Posted on

Summer Seeding for a Fall Harvest

August is one of my favorite months in the summer. Tomatoes and peppers are ripening. Days are warm and daylight lasts till 8pm.  August is the perfect month to start seeds. This gives you a chance to start seeds you want to enjoy well into fall.  I had some spinach and radish go to seed before I was able to enjoy their bounty due to high heat this July.

If you’re lucky and in a warmer climate you could plant some zucchini and be enjoying zucchini bread by Halloween! Some great short season zucchini varieties to try are early summer yellow crookneck and cocozelle summer squash both only take 42 days to maturity!

With the soil warm it is a perfect time to direct sow your Brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. These vegetables are in the brassica family. Which seem to taste better with a little frost on them.

You still have time to get a full crop of lettuce, mustard, spinach, and chard growing in the garden. These are all great crops that you can succession plant all through the summer.  Even with a shorter growing season you can eat these as micro greens since these crops don’t have a ripening period, like an apple or an orange.

Don’t forget your roots crops! Like the brassica family root crops don’t mind a little cold snap towards the end of the season, in fact they taste sweeter with a light frost. So find those leftover seed packets half full with beets, radish, carrots, turnips and parsnips!

It’s too early to plant your garlic and shallots but it’s not too early to get your fall garlic and shallot order in! If you’re looking for a great flavored garlic try Inchelim Red or the Spanish Roja! But hurry these varieties go fast!

More varieties below for fall harvest.

Peas

Greens

Pak Choi

Rutabaga

Kohlrabi

Leeks

Parsley

Cilantro

Posted on

Harvesting Garlic

Garlic may be one of the most anticipated crops to harvest each year. You planted them all the way back in October, it’s now July and you are ready for some fresh garlic! Garlic harvest can be a little tricky. Depending on your weather, when you planted them, and what varieties you planted, the harvest can be anywhere between late spring and late summer. That’s a big gap! So the big question is how do I know when my garlic is ready to harvest?

 

Since the bulb is in the ground, you are going to look at the leaves. Watch your plants and not the calendar.  The leaves will start to brown from the bottom up. Once about half of the plants’ leaves have browned this is a good sign you may be close to harvest time. Scrape soil away from the bulb by hand to check the bulbs maturity. If the bulb looks too small or the skin is still loose, cover the bulb back up and pat down the soil. Once you have a nice-sized bulb and the skin is tight, you can stop watering for about a week.

It’s important not to wait until all the leaves have died back before you harvest. Without the wrappers protecting the bulb, the cloves will start to separate. This will create some difficulty harvesting your bulbs and they will not store as well.

     

When harvesting, carefully loosen the soil around the bulb with a garden spade or fork. Grab the garlic bulb from the base and pull up.  Brush off the soil but don’t wash the roots since you will need to dry and cure them for long term storage. If you plan to eat some right away you can trim roots and leaves at harvest time.

 

Posted on

Radish Leaf Pesto

Growing radishes are one of the easiest and fastest growing vegetables you can grow in the garden and you can grow them all summer long! Not only do they have a flavorful root but their greens are really tasty too! I just thinned a row of diakon radishes and mind you I absolutely hate thinning! Call me crazy but I feel bad for the little roots that don’t get to grow up to be tasty little radishes.

Last week I used my radish greens to make a tasty pesto! Radish greens have a mild peppery flavor.

So do yourself a favor and try this recipe. You won’t be disappointed!

Radish Leaf Pesto

  • 2 Handfuls of radish greens
  • 2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/3 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
  • dash of salt and pepper

Remember to wash and dry greens. Remove stems and put everything in blender or food processor. Blend until creamy.

I put my pesto over grilled salmon, but this can be used in pasta, over a crostini, rubbed on a rack of lamb or stuffed in a chicken breast.

 

 

 

Happy Gardening and Bon Appetit!

 

 

Posted on

5 Easy Spring Vegetables to Plant Now!

Spring has finally emerged, and we are just dying to get our hands dirty! Even with a little colder temperatures there are some vegetables that are ready to get in the ground now!

Peas

Mouthwatering, tender, fresh sweet peas are a culinary delight and one of the very best reasons for having a garden. Fresh peas have an unparalleled sweetness and are among those vegetables that can never be equaled by supermarket produce. Growing peas are perfect for the beginner gardener, plant them in minutes and in a few weeks they are ready to harvest. Peas are a cool weather crop that can be planted early and harvest heavy yields into early summer.

Spinach

Spinach is one of the healthiest green vegetables you can grow. It’s packed with iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, various B-complex vitamins, and a variety of other nutrients, all in a leaf that tastes delicious in sandwiches, salads, and cooked. Spinach loves cool weather, seeds will germinate in soils as cold as 35 degrees. Best planted in early spring or fall before the ground freezes. Spinach usually bolts with onset of hot weather.

Strawberries

Sweet, succulent, melt in your mouth goodness! Homegrown strawberries are a must in your home garden. These sweet berries don’t even compete with store bought strawberries.  Plant strawberry roots in spring, in a place with full sun. These berries are easy to grow, tolerate a wide range of soil types and come back year after year!

Onions

Onions are one of the first vegetables that you can plant in your garden. Onion transplants are quite frost hardy and can withstand 20 degree frosts. They should be planted 4-6 weeks prior to the last expected spring frost. The earlier you get your onion transplants in the ground the bigger onion bulb you will harvest! Plant this tasty allium and enjoy them all year long! Perfect for the garden cook!

 

Lettuce

Lettuce, a cool season vegetable, is one of the easiest to grow and the fastest to mature—an ideal combination! Plant some in the spring for mid-summer harvests, and again mid-summer for fall yields. Lettuce is easy to direct sow, and it can grow in many different variations of sun and shade, or directly in the ground or in a container. This is a great way to have fresh lettuce for months.

So gardeners what are you waiting for?! Get in the garden and start planting!

Happy Spring Y’all!

Posted on

Soil Testing

Testing your soil

The first and most important thing you can do for your garden is to start with a soil test. I test my soil with a at home kit every spring. Your soil nutrients can change from year to year. I prefer to just use an at home soil test but you can also get a soil sample and send it to a lab or your local extension agent.

To get an accurate soil test you will need to take 8-12 soil samples with a shovel digging from a range of one inch to twelve inches deep. Making sure each soil sample is in a different area of your garden. Dump these samples into a bucket and mix.  Some helpful tips to remember when taking a soil sample.

  1. Follow the test lab or at home test kit instructions.
  2. Take samples before working the soil.
  3. Use a clean shovel or trowel and wear clean gloves so you do not contaminate the test results.
  4. Soil samples should not be to wet or to dry.
  5. When using the at home soil test use distilled water.
  6. Do not take any soil samples if you have fertilized, wait for about 2 weeks.

The results are in! What do you do with them now?

At home soil tests give the values of your soil nutrients for your pH, nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium.

Nitrogen:

Low on N: Yellowish and light green foliage, stunted growth.

Sources for N: bonemeal, fish, chicken, and steer manure.

Phosphorus

Low on P: Leaves look dark green or have a reddish purple tint to them.

Sources for P: rock phosphate, fish bone meal, chicken manure

Potassium

Low on K: small fruits, older leave may wilt or look scorched on the tips.

Sources for K: seaweed, greensand, wood ashes

Calcium

Low on Ca: Leaves on the top of the plant are distorted, also causes blossom rot.

Sources for Ca: oyster shells, gypsum, limestone

Magnesium

Low on Mg: Older leaves turn yellow on their edges, yield can be down.

Sources for Mg: Epsom salts, dolomite

 

 

 

Posted on

Companion Planting….Friend or Foe?

Y’all are itching to get out in the garden aren’t you?? If your anything like us you till have 6 inches of crusty snow on the ground or it is muddy! Sooooo not going to happen for awhile. A girl can dream right? Well I’ve been dreaming about my garden and where I am going to plant all my lovely vegetables! Did you know that some vegetables love each other and some just darn right can’t stand to be together!  Who knew vegetables and flowers were so picky! Vegetables also like to be planted in different spots every year. Remember to rotate your vegetables and never have them growing in the same spot twice. I’m on a 3 year rotation. So while you are itching to get in the garden lets do some garden planning first! I would hate to have my garden not getting along.

Friend or Foe….

Asparagus

  • Friends: Tomatoes, parsley, basil, & nasturtiums.
  • Foes: Garlic & onions

Bush, Beans

  • Friends: Beets, corn, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, leek, parsnips, pea, potato, swiss chard, radish, rosemary, summer savoy, strawberry, & sunflower.
  • Foes: Basil, fennel, kohlrabi, & onion family

Pole, Beans

  • Friends: Corn, carrots, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, marigold, pea, potato, swiss chard, summer savoy, strawberry, & rosemary
  • Foes: Onion family, beets, cabbage, fennel, kohlrabi, radish, & sunflower.

Beet

  • Friends: Bush bean, cabbage, corn, leek, lettuce, lima bean, onion, & radish
  • Foes: Pole bean, mustard

Broccoli

  • Friends: Aromatic herbs, beet, bush bean, carrot, celery, cucumber, kale, lettuce, nasturtium, onion family, potato, rosemary, swiss chard, spinach, & tomato.
  • Foes: Pole beans, tomatoes, strawberry

Brussels Sprouts

  • Friends: Bush beans, beet, carrot, celery, cucumber, lettuce, nasturtium, onions, pea, potato, radish, spinach, & tomato
  • Foes: Pole beans, kohlrabi, & strawberry

Cabbage

  • Friends: Aromatic herbs, beet, bush bean, celery, carrot, cucumber, kale, lettuce, nasturtium, onions, potato, spinach, tomato
  • Foes: Pole bean, strawberry

Muskmelon

  • Friends: Beans, corn, peas, radish, & sunflower
  • Foes: Potato, aromatic herbs,

Carrot

  • Friends: Bean, brussel sprout, cabbage, chive, lettuce, leek, onion, pea, pepper, radish, sage, rosemary, & tomato.
  • Foes: Celery, dill, parsnip

Cauliflower

  • Friends: Aromatic herbs, bush bean, beet, carrot, celery, cucumber, dill, kale, lettuce, nasturtium, onion family, potato, spinach, & tomato
  • Foes: Pole bean, strawberry

Celery

  • Friends: Bush bean, cabbage, cauliflower, leek, parsley, pea, & tomato
  • Foes: Carrot, parsnip

Corn

  • Friends: Bush bean, beet, cabbage, cucumber, muskmelon, potato, parsley, pea, pumpkin, squash
  • Foes: Tomato

Cucumber

  • Friends: Bush bean, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, dill, eggplant, lettuce, nasturtium, pea, radish, sunflower, tomato
  • Foes: Potato, & sage

Eggplant

  • Friends: Bush bean, pea, pepper, potato
  • Foes: None

Kale

  • Friends: Bush bean, beet, cabbage, celery, cucumber, lettuce, nasturtium, onion, potato, spinach, & tomato
  • Foes: Pole beans

Kohlrabi

  • Friends: Bush bean, beet, celery, cucumber, lettuce, nasturtium, onion, potato, tomato
  • Foes: Pole beans

Leek

  • Friends: Beet, bush bean, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, tomato
  • Foes: None

Lettuce

  • Friends: Carrot, garlic, onion, parsley, tomato
  • Foes: None

Onions

  • Friends: Beet, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, kohlrabi, leek, lettuce, parsnip, pepper, strawberry, spinach, tomato, turnip
  • Foes: Asparagus, bean, pea, sage

Parsnip

  • Friends: Bush bean, garlic, onion, pea, pepper, potato, tomato, radish
  • Foes: Carrot, celery

Pea

  • Friends: Bean, carrot, celery, chicory, corn, cucumber, eggplant, potato, radish, spinach, strawberry, pepper, turnip
  • Foes: Onion & gladiolus

Pepper

  • Friends: Carrot, eggplant, onion, parsnip, pea, tomato
  • Foes: Fennel, kohlrabi

Potato

  • Friends: Bush bean, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, eggplant, marigold, parsnip, pea
  • Foes: Cucumber, pumpkin, rutabaga, squash, sunflower, tomato, turnip

Pumpkins

  • Friends: Corn, eggplant, nasturtium, radish
  • Foes: Potato

Radish

  • Friends: Beet, Beans, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, corn, cucumber, lettuce, melon, nasturtium, parsnip, pea, spinach, squash,  tomato
  • Foes: None

Rutabagas

  • Friends: Onion, pea, nasturtium
  • Foes: Potato

Spinach

  • Friends: Cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, onion, pea, radish, strawberry
  • Foes: Potato

Squash

  • Friends: Celery, corn, dill, melon, nasturtium, onion, radish
  • Foes: Potato

Strawberry

  • Friends: Bean, borage, lettuce, onion, pea, spinach
  • Foes: Cabbage, cauliflower

Tomato

  • Friends: Asparagus, herbs, bush bean, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, celery, cucumber, garlic, lettuce, marigold, onion, parsley, pepper
  • Foes: Pole bean, dill, fennel, potato

Turnip

  • Friends: Onion family, pea
  • Foes: Potato

 

So before you start planting your garden this spring ask yourself are they friends? or foes?

 

Happy Gardening!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on

How to Store and Cure Garlic

Well you’ve harvested your garlic. Now what?

If you want to enjoy your garlic right away, you can eat it straight from the garden. To enjoy these tasty bulbs all year long curing your garlic is a must!

Once harvested take garlic bulbs to a shady, dry area. Best spots are a covered porch, breezy shed or garage. It is very important to keep your garlic out of the sun, garlic bulbs are easily sun burned.  No need to clean, trim roots or foliage.  Garlic stores longer with its stalk and leaves attached.

Lay the bulbs in single layers on screens, drying racks, or slatted shelves to promote good air circulation. Some gardeners tie the stalks in loose bundles of 8-12 plants and hang them under cover. If you have a softneck variety you can even braid the stalks. The plants should dry for 3-8 weeks, depending on the humidity and amount of air circulation. Most growers use a fan in the curing process. Once garlic is cured for 1-2 months, your garlic leaves should be completely brown and roots should feel stiff and dry.

Garlic drynig on screen.

To clean your bulbs trim the roots, then cut the stalks off ½ inch above the bulb and gently clean the bulbs with a soft bristle brush, taking care not to strip off the papery skin. If the internal leaves are still green and moist stoop cleaning and let dry longer.

For storage, hang your bulbs in netted sacks with good air circulation on all sides. Perfect storage conditions are 45-55 degrees Fahrenheit at 50% relative humidity. Storage below 40 degrees actually makes garlic sprout faster.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following these steps should make your garlic last till winter. Unless your like my family and eat it all before winter comes around!

Posted on

Why choose Irish Eyes Garden Seeds?

  1. We are family owned and operated!
  2. We are dedicated to promoting sustainable, organic, and lifelong farming practices.
  3. We specialize in short season seeds for an early harvest.
  4. We are strongly against GMO’s in all forms and we support and promote organic farming and gardening practices.
  5. Each year we donate our left over seeds to many non-profit organizations around the United States and the world.
  6. We offer over 200 different open-pollinated and heirloom seeds.
  7. We have over 90 different varieties of potatoes! (We know spuds!)
  8. We are members of the Organic Seed Alliance, the Safe Seed Pledge, and FFA/4-H.
  9. By recycling, creating, and reusing our own compost, we have reduced our farm waste tremendously.
  10. Last but not least we care about you! We are here to educate our gardener and turn more brown thumbs to green!!
Alexa, Greg & Sara standing in a field in Peru.