Gardening Know How's Blog

The Seed Guy NON-GMO Heirloom Seed Package Giveaway




Would you like to grow your own food? Well, you’ve come to the right place! This week’s fabulous Friday giveaway will give THREE lucky winners a great collection of NON-GMO Heirloom seeds! Enter to win a 64 VARIETY GARDEN Heirloom Seed Package (ARV $79.95) or one of two (2) 12 VARIETY GARDEN Heirloom Seed Packages (retail $18.00), all courtesy of The Seed Guy!

To enter, just leave your answer to the question: “What seeds in this prize package (see list at bottom) are you looking most forward to planting?” on the comments section of our Facebook Seed Guy Heirloom Seed Package Giveaway post anytime from Friday September 30 through midnight Sunday October 2 as well as share the Facebook giveaway post on your timeline. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified through Facebook. (See rules for more information.)

Don’t want to wait to win? You can order these packages online via the following links:

You may also call The Seed Guy 7 days a week, for questions or to place an order at 918-906-7381.

The Seed Guy is your go-to guy for all your seed needs! Visit him on Facebook and say hello!

64 VARIETY GARDEN Heirloom Seed Package (1 prize)

This package contains 50 veggie and 14 herb varieties and has 38,000 NON-GMO seeds with hand-picked varieties included that will grow well in your spring and fall garden. This is truly a wonderful Non-GMO, pesticide-free gardening package! All seeds are Open Pollinated Heirloom Seeds and will grow vegetables that will provide you with new seeds every year.

  1. Hales Best Jumbo Cantaloupe
  2. Honeydew Green Melon
  3. All American Parsnips
  4. Sugar Baby Watermelon
  5. Beefsteak Tomato
  6. Large Red Cherry Tomato
  7. Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin
  8. Little Marvel Peas
  9. Sugar Snap Peas
  10. Black Turtle Beans
  11. Bush Mexican Pinto Beans
  12. Blue Lake Bush Beans
  13. Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans
  14. Golden Bantam Sweet Corn
  15. Early Jalapeno Pepper
  16. Bok Choy Cabbage
  17. California Wonder Bell Pepper
  18. Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
  19. Parris Island Romaine Lettuce
  20. Ashley Organic Cucumber
  21. Boston Pickling Cucumber
  22. Scarlet Nantes Carrot
  23. Red Cored Chanteney Carrot
  24. Dark Green Zucchini Squash
  25. Yellow Crookneck Squash
  26. Crimson Giant Radish
  27. Martha Washington Asparagus
  28. Siberian Kale
  29. Purple Top White Globe Turnip
  30. Seven Top Turnip
  31. Calabrese Broccoli
  32. Long Island Brussels Sprouts
33. Snowball Cauliflower
34. Bloomsdale Spinach
35. Black Beauty Eggplant
36. Florida Broadleaf Mustard
37. Detroit Dark Red Beets
38. Sweet Spanish Onions
39. Giant Noble Spinach
40. Tall Utah Celery
41. Golden Acre Cabbage
42. Clemson Spineless Okra
43. Morris Heading Collards
44. American Purple Top Rutabaga
45. Gourmet Leaf Lettuce Blend
46. Cherry Bella Radish
47. Argula
48. Organic Hard Red Wheat
49. Organic Alfalfa
50. Organic Flax
51. Amaranth
52. Black Cumin
53. Borage
54. Bouquet Dill
55. Caraway
56. Curled Cress
57. Chia
58. Echinacea
59. Fenugreek
60. Florence Fennel
61. Italian Giant Parsley
62. Italian Large Leaf Basil
63. Leisure Coriander
64. Dutch Corn Salad

12 VARIETY GARDEN Heirloom Seed Package (2 prizes)

The perfect starter pack for your spring garden!

  1. Provider Bush Beans
  2. Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce
  3. Little Marvel Peas
  4. Crimson Giant Radish
  5. Detroit Dark Red Beets
  6. Siberian Kale
7) Yellow Crookneck Squash
8) Early Jalapeno Pepper
9) Golden Acre Cabbage
10) Scarlet Nantes Carrot
11) Ashley Organic Cucumber
12) Beefsteak Tomato












History Of Crème Brulee Tomatoes


By Teo Spengler

You love crème brulee, you’ve gotta love Crème Brulee tomato plants, right? Wrong! The jury is out about this heirloom variety: some gardeners find the taste an intriguing sweet/savory mix, others are disappointed in its mushy consistency and unusual flavor. You’ll have to try it yourself since the gardener’s vote counts most.

History of Crème Brulee Tomatoes

Given crème brulee’s French heritage, you might assume that the history of Crème Brulee tomatoes would begin in La France, but it ain’t so, Joe. These heirloom tomatoes come from Russia and were brought into the country by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Their scientific name is Lycopersicon lycopersicum.

If you aren’t sure what the term “heirloom” means when applied to veggies, you’re not alone. Heirloom started off as a description of a vegetable or plant variety with such excellent characteristics that it was passed down through several generations of a family. All heirloom plants are open pollinated and genetically unique, with an evolved resistance to pests and diseases that other types of vegetables lack.

Unfortunately, some commercial vendors have played fast and loose with the term “heirloom.” You may see it used commercially to mean open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940, or tomato varieties more than 50 years in circulation.

Growing Heirloom Tomatoes

Almost everyone agrees that Crème Brulee heritage tomatoes are attractive. The ripe tomatoes are perfectly round and about the size of a baseball. They are a darkish red color, sometimes caramel colored or rusty red with hints of chocolate or deep green.

These tomatoes take an average amount of time to ripen, and you’ll be able to taste them sometime around 69 to 80 days. The taste is trickier to describe. These heirlooms are sweet, but also have a savory flavor. Some find it less sweet than expected, more like melon sweet than dessert sweet, and the name probably comes from the caramel color, not the taste.

It is an interesting and complex flavor and a beautiful fruit – clearly a tomato variety worth trying.

How To Grow Cress


Emma Cooper is utterly smitten with edible and useful plants, and is never happier than when she’s in the garden, up to her elbows in compost. She’s in the process of building a new garden, and you can follow her progress on her gardening blog, The Unconventional Gardener. Her latest book, Jade Pearls and Alien Eyeballs, is all about unusual edible plants and the people who grow them. It’s available in paperback and Kindle formats from Amazon.

Growing cress is a fun activity for kids, and – if you never did it – a good rite of passage for beginner gardeners, because cress shows you how easy it is to get plants to grow from seed. It used to be an unusual vegetable in that it is eaten at the seedling stage, but these days sprouting and micro-greens are so popular that cress has faded into the background somewhat. But it’s easy to grow, fits on a windowsill and can be grown all year round, so it makes a great crop!

cress seeds Cress seeds are normally sown indoors, on damp tissue paper in a plastic tray. It’s easy to wash and recycle a tray that was used for food packaging, but you can also be more playful and sow cress seeds in eggshells for ‘eggheads’ or any number of small containers. Although the seeds are small, handling them is not an issue – you want to sow them thickly across the tissue paper, so that a small forest of seedlings will spring up. If you want to have cress for your sandwiches and salads every few days, then keep sowing fresh batches of seeds in new containers.

You need to keep the tissue paper moist, as the seedlings will die if they dry out. An easy way to help with this is to put the tray into a sealed plastic bag, but make sure it’s large enough to ensure some air flow, as you don’t want the seedlings to go moldy. Check every day whether you need to add more water, but never leave your seedlings sitting in a puddle, and always use clean water.

Cress seeds germinate quickly, and if you sow your seeds in the morning then it’s not unusual to see the first signs of life by bedtime. Some of the seeds will start to show tiny white roots, and by the next morning there will be green shoots as well.

After a week or so your cress seeds will be 2 inches tall, and ready for harvesting. Cut through the stems with scissors or herb snips when you want to eat it. Try sprinkling cress on whatever you’re having for dinner – it will add some extra vitamins along with a nice, fresh crunch!

Cress can also be grown outdoors, but only during the warmer months, and it will take about 4 weeks to produce a harvest. The main growing period for cress outdoors is between April and July. You won’t need to pay as much attention to watering unless the weather is very hot, but you will need to watch out for slugs and other critters!

Cress has quite a mild flavor, but it can be grown alongside mustard that is hotter and spicy. Mustard grows slightly faster than cress, so if you want to harvest them both at the same time then sow your mustard seeds 3 or 4 days later, and then care for them in the same way.

The type of cress that is grown as micro-greens is often called Garden Cress, but there are other plants called ‘cress’ that you can grow in different ways. Watercress is sometimes found growing wild by rivers and streams; it likes damp, chalky soil. It’s very healthful, with plenty of vitamins and minerals. You can eat the leaves raw, in salads and sandwiches, but also cooked – watercress soup is very popular.

watercress If you buy a bunch of watercress from the market, you can root the stems in a glass of water. Keep the water fresh by changing it every couple of days, and very shortly the stems will start to grow roots. Once they have, you can pot them up into compost. Keep the pot standing in a tray of water to keep it damp. You can keep it indoors, or put it outside – it isn’t killed by frost, but it will lose its leaves in cold weather. Watercress can also be grown from seed.

Land cress (also known as American cress or winter cress) looks and tastes a lot like watercress, but is happy in dry soil and more tolerant of cold weather. Sow seeds in July or August for a winter crop. Harvest leaves a few at a time from each plant, as you need them, and your land cress will last you all winter.

paracress And there’s a very unusual plant called paracress that can be grown from seed. Also known as the eyeball or peek-a-boo plant, this one grows yellow and red flowers that look like glowing monster eyes! It’s also called the toothache plant, as chewing the leaves makes your mouth go a bit numb. Their flavor is quite strong, and you wouldn’t want too many in one go, but most people grow paracress for the flowers. These ‘electric daisies’ are fizzy! It’s an interesting sensation, and a fun plant to try, a bit like growing your own pop rocks.

So that’s how cress can take you on a gardening journey, from sowing your first seeds, through to keeping a vegetable garden going through the winter, and on to unusual and fascinating edible plants. Have you tried it?



Tweet and #WinWithGKH: Baron Fig Confidant & Vanguard Notebook

Keeping a garden journal is a fun and fulfilling activity.  A garden journal gives you a written record of your garden layouts, plans, successes and failures, and you’ll learn about your plants and soil as you go. For vegetable gardeners, an important function of the journal is tracking crop rotation. Your garden layout sketches serve as a valuable planning aid from year to year.

For this week’s Twitter giveaway (September 27 – 29) you have the fabulous opportunity to win a notebook from Baron Fig to document your garden trials and tribulations in!  The first prize winner will be awarded a light gray hardcover Confidant with a ruled paper format.  With 192 pages, the Confidant is the book for ideas – many ideas!  The simple and beautiful Confidant lies completely flat giving you maximum paper real estate!   The runner-up will receive a light gray softcover Vanguard with a ruled paper format.  The Vanguard was designed for greatness. Twist it, bend it, beat it up. The Vanguard can handle whatever you throw at it.  Find out more about these great notebooks by visiting and receive 10% off everything in your shopping cart using promotional code “GoGarden!”  Also – be sure to connect with Baron Fig on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


Here’s how to enter the giveaway:

Step 1: Follow @GardenKnowHow on Twitter

Step 2: Tweet this message:

Track your @gardenknowhow in a @BaronFig notebook!  Enter to win a Confidant or Vanguard notebook! #WinWithGKH

Note: One entry per person/email address/Twitter handle.

Step 3: The giveaway ends 11:59 p.m. EST on September 29, 2016. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants and will be notified on Twitter via a Direct Message. Keep in mind, this giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. See rules for more information.

Good luck and happy gardening!
















Featured Scavenger Hunt: Eucalyptus houseplant


Join Gardening Know How on a scavenger hunt! All you need is a camera and this handy list of scavenger hunt items to choose from. Enter as many open scavenger hunts on the list as you wish. Each scavenger hunt on the list is active and accepting submissions unless marked as ‘CLOSED’. It is at the discretion of Gardening Know How to mark a Scavenger Hunt Item as ‘Closed’ once they have received a photo that, in their judgment, best meets the criteria for that item and meets a standard of quality suitable for web publication. The list will be continually updated with new scavenger hunt items to seek, so keep checking back!

Every week we will be featuring one scavenger hunt from the list on our blog. This week’s featured scavenger hunt is for a ‘Eucalyptus houseplant’, which will be featured on our article on ‘Eucalyptus Houseplant: How To Grow Eucalyptus In A Container’! Once you have set your sights on a Eucalyptus houseplant, photograph it and share it with us hash-tagged #GKHpichunt via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram! If you do not participate in social media networks, you may also e-mail the photo to with the subject line “Scavenger Hunt”. All submitted photos will be featured in our Facebook ‘Scavenger Hunt Contest Submissions” photo album.

The photographer ultimately chosen in each scavenger hunt category will receive a $25 gift certificate to one of the following five seed retailers of their choice: Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, Burpee, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Jung Seed or Seed Savers Exchange! In addition, the chosen photos will be featured, and credited, in an upcoming article on the Gardening Know How website!


  • Photo submissions must be original and the submitting photographer must hold all rights to the work. Originality of photos will be verified by Gardening Know How.
  • Photographers must have explicit permission from any people whose faces are recognizable in their photographs.
  • Multiple photo submissions are allowed provided each photo is unique.
  • Photographers retain copyright in their submitted work.


Apollo Tools 7 Piece Gardeners Tool Kit Giveaway


APOLLO-red logo

For this week’s FABULOUS giveaway (Monday 9/26 through Wednesday 9/28) we are giving ONE LUCKY WINNER a 7 Piece Gardeners Tool Kit from Apollo Tools!  This gardening tools best-seller makes gardening more comfortable by providing you with the right tools for every task.  Includes: 12″ narrow trowel, 12″ trowel , 12″ rake, 16″ x 8″ knee pad, 8″ pruning shears, apron, and gloves.  The apron protects your clothing while keeping your tools together. The hand tools are comfortable and great for digging, planting bulbs, weeding and pruning.  The pink color makes it easy to spot mislaid tools in your garden.

To enter, just leave your answer to the question: “How much time do you have to devote to gardening?” on the comments section of our Facebook Apollo Tools Gardeners Tool Kit giveaway post anytime from Monday September 26 through midnight Wednesday September 28 as well as share the Facebook giveaway post on your timeline.   The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified through Facebook. (See rules for more information.)

Be sure to check out Apollo Tools at, ‘like’ them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Pinterest!

Good luck and happy gardening!






Manito Park Botanical Gardens and Conservatory


On a recent visit to see family in Spokane, Washington, we indulged ourselves with a trip to our favorite park. This is Manito Public Park and botanical gardens, a 90-acre extravaganza of five individual botanical gardens and a score of recreational pursuits. The park was named in 1903 and was a hubbub of social and recreational activities, including a zoo in its earliest years. While the zoo is a thing of the past, the original conservatory, rose gardens, perennial gardens, formal Duncan garden, Lilac garden (to rival any), and the more recent Japanese garden are all open to the public for FREE.

The park is home to tennis courts, a scenic loop with a historic stone bridge, cafe located in the original 1923 “peanut shack,” duck pond, picnic shelters and playgrounds, but it is the manicured gardens that are my favorite feature. The impeccable Duncan garden is a formal garden built in 1912 by John Duncan. It was originally called the “Sunken Garden” because much of the soil was hauled out of the area to build gardens in the city’s parks, leaving quite a depression. The garden hosts a central water feature and a geometric planting scheme. This 3-acre garden is also graced with deeply green lawns that provide contrast to the seasonal colored beds. Strolling through the garden is pleasurable, but the full breathtaking impact can be viewed at the top of the stairs near the conservatory.

The conservatory houses plant specimens from around the world with a large tropical area and succulent display as some of its more impactful features. It is open daily except for certain holidays with winter hours considerably shorter. The original conservatory was built in 1912 but was replaced by aluminum supports and greenhouses in 1974, although the original stone facing remains on the back side of the buildings. The dome was redesigned and built in 1988 and named after a local park patron, Dr. David Gaiser. Gaiser conservatory is toasty warm in winter and just the place to go to chase away winter blues.

The nearby perennial garden is a riot of color and movement in spring and summer. John Duncan was again the designer, but the park was named after a one time board member, Joel E. Ferris. There are over 300 plant species and it is a favorite viewing spot for butterflies. Across the street is Rose Hill. This was originally established in the 1940’s, although John Duncan was the instigator of the idea. It boasts an attractive pergola, sundial and gazebo among the over 150 varieties of floribunda, tea roses, grandiflora, and miniature roses.

Spokane is known as the Lilac City and it has its own representation of this in the Lilac gardens, which house over 100 named cultivars. Most of the cultivars were originally brought from Rochester, New York, but Spokane homes and parks are graced by many wild and native species. We, again, have John Duncan to thank for the original species though the Spokane Lilac Society is heavily involved today with funding and selection.

The newest garden in the park is the Nishinomiya-Tsutakawa Japanese garden. It took over 12 years of planning, which became a reality in 1974. Nishinomiya is Spokane’s sister city and the peaceful layout is supposed to represent that relationship. The garden has a large pond with an arching bridge over the center and charming begging koi throughout the blue green water. Large boulders accent the sweeping plantings and graceful trees. Sadly, no photography is allowed in the garden, but it is worth taking some mental pictures of the arrangements and housing these away for future moments of tranquility.

Manito was once named Montrose Park, but the name was changed in 1904. Manito means “a supernatural force that pervades nature.” It is a place of deeply diverse plant life and calming natural influences perfect for a stroll, drive, picnic or any type of day excursion. If you ever get the chance, Manito’s gardens are a destination worth some travel.

Top 10 Easy to Grow Fruits


By Amy Grant

Even if you don’t have the greenest of thumbs, there are at least ten easy-to-grow fruits that you can incorporate in your landscape. “Easy to grow” doesn’t mean that you can completely ignore the plants, but it does mean they will require limited maintenance. Remember, all fruiting plants need to be planted in well-draining, nutrient rich soil in an area with lots of sun. You may have to prune them, spray them with fungicide, fertilize them and, at the very least, water them; but the following fruiting plants are fairly low key options for the novice gardener. So, without further ado and channeling David Letterman, the top 10 easiest fruits to grow are:

1. Strawberries – Summer just isn’t summer without strawberry shortcake. The great news is that strawberries are so easy to grow you can have a freshly harvested supply on hand. They can be grown in containers or even hanging baskets and, of course, thrive planted directly into the garden.

2. Blueberries – Once the strawberries have all been harvested, it’s time to harvest the blueberries, which will be ready late July to August. Their only caveat is that they like acidic soil, but other than that, blueberries are low maintenance and will fruit prolifically after about 3 years.

3. Raspberries – After you’ve harvested all the blueberries, autumn fruiting raspberries will be ripe for the pickin.’ Raspberries are also prolific fruiters and easy to maintain; just prune back the canes to ground level in February.

4. Figs – I always think of figs as slightly exotic, but you can actually grow your own very easily in a number of USDA zones. They are Mediterranean in origin, so they do like the heat. Situate them against a hot, sunny southwest facing wall. Figs actually thrive with very little root space, so they make terrific container plants. The fruit forms in the fall and is ready the succeeding summer, but the succulent figs are worth the wait!

5. RhubarbRhubarb is super easy to grow and will thrive even in cold growing conditions. They enjoy sun to partial sun and fertile soil. Once the plant is established, you can almost ignore it unless you get virtually no rain, in which case you will need to water it. Otherwise, it will reliably provide you with delicious red stems for years to come.

6. Apples – There are so many types of apple trees, there is bound to be one that is suited to your garden. They can even be grown in containers and there is even a dwarf variety (Family Apple) that will bear three different varieties of apple from the same tree! How cool is that?

7. BlackberriesBlackberries are very easy to grow, and in some cases, too easy as they tend to pop up unbidden in some climates. However, they bear the most succulent fruit and provided you don’t mind their ranging habit, will provide you with loads of fruit. There are even thornless varieties, which makes picking the fruit less painful.

8. Honeyberries – A less common fruit, honeyberries are loaded with antioxidants. The berries are akin to blueberries and can be eaten fresh straight off the bush. These adaptable plants need little attention. If you have the space, grow honeyberry in pairs to increase their yield.

9. Goji berries – Another “newer” berry is the goji berry, currently making news as a ‘superfood.’ With a sweet anise flavor, these berries are a nutrient rich addition to your diet and the shrub is incredibly resilient even in windy, coastal regions.

10. Currants – Whether red, black or white, currants are versatile fruits that are great for preserves, sauces or desserts. They can also be container grown for those with limited space.

Depending upon your growing zone, other fruiting plants may be just as easy to grow. You can’t go wrong with native fruiting plants. These have adapted to their climate and are most disease and pest resistant and generally require very little attention.

Safer Brand Organic Insecticide Giveaway



For this weekend’s FABULOUS giveaway (Friday 9/23 through Sunday 9/25),  Safer® Brand is giving ONE WINNER an arsenal of organic insecticides to keep those insects at bay in the garden!  This prize package contains Safer® Brand 3-in-1 Garden Spray RTU 32 oz, Safer® Brand End all With Neem Oil RTU 32 oz and Safer® Brand Tomato & Vegetable Insect Killer RTU 32 oz.

To enter, just leave your answer to the question: “Why do you support organic gardening?” on the comments section of our Facebook Safer® Brand giveaway post anytime from Friday September 23 through midnight Sunday September 25 as well as share the Facebook giveaway post on your timeline. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified through Facebook. (See Rules for more information.)

For more information on Safer® Brand products, please visit their website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Google+!  To receive Safer® Brand discounts via e-mail, subscribe to their monthly enewsletter.

Good luck and happy gardening!




Zatta Melon Info And History


By Liz Baessler

Ah, melons. They can be tricky in short growing seasons, and the vines can get a little longer than you expected when you first set out, but it’s all worth it when you cut open that first fruit. That sweet aroma. That sticky juice. Grow the right variety, and it’s like candy straight out of your garden. One such variety is the Zatta melon.

History of Zatta Melons

Heirloom Zatta melons originate in Italy. They appear in still life paintings from as long ago as the early 17th century. How do we know it’s these particular melons? Well, the Zatta has a…distinctive look. Okay, it’s a straight-up ugly look.

With thick skin that’s warty and bumpy and deeply cleft, the Italians genuinely call it “Brutto ma Buono,” which translates to “Ugly but Good.” And it is good! Cut through that nasty exterior and you’re met with an inviting, strikingly orange flesh that’s intensely fragrant and sweet.

It’s this rich payoff that has ensured the Zatta melon a popular spot throughout history. Not only were the Old Masters painting them – it’s believed that Thomas Jefferson was growing them, though he called them “Cantaloupe Massa,” according to Zatta melon info out there.

Growing Heirloom Melons

Like all melons, heirloom Zatta melons should be started early in the season. It’s a tricky germinator and a little slow to start, but once it gets going it performs well. Plant a few seeds for every viable plant you hope to have.

It should take 80-90 days from sprouting to mature melons. The vines may grow to as long as twelve feet (3.6 m.), and the fruits may weigh as much as 4 pounds (1.8 kg.). When the melons are ready to pick, their skin will develop yellow patches and they will slip easily from the vine.

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