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Watch this space – as we get questions, we'll post a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) so you can learn more about how to make your garden grow.

USDA Plant Zones

Knoxville, Tennessee is located within plant zone 6B.

View the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map.

Vegetable Gardening for Spring

Vegetable gardening is becoming more popular now as a result of the desire to save money or the cost of produce at the supermarket or just the security of knowing your vegetables are safe from harmful contaminates during production. There is also satisfaction in becoming more self-reliant and sustainable. 

As always at Stanley's we are constantly adding new peppers, tomatoes, and squash varieties.  As far as cold crops go we will be carrying cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts; all frost tolerant in the Knoxville area.  They can be planted as early as late February and early March. All of our vegetable plants are grown locally on site at Stanley's, where you can rely on freshness and quality.

So, get that garden prepared and your taste buds ready to enjoy tasty and healthy home-grown vegetables this year.

-Monte Stanley

Growing Tips for Summer

June has been extremely dry and the outlook for July and August is more of the same. Supplemental watering is critical now, and might make the difference in your plants survival.

If you are a new gardener, the correct method to get the needed moisture to the plant's root system is to water slowly and thoroughly. This is especially important for trees and shrubs, water them at least once every five to seven days. Flowers and Veggies will need to be watered every other day.

The best time to water is in the morning, but if you are not an early riser evening watering is okay as long as you try not to get the foliage too wet. Excessive moisture on leaves can become a welcome sign for fungus and mildew.

A top dressing of mulch or soil conditioner is a great benefit to hold moisture in the ground and retard evaporation. Your garden will thank you this summer and fall with bountiful flowers and fruit if you pay attention to the critical water needs at this time.

-Monte Stanley

 

Other Vegetables We Carry at Stanley's

In the last few years we have seen an increased interest in producing one's own produce/food. Indeed, this great resurgence of the human spirit to reconnect to the earth is both healthy and rewarding. Healthy in the sense that not only are the fruits, herbs, and vegetables you consume increasing your overall vitality, but you have peace of mind knowing what chemicals your plants have or have not been treated with. Each Spring at Stanley's we introduce new and tasty selections of edible plants for your gardens.

EGGPLANT:

  • Rosa Bianca: A colorful, light pink-lavender fruit with white shading. Rich, mild flesh is very popular with chefs and gardeners alike! An Italian heirloom eggplant.
  • Thai Purple Egg: A hard-to-find, small, purple, egg-shaped fruit. The seeds of this tasty variety were collected in Thailand.

MELONS:

  • Petit Gris de Rennes: A sugar-sweet French favorite. Dense 2 lb. fruits have orange flesh and a grey-green rind.
  • Valencia: An old heirloom variety believed to come from Italy. Can keep for months into the winter! Valencia has cream-colored flesh with dark green skin, rare and delicious!

LETTUCES:

  • Australe: A red butter-head type is small and early. Resistant to to Downy Mildew.
  • Coastal Star: Large heavy romaine lettuce similar to "Parris Island" but darker green and more heat tolerant. Good sweet flavor.
  • Paradi: A compact, red, oakleaf lettuce. Highly uniform plants with excellent bolt resistance.

CUCUMBER:

  • Southern Delight: One of the best hybrid cucumbers for continuous yields of late spring to fall crops. Crisp with a delicious texture. Strong disease resistance.

As always at Stanley's we are constantly adding new peppers, tomatoes, and squash varieties. As far as cold crops go we will be carrying cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts; all frost tolerant in the Knoxville area. They can be planted as early as late February and early March. All of our vegetable plants are grown locally on site at Stanley's, where you can rely on freshness and quality.

Our Favorite Cool Season Vegetable Offerings

  • Brassica Family
  • Broccoli **
  • Brussel Sprouts **
  • Cabbage **
  • Chinese Cabbage (eg. Bok Choy, Napa) **
  • Cauliflower **
  • Kale ***
  • Mizuna *
  • Mustard **

Greens

  • Endive/Escarole (Frisèe) **
  • Lettuce **
  • Spinach ***
  • Swiss Chard ***

Bulbs/Sets

  • Garlic ***
  • Onion ***
  • Shallot *** 

Root Crops

  • Radish **
  • Carrot *

* - Protect from light frost.

** - Protect young plants from light frost, mature plants can withstand light to moderate frost, protect from heavy frost

*** - Mature Plants can withstand moderate to heavy frost, protect young plants from light to moderate frosts.

 

Planting date suggestions for fall/winter crops:

(dates gathered and averaged from a variety of sources) 

Crop Name

Date

Asparagus

11/1-12/15

Broccoli, transplants

through 10/15

Brussel Sprouts

through 10/15

Cabbage

through 10/15

Cabbage, Chinese

through 10/15

Cauliflower

through 10/15

Endive/Escarole

through 10/5

Garlic, set

through 10/31

Kale

through 10/22

Lettuce

through 10/31

Mizuna, seed

through 10/5

Mizuna, transplant

through 10/15

Mustard, seed

through 10/15

Onion, short day varieties, sets

through 10/31

Radish, seed

through 10/20

Shallot, set

through 10/20

Spinach, seed

through 10/5

Spinach, transplant

through 10/31

Swiss Chard

through 10/22

Turnip, seed

through 10/5

 

A Note About Frost Protection:

Plants benefit from Frost Protection in one way or another.  For some varieties, we can keep them alive and producing for an extra couple of weeks, and for some it can increase the plant’s ability to produce.

Sheets - For small spaces and few crops, a simple light-colored bed sheet can be rested over the tender plants to protect them from a mild early frost.  Gently lay the sheet over the plants before the night temperature drops below 35°F, and remove it in the morning when the temperature is above 35°. 

Cloches - Another approach for small or young plants is to use a homemade Cloche.  Cut a gallon milk jug (with cap attached) ¾ of the way around the bottom.  Flip the bottom out and place the jug over plants in the same fashion as the sheet. 

How to make cloches

Figure 1

Cold Frames – for the adventurous gardener, building a cold frame is exciting. It can be as much work as you want to make it, but the simple box below can serve year round!

Cold frames for each season

Figure 2

Some things to do around the Fall Vegetable Garden:

-- Clean up stake and trellis materials from summer garden

  • Disinfecting these materials and store in a cool dry place to prevent the spread of soil and airborne disease and pests.

-- Remember to turn that compost pile!

  • Keep it hot for winter
  • Think about building your supply for spring beds

-- Gather Cloche materials for first frost – set for ~ October 22

  • Milk jugs, or,
  • Venture into cold frames? – Hay bales, plastic or old window-- Thin, trim, harvest, and most of all, enjoy all your fresh locally grown food!
  • Low tunnel supplies – rebar, ¾” pvc pipe, greenhouse grade plastic (as shown in Figure 3, below)

How to build a low tunnel to protect vegetables from frost

Figure 3

Image sources for this article:

  • Stanley's Cloches (Figure 1) copied from Rodale's All New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening, edited by Fern Marshall Bradley and Barbara W. Ellis, page 130.
  • Stanley's Cold Frames (Figure 2) copied from Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening Vegetables, text by Patricia S. Michalak, page 61.
  • Stanley's Low Tunnel (Figure 3) copied from Four Season Harvest, by Eliot Coleman, page 88. 

How to Cut Back a Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle is a beautiful flowering tree that blooms on new wood. 

For more flowers, as well as a stronger plant, prune it in late winter to early spring. If you don't prune at all, the photo on the bottom left shows how last year's seed pods remain on the plant aftyer it leafs out.

Trace back from the tip of a stem to where it meets a branch, and make a cut about 6 inches above this intersection. New branches will emerge just below the cut, set buds and bloom. If it's an established tree, remove suckers from the base. Done each spring, the tree will produce lots beautiful blooms and maintain an attractive shape.

Crape Myrtle without pruning Crape Myrtle-pruned properly

Without pruning, old seed pods detract
from the 
new foliage and flowers

Pruning crape myrtle creates 
stronger branches and more flowers
 
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