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Maezie’s Pumpkin Patch

A single seed grew into a sea of pumpkins!

The yearly legacy of Maezie Powell’s garden to her community in southern California was how EVERYONE loved to watch and wonder how big her pumpkins would grow before the pumpkin weigh-off. Until . . . in August 2012, when disaster struck in the form of pumpkin vandals. Read the inspiring true story of a determined gardener and the true heart of her community (and check out each page to see if you can find a heart)


By |September 15th, 2014|Garden Fresh|Comments Off on Maezie’s Pumpkin Patch

Have You Seen This Criminal?

 Totally Tomatoes Part 6 – Recognizing Tomato Problems
What’s wrong with my plants? Trying to figure that out can be challenging. Here are a few common problems you might run into and be able to correct.

The Tobacco Horn Worm (above) and Tomato Horn Worm (below) are fairly common.  They are often mistaken for each other and both love to munch on tomato plants.  Most often you will not see him until you see the damage he has done to some of the leaves on your plant.  Once you see the damage – go on the hunt.  As awful as it may seem, look for his poop – he will be on the leaves directly above.  Remove him and feed him to the birds or frogs (a favorite of both).

If he has these white Q-tip looking cocoons hanging off his body, he’s no longer a threat to your plant.

Those are the cocoons of a tiny Braconid wasp (a good guy), and this caterpillar is now the host food for those immature wasps.  If you allow the wasps to finish their life cycle, they will help control any future horn worms in your garden and they don’t sting people.

 Why do my plants look like they are dying when it’s still summer. Late in the season tomato plants are not supposed to look good – they are working on producing and ripening the fruit rather than growing the plant. This is how nature intended the life cycle to be. BUT make sure you’re not looking at a disease or cultural problem that might kill the plant before it has time to produce ripe fruit. Here are two good photo diagnostic links:


Leaf Curl
Too much fertilizer
Flush with water or transplant

Yellow […]

By |July 3rd, 2014|Garden Fresh, Totally Tomato! - From Seed to Harvest|Comments Off on Have You Seen This Criminal?

A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream-ing

If you live here in the northeast, it’s too early for your moon-flowers to be in bloom tonight. But you can still plant the seed and dream of the flowers to come!

Happy Summer Solstice!  Although you will often hear this date called the first day of summer, it truly is the midway point between planting and harvesting. It’s time to enjoy the garden; take a walk, breath deep, look for the faeries hiding behind the leaves . . .

As the warm summer nights continue, planning for a garden stroll by moonlight can give you a unique experience. It’s been a long cool spring and if you’ve planted moonflower seeds they won’t be blooming yet (they may just be germinating), but if those seeds are still in the package, you can plant them now. The soil is finally moist and warm and the seeds will germinate quickly if you follow just a few easy steps. First, scarify the seed coat. Moonflower seeds (and all their morning glory relatives) have a very hard, dense seed coat. Take a nail file and scratch the seed coat until you see the pale inner part. Second, soak the seeds overnight until they begin to swell. Plant them in full sun about 1/2 inch deep in northern areas (in the south they benefit from a little afternoon shade) and keep the soil moist.  It will take around 10 days before you see any green shoots but once they get started, the vine can grow 12 feet during the season.  As you watch the vine twine, you will learn the true meaning of patience. But before the first day of fall, your garden will be filled will the spicy fragrance of […]

By |June 21st, 2014|Garden Fresh|Comments Off on A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream-ing

Peas Planting Update!

The peas are in flower!

A few people may have planted their peas in March this year as Mr. Hart did, and if so, you might be getting ready to enjoy the first fresh peas from your garden. These plants started flowering a few days ago and should be heading into the Hart family kitchen in about 10 days – that is if the grazing grandchildren don’t eat them first!

If you think you’ve missed the window for planting your pea seeds, why not try planting them now for ‘pea shoots’? The tender young vine tips are delicious sauteed. You can use any garden pea variety but the edible – pod type, such as Sugar Ann, have the most tender shoots. Plant the seeds anytime this summer and start harvesting shoots in just 4 weeks! Remove 6 inches of the terminal vine once it reaches 12 inches tall, then you’ll have additional lateral vines to harvest as the season continues. The shoots, tendrils and flower buds are all appearing in the specialty markets now. Why not enjoy them fresh from your own garden?

By |June 7th, 2014|Garden Fresh|Comments Off on Peas Planting Update!

If You Plant It – They Will Come!

Who doesn’t love to see the beauties flying around their garden?
Bronze Fennel,
that wonderful perennial in the garden and
in the kitchen, is a host plant for the
Eastern Black Swallowtail Butterfly.
At some point in the last few weeks, the swallowtails were visiting our bronze fennel plant in the front of the Hart’s Seed building.
We noticed the first eggs last week:
And now the first tiny caterpillars have hatched:
Although they will eat some of our plant, knowing that we will be enjoying the beautiful butterflies is worth the sacrifice.
Swallowtail butterflies will lay their eggs on a number of different plants; dill, fennel, parsley, Queen Ann’s lace and other members of the carrot family. Since bronze fennel is a large plant that starts to appear early in the spring, the loss of a few fronds to the caterpillars is usually acceptable.  If you’ve just planted your dill or parsley, you may be temped not to share your plants and eliminate the chewing ‘pest’. Please be kind – and move them to another host.

Planting the seeds of bronze fennel now will allow you to enjoy a harvest of sweet smelling leaves and seed this year – and feed the butterflies – for years to come!
Want more info on swallowtail butterflies?
Or maybe to try and raise a butterfly from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to flutter bye?

Continue to visit our blog; we’ll keep you updated on our garden visitor’s progress.

By |May 30th, 2014|Garden Fresh|Comments Off on If You Plant It – They Will Come!

Do you Dare?

We are pushing the season by a few weeks but we planted 2 tomato plants outside on Friday!


By |May 7th, 2014|Garden Fresh|Comments Off on Do you Dare?

Tomato Transplanting

It was time. Our seedlings were crowding for light and room in those little cells. Here’s the photo timeline of our progress: (more…)

By |May 7th, 2014|Garden Fresh|Comments Off on Tomato Transplanting

Totally Tomatoes Part 5

Care as the season progresses – Water, Prune, Feed

Mother Nature provides rain, so your tomatoes don’t need to be watered every day.  If nature doesn’t provide 1-2 inches of rain each week, then you’ll have to drag out the hose.  Water deep and consistent, not a ‘sprinkle a day’  (easy to say when thunder storms are predicted).  Put a rain gauge in the garden; it will help determine what your plants might need.   (more…)

By |May 7th, 2014|Garden Fresh, Totally Tomato! - From Seed to Harvest|Comments Off on Totally Tomatoes Part 5

Happy May Day

The frogs at Natureworks have been meditating on spring. Now it’s our turn to celebrate May and give them a hand. Rib-oooommmm, rib-oooommmm

By |May 1st, 2014|Garden Fresh|Comments Off on Happy May Day

Growing Update! Pea Progress and TomatoTally

It’s been a few weeks since I updated everyone on the progress of our seedlings. First Mr. Hart did get his peas in the garden back in March – only 2 days past St. Pat’s Day and they are up about 2 inches now.


By |April 30th, 2014|Garden Fresh|Comments Off on Growing Update! Pea Progress and TomatoTally