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Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Victory Vegetable Garden - Bounty or Bust?

From First Lady Michelle Obama wielding a rake to Queen Elizabeth II admiring the organic veggie patch at Buckingham Palace, the message this spring was loud and clear: Grow your own!

The news media grabbed the 'Victory Garden' topic, one could hardly open a magazine or google a garden topic without seeing yet another reference to growing your own produce in 2009. Garden centers offered 'complete gardens' in seed or starter plant combinations. For a small investment one could purchase family gardening fun and the promise of hundreds of dollars saved at the grocery store this summer.

I am fairly sure no one consulted a gardener before taking pictures of our First Lady wielding a rake in a section of lawn destined to become the White House vegetable garden. In my opinion, a shovel and wheelbarrows full of compost would have provided more appropriate starting point for novice gardeners. The secret to having a green thumb, after all, starts with decent soil. Nevertheless, the pictures and stories did their part and inspired many to grow vegetables and hopefully experience lots of gardening fun for the first time.

Where does your garden weigh in this year: Bounty or Bust?


Nothing makes a gardener smile more than to see their plants thriving and producing flowers and fruit. Taking a stroll through the yard, observing the birds, bees and butterflies, pulling the occasional weed -- that's what summer gardening is all about. It's too hot to do much digging and hopefully Mother Nature is sending suitable amounts of sunshine and rain to keep things growing.

Harvest your fruits and vegetables, cook them up fresh, share and preserve them. Produce from your garden is good for you and your family, full of taste and vitamins and preservative free. Family, friends, neighbors, and your local Food Bank will appreciate your extras.


Hopefully, you'll be skipping this section! Some of the gardeners I have talked to, unfortunately, did not have much success with their first vegetable gardens. The wet and dreary spring of 2009 was not kind to those without gardening experience and challenged even skilled gardeners.

It's not too late: garden centers are clearing out their inventory and replacement plants for a second try can be had at bargain prices. There's still plenty of time left in most areas to grow a summer crop.

Gardening is a learning experience, if your spring plants drowned, amend the soil with a little more compost and try again. Was your chosen spot not sunny enough? Add some more plants in a different location -- our tomatoes are growing happily alongside the iris in the front flower bed. Is your garden overrun with weeds? Spread some newspaper or cardboard and cover with woodchips or other mulch of your choice.

None of the above sound appealing? Visit your local farmer's market or stop at a roadside stand and bring home some fresh and locally grown produce -- a new taste experience is waiting for you!


From grandma's favorites to haute cuisine, recipes are only a few clicks away on the internet. My favorite method for preserving tomatoes: Wash whole tomatoes (any type or size), place in plastic bag and put into the freezer. When a recipe calls for tomatoes, remove the desired quantity and add, no need to thaw out first.


July in the Garden:

Divide & Plant iris :
Stake Floppy Plants :
Keep Bird Feeders Clean :