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Archives for May 6, 2016

Prisoners design show garden for Gardening Scotland


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Article source: http://www.hortweek.com/prisoners-design-show-garden-gardening-scotland/landscape/article/1393701

Classical Chinese Garden Design for KFC Shanghai Store

  • KFC Shanghai

KFC Shanghai (Photo : Reuters)

While a classical Chinese garden design would greet diners at KFC’s new store in Shanghai, customer would have a digitalized experience when inside the fast food chain. From ordering to paying, all the way to entertainment, it would be a high-tech experience for them.

The main dining space’s interior design would feature green bamboo, flowers, moon-shaped doorway and decorated in shades of gray and jade similar to hues of the Great Wall of China. The store is found inside the National Exhibition and Convention Center of Shanghai.

The store’s Original+ concept was designed digitally in collaboration with Baidu, the web services giant in China, said Yum Brands, owner of KFC, reported CRIEnglish. The concept means KFC’s Original Recipe chicken would combine with innovative technologies wherein diners would order their meals using Duer, the virtual personal assistant of Baidu, explained Joey Wat, CEO of KFC China.

Besides digitized orders, the store has upgraded automatic ordering machines and Music Charging Tables which is a wire charging station for mobile phones. But beyond recharging their cellphones, the tables offer music from a BaiduMP3 customized song list. Shanghaiist reported that there would also be commercial jetpacks, security robots and high-tech garbage bins.

Jason Yu, general manager of Kantar Worldpanel China, a consumer research company, finds the KFC concept store a very interesting experiment. He explained, “It is expected to generate increased customer experience, and raise efficiency for restaurants. And in turn it is expected to attract more young and middle class customers.”

Meanwhile, competitor McDonald’s also offers digital, personalized and customized customer experiences through its Experience of the Future restaurant. The fast food chain would further upgrade its 150 Create Your Taste restaurants in top Chinese cities by offering do-it-yourself burgers and offering digital services.

Article source: http://en.yibada.com/articles/121564/20160505/classical-chinese-garden-design-for-kfc-shanghai-store.htm

City Announces 15 Neighborhood Grant Awards

The city of Knoxville may award nearly $35,000 in grants to 15 neighborhood groups with ideas to spruce up their respective ‘hoods.

Part of the city’s annual Neighborhoods Small Grants Program, the awards vary from $600-$3,100 and cover a range of projects to be embedded in residential enclaves all across town. But first they must be approved by City Council, which is expected to review and vote on the grants during its May 10 meeting.

Knoxville’s Office of Neighborhoods announced the grant program in December, held mandatory workshops in January, and collected applications through March before selecting awardees. More than half of the grants will technically be made to the East Tennessee Community Design Center, a registered nonprofit, who will then administer them to varies community groups (that’s because the city can’t legally make a grant to a group other than a nonprofit, as recognized by the IRS, Knoxville’s Neighbor Coordinator David Massey says).

“This is different from some grant programs. While the immediate goal is neighborhood improvement in one way or another, the companion goal is strengthening neighborhood organizations and strengthening the social fabric within the community,” Massey says. “We require a dollar-for-dollar match [from these neighborhood groups], and one-third of the match has to be in volunteer labor from the neighborhood’s residents. When neighbors work together with other neighbors the community becomes stronger, and that’s what we’re really after.”

A full list of potential grantees is included below. This year’s list includes two grants to help start neighborhood groups, some signage improvements or construction, one youth program, and a variety of other projects.

Full list (provided by the city of Knoxville):

  1. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $2,950 to support Adair Gardens Residents Association’s Gateways to Adair project, including outreach efforts in the neighborhood, construction and installation of neighborhood entrance signs, and landscaping.
  2. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $1,970 to support Carriage Lane Condominium Association’s preparations for its 50th Anniversary Celebration of the development’s creation as the first condo community in the state, removal of an aging and unsightly entrance sign, and construction of a new sign.
  3. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $600 to support Fountaincrest Neighborhood Association’s “Get the Word Out – We’re Organizing” project, including a newsletter, meeting reminder signs, meeting supplies and potluck supplies.
  4. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $2,100 to support various youth programs in which Green Hills Residents Association is a participant, including the Leadership Knoxville Scholars Program and an annual youth conference.
  5. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $3,100 to support Historic Holston Hills Community Club’s project to enhance the accessibility and usefulness of Holston Hills Community Park.
  6. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $3,100 for the Inskip Community Association to cover a portion of the expenses related to the construction and maintenance of a community garden as part of its collaborative “Nurturing Gardens to Nurture Families” initiative.
  7. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $3,100 for Island Home Park Neighborhood Association’s branding and beautification of entrances to the neighborhood.
  8. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $3,100 to cover a portion of the costs for Lindbergh Forest Neighborhood Association’s placemaking project, including expansion of the volunteer base, installation of neighborhood signs, landscaping, clean-ups, and a neighborhood breakfast and walking tour.
  9. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $600 for Our Community Organization’s plan for a community cook-out, a community forum, and increased attendance at neighborhood meetings in the area of Paul Hogue Park.
  10. East Tennessee Community Design Center — $3,100 for Timbercrest Neighborhood Association’s community and communication initiatives, including the printing of fliers and newsletters, announcement signs, website hosting, folding tables, inflatable movie screen, resurfacing of a basketball court, and various supplies for community events.
  11. Morningside Heights Homeowners Association — $955 for office equipment that will enhance production of neighborhood newsletters and for the refurbishment of the gazebo at Odd Fellows Cemetery.
  12. Oakwood Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association — $1,850 to create and promote a 2.29-mile sidewalk loop trail that showcases 200 differently styled homes, encourages walking and healthy living, and brings neighbors together, and increase neighborhood watch activity.
  13. Old North Knoxville, Inc. — $3,000 to cover a portion of the cost for its “Marking Our Streets and Our History” project with new street signs that include both the street name and the neighborhood name, along with landscaping around each sign.
  14. Parkridge Community Organization — $2,000 for a PCO beautification project to plant thousands of daffodil bulbs in the grassy strips between the street and sidewalk throughout the neighborhood.
  15. RiverHill Gateway Neighborhood Association — $3,000 for the purchase and installation of a neighborhood sign, installation of picnic tables at a community gathering spot, and a Grand Opening Celebration.

 

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Article source: http://www.knoxmercury.com/2016/05/05/city-announces-list-15-neighborhood-grant-awards/

SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING: Memorial will be a place to ‘reflect, pray,’ officials vow – Press

SAN BERNARDINO SHOOTING: Memorial will be a place to ‘reflect, pray,’ officials vow

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 Emergency personnel gather outside the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.


SAN BERNARDINO – A memorial honoring the victims of the Dec. 2 terrorist attack will be located on the grounds of the San Bernardino County Government Center, county Supervisor Josie Gonzales announced Thursday.

A committee headed by Gonzales is planning the memorial that will “serve as a place where all can remember each of those who were taken from us and the beauty they brought into this world” and “to recognize the tenacity of our community to persevere and move forward,” according to a statement the committee released Thursday.

Shortly before 11 a.m. Dec. 2, Syed Rizwan Farook, an environmental health specialist for the county, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik, stormed the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino and opened fire on a group of mostly county environmental health services employees attending a training event. The Redlands couple killed 14 people and wounded 22 others in what the FBI declared the deadliest terrorist strike on U.S. soil since 9/11.

Farook, 28, and Malik, 29, were killed hours after the attack in a shootout with police on San Bernardino Avenue near Richardson Street.

While a decision has yet to be made on where the memorial will be located at the Government Center, the committee has decided what the ambience should be.

“They want a quiet type of environment — where people can go and reflect, pray and to think of their loved ones,” Gonzales said.

The Government Center campus is bound by Arrowhead Avenue to the west, Fifth Street to the north, Sierra Way to the east and Third Street to the south.

As to what the memorial will be, a number of options have been presented including a sculpture, memorial wall or fountain, said Gonzales, adding that the committee has been looking at memorials across the country to get ideas.

“The committee needs to have points of reference to decide what they feel most comfortable with,” Gonzales said.

The memorial may factor into the county’s plans to put in new landscaping outside the Government Center and the planned demolition of the probation department building on Arrowhead Avenue and Fourth Street to make way for more parking, Gonzales said.

“If there’s an opportunity to consider anything there, I want my memorial committee to have that opportunity,” Gonzales said.

The new Government Center landscaping may include drought resistant plants and the relocation of some palm trees to the southeastern side of the Government Center campus, Gonzales said.

“The trees that we have are quite old. Some of them are dying, and we’re wanting to make sure we keep up with the drought situation and introduce the type of landscaping that’s conducive to our water cost,” said Gonzales.

A timeline on the memorial project has not been established.

Staff Writer Beatriz Valenzuela contributed to this report.


Article source: http://www.pe.com/articles/gonzales-802082-memorial-center.html

River Life: Individually or together, you can help the St. Johns River – Florida Times

“What can I do to make a difference and help save the St. Johns River?”

It’s a question I often get when I speak to civic groups, garden clubs or classes. The answer is relatively simple, and I always answer the same way: You can take care of your own mess, so to speak, and try to think about what and how you use things like water, energy and fertilizer.

While you may think one person doesn’t make that much of a difference, the reality is that every little bit helps. As one of the thousands of people who do reduce their water consumption, or turn off unnecessary lights, or use a little less fertilizer, we can make a big difference. And we save money, too.

Perhaps the best news is that we can usually do these things and not affect what we see as our quality of life. It is a matter of making conservation part of who we are. Think “reduce, reuse or recycle!”

Another way is to join a group because we can do a lot more together than individually. Be it a civic club, like Kiwanis or Rotary, or a garden club (they are not just for women; men can join, too) or a more focused organization like the St. Johns Riverkeeper or Sierra Club. Each has its own role, and you can be as active as you choose.

I continue to be somewhat surprised at the synergy organizations generate. The Marine Science Research Institute at Jacksonville University is home to not only our undergraduate and graduate marine science programs, but also to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Northeast Field Laboratory and the St. Johns Riverkeeper. We all work together, exchanging ideas and expertise.

Recently, the St. Johns Riverkeeper approached me about re-landscaping the front of the MSRI building with native and drought-tolerant plants. The plants we had in place were native and drought-tolerant, but I had to admit, the landscaping could use a makeover.

Not long after that, I received a phone call from a friend who was in the Late Bloomers Garden Club. It was looking for a project — and did I have any ideas? What a natural fit. So with a little coordination, we enlisted the help of the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens to assist one of our honor students to design a new landscaping plan for the MSRI.

As it turned out, Jacksonville University’s Charter Day of Service was coming up — scheduled for April 15. It’s a day of community service by JU students, faculty, staff and alumni. So we asked if the MSRI landscaping project could be part of the day’s events. The project was accepted and so, bright and early that Friday morning, about 25 people from JU, the Late Bloomers Garden Club, St. Johns Riverkeeper and Jacksonville Zoo went to work preparing the beds and planting trees, shrubs and flowering perennials. The number of volunteers grew to about 40 before we finished.

As an added bonus, JU has recently been designated a Tree Campus USA university. So in collaboration with Greenscape and JEA, we also planted 12 charter oaks on the campus. It was all a great example of synergy and working together to do something we could not do individually. And the MSRI has a beautiful new landscaped entrance for others to see what can be done with a little effort.

 

Email A. Quinton White, executive director of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute, with questions about our waterways at qwhite@ju.edu. For more on the MSRI, visit ju.edu/msri.

Article source: http://jacksonville.com/news/metro/2016-05-05/story/river-life-individually-or-together-you-can-help-st-johns-river

Village Home and Garden Club to have plant sale – Winston

Posted: Friday, May 6, 2016 12:15 am

Village Home and Garden Club to have plant sale

Village Garden Club to have plant sale

The Village Home and Garden Club will hold its annual plant sale at Welcome School, 5701 Old Hwy. 52 from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday.

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News about home-and-garden activities runs in the Homework column on Fridays. To submit an item, email it to Features@wsjournal.com, mail typed information and photos to Home Garden Briefs, c/o Features Department, Winston-Salem Journal, P.O. Box 3159, Winston-Salem, NC 27102, or drop it off at the front desk of the Journal, 418 N. Marshall St. Information should include a contact name and daytime phone number.

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Friday, May 6, 2016 12:15 am.



Gardens,



Nursery

Article source: http://www.journalnow.com/home_food/home_garden/garden/village-home-and-garden-club-to-have-plant-sale/article_996a9c11-f919-5a00-8228-28d34a6bd517.html

This Week in the Garden: Act now for sure-to-come water restrictions


Sharon Hull -- ContributedRain chains guide gutter water to a storage tank for laster use in a garden.

Sharon Hull — Contributed
Rain chains guide gutter water to a storage tank for laster use in a garden.




Is the drought over? We had normal to slightly above normal rainfall across our area this winter, most of the reservoirs are replenished and many water departments have no plans to impose drought restrictions on water use this summer. But experts agree that it will take more winters with above average rainfall plus higher snowpack in the Sierra to fully restore our depleted state water supplies.

Others, meanwhile, predict the new normal will be lower average rain totals than those we’ve grown to expect over the past few decades. To top it off, meteorologists say that a La Niña weather system is building in the Pacific and that it may well bring lower rainfall than normal next winter.

Throw climate change into the mix and how’s a gardener to plan in the face of what may seem like conflicting information?

One thing we can all do is prepare for future growing seasons when drought restrictions are again imposed by local water departments. We can move toward landscapes that require little water — and there are many resources to assist us in planning a low-water-use garden. (For example, on the Santa Cruz city website www.santacruz.watersavingplants.com, you can take virtual tours of local drought-tolerant gardens, find and save plant lists, see design possibilities, access resource sites, learn about rebates and incentives, and explore a section on watering guidelines. We can install rain-catchment barrels and drip-irrigation systems, either by hiring a professional to do it or by doing it ourselves. Not sure where to start on creating a drip system yourself? Employees at local garden centers where drip components are sold can advise you. You can also try this: A drip irrigation class is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 14, at the Mid-County Senior Center, 829 Bay Ave. in Capitola. You will receive hands-on instruction and a step-by-step pictorial guide. Pre-register at the reception desk. The cost is $6 for center members, $10 for nonmembers. Call 831-476-4711 for details.

Gardeners here also have an opportunity to plan for the long term in a class called Water Conservation Landscapes — Putting it All Together to See the Big Picture. The class, at Cabrillo College, Room 609, runs 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., also on Saturday, May 14. The cost is $35. Call 831-479-6331 for more information. The class will be taught by Golden Love of Love’s Gardens; he is a horticulturalist, arborist, licensed landscape contractor and lifelong gardener who has worked in sustainable landscaping for nearly 30 years. He specializes in local landscapes that are “water neutral” and is an expert on rain harvesting and greywater systems.

A morning classroom session will be followed by an afternoon onsite session that will include the first-ever installation of a Grey Flow Plug and Play Pro in Santa Cruz County at a project near Cabrillo College. The greywater system has self-cleaning filters, as well as six irrigation zones that automatically cycle through the garden without electricity.

The old Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” definitely applies to those of us who garden in California! Take steps now so that the next water-conservation measures won’t catch you scrambling to find ways to garden with less water.

Garden tips are provided courtesy of horticulturist Sharon Hull of the San Lorenzo Garden Center. Contact her at 831-423-0223.

Article source: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/article/NE/20160505/FEATURES/160509869

Open house showcases Florida-Friendly Landscaping

As more people move to our beautiful neck of the woods and the urban area grows, natural areas that provide many ecosystem services to us are cleared for development or broken up by patches of residential land uses. While this may sound like the beginning of a sad story or an environmentalist rant, the landscape areas that accompany these new residential areas, and even the older residential areas of town, offer citizens a chance to lessen the loss of these ecosystem services.

The University of Florida/IFAS Extension created the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program, often shortened to FFL, to educate the gardening public about practices they can use to create a beautiful landscape that provides environmental benefits and saves natural resources, time, labor, and money. The Leon County Extension Office, located on Paul Russell Road, is both your contact for local information regarding the FFL Program and a place where you can come and see many of the FFL principles in action. The nine FFL Program principles are: Right Plant, Right Place, Water Efficiently, Fertilize Appropriately, Mulch, Attract Wildlife, Manage Yard Pests Responsibly, Recycle Yard Waste, Reduce Storm Water Runoff, and Protect the Waterfront.

Right Plant, Right Place

This principle highlights the importance of planning and being knowledgeable when choosing plants for a particular site. Beyond choosing a plant because it will work in the amount of sun a site receives, this principle also focuses on soil moisture, soil pH, plant size at maturity, spacing, homeowner maintenance ability/desire, and even being able to spot a quality plant before purchasing it. This principle also encourages the use of native plants and encourages gardeners to be able to identify and remove non-native, invasive plant species.

Water Efficiently

This principle encourages practices that conserve our most precious natural resource – water. From grouping plants based on moisture requirements, to properly maintaining your irrigation system, to knowing when to water, this principle focuses on easy steps that save water, money for the gardener, and often leads to a landscape with less fungal and disease problems.

Fertilize Appropriately

The goal of this principle is to maximize plant health while minimizing the negative environmental impacts that can be caused by excessive or improperly timed fertilizer applications. Does the plant need fertilizer? How much fertilizer does it need? Without the answers to these questions, it is hard to properly apply fertilizer.

Mulch

The use of mulch in a landscape can help reduce the need for irrigation, reduce weed cover, allows for recycling of yard waste, and can reduce stormwater runoff.

Attract Wildlife

This is where the FFL Program principles can really lessen the impact from the loss of natural areas. By knowing what plants attract and provide habitat and food for wildlife, gardeners can then add these plants to their landscapes and not only enjoy seeing the wildlife, but know that they are supporting our native wildlife.

Manage Yard Pests Responsibly

This principle encourages gardeners to properly identify pests and to first use low-impact techniques prior to using pesticides. Often, when the right plant for the right place is chosen and the proper amount of water and fertilizer are used, pests are less common, thus reducing the need for any pesticide use, which can be harmful to the gardener and the environment if not properly used.

Recycle Yard Waste

This principle encourages gardeners to utilize what is typically considered “yard waste” and turn it into compost that can then be used to feed other plants in the landscape. Following this principle saves gardeners time (less raking) and money (less fertilizer) while saving local government resources associated with the collection and disposal of these materials.

Reduce Stormwater Runoff

This is another principle that goes a long way in lessening the impact of urbanization. By creating landscaped areas that encourage water to be absorbed by the soil or collecting rain water in rain barrels, gardeners can reduce the amount of stormwater runoff leaving their site.

Protect the Waterfront

For those gardeners lucky enough to have a shoreline, maintaining or planting a healthy edge of plants along that shoreline does a lot to reduce pollutants from entering the waterbody. It also provides many benefits for wildlife that utilize the shore and also does a good job at keeping some unwanted wildlife away, specifically the Canada Goose and associated droppings!

For gardeners (or folks that want to be gardeners) that would like to see real demonstrations of the FFL principles, the UF/IFAS – Leon County Extension Office is your one-stop location (except for Protect the Waterfront – no shoreline here). On Saturday, May 7, Leon County’s Master Gardeners will be hosting the 2016 Spring Open House from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., where visitors can not only see these principles in action but can also ask local experts any questions they may have regarding the FFL Program or other gardening related topics. There will also be a plant sale where visitors can purchase plants found in the Demonstration Gardens. So come by your local Extension Office to learn, talk to other gardeners, and tour the demonstration gardens. All for free!

Mark Tancig is the Residential/Commercial Horticulture Agent with UF/IFAS Leon County Extension. For gardening questions, email us at AskAMasterGardener@ifas.ufl.edu.

If you go

What: Spring Open House and Plant Sale 

When: 9 a.m.- 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Leon County Extension Office, 615 Paul Russell Road

Article source: http://www.tallahassee.com/story/life/home-garden/2016/05/05/open-house-showcases-florida-friendly-landscaping/83923972/

El Pasoans can get native plants, gardening tips at the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens Florafest

Gardening in El Paso can go far beyond the the gravel and cactus that so many people believe is their only choice. A walk through the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP is a good place to find inspiration.

More than 700 native plants make up the lush and colorful landscape nestled like a secret oasis next to the Centennial Museum. Bursting in blues, pinks and magenta, Salvia Greggi or Autumn Sage dwell in the deep dark corners of the gardens. Constantly in bloom, the Angelita Daisy’s seize the light and your eyes. The Yellow Bells are valued as much for its drought-tolerance as for its spectacular appearance. Its long throat and trumpet flowers attract hummingbirds in the assembly garden.

The gardens originated from an idea by UTEP administrator, Wynn Anderson, who was interested in native plants. The idea was to develop an appreciation of the desert as well as to introduce people to the idea of using native plants in their landscapes.

“A lot of people take the desert for granted, says garden curator John White, Some people consider it a wasteland and don’t see any value in it.”

Yet the gardens prove just the opposite. Sitting on nearly two acres, the garden path takes you through a beautiful variety of settings and habitats. The gardens are divided by themes including an arroyo garden, cactus garden, a sensory garden and others.

The gardens are open to the public, where people can get ideas for cultivating their own native plant gardens. Information on each species and how to care for them is on the museum’s website. One of the community highlights each spring is Florafest, a two-day sale of plants that work well in El Paso’s climate. Florafest has been going strong for 27 years. It is usually held in April, but this year a second Florafest is planned for May 6-7.

GardensPhoto.jpg“We have a mix of plants that are native to the El Paso area, that you can find out in the desert. And then we have other native plants that are native to the northern part of the Chihuahuan Desert. We also have desert adaptive plants,” White says.

Plants are brought in from nurseries that specialize in native species, some come from as far away as Arizona.

Florefest also features workshops and talks by plant experts and local master gardeners during the sale to give buyers advice on how to care for plants at home.

White said new homeowners especially are often seen purchasing plants and replicating the habitats seen at the gardens.

“You can learn some of the plants names and some of the plants that are good to use in landscapes,” White says.

White said the big freeze that hit El Paso in 2011 killed a quarter of the plants in the garden and had to be replaced. The money raised from Florafest helps with the maintenance of the gardens and to buy new plants. Volunteers help with upkeep on the gardens.

“The main purpose is to develop enough revenue to keep the garden going for another year. A lot of people don’t realize that the garden is not financially supported by UTEP, so we have to raise the money to help keep the garden up,” White says.

 

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Article source: http://borderzine.com/2016/05/el-pasoans-can-get-native-plants-gardening-tips-at-the-chihuahuan-desert-gardens-florafest/

Summer gardening tips

Contra Costa Master Gardener Janet Miller, manager at the Our Garden demonstration garden in Walnut Creek, California, offers some tips:

Location, location, location

One of the most important things to consider when planting a garden is location. Most summer vegetables need six to eight hours of sun a day, so pick the sunniest place in your yard.

Having the garden close to your home will be a benefit, too. You’re more likely to venture into the garden frequently, which will help you spot issues before they become problems.

Soil prep

Preparing the soil is important, too. You can’t grow healthy crops if you don’t have healthy soil. Before starting, consider doing a soil test to see what nutrients may be lacking.

Before planting, loosen the soil with a broad fork, rake the bed, and cover the entire bed with 4 inches of compost and add a good organic vegetable fertilizer. Work that into the top 6 inches of your soil, then you’re ready to plant.

The thinking on digging beds is changing with research showing that it’s best not to disturb the soil too much. Microbial life that lives 24 inches below the surface doesn’t do as well when it’s moved upward, and microbial life is necessary for a healthy garden. Loosening the soil is a much better option.

Summer vegetables grow so rapidly and produce so much fruit that by the end of the season, the soil is severely depleted of nutrients. Before replanting for the winter, add compost and fertilizer back into the soil.

Never leave beds empty. Even if you decided against growing a summer vegetable garden, or pass on a winter garden, grow a cover crop in the empty beds.

Cover crops consist of grains and legumes. Grains improve tilth, breaking up the earth to make for a better growing medium. Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil.

Cover crops to consider include fava beans, rye, vetch, red clover, sunflowers, amaranth and flint corn.

We often think of growing cover crops only during the winter, but if you want to replenish a bed this summer, considering planting sunflowers. They have deep roots that penetrate the soil and break up the clay, all the plant material is a wonderful source for carbon in the compost pile, and the flowers will attract pollinators.

You can chop your cover crop and work it into the soil, or cut it down and feed it into your compost pile. Leave the roots, or at least most of them, in the ground. They provide organic material to feed the soil.

Grains can be left in the bed until they are about ready to drop seed. Legumes should be removed when they are at about 50 percent flower. If the beans are allowed to develop, they start pulling some of the nitrogen back out of the soil.

Planting tips

Choose the right plant at the right time. Vegetables are divided into two categories — warm season and cool season. With few exceptions, you can’t grow warm crops in cool weather, and vice versa. If you’ve had onions that never developed bulbs or broccoli that only grew tall flower spikes, chances are you planted them at the wrong time.

Just because you find the plant in a nursery, Miller says, doesn’t mean it’s the right time to plant it. Learn about plants before buying them.

The most popular warm-weather crops include tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, beans, cucumbers and squash, carrots and radishes.

Should you grow in the ground or in raised beds? It really depends on what you want to do. The advantage to raised beds is that you’ll be bringing in soil that already will be full of nutrients. The drawback is raised beds are more expensive if you factor in the cost of materials to build them and to purchase the soil.

There’s no reason you can’t do both. Grow big summer vegetables, such as tomatoes, squash and beans, in the ground and root vegetables and smaller plants in raised beds.

Whether they are in the ground or raised, a bed should be 4 to 5 feet wide, allowing you to easily reach into the bed without having to step inside it and compact the soil. Plants will need beds that are at least 3 feet wide to give plant roots plenty of room.

For decades, home gardens have been modeled on commercial endeavors, which means most of us grew up planting in rows. But, Miller says, the row method was used to accommodate horse-drawn plows and, later, tractors and harvesters — things that are not needed in a home garden.

Forget the rows and plant in a grid. You can fit more plants into a bed using the grid system.

Think about your garden plot as a chess board where you plant only in the red or black squares. Determine how much space that particular plant needs, then build your grid accordingly.

The benefits to grid planting is that as the plants grow, they shade the soil beneath, preventing wind and water erosion and suppressing weeds in the beds. The plants also grow in a carbon dioxide bubble, creating a rich growing environment.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac calculates that you only need 200 square feet of space to grow enough produce to feed a family of four in a year. Close, grid planting makes that possible, taking advantage of the space you have.

The important thing to remember, however, is that growing many plants in a small space takes a lot of nutrients out of the soil that then need to be replaced.

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