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Posted on 03 February 2013 by urbangardencasual.com

Community Gardens – A Gathering Place for the Generations

Photo Credit: Kale by Clyde Robinson used under CC BY 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

This is the second year for The Charlestown Community Gardens and the first for The Maxwell Project.

While this year’s experience was different then last year’s, it is still a learning experience.

I have learned a lot through this experience and have been a little frustrated at times.

But communities were not built in a day nor will the gardens associated with them spring up over night.

The present research I am doing through a survey I created for my Masters degree has backed up several of my challenges I have faced this year. The first one is what exactly is a community garden. This term is very broad and depends on the end use or what you hope to get out of the garden. In my research I have found 7 different types of community gardens and each one is unique in itself.

While the term “land” is used in the description of each garden type, do not feel that you have to garden in the traditional manner. Today’s community gardens can be built right into the land or raised beds can be used.

Also, do not fret if your community garden falls into Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on 25 January 2013 by urbangardencasual.com

3 Ways of Gardening Year Round

Photo Credit: Red Bibb Lettuce by Justin Leonard used under CC BY 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Gardening year round is one way I keep my food budget low or at least my vegetable cost.

But I cannot grow everything year round without a greenhouse and pollinators.

Below is a list of my favorite vegetables to grow in the fall and early spring along with some of my favorite out of the season growing techniques.

  • Bibb lettuce which is a wonderful addition to any salad and wilted with bacon, hard boiled eggs and a vinegar-based salad dressing.
  • Kale which is a superb green that is highly nutritious and easy to fix. It makes a wonderful salad raw, steamed and/or wilted with bacon and apples.
  • Spinach is another highly nutritious green that can be eaten raw, cooked, sautéed, and creamed.

The techniques for growing these wonderful greens abound but I have found 3 simple techniques that do not require special equipment and/or commitment.

  1. Growing in a pot. Greens are very Read the rest of this entry »
Posted on 21 September 2010 by urbangardencasual.com

Support Your Gardening Bug: Plan a Fall Garden

kale3By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Summer is here and fall will be knocking on the screen door before we know it.

Planting fall crops has always been a favorite of mine since many of the fall crops can also be planted in early spring.

So these cold crops or cool season vegetables sort of sandwich the summer crops between them like a great sandwich.

But depending on what planting zone you live in will depend on what you can plant. So explore the cold crops or cool season vegetables that grow in your area.

Below are some of my favorites cold crops or cool season vegetables and tricks on growing them.


Sugar Snap or hulling peas are great in early spring and fall. Just remember these plants will need a trellis to grow upon. Also make sure you mark which is which because nothing ruins a stir-fry like using hulling peas instead of edible pea pods.

Brussel Sprouts

These little cabbages are a Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 01 April 2010 by urbangardencasual.com

Plant Duality – Flowering Kale, Ornamental Cabbage and Pansies (Part 1)

kale2By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I am always looking for bargains in all aspects of my life and one that I seem to have specialized in is planting plants that serve 2 purposes.

Flowering kale, ornamental cabbage and pansies fit this bill.

Early spring always makes my gardening elbow itch with excitement and anticipation of a new year of gardening. To treat my ailment I go to my favorite seed store and drool over my choices.

What to get, what to get I keep asking myself but my frugal lifestyle always leads me to plants with a double life that is flowering kale, ornamental cabbage, and pansies.

Flowering Kale and Ornamental Cabbage

These plants provide rosy and /or white ornamental foliage to a drab early spring and a splash of color in the fall. They go from seed to mature plant in about 11-14 weeks. Cool weather either spring or fall is needed fro the brightest color and planted in mass or as an edging enhances this color. But visual stimulation is not the only use for these plants they also address the palate.

Greens, Grits, and Country Ham with Red-eyed Gravy

Ingredients for greens dish Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 30 May 2009 by urbangardencasual.com

Brassica Oleracea – One Species With Many Faces

kale1By Vanessa Richins

As I proudly proclaimed to everyone, I’m a garden geek.

There are so many cool facts you can learn about the plant world that are quite surprising.

I think it makes gardening itself much more fun.

One of my favorite facts:

What do broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale and kohlrabi have in common?

They are all the same species.

How can that be possible, you ask? All of these plants are too similar, as far as genetics go, to be sorted out into their own species.

Botanists sort out all the different plants according to how closely they are related. It starts with the Kingdom (which includes all plants) and gets more specific, down to the individual plant level of the Species. The levels of classification for these vegetables are all:

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