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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

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Succession Planting

Have you ever planted all of your lettuce all in one batch and now its harvest time and you have so much lettuce you don’t know what to do with it? I know this has happened to many gardeners. The trick is to succession plant.  Succession planting is to follow one crop with another. This is a really great tool to learn so you can maximize your gardens yield and enjoy crops for longer. I have come up with a simple chart that will help you know what intervals you should be planting your crops.

Succession Planting Guide

Arugula- 14 Day intervals

Bok Choi-  10 Day intervals

Beets- 14 Day intervals

Bush Beans- 10 Day intervals

Broccoli- 14 Day intervals

Carrots- 21 Day intervals

Cucumbers- 21 Day intervals

Endive- 14 Day intervals

Head Lettuce- 10 Day intervals

Kohlrabi- 10 Day intervals

Leaf Lettuce- 7 Day intervals

Melons- 21 Days

Mustard Greens- 10 Day intervals

Peas- 10 Day intervals

Radishes- 7 Day intervals

Spinach- 7 Day intervals

Summer Squash- 30 Day intervals

Sweet Corn- 7 Day intervals

Swiss Chard- 21 Day intervals

Turnips- 14 Day intervals

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Store Seeds

Seed storage. How long do seeds really last?

There is only few times in the day you can find me outside in the frigid cold. One is, if I have any bottle calves or lambs to feed, and two would be running out to my car to get it started. Yeah I know what you are thinking, what kind of farm girl are you? My husband calls me the fair-weather cowgirl. I just really really hate the bitter cold! So in the winter you can typically find me warm and toasty on the couch with a cup of tea.

When I get tired of reading or binge watching Alaska the Last Frontier, I like to skim through my Irish Eyes Garden Seeds catalog and see what I should grow in my garden this year. Once I make a list of vegetables to grow I gather all my seed jars and see what seed I can use for this year and what I should just throw away.

Containers to store your seeds in….

Plastic bins: These are inexpensive and you can keep them in there originally package with a filing system to organize your seeds by variety.

Shoe Box: This is the same idea has the plastic bins other than they are free! I like free.

Mason jar: I put everything in mason jars…I have plenty, they are reusable and you can usually find them at Goodwill.

Wooden crate: If you’re handy you could build one! This would be a really great gift for the gardener in your life.

Ideal storage conditions…

Seed stores best in a cool dark spot. So consider a cool dark basement, mudroom, or closet. Freezing seeds is not necessary but you can use a refrigerator to keep the seeds in.

Seed Viability

Beans     5+years

Beets      5+years

Broccoli   5+years

Brussels Sprouts

Carrots     3-5years

Cabbage    3-5years

Corn     5+years

Cucumber     5+years

Celery       2 years

Eggplant    2 years

Kale     5+years

Kohlrabi     3-5years

Lettuce/Greens     2-3years

Herbs     3 years

Onions/Leeks    1 year

Muskmelons     5+years

Peas     5+years

Peppers     3-4 years

Parsnips    1 year

Radish     5+years

Spinach     5+years

Summer Squash    3-4years

Swiss Chard     5+years

Winter Squash/Pumpkins    3-5years

Tomatoes     2 years

Watermelon     3-5years

 

 

 

 

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Starting Seeds Indoors

Whether you are from the Northwest, Midwest or East Coast, the time has come to step into your greenhouse. Dust off your cold frame and clean up your seedling trays! Even though you may look outside and there is a blanket of snow on the ground it is not too early to get some seeds started. There are many vegetable seeds to start indoors and transplant later in spring. If you don’t have a greenhouse, that’s okay a warm window will do the trick!  Starting seeds indoors is a fun early garden project with big rewards! Read on to find out how simple and fun starting seeds indoors is.

Seed starting supplies

Fill your containers with pre-moistened seed starting mix. You can use cell-packs, peat pots, plastic pots, clay pots, or recycled newspaper pots. Gently press the mix into them leaving ¼ inch space at the top to allow air circulation.

Using a dibble (pointed stick or pencil), make a hole in the center of the potting mix about ¼ inch deep, place 2-3 seeds and cover with potting mix.

Remember to label each container with the variety name and planting date. Water lightly with a fine spray. Once the seeds are planted, cover the containers with plastic domes or plastic wrap. They will create a miniature greenhouse, which will keep the medium from drying out and a warm environment for your seed to germinate.

Place containers in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and away from drafts.  On top of the refrigerator is ideal, or you can apply bottom heat with an electric heat mat.  Seed germination should occur in about 5-14 days depending on the variety.

Be sure to check your containers every day. When the first green shoots appear, move them into direct sunlight. Remove the plastic covering and water or mist as needed. Turn the plants daily to keep them from bending to the light.

 

Check your Irish Eyes garden planner to help with exact dates to plant certain vegetables. Here is a list of seeds that do best when started indoors.