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2017 Vegetable List

We look for durable vegetable varieties that are tolerant to our Lancaster County area, and we also love vegetables with great yields and flavor. Our stock is carefully chosen for the backyard and urban gardener, the canner, and of course, your mother's favorites. March brings out the cold tolerant vegetables. The early summer vegetables will be available in April. Ask our employees for a recommendation suited to your garden's needs. Click here: 2017 Complete Vegetable List  to view our complete vegetable list for 2017. Please follow the guide at the top to see what is new, which is a space saver, and which are the heirloom varieties. Happy planting! - Ken's  

Ken’s Library

  Top Ten Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardens: Seeing Your Way Out of the Dark   Ken's Library This post features one of our favorite books written by Kerry Ann Mendez. At Ken’s Gardens, in Ronks, our library is a small book collection available to customers while shopping. Feel free to sit at our table and browse through the pages or roam the store to look for new plants. Please, return all books and magazines before checking out. Thank you! Remember; read a book, plant a tree.     Back Cover Excerpt “..provides proven strategies for growing gorgeous, low-maintenance perennial gardens in shade. It is written from a do-it-yourself, roll-up-you-sleeves and tell it straight, gardener’s point of view.” Our Seedy Thoughts Working at Ken’s Gardens I often see confused looks on a customer’s face. It’s no secret. No matter how hard you try, gardeners often look lost and helpless while browsing for shade perennials. Shade spots are tricky and this book will help! There are 52 lists for every gardener with even the smallest ounce of shade. Big or small, your approach to shade gardening will be confident and well informed. Your Way Out of the Dark is must have for ALL home gardeners living in Lancaster County and the surrounding areas. The book covers climate zones 3 – zone 7. (Click here to find out if this book is for your growing location.) Each list has 10 plant suggestions. Suggestions are mentioned for all seasons; spring, summer, fall, and winter. It even has a list for “challenging sites” like dry shade or moist shade. Most of the book is formatted with lists of plant, detailed descriptions, and multiple variety suggestions. There are

The Buzz on Pollinators

      Pollinators are your garden’s best friend! Pollinator insects are key to the environment, they ensure the production of seeds for flowering plants as well as producing 1/3 of the food that we eat.  The decline of pollinators is an ongoing problem for the environment, so at Ken’s Gardens we decided to “bee” proactive! Both of our main locations, Intercourse and Smoketown, have a honey bee hive on site.  Smoketown had a beehive last year, and it was so successful for both the plants and the bees that we added one to the Intercourse location for this year! What is the best part of our bees? They will leave you alone! The only time to use caution is on a breezy day where they might get caught in your hair. We comfortably work right next to the hive, but wearing a hat is the best way to prevent stings. Bees are always welcome in our vegetable garden!       Smoketown’s beehive is located directly next to the trial vegetable garden beds. Our vegetable garden yields are indeed higher because of the beehive! The Smoketown hive has currently 50,000 to 60,000 bees and has produced 120 pounds of honey this season so far. The Intercourse beehive is located in the perennial growing area, which is off limits to customers since the hive is still growing.  If you have visited either store, you wouldn’t be surprised to see our honey bees filling their bellies with pollen and nectar in our perennial yards and in with the annuals. We have made it our mission to minimize any spraying of chemical insecticides on our plants to ensure our bees safety.  Smoketown's Beehive Ronk's Beehive

CLOSED July 4th

The Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain, regarded themselves as thirteen newly independent sovereign states, and no longer under British rule. Instead they formed a new nation—the United States of America.

Organic Gardening with Ken’s Gardens

“Do you have any organic flowers, vegetable, or herb plants available?” We are often asked this question here at Ken’s Gardens, and we wanted to tell you about our practices. While we are not a certified organic grower here at Ken’s Gardens, we do our best to offer organic compliant solutions for our customers. Vegetable and Herb Gardening: Although we are not OMRI certified, we use many organic methods to ensure that our vegetables and herbs are healthy, vibrant, and free of chemical pesticides. We start with all GMO free seeds. Some, but not all, are from organic seed sources. We blend our own potting mix which includes either compost or organic fertilizers to provide biological activity in the soil that is critical to the long term success of your plants. We use a combination of conventional and organic fertilizers depending upon the nutrient requirements of each type of plant. By keeping our growing areas clean and plants healthy, we are able to minimize the use of any pesticides. However, when necessary, we use only organic solutions for our vegetable and herb plants. We grow herbs and vegetables the way we would want them for our own gardens, which by the way, is where some of them end up every year. If you are looking for organic seeds, non-GMO seeds, or untreated seeds – don’t worry! We have those too! We offer Lake Valley Seeds, some of which are certified organic, and all of their seeds are untreated and non-GMO. All of Rohrer’s vegetable and flower seeds are non-GMO, as well as all of Crosman’s Seeds are non-GMO. Soil, Fertilizer, and Treatments: This is where Ken’s Gardens really comes through with giving you the most

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Square Foot Gardening

Spring means planting season in Central Pennsylvania and it’s a time of year when the ground awakens and locals dream of beautiful gardens filled with color and hearty vegetables. Farmers are out walking the fields and gardeners grow restless with anticipation of the coming season. Whether our customers come in by engine or buggy, everyone is asking the same big question- “What can I plant now?“ The spring season in Lancaster County is often difficult to decipher. Days in March awaken to a frost and thaw out to an average of 55°F. Our evenings tend to drop down below 40 and often land in the 30’s. For that reason, frost is a concern in the horticulture world and can be fatal to freshly planted seedlings that are not protected from these extreme temperature ranges. Plants that are not cold tolerant will show signs of stress and may experience irreparable harm. Luckily, the natural world is a beautiful and tolerant place that offers hardy plants the ability to adapt and grow in even the most unpredictable days of spring. So come to Ken’s Gardens and fill the wagon with an assortment of cold tolerant plants waiting to feel the touch of morning sunshine. Ken’s Gardens has cold tolerant seedlings on the self and currently recommends the following cold tolerant vegetables: Broccoli Cabbage Cauliflower Carrot Hardy Herbs Lettuce Mustards Onions Peas Radish Swiss chard Our complete vegetable inventory for 2016 can be found here.   However, not all seedling varieties are on the shelves. Mid-April will bring the release of our entire Tomato collection and May will start the beginning of our early summer vegetables. We greatly appreciate your patience as we grow from seed to seedling.

Easter Resurrection Garden Tutorial

Hi there! Easter Sunday is coming up, and we have made some Easter Resurrection Gardens to honor the holiday. An Easter resurrection garden is a symbol of Jesus rising from his tomb. They portray the scene that Mary Magdalene saw, a tomb with a stone to be rolled away on Easter Sunday. Resurrection gardens are typically made with rye grass, or can be made more decorative with preserved moss and violas. Here we will be showing you how we make both types resurrection gardens. Start with your container, I love how terra cotta bowls and saucers look for these. A deeper bowl is great for a viola type garden, while a saucer works well for the grass type gardens. You can always combine grass and violas with moss, but go with the deeper dish.   Materials: twigs florist wire or jute twine (to create the crosses) small terra cotta pot large river rock pebbles the ground cover and plants of your choice       If your container has a drainage hole at the bottom, you will want to cover it up so that no dirt or water leaks through. Newspaper, cardboard, and duct tape all work well to prevent anything from falling out. (Optional: lay an inch of gravel at the bottom to help with drainage before adding soil.)   Next, fill your container with soil nearly to the top. Set the terra cotta pot into the soil on an angle to have it look like a tomb like so: Add some more soil to cover the end of the small terra cotta pot. Next add your moss or seed. If you are adding seed, rye grass takes 7 days to grow (the fastest

2016 Vegetable Inventory

Here is an inventory of all our vegetables for 2016. Crossed out  signifies vegetables we no longer carry. [highlight color="eg. yellow, black"]Highlighted[/highlight] vegetables are new for the 2016 year. We look for durable varieties tolerant to our Lancaster County area and love vegetables with good yields and flavor. Our stock is chosen for the backyard and urban gardener, the canner, and of course your mother's favorites. March brings out the cold tolerant vegetables. The early summer vegetables will be available in April. Ask our employees for a recommendation suited to your garden's needs.    

All About Field Pansies!

The History and Tradition Behind Field Pansies What are field pansies? They are the same pansy seed that we use for our pansies in packs, just grown out in the field compared to being grown in a greenhouse. The growing cycle for a field pansy begins quite a long time before they are ready to be sold! Timeline We seed field pansies in the summer, where they get their start in the greenhouses. Following the first frost and right before transplant, the field pansy beds are steamed. This is a tried and true method that has been done for well over a hundred years. Steaming the field pansy beds allows a chemical free method to kill weed seeds and fungus in the beds. The steam is at a certain temperature that kills undesirable soil pests but does not kill the beneficial microbes. Around mid-October the pansies’ bare root plugs are ready to be transplanted into the field hotbeds. Once in the field, they will grow all winter under glass sashes. The sashes protect the pansies as well as trapping heat and moisture, ideal growing conditions for pansies! This field method of growing gives the pansies a better formed root system, as well as making them hardier against the cold. The field pansies have bloomed by mid-winter and are ready to be dug out once the ground has thawed enough. Tradition So why does Ken’s Gardens invest so much time and labor into field pansies? Tradition! Pansies were always traditionally grown in fields. Our Smoketown location has been growing field pansies for over 100 years, as both Glick’s Plant Farms and as Ken’s Gardens (all in the same family). We really love that our customers can