Fall Gardening Classes – Registration is now open

UPDATE~ All sections of our Fall Gardening Classes are currently full. If you would like to be placed on a waitlist, please email Stacy@KatiesKrops.com.

We are excited to offer fall gardening classes in our flagship garden for adults and children! Learn how to grow healthy fresh vegetables at your home. We will provide the instruction and supplies needed to get started. These classes are open to families new to Katie’s Krops who have not previously taken a gardening class with us. This class will be provided free of charge due to generous community support. Spaces are limited, and you must register to attend. The Summerville location and details will be shared when you register for a class.

These introductory classes will focus on how to start your vegetable garden planning for the fall. We will cover how to decide where to grow your garden, layout your garden, different materials you can use for your garden build, choose the right vegetables for fall/winter planting, and take care of your garden. This class will be a fundamental overview.

Adult Classes~

Class #1 ~ Wednesday, September 7th – 6 pm

To sign up, please follow this link- https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-fall1

Class #2 ~ Thursday, September 15th – 6 pm

To sign up, please follow this link- https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-november4

Kid Class~

Class #3 ~ September 13th – 10:00 am to 11:30 am

To sign up, please follow this link- https://www.signupgenius.com/go/409054DA5AE29A6FE3-starting

  • While we love our gardening friends of all ages, attendance for this class is limited to registered children (K-5th grade) and a caregiver (attendance required).

Please note: Our classroom area is 100% outdoors and weather-dependent classes. Therefore, we ask that everyone bring water and wear closed-toe shoes (i.e., sneakers/tennis shoes) for their safety. 

Watering Your Garden in the Summer Heat

Our Master Gardener, Lisa, shares important tips for watering your garden in the summer heat. With the heat wave we are experiencing right now and throughout the rest of summer, keeping an eye on our gardens is very important.  The extreme heat will cause plant stress.  The big thing to remember is to resist the urge to overwater because that could introduce other problems to your vegetable garden.  Look to your plants for obvious signs if they are in need of additional water, one being extreme wilting and not recovering from it by morning.

If your plants are well-established, they will definitely be more robust.  Their leaf canopy will help to shade the soil, and, if needed, you can also spread mulch to help keep the soil cooler.  If you decide to use mulch, please remember to keep it a few inches away from the base of the plant so the water will be able to directly reach the roots of the plant. 

To also help in conserving water, make sure you are watering at the soil line at the base of each plant.  This watering style ensures that the plants are receiving the water directly, that you are watering more effectively, and that the leaf canopy is not blocking the water (which can occur if watering overhead).

The main rule of thumb for watering vegetable gardens is simple:  vegetables need an inch of water per week in the summertime, whether it’s provided by you or Mother Nature. (Use a rain gauge to help determine the amount of rain you have received each week). This converts roughly to six gallons per square yard per week.  This inch of water will wet the root zone to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.

Grow In The Best Soil While Helping Us End Hunger

If you have volunteered in our garden when we are amending our garden beds, you will know how much we love the BigYellowBags of soil3 compost. Our production has increased dramatically with the use of the BigYellowBags. We are so excited to partner with our friends Soil3 to bring our supporters a discount while at the same time supporting our efforts!

Soil³ Compost in BigYellowBags is on sale for $30 off through the end of February! But . . . we have an exclusive code to get you an extra $5 off. That’s $35 off every bag! Plus, Katie’s Krops earns money for every bag sold with our code.

Be sure to use code KatiesKrops2022 when you order online https://shop.soil3.com/discount/KatiesKrops2022

Delivery is included!

Soil3 is OMRI Listed for certified organic gardening.

Soil3 provides enough nutrients for season-long growing. No need to apply additional fertilizer.

Another great factor is the ability of Soil3 to retain moisture in sandy soils. With four times the water retention of regular soil, drought and water restrictions will not be as damaging to gardens or lawns.

The Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program~ Sign up today & help inspire the next generation of gardeners

When I was in the third-grade a tiny cabbage seedling forever transformed my life and sent me on the most remarkable path. That cabbage seedling was a part of the Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program, a free program designed to inspire the next generation of gardeners. And inspire it did!

I am excited to share The Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program is relaunching in 2021. I would personally like to invite third-grade teachers and parents across the country to sign up! It is a hands-on science lesson, students will learn about backyard ecology and plant life cycles by growing colossal cabbages and reaping hefty harvests. Students also vie for “Best in State” bragging rights — with a $1,000 scholarship awarded to one student in each participating state and perhaps be a life-changing moment for a third grader as it was for me.

Bonnie Plants has designed the 3rd Grade Cabbage program with COVID-19 safety in mind. With the added stress of learning during the pandemic – getting outside to connect with gardening is more important than ever for the physical and mental well-being of students.

Participating in the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program is completely free! Simply click on the link below to register your class or student by March 1st, 2021. The cabbages will be delivered by mail during your selected shipping window. After you’ve signed up, Bonnie Plants will follow up with instructions just in time for planting, growing, and harvesting, and a ton of other useful resources to help students learn and succeed along the way. For more information, visit: www.bonniecabbageprogram.com

Happy Growing,


9 Ways to Keep Critters Out of Your Garden

9 Ways to Keep Critters Out of Your Garden

A guest post from our sponsor –Park Seed

Few hobbies are quite as rewarding as growing a vegetable garden. From seed, you’re able to create colorful, delicious specimens—the pride of your kitchen! And, after all the babying, watering, and elbow grease you’ve put in throughout the season, nothing’s worse than watching critters munch on your home-grown fruits and veggies. Rather than the perfect and prize-winning, you’re left with the damaged, bruised, and half-eaten. Luckily, there are a few tried-and-true methods for keeping critters out, and we’re here to share some.

  1. Figure Out Who’s Munching What – Your veggie garden is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for rabbits, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, and insects, the fruits and leaves providing them with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But that information isn’t enough for you to formulate an effective keep-out plan. You have to know exactly who’s eating what.
    • This guide from the University of Massachusetts Amherst can help you figure out what kind of animals are gorging on your garden and why. Once you know for sure, you can tailor your strategy to the specific interloper.
  2. Build a Fence – If you’ve got a Peter Rabbit in your midst, you’re going to have to get creative like Mr. McGregor. A small fence around the garden is the perfect way to keep Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter from snacking on your veggies, but it’s probably not the best option for keeping out larger critters like deer, who are known to hop as high as 8 feet. Bunnies jump, too, of course, but most aren’t able to get any higher than 3 feet.
    • Choose a fence that offers both a visual and physical block so that animals can’t see what’s in the garden and won’t be tempted to break in.
  3. Plant Insect-Repellant Plants – Did you know that mint is a natural insect repellent? And, since it’s pretty darn easy to grow (and also tastes delicious in your summery cocktails), there’s no reason not to plant it all over the garden, as long as you keep its roots contained in a pot so it doesn’t spread—and it will. Using mint as an insect repellent is an especially useful approach if you’ve noticed damage from creepy crawlers and fliers, but it won’t do much for keeping out the fuzzy critters in the yard. Other insect-repelling plants include marigolds, mums, basil, lavender, and petunias.
  4. Use a Rabbit and Deer Repellent – There are tons of garden pest control products you can try, but some of the best are deer and rabbit repellents. For keeping out deer, choose a product that contains dried porcine and bovine blood—these ingredients repel browsing deer and keep them away before they can start to snack on your plants. Rabbits and other critters can also be repelled by products that contain concentrated garlic compounds and other odors that scare them away.
  5. Protect Plants with a Plastic Tunnel – Not everyone can have an expansive, animal-proof greenhouse for safeguarding their fragile plants, but net and plastic tunnels can provide similar effects to shield plants from weather and critters. You simply unfold the telescoping tunnel over your veggies and flowers, and they’ll instantly be protected from any nibbling nuisances. Pick a durable option made from high-density polypropylene mesh so you can use it next year, too.
  6. Plant in Raised Beds – One of the main benefits of growing your plants in raised beds is that they help prevent weeds from taking over your garden, and weeds are big sources of nutrients for many garden pests. Raise beds can also keep soil-level visitors, especially slugs and snails, from taking up residency in your garden.
    • They are also great platforms for wire fences to directly block access from deer and other creatures. If you like a more tailored and neat aesthetic or prefer to maintain some grass, raised beds are perfect for capturing that look, too!
  7. Scare Them Off – Scarecrows may be more novelty than practical in this day and age, hung up as fall décor rather than a summer decoy, but there are plenty of scare tactics you can use to keep animals out. For example, owl scarecrows—that’s what those plastic owl decoys are actually called—can be useful at deterring birds and small critters from entering your yard and eating your plants. For bigger (and hungrier) pest control, you may want to consider investing in a coyote replica, which may be able to scare away super-pesky geese and bunnies.
  8. Make Your Garden Diverse – Diversity seems like it would attract more critters, broadening the buffet so it appeals to the whole backyard animal kingdom. In reality, though, having a wide variety of plants in each corner of your garden can trick them into thinking there isn’t a lot of value in your yard. Having a large area of appetizing plants signals to animals that there’s an abundance of food available to them, and they’ll come back often and tell their friends, too. Achieve biodiversity in your garden by planting lots of flowers, herbs, vegetables, fruits, and greens.
  9. Welcome Your Garden’s Protectors – Did you know that there are several wild animals that can help protect your garden from critters? Yep, the animal kingdom and biological hierarchy of your landscape naturally keeps the system in check.

Bats munch on tons of bugs that can feast on your plants, while birds of prey like owls and hawks survive on mice, shrews, voles, and other little critters that interlope in your garden. Encourage these predators to safeguard your plants by peppering your landscape with birdhouses and bat houses.

A Labor of Love

While pest control is most certainly a pain, it’s a reminder that we share the natural environment with lots of different species, and that’s a pretty good sign that our ecosystem is thriving! Using a few eco-friendly, safe, and proven garden pest control methods can definitely help you enjoy your garden—and the fruits of your labor—to its fullest.


Garden Tips from Madi

Madi has been one of our most successful Katie’s Krops Growers. Her accomplishments in and out of the garden have been numerous. We asked Madi to share her tips for being a successful grower and we are thrilled to share those tips with you.

My name is Madi and I was the 2015 Katie’s Krops Grower of the Year and the 2016 Katie’s Krops Top Grower. This is my fifth year growing with Katie’s Krops and it has been an amazing experience. I donate my crops to family friends going through rough times, MANNA Foodbank at my Grandma’s church, and I sell some crops for donations. All of the donations I receive go to Broyhill Baptist Children’s Home in Clyde, North Carolina. Since I started Katie’s Krops in 2013, I have grown a total of 12,344.15 pounds of produce. Here are my four main tips for growing a successful Katie’s Krops Garden

  1. Prayer — Especially if you’re a Christian, pray about your garden. God can help you through anything if it is in His will. He has definitely blessed my garden beyond what I had ever imagined. Even my first year of growing: I grew 510 pounds! I was astounded and that number just kept on going up and up. My faith has been my main asset through the good and the rough times in my garden. I am so happy to be able to help so many people through my garden.
  2. Experimenting — Try new things! See what works for you in your climate and what doesn’t. For example, I don’t have much luck with watermelon and pumpkins. The humid summers we get here in Western North Carolina rot the bottoms before they are ready to harvest. Cabbage and beans grow really well here though! The new things you try don’t just have to be the crops you are growing, it can also be techniques. I like to have raised beds in my garden for some small things like carrots, radishes, and romaine lettuce. The ones my Grandpa built for me lasted about three years before rotting, so this year we tried the hay bale raised beds we saw online. There was a lot of rain and the hay held that in almost too well. It got kind of soggy and flopped over. Who knows, it could work for one of you though!
  3. Crop Rotation — Don’t plant things like tomatoes in the same place consecutive years in a row. The plants will use up all the nutrients in the soil. You can use cover crops like soybeans in the winter to replenish the nutrients or you can trade out what plants go where every year. Or you can do a little bit of both like me! It doesn’t mean you can’t plant the same thing there ever again, just change it up every once in a while. It will be good for the soil and your plants.
  4. Gain Understanding — Research the plants you have. See how to grow them best, if they typically work well in your area etc. Know about what you are planting. Know the benefits and the risks. You will probably have problems with weeds, bugs, and maybe even some animals like groundhogs and deer. Understanding how to deal with those in a healthy and harmless way is one of the best things you can do for your garden. Lastly, look in the almanac if you have access to one. My Grandparents share part of my garden and they help me in mine. They use an almanac and it is very helpful. We know the best times to plant everything each season. Knowing about what you’re growing can really help.

Raising Sweet Potatoes from Slips

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You can follow these instructions to successfully start your own sweet potatoes at home.  There are two ways to start them.  Here is the first and the only method I have tried.

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1) Poke three toothpicks into the sweet potato to hold it in a container.  We used sweet potatoes we had stored over the winter.

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2) Place the sweet potato into a jar or container of water with a narrow top and place it near a sunny window.  It should look like the picture on the left.

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3) After the roots form, you will probably need to add some more water, and then the slips will start to form.

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4) Remove the slips off the sweet potato and plant them in wet potting soil.   Keep them watered very well.  Over a period of time, they will root out.

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5) You are now able to transplant them out doors after the danger of frost is over and watch them grow!

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6) Just before the first frost is the best time to harvest sweet potatoes.


Method 2, which I have never personally tried, is to take the sweet potato and bury half of it in dirt. If left in an area with sun, it will sprout and you would follow the same procedure described above.


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Josiah’s Tips:

• I would use black plastic versus fabric just from my experience with the fabric.

• If you use any plastic or fabric, it will attract mice.

• I recommend using the sweet potato variety Beauregard.

Happy Growing! Josiah

Our Top Tomato Tips

Our Top Tomato Tips

For our Spring and Summer crops, tomatoes are always favorite to grow in our Katie’s Krops’ gardens. Below, you will find great tips that will help you have a sucessful growing season in your garden.

Tomato Basics

  • Soil should be well drained, high in organic matter, and have an optimum soil pH of 6.2 to 6.5.
  • Planting times for Spring are March 25 – April 10 and for Fall are July 25 – 30. Optimum temperatures for planting are 70-80° F during the day and 60-70° F during the night.
  • Tomato plants need 1-1.5 gallons per day, which is the equivalent of 1-1.5 inches of rain per week. Adequate moisture aids in the nutrient uptake of the plant. Soils rich in organic matter hold more water than soils that have not been amended.
  • When fertilizing, apply Nitrogen monthly, because the plant uses it to make new foliage and fruit. When selecting a tomato plant, choose disease resistant varieties and purchase healthy transplants. If starting tomato plants from seed, use the recommended practices to avoid spindly growth and diseased seedlings.

There are two types of tomato plants – determinate and indeterminate.

  • Determinate tomato plants grow, flower, set fruit, and die early in the season.
  • Indeterminate tomato plants grow, flower, and produce fruit over a longer period. Most heirlooms are indeterminate. Indeterminate tomatoes must be staked and pruned.

Four amazing reasons to prune and stake your tomato plants.

  • It will maximize the photosynthesis efficiency of the plant.
  • It reduces disease.
  • It redirects carbohydrates to the fruit and away from the foliage of the plant.
  • Staking leads to earlier and larger fruiting. On indeterminate plants, staking will yield fruit 2-3 weeks earlier.

All of the above information is provided by the South Carolina Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service. For additional information on tomatoes, please visit the HGIC 1323 Tomato fact sheet at the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service Home and Garden Information Center website at:   http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/crops/hgic1323.html.

Embrace the Fall Season

The mission at Katie’s Krops is to feed as many people as necessary, but that mission cannot end when the summer tomatoes stop producing fruits. The families we help still need healthy meals after the summer harvest is over. Many people overlook the possibility of fall gardening but at Katie’s Krops we embrace the fall season!

When planning a fall garden there are several things to remember.

– Broccoli, Cabbage, lettuce, and other leafy greens are staples for every fall garden!
– Plant carrot seeds in mid-summer for a fall crop.
– Determining your growing season is very important.  12-14 weeks before your average first fall frost, start your seeds indoors in seed trays 8-10 weeks before the first frost, transplant your seeds to your garden!
– Just like a summer garden, fall gardens will need lot of sunlight. Because the temperature is cooler, direct sunlight is very important, make sure you choose your garden location carefully!
– To protect young plants, mulch them with hay or straw immediately after planting, and shade them – especially in the afternoon – with a shade cloth. The mulch keeps the soil cool and keeps weeds from taking over your garden.
– Cold weather plants love fertile soil, so work some compost into your soil before you plant your seedlings.
– Water is essential, and these crops like cool, moist soil. One inch of water per week is the suggested amount.

Grow What You Love!

Every gardener wants to grow the best crops, but sometimes that means growing things you don’t always love. It is good to try new things, and trust me; gardening has made me do that! I have tried so many new things with gardening! And now, I grow those veggies in my gardens! But it is really important to have fun in gardening.  Sometimes if you spend a lot of time caring for veggies you don’t like the taste of it takes away the fun. That’s why you should grow what YOU love!

If you have a favorite fruit or veggie then plant some of that in your garden too! That way you have something to look forward to. My little brother loves watermelon. Sometimes that is almost all he eats. And every time he finishes a piece he will take out the seeds and plant them outside. It is so cute.

Do you love strawberry shortcakes? Spaghetti with marinara sauce? Eggplant Parmesan? Why not grow some of the ingredients! Food always tastes better when you use fresh produce, especially when you have grown it!

As you watch your veggie grow, you get even more excited about eating it!  Grow what you love and love what you grow!!   

My brother planting the seeds from the watermelon he just ate!

And like every good gardener he makes sure his seeds are well watered!