantages, along with a wide range of expenses.

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Heritage Harvest Festival At Monticello

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

Yesterday, my wife and I attended The 6th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello, in Charlottesville, VA. This event was put on by Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. The focus of the event was heirloom gardening, but there was so much more to see and do.

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Garden Update – 9-13-12

Rows of green beans in the garden.

Over the last few weeks we have been busy planting a few rows a week, in preparation for our winter garden. While our thoughts are on a winter garden a majority of our time has been spent harvesting and maintaining our current garden plots.

With the exception of our lettuce crop and one bad tomato plant, our gardens have been doing great this year. As you can see in the picture above, our green beans we planted at the end of July have really grown, we just started harvesting beans this week.

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Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients for refrigerator pickles.

Refrigerator pickles are quite possibly the easiest pickle to make.They are, as the name suggests, pickles you keep in the refrigerator. I received the recipe from a family friend a few years ago and we have been making them each year since. Our children love them!

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Planting a Winter Garden

Swiss chard plants in the garden.

Even though it is still summer, its time to start thinking about the winter garden. Gardening in the winter is a little different from gardening in other seasons. The winter garden is more about harvesting then growing. For a winter garden you need to have all of your crops close to full size by the time the days start getting shorter and the weather starts getting colder.

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Garden Update – 8-15-12

Garden plot with green beans.With the extremely warm days behind us, we have had some really nice weather the last week or so. Unlike much of the country we have been receiving a good rain storm every few days, which is really helping the vegetables grows.

As you can see in the picture above, the green beans l planted a few weeks ago are really off to a good start. If things continue to go well we should have a really nice crop of green beans come fall.

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Canning Peaches

Rows of canned peaches.

If you’ve never enjoyed home-canned peaches in the middle of winter, I urge you to try them. Nothing brings back the warm days of summer like the taste of a home-canned peach. Sure you can buy canned peaches in the supermarket, but I have yet to find one that comes close to those canned at home at the peak of ripeness.

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Saving Sugar Snap Pea Seeds

Sugar snap peas growing on pea fences.

There are very few things as rewarding as growing vegetables from seeds you have saved. For the last four years I have been growing and saving sugar snap pea seeds. From my experience, saving sugar snap pea seeds can be a fairly simple process.

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Shagbark Hickory Syrup

A bottle of shagbark hickory syrup.

Syrup from bark? What is this about? That was my first reaction when I came across a stand selling Shagbark Hickory Syrup at the Ned Smith Festival today. What I found was a small, local, husband and wife business that produced a sweet syrup from the bark of a Shagbark Hickory tree. Now they had my attention.

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Planting a Fall Garden

Planting rows of beans.Depending on your location it may be time to start thinking about planting for a fall garden. I have been growing a fall garden for the last six years and I have really come to enjoy gardening in the fall rather than in the heat of summer.

Growing a fall garden is a great way to extend your harvesting season. It is also a great way to grow more vegetables in less space. With a little planning you can have a great fall harvest.

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