Gardening, Vegetables, Seeding, Tomatoes, you name it, the how-to is here.
Welcome to hands-on gardening. Here we share tips for low-cost vegetable gardening; information we have learned with our 30 years of experience using drip tape, plastic mulch, hoop houses and greenhouse seed propagation using organic practices.
Our garden grew from a small backyard kitchen garden to over six acres of vegetable cultivation. On these six acres of intensive garden, we provide enough produce to supply seven farmers markets. We have learned how to use drip irrigation for water conservation. We use plastic mulch to control weeds, maintain soil moisture and raise soil temperature. We also have learned how to use row-hoops to extend our season, control pests and protect our crops from frost.
Like the greatest agriculturist of our country, George Washington Carver, we have discovered the benefits of simple innovation, recycling and using organic methods.
I received a question the other day from a worried gardener. “Do the corn cobs form after it tassels?” All she could see were the beautiful corn stalks but not a cob in sight.
pc: Melissa Mitchell
At first sight it looked like the stalks might be too close together to let enough sunlight in. The sunlight is what allows the corn cobs to develop. If the plants are too close in the total area then all you will get is fodder for the compost or your favorite pig. When we seed the corn it is about 8 to 12 inches apart in each row and then the row is Continue reading
It is February and in zone 5 the time of year to prune our grape plants. The plants are still dormant and the sap has not begun to flow. This year it is a breeze to do the pruning as the snow has all disappeared and with the sunshiny days we feel like getting outside to do spring work. Usually this time of year there is about a foot of snow and it is hard to think about getting outside to do the dormant winter pruning.
Spring will be here before you know it so you better get your seeds and supplies ordered. Some questions you will want to ask yourself is what are you going to plant in your garden this year, and how am I going to take care of it? If you are as busy as everyone else seems to be on planet Earth you will want to do some serious planning ahead of time so that your garden is not a disastrous, weedy mess come September.
Are you asking yourself, when do I start my Petunia seeds? Petunia’s take 70 to 84 days from seed germination to first flowers, that is about 10 – 12 weeks. The commercial growers for the North-west area of the country start their seeds around the end of January or the first week in February to be ready for the first spring sales. The seeds started then will be large plant with blooms in the trays these are the ones used to pot up the full baskets of petunia’s with beautiful flowers on them.
I know it is hard to wait for Spring but there is four inches of snow on the ground and the night temperatures are still in the single digits, spring is coming right around the corner but it is not quite time to start outside gardening. If your fingers just can’t wait to dig in the dirt now is a good time to start some of those early seedlings.
Have you noticed how your houseplants get neglected when you are busy? Somewhere along the way I came up with this plan of watering my houseplants. With the wick method I only water and fertilize about once a month in the winter and every two weeks in the summer.
Have you ever noticed how poor the germination is on bean seed that you seed directly into the garden? I used to think it was the seed I was buying but now I’m convinced that if the weather is not perfect the seeds damp-off or bugs get them and they never do come up. Sometimes our germination has been as little as 30% with only a third of the row popping out of the ground. Part of our problem is not waiting until the weather is hot consistently and with no chance of rain, but we cannot do that as we have to plant when the calendar says plant.
The question is how do we plant seeds into the plastic mulch. It works real slick for the larger seeds like the corn seed, squash, melons and cucumbers which is what we will show you today. It is harder to do the smaller lettuce and carrot seed. But “where there’s a will there’s a way” is a very true statement. People used to tell us that we couldn’t have early corn in our zone 5 part of the country so of course I had to figure out a way to have my corn ripe first and beat the neighbor, kinda of a game or challenge you might say. And that is how this whole business began of learning how to garden for early season harvest…
The weather has been very cold but when the calendar says plant we have to get at it or all of a sudden we are way behind. We are covering everything with Re-may as we transplant to keep it from freezing. These rows of broccoli will not only keep warmer under the cloth but the Re-may will do double-duty as it will help to protect the starts from the white butterfly moth. The butterfly moth prefers these brassica plants for laying its eggs.
Are you wondering if your old seed is still any good for germination? Today I was wondering the same thing. The spring bug hit and I decided that I would really like to be eating some fresh peas in a few months. Peas are time intensive for picking and shelling and so we do not plant them very often; thus our seed is at least a decade old. Of course I never throw away seed because of its value for sustaining us. Seed will keep for years if stored properly in a cool, dry place, as the ancient Egyptians knew very well. The seed that was stored in the pyramids still has a good germination rate. Continue reading