A Garden Blog by Kevin Milaeger

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Kevin 2015 

A Few New Plants & Garden Updates!

April 29, 2016     
(See below for archives)

It doesn’t happen too often but this year we have some entirely new edible plants. I don’t mean a new tomato or pepper, but a whole new category. We are now offering sweet potatoes for the first time. I’ve read about them and I thought they were only grown in the south. But for years we have been offering the decorative sweet potato vine, and those produce sizeable potatoes, so I thought we should investigate further. So we checked into it and found a northern grower who is offering varieties that will do well in our climate. These tender plants can’t be put in the ground until the weather warms, probably in a month or so. Sweet potatoes have a sprawling habit. Their runners will set new roots, which help nurture the plant. Do not remove the runners, or the plant will suffer. We have three varieties of sweet potatoes. ‘Beauregard’ is ready right now---it matures about 90 days after planting. We also have ‘White Yam,’ ready for sale in about two weeks. Despite the name, this is not a yam, nor is it white. It is pale yellow, and very sweet, ready about 100 days after planting. Also not a yam is ‘Mahon Yam,’ a large, orange variety. I’ll probably try a couple of each in our test garden to see how they perform.

Returning after a five year absence from our lot is horseradish. This is a hardy perennial, an easy-care plant that has been used by mankind since antiquity. You can grow it in any sunny spot. It will multiply over the years; in an abandoned garden, I once saw a single plant that covered over 100 square feet. You harvest it in the fall, after the first frost. Simply dig it up (it has long, carrot-like roots) and take the biggest ones. Put a few small ones back in the ground for next year. You can grate it and use it fresh, but it will be more powerful than the stuff you buy in jars. It can be preserved with vinegar. There are plenty of recipes out there that you can search for.

Lastly is an unexpected plant---the peanut. I think this might be fun for kids to try. Probably very few kids realize that peanuts are formed underground. They are a long season crop---about 110 days. They like it hot, so a long hot summer will result in a good crop. A customer told me she grew them in Racine years ago and harvested quite a few peanuts, so I am optimistic.

You will recall that I planted seed of both lettuce and spinach on March 15th. It was fairly warm then, but just after sowing, it turned cool and stayed that way. The spinach sprouted first; a week later, one type of lettuce emerged. The other two still haven’t sprouted. Lettuce seed needs light to germinate, so I covered them very lightly, which I have done many times before. So, I’m not sure what happened. On April 18th I planted lettuce and spinach plants from our Greens to Grow program. Here are some photos. Clearly, you are further ahead with plants, but seed is cheaper. You could argue seed is more fun, but germination is sometimes uncertain. I guess I’ll continue to do some of each.

You have heard me talk about Egyptian walking onions on several occasions. These are perennial onions, and I leave them in the ground over the winter. My well established plants are large clumps---the biggest is 24” high and about 28” wide this early in the season. They will soon be at least twice that height. I have them supported by peony rings, but some stems still fall over and the plants “walk” around the garden. Last fall I harvested the bulbils (marble sized onions held on the tips of the stalks) and I stored them in our cooler over the winter. I planted them in pots on April 22nd. They sprouted quickly and grew a lot in just a week. We’ll have them for sale this weekend. Although all parts of this pungent onion are edible, I just like watching them. Visiting friends always ask about them. Here is a link to our poster that tells more about these delightful plants.

My rhubarb is just about ready for the first picking. I have it about twenty feet from my house so it doesn’t benefit from any house heat. My neighbor, on the other hand, has one plant up against a brick wall, in full southern exposure. That plant has been ready for picking for more than a week. I’m planning on picking some of mine this weekend, and I’ll take it over to my mom. She will make either a pie or a torte---we are always wondering which it will be. Both are delicious, and as sure a sign of spring as there is.


Please email me (kevin@milaegers.com) if you have any questions or comments.



 Archives  (Click on the green text for links)


April 2016 - A Few New Plants & Garden Updates!
April 2016 - Go Outside---It's Time for Planting!
March 2016 - Yep! ----It's Time to Plant Greens!
March 2016 - The Quest for the Perfect Tomato
March 2016 - Think Green! It's almost time to plant
February 2016 - Pepper Pointers: it's all about patience
February 2016 - I See Greens on the Horizon
January 2016 - Tomato Disease --- What can you do?
January 2016 - Tomatoes on my Mind!

November 2015 - My Late Harvest (The tomato picking continues...No Kidding!)

October 2015 - Its Mid-October---the End is Near!

September 2015 - 2015---Not the Year of the Pepper!

September 2015 - Top Varieties at Tomatomania 2015!

September 2015 - Get the most from September tomatoes!

August 2015 - Tomatomania 2015---Coming Soon!

August 2015 - Oh No!!!......Freaky Tomatoes

July 2015 - A Marvelous Community Garden

July 2015 - Finally----the first ripe tomato

July 2015 - Is it Possible to overdose on peas?

July 2015 - The Garden in July --- I'm still planting!

June 2015 - And Just When Things Were Looking So Good...

June 2015 - Tomatoes, Cukes, and a Whimsical Onion

June 2015 - Trials and Tribulations in the Veggie Garden!

May 2015 - Trouble in Tomatoland!

May 2015 - Tomatoes are Claustrophobic

May 2015 - A Little Chilly, but it's Rhubarb Time!

May 2015 - Joan's Rhubarb Torte Recipe

April 2015 - "Ketchup and Fries" plant video

April 2015 - Early May in the Vegetable Garden

April 2015 - What Vegetables Can I Plant Now?

April 2015 - Making Salad Interesting

March 2015 - Ready... set... GROW!

March 2015 - Unusual Potatoes --- Not Just for Tots Anymore!

February 2015 - Next Month is Spring!

February 2015 - Greens to Grow 2015


September 2014 - Tomatomania Review 2014!

September 2014 - Tomatomania Results by Category or Cummulative

August 2014 - Kale! Kale! The Greens are Here! Click here for Recipe

August 2014 - The August Harvest Begins

July 2014 - Greens to Grow for Fall!!!  Click here for Spreadsheet

July 2014 - My Tomatoes are Blushing

June 2014 - Some Tomato Concerns

May 2014 - Garden Update --- the Cold Weather Experiment

May 2014 - Is it Time to Plant Tomatoes?

May 2014 - Vintage Veggies #4 and Vintage Veggies List 2014

April 2014 - A Chilly Spring... What Can I Plant Now?

March 2014 - Start Growing Your Own Food Right Now

February 2014 - Greens to Grow   Click here for Spreadsheet


October 2013 - Keep Calm and Garden On!

October 2013 - Autumn Vegetables

September 2013 - Tomato Popularity Poll Results Blog

September 2013 - Tomatomania Category and Cumulative Results

September 2013 - Tomatomania 2013 Blog, Video and T-Shirt

August 2013 - Greens to Grow and Spreadsheet

July 2013 - Spaghetti Squash

July 2013 - New Tomato and Zucchini Recipe Blog
July 2013 - Tomato and Zucchini Recipe

June 2013 - Cold Spring - What it Means for Vegetables
May 2013 - Tomatoes in Containers
May 2013 - Vintage Veggies 2013
April 2013 - My Tomato Garden Preview 2013
April 2013 - Don't Forget Rosemary!
April 2013 - It's Planting Time
March 2013 - Onions
March 2013 - Vintage Veggies
March 2013 - Greens to Grow Update
February 2013 - Hot Peppers
February 2013 - Grafted Tomatoes
February 2013 - Greens to Grow

September 2012 - Tomatomania Results
July 2012 - Compass Plant
July 2012 -July 2012 - Heat Wave
June 2012 - Okra
June 2012 - Potato Onion
May 2012 - Gas Plant

May 2012 - My Tomato Garden
May 2012 -
Vintage Veggie Fest
March 2012 - Growing Raspberries in SE Wisconsin
March 2012 - Winter Tomato Project
February 2012 - Success with Sweet Peppers
February 2012 - Vegetable Cukes Miniature
January 2012 - Tomatoes New Varieties

September 2011 -Tomatomania Review 
August 2011 - Tomatomania Preview
August 2011 - Racine Vegetable Garden Tour
Summer 2011 - Vegetables in my Garden
July 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
June 2011 - Vegetables - Diseases made Simple
June 2011 - Vegetables - Container Growing
May 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes
April 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Event Preview
March 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Announcement

September 2010 - Tomatomania Review 
August 2010 - Flowers Late Summer Color
July 2010 Vegetables Cukes and Tomatoes
June 2010 Tomatoes New Varieties

September 2009 - Tomatoes End of Season Review 
September 2009 - Tomatomania Review
July 2009 - Tomatoes General and Fruit Set Problems
June 2009  - Tomatoes Fertilization
June 2009  - Tomatoes Personal Experience
May 2009 - Tomatoes General
May 2009 - Tomatoes Diseases
May 2009 - Tomatoes Selecting and Growing
April 2009 - Tomatoes General

Any questions or comments, please contact us at: gardenquestions@milaegers.com