Yikes, Flora, I just finished with those!
Ah, but if you and your family love homegrown veggies, then it is an ideal time to start again. With some very special (minimal) care you can at this time start more cool weather crops and enjoy a fall harvest. It’s called extending your growing season here in the northwest for as long as you possibly can AND helping your grocery budget AND enjoying more time in the garden. How can you lose with all of those cool incentives?
My second start of Oregon Sugar Peas II went in yesterday and I’m starting lettuce again as well. I think that I am also going to try Bok Choy. Some other cool weather crops that you might want to try are radishes, cabbage, carrots, spinach and broccoli.
Charlie Nardozzi has a great ideas for determining ideal planting time for Fall crops and also recommends some protective measures to keep your starts from getting too warm. Examples are a covering and planting the seeds a little deeper than what the package recommends. And although we normally think of starting plants indoors to keep them warmer early in the season, this also works to maintain a cooler temperature. So click on over there as I highly recommend Charlie’s expertise. With special, special care, he says that even beets and carrots can be harvested in the winter. Wow-that’s really extending the season.
I’m game. How about you?
Where can I get some more information on setting up a sustainable garden?
~Love my Natural Life
A new site called the Organic Gardener is featuring a video series by master gardener Susan Harris on this very topic. I found it extremely informative and know that you will too.
I just think it’s ridiculous that people are going hungry when growing your own food is such a viable option. It kills me to see pictures of kids in third world countries with swollen bellies. Why are people not planting more to become self-sustaining?
I share your angst-trust me. And if I knew all the answers I’d have to run for President (or God). I can share what I know of course and I think that all of us should be making moves in our own lives to help with the hunger issue. Simple things like planting a row to donate to the food bank are simple but viable options to help in your own community. I do know that land ownership, or lack thereof, is an issue especially in third world countries. But some projects have been implemented to teach those in poorer countries how to grow their food in containers and we need more funding to allow for these educational programs.
I also believe that outreach and education in the USA is vital. How many people “are aware” of the issue yet brush it aside and do nothing? Many of us. But if we preach on it just a little more and spread that out beyond our own families, maybe more heartstrings will be tugged resulting in more action to combat hunger through the very natural act of planting food.
How about you? Can you commit to teaching your gardening skills to one other person this year? Not so hard-but think of the impact if each and every one of us did the same.
I would like to absorb more about gardening before beginning my first one next year. Do you have any suggestions?
~Want to Learn
Dear Want to Learn:
Absolutely! We have a list of great gardening sites that are particularly helpful. Check out 2 Green Thumbs Up, Fresh Dirt and Garden Web. There are more listed to the left. Also, consider attending the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle scheduled for February 18-22, 2009. There is a wealth of information there and you can take it at your own pace!
It was my seven-year-old’s turn to do a garden project, and we couldn’t resist the dollar plants outside our local pharmacy. Why do they have to make it so darn easy to plant? Just kidding-it’s a good thing.
He chose all the plants and stayed in the color scheme of pink, purple and white. I was pretty impressed with his choices. Then home we went as we already had a pot from last year to re-use, potting soil, gravel and gloves.
We washed the planter from last year with hose water and a scrub brush to make it pretty again.
We plugged the hole that needed it with a large rock that had been kicking around the yard.
We filled the planter three quarters of the way with potting soil (after mom put her gloves on).
One at a time, we took the flowers from their plastic homes (poor, root-bound things) and loosened the roots at the bottom.
We pushed aside soil in the new pot and made a hole for each plant.
After all the plants were placed, we took our little shovel and added more potting soil around the plants. We both patted the soil down around each plant.
I pulled the pot to where we wanted it on the deck. He watered the pot, and the deck.
We cleaned up our supplies and swept the dirt off the deck.
He wants to know if they’ve grown yet.
Soon, baby, soon.
Chris Smith explains why some of your tomatoes may not ripen this year.
Ann Lovejoy says that plastic wrap can help you have a more bountiful harvest for several crops, tomatoes included.
Marty Wingate explains via personal experience why it is important to keep your city codes in mind when planning your landscape and gardens.
Ciscoe Morris says that hummingbirds love Mexican food! Too funny. Check it out toward the end of the page.
An interesting and timely book review on “Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape” by Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden.
Here are some very cool tips on planting a garden with evening ambiance. Go ahead-get some romance going.
Check out this GORGEOUS new clematis. Its a deep, deep red. Valerie Easton tells us all about it.
Thin those apples! Thin that corn! Thin those cukes! Thin the squash!
It breaks my heart and I know it breaks yours too. After all, you spend all that time and heart when preparing and planting and finally get to see some yield-and Flora says “Rule 1: Time to pull those plants!”
But don’t pull them all.
Of course, the purpose of thinning is to give your fruits and veggies needed room to grow to their largest, sweetest and best capacity. After all, it is much like giving birth to twins or multiples and having one being the smallest of all. The one with the most access to oxygen and nutrition grows the best so you don’t want to ruin your whole crop by refusing to weed a few out.
As mentioned in an earlier post, why not try and plant them elsewhere if it makes you feel better? Sometimes it works.
The apple tree above is in my front yard and the cluster needs reduced by at least 4-5 apples. In particular, the ones super close to each other need to go. This is the picture before we thinned yesterday and of course, my youngest had to taste and eat half of a thinned apple, even though I explained that it might make his stomach hurt (it did).
So that’s a second rule: don’t eat what you thin. They aren’t near ripe enough.
For most veggies in the ground, thin so that plants are 1-3 inches apart. As we discussed earlier in the week, if they are in containers, you can often get away with more plants closer to each other.
Questions? Please ask. Happy thinning!