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.

Our Latest How-To Articles

Where are the Corn Cobs?

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

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

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Grapes and Apples Pruned in February

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.

Pruned Grape Plants Continue reading

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Is it time to order Seeds and Supplies?

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.

Ordering Seeds and Supplies

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When do I start my Petunia Seeds?

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.

Gorgeous Petunias

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How early in Spring can I begin to fertilize?

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.

Fluorescent Grow Lights

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Do your Beans have poor Germination?

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.

Bean Sprout
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Seeding Cucumbers into Plastic Mulch

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…

Slicing Cucumbers growing on trellis

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A New Way to transplant Broccoli

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.
Cabbage Rows covered with Re-may Continue reading

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“The Recipe” makes 2 1/2 to 3 quarts of Grape Juice

It snowed this morning and so we feel the pressure to get the garden finished up. Of course we didn’t mean to wait until it snowed to harvest the grapes but these late grapes do taste better when they have had some light frosts on them, it tends to sweeten them.  The grapes are so loaded with clusters and vines that they were not able to ripen as much as we would of liked them to. Living this far north a late grape like Concord or Zinfandel takes longer to ripen and so it is a little iffy to have a nice sweet grape.

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Broccoli, Beets and Swiss Chard at the Farmers Market

The week has been fun selling at the Farmers Markets. It has been raining all week and has hardly quit pouring long enough for the customers to stop and look at the vegetables. But we have been blessed to have large heads of broccoli, beets, cabbage, Rainbow Chard, Cucumbers, Zucchini and Yellow Crookneck squash. Maybe the size has something to do with all the water coming down. And the flavor of the veggies are wonderful. It seems like the ‘first fruits’ of the season are always the best tasting.  I guess it is because we are hungry for the good taste of fresh produce.

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