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Pumpkins in June? Are we off our gourds?!

When thinking of things to do in your garden in June you typically think about coneflowers, daylilies, coreopsis, hostas... and pumpkins. Yes, we did say pumpkins! Planting pumpkins in June is a great idea with the harvest timed just right for decorating for the holidays ahead. So, for any of you that enjoy a fun family tradition of carving pumpkins together, or if you like to have decorative pumpkins on display for Thanksgiving, take note. Now's the time to get those pumpkins & gourds in the ground!

Here are a few tips for growing pumpkins in your garden:

  • Growing pumpkins requires a lot of room. Many pumpkin plants can grow to be 30 to 40 feet long, so be sure to provide ample room for the
    sprawlers.
  • Plant your pumpkins where they will get lots of sun. The more the better.
  • Although growing pumpkins will tolerate some drought, it is best to make sure that they get regular watering (approximately 2 - 4 inches of water a week).
  • Squash bugs are the #1 killer of pumpkin vines. To help fend them off, place some companion plants nearby. Catnip, radishes, nasturtiums, marigolds, petunias and mint will help deter squash bugs from your pumpkins.
  • When you harvest your pumpkin plant, be sure you leave a lengthy piece of the stem on the pumpkin. This stem or "handle" will help slow down the rotting process.
  • Pumpkins can be harvested whenever they are a deep, solid color (orange for most varieties) and the rind is hard. If vines remain healthy, harvest in late September or early October, before heavy frosts.
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A Peach of a Tree

Most of us wait all year for that first bite into a juicy peach, just one more reason we adore summer! If you love these juicy gems, we suggest growing your own. Peaches out of your own garden always taste the best. Here are some expert tips to get you started in the peach world:

WE RECOMMEND
July Elberta Dwarf are sometimes considered the world’s most famous peaches because of their abundance of taste, attractive color and disease resistance. They ripen to a deep, golden yellow with a blush of red. Elberta peach trees grow rapidly, and mature quickly to a height of 15 feet.

Redhaven Dwarf produces plenty of juicy fruit full of flavor ~ and it produces fruit in abundance very quickly. Not only are the peaches full of flavor, but they are also HUGE! These are one of the largest peaches you can find.

PLANT IN PAIRS
These two varieties of peach trees are normally planted in pairs so they can pollinate each other. This pollination causes your trees to produce more fruit. We recommend cross-pollinating Red Haven with the Elberta peach tree.

PLANTING
Peach trees adore the sun. Pick a place in your yard or garden that will receive full sun all summer long. Dig a large hole and add plenty of compost to the soil. This will give the tree added nutrients and help with drainage. Poor drainage in the soil will kill the root system of growing peach trees, so make sure the soil is well drained.

PRUNING
Peach trees should not be pruned before February. Avoid pruning within several days of predicted cold weather. Pruning peach trees during bloom or shortly after bloom is not ideal, but it will not adversely affect the growth of the tree or the fruit. It is better to prune a little late than too early.

TIP: Harvest the fruit before it turns completely ripe. Once it is picked, it will soften and ripen quickly. The fruit will still be hard, making it easier to handle and store. Store fruit in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight.

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A Summer Without Tomatoes? No Way!

Here it is... June 18th and you may be worried you haven't planted your tomatoes in the garden yet. Don't worry, it’s not too late to get a juicy summer harvest. So, relax, take a deep breath and plant away. For those of you who have planted tomatoes, now's the time to pop in a second crop to extend the harvesting season. Unlike the first planting, it is essential to get the second crop of tomatoes in before the end of July in order to harvest all the fruit before cold weather sets in come fall.

There are many different types of tomatoes so, be sure to check the informational tag attached to each tomato for planting deadlines and instructions. Here’s a few fast producing tomatoes that we think you’ll fall in love with:

San Marzano - The San Marzano tomato is thought to be the best tomato in the world for making pasta sauce. Grown in the rich volcanic soils near Mt. Vesuvius, they are thicker and sweeter than Roma's and have a stronger, less acidic flavor.

Grape Tomatoes - Grape tomatoes have a sweet flavor, a firm texture, and less juice, so there's no need to worry about any squirting when you bite into one. Averaging between one-half and three-quarters of an inch in length, they're perfect for popping whole into your mouth like candy, which is probably why kids adore them too.

Super Sweet 100 - This scarlet, cherry-sized tomato explodes with sugary flavor. Fruits are produced in long pendulous clusters right up to frost. Add to your favorite dish or eat them all by themselves.

Sweet and Neat - This high yielding, cherry-sized tomatoes thrives in containers making it a great choice for small space gardens or balconies. Produces masses of sweet fruits over a long season.

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