Know when to use seeds vs. starts

6. Know When to Use Seeds Vs. Starts There are both pros and cons to using seeds or starts. Read more and find out which is best for your needs.

Seed

Seeds

  • Starting from seed is more cost effective and allows you to pick unique varieties, but it does require some pre-planning to make sure you get the seeds or starts outdoors at the right time.
  • Temperature is the key to germination, so follow temperature suggestions to try and optimize the range of temperatures a specific plant needs.
  • There are lots of seed starting kits available that really make it easy to set up and get going fast.
  • Plant 3 times the amount you will need to account for non-starters or seeds that dry out.
  • Look for a place where you can give them watchful care to ensure the seeds stay moist and warm.
  • Some plants are a real challenge to start from seed such as asparagus, garlic, and onions. We recommend getting starts, sets, or crowns for those plants either by mail order or at your local nursery.
  • Some seeds have need light to germinate, and some need to be soaked overnight.
  • Smart Gardener partners with the best seed companies so you can easily purchase varieties of organic and heirloom seeds online.

Starting Seeds

Seed Trays

  • Start by filling a flat with potting soil or a mix of your favorite compost.
  • Sprinkle seeds to evenly distribute them across the flat.
  • Cover seeds to the proper depth, as described by Smart Gardener, or on the seed packet, with potting soil or compost.
  • Water lightly with a mist spray until the soil or compost is fully wet.

Cell Flats

  • Fill the seedling cups with potting soil or compost.
  • Use the instructions on the seed packet to determine how far down to plant the seed. Then take a seed and place it down into the individual hole.
  • Cover the seed with soil or compost, and then water lightly with a mist spray.

Paper Towel or Newsprint

  • Begin by wetting the paper towel; then fold in half and sprinkle the seeds inside the fold.
  • Make sure to keep the paper towels damp and moist until the seed germinates.
  • Depending on the plant, you can transfer the seed, once it germinates, to a seed flat or tray and keep watered until ready to transplant outdoors.
Starts

Starts

  • Starts are very easy—they come ready to plant. On the other hand, starts are more expensive and give you a smaller selection of varieties to choose from.
  • Be sure to look for and purchase healthy looking starts with green leaves and healthy stems. Dying or yellowing leaves may indicate disease or lack of nutrients.
  • Don’t buy starts that are overgrown. Their roots can be bound if allowed to stay in the little pots, which deprives the plant of a healthy beginning. You also don’t want a leggy plant. While its height may look impressive it means it had to compete for light, which makes it less healthy.
  • A good test to tell if a plant is overgrown is to look at the bottom of the container.  If the roots are protruding from the holes in the bottom of the container the plants may be root bound.
  • Check out your local nurseries, farmers markets and special plant sales for some more unusual varieties that do well in your growing conditions.
Transplanting

Transplanting

  • Amend the soil according to the plant’s needs, which will help establish a strong root foundation.
  • Break up any compacted soil.
  • Water the area the day before you transplant to ensure the transplants won’t dry out in the ground.
  • Lay the transplants on the soil to map out where they will go.
  • Remove leaves from the plant that will be below ground level. This will help the plant spend its energy on establishing roots.
  • Dig a hole and place the transplant into the ground.
  • Lightly press the soil around the base of the plant and water the newly transplanted plants thoroughly.
  • Plants that don’t respond well to root disturbance should be transplanted carefully with as little damage as possible.
  • Don’t transplant during the hot, sunny parts of the day. Plants respond better during cooler, cloudier conditions.
  • To avoid shocking plants, allow starts to harden off one week prior to transplanting.
  • Smart Gardener will notify you when to harden off your seedings and when to transplant, and will track your plants’ growth once you check off your To Dos.
Starting Seeds Outdoors

Starting Seeds Outdoors

  • Some plants, such as carrots, cannot be easily transplanted. Direct sow these seeds in your garden.
  • Poke a hole in the soil to the proper depth, as described by Smart Gardener on the variety’s seed packet, place a seed in the hole, and cover with soil. Water seeds thoroughly after planting.
  • Young seedlings are susceptible to getting eaten, so try to protect them outdoors as much as possible, either with straw or row covers.

Also… Check out more vegetable gardening tips at hometalk.com… Smart Gardener was mentioned! http://www.hometalk.com/3437916/the-lazy-man-s-guide-to-starting-a-garden

What we’re growing

What we’re growing

Remember when you were a kid, and the holidays or your birthday rolled around? Remember that excitement about looking through the catalogs and sales flyers, circling the toys you just had to have? And then the excitement as the gift-receiving day got closer and closer, the wonderfully delicious wondering of what would be wrapped up for you?

I think the closest thing to that hopeful anxiety is the feeling gardeners get as they spend the winter months pouring over seed catalogs and making endless lists of what they want to plant this year, and then waiting for the seeds to arrive.

I polled our dedicated staff about what plants they were really excited about growing this year. Proving they’re also eager as children awaiting Christmas, they all got back to me right away with a great list of plants that I knew I just had to share with you all as well!

Something new:
O’Henry Sweet Potato
Kristee: These white-fleshed sweet potatoes are intriguing. Originally grown in the Southeast as an alternative to regular potatoes, they are becoming popular with folks who aren’t big fans of orange-flesh sweet potatoes. Their texture when baked is often described as “creamy.” They’re also less stringy, which means they make wonderful mashed sweet potatoes.

Trieste Finocchio
Bobby: I recently got the Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian cookbook which features a recipe “Finocchio al Burro e Parmigiano” (fennel with butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano). I decided to give this Italian favorite a try. WOW. The bulb’s anise-like flavor becomes slightly mild and nutty when cooked with butter, a perfect match for the Parmesan cheese melted over the top. I can’t wait to try this recipe with fennel bulbs fresh out from the soil. Fennel has no serious pests or diseases and is so well adapted to San Francisco that is actually a weed in abandoned lots and gardens throughout the city.

Romanesco Italia
Brittany: I am obsessed with this plant. It is so cool! I can never find it at my local Farmers Markets so I’m just going to grow it myself!

Louisiana Purple Pod Beans
Karen: I usually grow a couple varieties of pole beans every summer, like Rattlesnake & Purple Pole Beans. When I saw that these are drought-resistant, I decided to give them a try. With our Mediterranean climate here in Sonoma County, it’s important to save water in the summer. Plus, as a Louisiana-native, the name cinched it.

Sunny Supersett Crookneck Summer Squash
Bobby:
 San Francisco’s cool foggy summers makes it a perfect environment for plant diseases. One disease in particular, Powdery Mildew, is a common problem for Cucurbits in the area. Sunny Supersett is resistant to Mildew and it is very early to mature, making it a perfect crop for San Francisco’s cool foggy summers. I grew them last summer in a large container and the plants were really productive, providing the usual glut of fruit that summer squash are known for. The nutty flesh of the fruit is at perfection when grilled with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Rainbow Sweet Inca corn
Kristee: This beautiful multicolored corn is sweet, and when cooked fresh,while the colors are still very pale it has a delicious corn flavor. It is also a great variety for grinding into colorful corn meal. And the dried ears make lovely autumn decorations.

Sub Arctic Plenty Tomato
Frank: One of the hardiest tomatoes, I want to try getting very early tomatoes this year.

Sorrel
Brittany:
 I really want to make the classic french Sorrel sauce, so I’m going to grow some Sorrel this year to do it. I also only have a container backyard garden so it’s perfect for my small space.

Salad Burnet
Brittany: 
A cucumber-like flavor. I love cukes, but can’t grow them in the chilly, foggy summer in SF. I’m going to grow this instead and see if I can make things like tatziki/raita taste the same.

Blood Shot Pumpkin
Carl: A fun ornamental pumpkin with white flesh and orange and red “veins” that make it look like a blodshot eye. Hence the name. It’s very unusual, and not easy seeds to come by, but I picked some up at a seed swap and can’t wait to grow some!

Old favorites:
Dark Green Italian Parsley
:
Bobby: Whether or not I have access to land, I always grow Italian Parsley in a container outside the window of my 5th story apartment. Parsley is really hardy and isn’t bothered by the brisk seasonal winds that blast over my roof from the ocean, plus it’s delicious on almost anything you put it on. It’s a must for salads, soups, meat dishes and is even good for some desserts. A little bit of chopped parsley goes surprising well with a slice of apple pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The plants will produce for a really long time if you make sure to cut off any parts of the plants that try to bolt. I’m still harvesting from my parsley plants that I sowed last spring.

Hill Country Heirloom Red Okra
Karen: As a kid in Louisiana, I did not like okra. But something weird happened as I grew up: I developed a love of okra in soups and, of course, in gumbo. Buying okra here in California is hit and miss, so I figured it’s time to grow my own. I settled on this variety because the color looks beautiful, and the plant is drought-resistant.

Sugar Loaf Chicory
Frank: When grown to perfection the blanched heart of this relative of radicchio is one of the very best salad plants. It is also perennial and very hardy.

St. Valery Carrot
Kristee: These sweet, tender carrots are one of our favorites. We eat them straight from the garden, sliced in salads, or lightly steamed, and have been known to rinse the soil off and snack on them while harvesting other veggies.

Baby Pixie cabbages
Carl: These are smaller heads than the great big ones you get on regular cabbage plants, which makes them perfect for cooking up as a quick dinner for two people. These plants are especially well suited to a Midwestern garden, since they can handle both extremes in temperature we get here.

White Beauty Radish
Karen: We grow radishes year-round here. These all-white radishes are lovely sliced into a salad, but are also mild enough to eat by themselves as a snack.

Fairy Tale Eggplant
Carl: These cute little striped eggplants are prolific producers and have a great flavor!

Papalo Papaloquelite
Frank: This member of the daisy family tastes a lot like cilantro, but is very heat tolerant and grows like a weed.

Join us at the National Heirloom Expo!

Smart Gardener was very fortunate to be part of the first Heirloom Exposition in 2011. Even with Baker Creek‘s history of putting on events like this back in Missouri, I could tell by the materials, the ads, the vendors and the speaker list, this was not going to be a regular “trade show” or even “county fair”. This was going to be something very different.

The night before the show opened, after we had finished setting up our booth, we walked over to the large space reserved for displaying produce. As we entered the hall we found ourselves gasping as we stood in front of a towering pyramid made up of every kind of  squash you can imagine — big, little, crooked, round, yellow, orange, white, green and blue. Many pictures have been taken of this amazing collection, and throughout the three days it came to represent the bounty, creativity and delight the Exposition stood for in its first year.

For us, the three days were a wonderful mixture of meeting new people, talking vegetable gardening, running off to get a freshly scooped ice cream cone or finding time to sit for a while to hear a speaker or listen to some music. What stood out the most and consistently over those three days was this overwhelming sense of pride, happiness and hope we all had and shared as a community coming together to collaborate and celebrate. We had come from around the country (and around the world) to celebrate life and the affirmation of it through our foodshed – unique seeds, fruits, animals and foods that are all part of the cycle. I was struck by how empowering it felt to be around this many truly happy people, and for three whole days no less.

I had an aha moment while talking with an older couple. They told me their children had recently moved out of the house but they were still going to grow as big a vegetable garden as they ever had. I asked why. Oh, they said, so we can give most of it away to our local senior center! It made such perfect sense on so many levels – our gardens are about who we are and sharing food from that garden is a joyful gift.

Our team from Smart Gardener will be there again this year, soaking it all up and becoming even more committed to our goal of helping people to simply grow their own food. I’m pretty sure this year will be a bit more crowded and even a bit more wondrous. I am also pleased to announce I will be speaking this year. If you’re attending the expo, I hope you will come hear my talk about using technology to support and build local foodshed.

It’s not hard to envision a time when it will be a necessity to return to being our own food producers. How can we use technologyintelligently to get there faster and make it easier? How can we integrate home food production into our busy lives? What are some of the new ways technology can support our participation with others in our local foodshed?

We have a lot of work right ahead of us fighting the good anti-GMO fight.  This Heirloom Exposition is the perfect venue to engage and energize ourselves. Many thanks to Baker Creek for giving us such a glorious, unified opportunity.

 

We’re excited about attending the 2012 National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, CA, September 11 – 13!  Our founder Kristee Rosendahl will be speaking about the benefits of using digital tools in support of local foodsheds. And to help our fans get excited, we’re giving away loads of goodies over on our Facebook page! In addition to our daily giveaways of Smart Add Ons and Smart Gardener market bags, on September 10, two lucky gardeners will win a three-day pass to the expo!

We love heirlooms!

We love heirlooms!

What are heirlooms?
It’s a question we get a lot. Jere Gettle of Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company has a perfect explanation:

“Basically, an Heirloom seed is one that has been passed down through families and is usually considered to be over 50 years old. Some varieties even date back to Thomas Jefferson’s garden and beyond.”

Unlike hybrid and GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds, which often have problems reproducing true to type, Heirloom seeds can be saved and replanted, year after year. Which is how they have been handed down over the generations.

Prior to the industrialization of agriculture, a much wider variety of plants were grown by farmers and gardeners. Regional differences developed over decades, in response to varying climate, soil, and cultural preferences. Unfortunately, many modern crops come from mega-farms, where they are grown in large, monocultures — hundreds of acres of the same plant. Where heirloom gardeners choose varieties to meet personal preference, industrial farmers choose varieties based on the ability to be mechanically harvested, shipped across country, and remain unblemished.

Why grow heirlooms?
There are several reasons to grown heirloom seeds. Not the least of which is protecting biodiversity. Remember the Irish potato famine in the 1840s? That’s a prime example of the dangers of relying too heavily on a single plant species. Since the Irish farmers were growing one particular variety of potato, which turned out to be susceptible to a type of potato blight that wound up wiping out their crops for years. If the farmers had grown several different types of potatoes, they likely would have had several varieties that were resistant to the blight that they could have used.

In addition to biodiversity, though, heirlooms vegetables and fruits are often more flavorful than hybrid and GMO plants. Think of a supermarket tomato compared with a tomato from your grandma’s garden. There’s no comparison! In fact, heirloom tomatoes are probably the single crop that has done the most for bringing awareness to the benefits of saving heirloom plants in the first place. Once they started showing up in restaurants and at farmers markets, word got out about how much better they were. Now you can get heirloom seeds for every plant imaginable, from asparagus to zucchini, and everything in between.

 

We’re excited about attending the 2012 National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, CA, September 11 – 13!  Our founder Kristee Rosendahl will be speaking about the benefits of using digital tools in support of local foodsheds. And to help our fans get excited, we’re giving away loads of goodies over on our Facebook page! In addition to our daily giveaways of Smart Add Ons and Smart Gardener market bags, on September 10, two lucky gardeners will win a three-day pass to the expo!

Strawberry Spinach

Strawberry Spinach

If you think that strawberry spinach (Chenopodium capitatum) is going to be a vegetable your kids will love, you are probably in for a disappointment. The name is somewhat unfortunate as it really has no connection to strawberries at all (unless you include the rather tenuous one that it produces red berries). Another name for it is Beetberry, which is somewhat more logical as it’s in the beet family and produces berries. It’s also known as Strawberry Blite, Strawberry Goosefoot, and Indian Ink.

When approaching this plant it’s best to ignore the strawberry and concentrate on the spinach, as the young leaves are a good substitute for that plant (it is actually a relative), either cooked or raw. You can eat the sweetish berries in salads, but I find they add more visual appeal than taste. Native Americans used them to dye skin, clothes and basket material and apparently they can also be used as red food coloring, though I haven’t tried this. Like spinach it contains oxalic acid and so should be eaten in moderation, or it can interfere with the absorption of calcium.

Strawberry spinach is native to North America and grows wild across all of the northern part of the continent. The cultivated plant is essentially the same as the wild one and so needs little care (it often self-sows and grows itself). It is more heat tolerant than spinach, but it is an annual and will eventually bolt. Unlike with spinach this isn’t a bad thing, as it then produces the edible red berries.

This plant has been cultivated at various times, but has never been very widely grown. It’s now enjoying something of a resurgence, as it is easy to grow and quite ornamental when in full growth (but becomes less so when you’re eating it). It grows best in moist soil with full sun and reaches a height of 1 to 3 feet. In mild winter areas you will get a longer harvest season by planting it in fall — it will grow right through the winter. If you try it be aware that some people complain that it self-sows too freely and becomes a serious pest.

Ask a Gardener: summer squash

Ask a Gardener: summer squash

This is the first post in a series we’re calling Ask a Gardener,
where you get to ask our resident experts your gardening questions.
Feel free to send questions to gardener@smartgardener.com.

 

Renee B. asks, “This is my first year growing summer squash. Any tips?”

Sue L. asks, “My zucchini plant isn’t making fruit. It has lots of flowers, but they just drop off. Help!”

The basics
Summer squash is justly famous as one of the easiest and most productive vegetables to grow and is ideal for the new gardener. Just put the large seeds in the ground and in a few weeks you will have plants that are a foot wide and producing big, beautiful yellow flowers. Most people know the Summer Early Crookneck and Summer Dark Green zucchini varieties, but there are also quite a few unique varieties, like the beautifully striped Cocozelle, the squat Yellow Scallop, the ball-shaped Ronde de Nice, and the stunning Climbing Trombetta.

Did you know summer squash and winter squash (including pumpkins) are all in the same family, and can easily cross-pollinate each other? And more interestingly, all squash plants are monoecious, which means there are separate male and female flowers on the same plant. It is easy to tell which is which. The first flowers are usually male and won’t produce any fruit. These have pollen producing stamens clustered together in a column (these shrivel without producing fruit). They will soon be followed by the productive female flowers, which have what looks like a tiny fruit behind the petals (this is the ovary). It quickly becomes obvious when a female flower has been pollinated because it starts to swell into the familiar looking fruit (if it isn’t pollinated it simply shrivels up).

Hand pollinating
If your plants aren’t producing fruit, it may not be attracting enough pollinators, and you may need to hand pollinate your flowers. Don’t worry, it’s quite easy. Find a male flower and a female flower (ideally, from different plants). Remove the petals from the male and brush the pollen-laden anthers on to the pistil lobes of the female. This procedure should work about 50 to 75% of the time, especially if you use two males flowers to pollinate each female.

Saving seeds
If you are only interested in obtaining fruit it doesn’t matter where the pollen comes from, but if you wish to save seed it is significant. Plants cross-pollinate readily and to keep a variety pure you have to ensure it is pollinated by another plant of the same variety. The easiest way to do this is to grow only one variety at a time, and have no others within a half mile. If you grow more than one variety you should hand pollinate the flowers. Since you want to control the pollination, you will need to go out in the evening and find some male and female flowers that are about to open the following day and tape them shut with ¾” masking tape. The next morning, use the steps above to hand pollinate the female flowers, and then tape it closed again (to prevent further pollination). This will ensure they aren’t accidentally pollinated by a different plant. It’s a good idea to mark the pollinated fruit so it isn’t accidentally harvested. And then you wait. The fruit must be left to mature fully on the vine. The fully ripe fruit will be big and woody like a Winter Squash. It can take at least 60 days for the fruit to ripen properly, so you need to allow plenty of time before frost.

Enjoy the flowers
To ensure there is always plenty of pollen available, the plants produce many more male flowers than females. These excess males don’t have to go to waste though, as they are edible and can be used to provide a variety of exotic dishes (just make sure there are no insects inside them). They can be eaten raw, fried, baked, made into soup, filled with cheese (they have been called natures ravioli) or placed inside a quesadilla. The pollen producing stamens are usually removed because they can be somewhat bitter. While they are becoming increasingly common at farmers markets, these flowers only last for a day or two, and are mostly a special treat for the gardener.

If you have made the common mistake of planting too many squash plants, you can reduce the volume of fruit you are harvesting by eating some of the female flowers too. These can be used in the same ways as the male flowers but are slightly more substantial.

 

Grilled Green Beans

Grilled Green Beans

Green beans are one of the many vegetable I prefer to eat fresh rather than canned or otherwise preserved. Which isn’t to say there aren’t great ways to put up any extra beans you have coming from your garden. Just that given a choice, I’d rather eat them today than in December.

Keeping with our tendency to do as much outside cooking as possible while enjoying the cool evenings here in Sonoma County, CA, the latest batch of Spanish Musica beans to come from our CSA were grilled up alongside some very sweet corn on the cob and delicious locally-produced sausage.

Wrapped in foil, you can grill pretty much anything. Just add seasoning, a little butter or oil, and fold it up.

Grilled Green Beans with Bacon and Garlic
1/2 pound green beans
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 slices of bacon, cooked and chopped
2 tbsp oil

1. Rinse and trim the beans. Cook the bacon, drain and chop, reserving 2 tbsp on the grease.

2. In foil packet, mix beans with the garlic and chopped bacon. Drizzle with the oil. You can use olive oil or even butter, if you wish.

3. Seal foil packet, making sure all sides are double rolled so none of the oil drips out. Place on the grill over medium heat and cook for about 20 minutes, turning once.

4. Open packet and serve!

Stevia

Stevia

The herb garden is a place where tradition rules — the same plants having been grown for hundreds of years — so it is surprising how rapidly Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) has earned a place there. When I first started gardening, it was unheard of and only a few years ago I had to buy a plant by mail order. Now it is commonly available in garden centers, where it is sometimes sold under the name Sweet Leaf. This meteoric rise (by the standards of the herb garden) has come about because it has a unique and intensely sweet flavor unlike any other common plant. This sweetness is due to several chemicals (mainly stevioside and rebaudioside) which are 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, but don’t contain any calories.

This South American herb is a tender perennial and my garden in zone 9 is close to its limit for cold hardiness. Plants usually survive the winter here, though a particularly cold winter would probably kill it off. In colder climates it can be brought inside for the winter and will survive as a houseplant if kept in a sunny place. You might also leave it outside until it dies back and then put it in a cool garage where it will stay dormant for the winter.

Stevia can be grown from seed and is sometimes grown as an annual, but superior strains must be propagated vegetatively. It can be grown from cuttings fairly easily, but I find it is best to divide the plants in spring when they first start to emerge. These break up into separate plants very easily and grow quite rapidly.

This is a tropical plant and requires short days to flower, so in northern areas it only flowers late in the year. It often produces seed abundantly, but it is only worth saving seed that is black or dark brown, as lighter colored seed isn’t usually viable.

A Stevia leaf is 300 times sweeter than sugar and can be used as a sweetener in a variety of ways. To use in baking you simply dry the leaves and crush them to a powder. A large tablespoon of powder is equal to a cup of sugar.

Stevia is most often used to sweeten herbal tea. You can add a couple of leaves to a cup, but the sweetness doesn’t seem to come out very well. A better way is to steep a quarter cup of powder in a cup of water for 24 hours. Keep the liquid in the fridge and use as much as needed for tea.

My children roll up a leaf of stevia in a couple of leaves of spearmint to make a natural candy and I have started doing the same thing.

There was once some controversy about the safety of Stevia, with some claiming that various constituents were toxic. As a result it was banned from use as a food additive in the USA and Europe for a long time (though it could be bought as a food supplement). These concerns have now been largely dispelled and it is undoubtedly less toxic than approved artificial sweeteners. It has been suggested that previous bans were promoted by manufacturers of more toxic artificial sweeteners (hard to believe, I know). Now that Coca Cola/Cargill and Pepsi have developed Stevia sweeteners, it has been approved for use. If you Google “Why was Stevia banned” you can read the whole sorry story.

Stevia is now available to add to your garden. You can find it by browsing under Herbs:

Blueberry Chèvre Salad

Blueberry Chèvre Salad

July is National Blueberry Month, and we’re celebrating with lots of information and recipes.

As I mentioned last week, I just can’t get enough blueberries this season. I’ve been eating them in nearly every meal. In fact, my go-to salad for lunch has been some variation of this salad.

I almost always have some kind of soft cheese in the fridge. Lately, I have been buying different kinds of chèvre to use in various salads. It’s especially delicious with sweet salad ingredients, like beets. Or blueberries. In this case, I’ve boosted the blueberry flavor by using a blueberry chèvre.
Plain chèvre also works quite well, as does honey chèvre, and surprisingly even the herbed chèvre.

Blueberry Chèvre Salad
1 cup fresh lettuce
10-12 fresh blueberries
2-3 tbsp chèvre
1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
4-6 walnuts
dash sea salt

When I’m making a salad for lunch on the go, I assemble the salad in two containers. One has the lettuce, berries, walnuts and cheese. In a smaller container, I mix the oil, balsamic vinegar, onions and salt. I dress it just before eating it to keep the lettuce (and cheese) from getting soggy.

You asked for it, so we added it: Vertical Gardening!

You asked for it, so we added it: Vertical Gardening!

It doesn’t take a lot of space to have a great garden. You can grow more than you think, even if you have a small area to work with. You just have to be careful choosing your plants and creative in how you grow them. Urban gardeners have perfected the techniques of vertical gardening, growing nearly everything in a postage stamp sized garden just by training the plants to grow up.

Many of our fans have already incorporated vertical gardening techniques into their gardens, and have been begging us to add the ability to change their garden layouts to reflect that. We’re happy to announce that we’ve partnered with Storey Publishing to bring you this exclusive Smart Add On featuring Rhonda Massingham Hart’s Vertical Vegetables & Fruits.

For only $4.99, you will be able to access all this:

  • Additional Guide chapter all about Vertical Gardening
  • Plant Guides with Vertical Gardening instructions
  • 10 Signature Gardens to give you inspiration
  • How-tos for building your own Vertical Garden structures

 
Even if you’re new to vertical gardening, this Add On will guide you through the steps, help you choose the best vertical growing options for each plant, automatically adjust the spacing, and assist in planning your plant placement in your garden by height so everything gets the best exposure.

What’s Included
Informative Content: Rhonda Massingham Hart’s Vertical Vegetables & Fruit will appear as part of your garden Guide for easy access to information about growing vertical.

Guide: The Vertical Vegetables & Fruit section is chock full of informations including the benefits of vertical gardening techniques, an explanation of the different types of structures used, and which plants are best suited to vertical gardening.

Picking a Growing Approach: Under the “Plants in this Garden” tab, you can pick a specific footprint to match how you want to grow your plants vertically.

Your Vegetables: All vegetables in your garden that can be grown vertically will be automatically adjusted to their new spacing and a new grid will be created.

Plant Guide: Each Plant Guide, for plants that can be grown vertically, offers up suggestions and images for the best support for that particular plant.

Signature Vertical Gardens: Get exclusive access to 10 beautifully designed, inspirational Gardens that take advantage of vertical techniques and methods.

Announcing our new Smart Add On: Vertical Vegetable and Fruit -- Great vertical gardening tips and information!SmartGardener and Storey Publishing — a perfect match!
For 25 years, Storey Publishing has helped millions of independent readers enjoy simpler, more satisfying lives. Through an array of how-to books, Storey arms readers with practical skills and inspiration on a range of do-it-yourself topics: gardening, cooking, knitting and other crafts, backyard building, animal care, farming, and home improvement.

Readers turn to Storey for accurate, time-tested knowledge on topics from preserving garden-fresh produce to crate-training a dog. Whatever the subject — natural body care recipes, green thumb tips, inspired color choices for hand-knit projects, ways to raise healthy backyard chickens, or ideas for turning kitchen scraps into stunning houseplants — Storey provides the information that fuels readers’ passions.

Storey is at the center of a vast revival of do-it-yourself lifestyles, a movement that has been fueled by an awareness of environmental responsibility, an appetite for the homegrown and locally raised, an appreciation for one-of-a-kind items, and a passion for nature. Whether picking up a needle and thread for the first time, or nurturing a decades-old passion for horses, readers know that they can turn to Storey for no-nonsense advice and new ideas — every time.