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Fostering Sustainability and Innovation in Agriculture
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Posts By Brian Allnutt

It’s Almost Summer in the Urban Garden: Tips for Planting Hot Weather Crops

May 8, 2016 |
Zucchini. Source: Wikipedia.

Zucchini. Source: Wikipedia.

For a lot of people, Mother’s Day means two things: time to go out to brunch and time to plant the vegetable garden.

Of course, you may have put many of your plants in the ground already, but for those who like to put their vegetable garden in all at once, mid-May is often the time to do it.

The changing climate has complicated this somewhat, so gardeners in northern areas may need to wait until June to put in hot-season crops. This is particularly the case in cities where the city center may experience a several degree differential from surrounding areas. due to an urban heat island effect  Check your local USDA zone map to see where you are..

Most summer crops discussed will not tolerate a frost, let alone a freeze, although a blanket on a cold night or row cover will provide a few degrees of protection. Read More

5 Things to Know About Growing in Urban Soils

April 27, 2016 |
Root vegetables like beets should be carefully cleaned of urban soil. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Root vegetables like beets should be carefully cleaned of urban soil. Source: Wikimedia Commons

By Brian Allnutt

Beginning gardeners should always be prepared to garden imperfectly and learn as they go. You can make a lot of mistakes and still have a good time and pull some food out of the ground while you’re at it.

But the one area where you can’t afford to mess around–especially when gardening with children or pregnant women–is with soil contamination. Unfortunately, there are few centralized resources on urban soils and soil testing, and some dispute over what constitutes an acceptable level of various soil contaminants. However, it’s important to at least be making informed decisions about where to grow and how to grow there. Here are five key things you should be thinking about when gardening in an urban environment: Read More

Spring Has Sprung: A Few Tips to Ready Your Urban Garden

April 7, 2016 |
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Chard can be planted early along with scores of other plants. Photo Credits: Brian Allnutt

In most areas of the country, the time for planting is near or nigh. Here are some reminders to help you begin to rev up the engine of your urban vegetable garden and keep it running smooth all season long.

For beginning gardeners, it might be advisable to concentrate on doing this season and not thinking too much. There are many cases of frustrated gardeners trying to figure out what to do by reading books and reading articles on the internet like this one, when the best way to learn would be to volunteer at a community garden or urban farm. It’s much easier to contextualize these things once you have a little experience growing in the soil. Read More