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Hardening off you Seedlings

How to Harden off Seedlings

You’ve started your seeds indoors and you’ve awaited their germination and now they are growing into strong independent seedlings! The weather is starting to warm up and your thinking your little babies maybe ready to flee the nest! Now lets not get to hasty, were not just going to dump our seedlings to the garden and tell them to fend for themselves!

We need to harden them off first.

Hardening your plants off sounds a little harsh but this is just the process of getting your little indoor seedlings ready to make the transition to the great outdoors.

All seedlings need to spend a week or so outside before being transplanted into the garden. Even if you didn’t plant your transplants from seed and you bought them from a garden center or nursery I would still use this hardening process. About 7-10 days before planting your seedlings into the garden begin adapting them to outside conditions.

I start slow and gradually build each day. Start by placing your seedlings outside in the afternoon for a few hours in partial shade and are protected from the wind. This should happen for two to three days. As the seedlings get more acclimated to the new climate you can keep adding hours and more direct sunlight to them. By the last two days your seedlings should be spending all day and night outdoors. Remember to look at the weather during this time.

Once your seedlings are hardened off they are ready to be transplanted into the garden!

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How to Grow Peas!

Mouthwatering, tender, sweet fresh 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 come back weeks later to harvest them.

WHICH PEA TYPE IS FOR YOU?

Shell Pea or English Pea: The tradition pea has a tough usually inedible outer pod with delicate, sweet, tender peas inside.

Snow Pea or Chinese Pea: When you think of stir-fry these sweet-tasting, flat, tender pods come to mind. They are best when harvested will the peas inside them are quite small and undeveloped.

Snap Pea: These sweet, crunchy peas have both a delicate edible pod and full-size peas inside with the sweetness of the best garden pea. They are wonder eaten raw, lightly steamed, or stir-fried.

  • When to Sow: Plant 4-6 weeks before last spring frost.
  • Sun/Part Shade: Full sun, but will tolerate part shade.
  • Seed Spacing: 1 inch
  • Row Spacing: 14 inches
  • Planting Depth: 1 inch
  • Days to Germinate: 6-15 days
  • Days to Maturity: 55-60 days

Soil and Fertilizing

Peas thrive in deep, rich, well- drained soil in a sunny location. The plants do best in soil with a pH ranging from 6.0-7.0. We recommend testing your soil in the fall and adjusting the pH range, if needed. Fall is also a good time for deep spading or double digging (to a depth of 8-12 inches) and for incorporation organic matter into your soil.

Peas don’t require much fertilizer, especially nitrogen, but to help them along, when seedlings are 2-4 inches tall you can fertilize them with a complete organic fertilizer.

Watering

Consistent moisture is important in growing peas. Never let them dry out.

Trellis

All Peas benefit from support. It keeps them from rotting on the ground and lets the pods hang straight down, making them less misshapen and easier to pick. When peas are trellised the vines have air circulating freely around them thus they can’t be easily infected by disease.

 Harvesting

Pick peas each day during the harvest season to harvest the best quality pods and encourage further productions especially with pole types.Pods are ready for picking when they are plump, smooth, and bright green pods. Start harvesting at this stage, beginning at the bottom of the plant and working upwards.The best time to pick is early morning when the pods are crispest. If you can’t pick in the morning, the cool of the evening is another good picking time.

Cooking

Pea’s versatility is limitless. They are delightful raw. They can be boiled, steamed, or stir-fried.  Peas also freeze beautifully. This way you can enjoy them well after summer.

 

 

 

 

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Planting Guide

This spring I have had a ton of questions on when to plant seeds indoors? When to transplant them outdoors? What should be planted directly in the ground? There is no exact answer as we all live in different climates and each have our own micro climate. I have come up with a planting guideline that should help you gardeners out. First things first! You need to find out what your last average spring frost date is. You can get this from senior gardeners in your area or you can call your local state extension agent and they will have an answer for you. For example Ellensburg’s average last frost date is about May 1st.

Planting Guideline


BEANS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 1-2 weeks after average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp of 52 degrees.

BEETS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 1-2 weeks after average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp of 50 degrees.

BROCCOLI: Seed indoors. Seed indoors 4-6 weeks before you want to plant outdoors. Transplant outdoors 2-3 weeks before average last spring frost. Minimum soil temp 40 degrees.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS: Seed indoors. Start transplants 8-10 weeks before last frost. Set out transplants 2-4 weeks before average last frost.

CABBAGE: Seed indoors. Start transplants 6-8 weeks before average last spring frost. Transplant outside 2-3 weeks before the last expected frost date.

CARROTS: Sow directly outdoors, Plant 3-5 weeks before the last spring frost date. Minimum soil temp 40 degrees.

CAULIFLOWER: Seed indoors. Start transplants 4-5 weeks before the plants are needed to go outdoors. Plant transplants outdoors 2-3 weeks before the average frost date in spring.

CHARD: Sow seeds indoors or outdoors. Plant outside 2-3 weeks before last spring frost date. Continue planting seeds at 10 day intervals to have all summer.

CORN: Sow directly outdoors. Plant seeds 2 weeks after last spring frost date. Minimum soil temp 60 degrees.

CUCUMBERS: Sow indoors. Plant seeds indoors 3-5 weeks before spring frost date. Transplant outside no earlier than 2 weeks after last frost date.

EGGPLANT: Sow indoors. Plant seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before soil warms up to 60 degrees. Transplant outside when soil warms.

KALE: Seed indoors or sow directly outdoors. Extremely frost hardy. Plant as soon as ground thaws.

LETTUCE: Sow directly outdoors or seed indoors. If seeding indoors start seeds 4-6 weeks before last spring frost. Transplant seedlings 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after last spring frost. If sowing directly outdoors seed as soon as your ground can be worked. Light frost is okay.

MUSKMELONS: Sow indoors or directly outdoors. Muskmelons need at least 70 degree soil temperature to germinate. If planting indoors sow about 4-6 weeks before soil warms up. Transplant when all signs of frost are gone.

ONION TRANSPLANTS OR SETS: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as soil can be worked.

PARSNIPS: Sow directly outdoors. Sow as soon as soil is workable. Cold hardy crop.

PEAS: Sow directly outdoors. Seed outdoors 4-6 weeks before last spring frost.

POTATOES: Sow directly outdoors. Seed outdoors when soil temperature has reached 52 degrees. 2-3 weeks after average spring frost.

PUMPKINS: Sow directly outdoors or sow indoors. If you have a short growing season sow indoors 2-4 weeks before last spring frost. Be sure to harden off seedlings before transplanting.

PEPPERS: Sow indoors. Plant 6-8 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Transplant outside when soil has warmed up and all signs of frost are gone, before transplanting outside make sure you harden off your seedlings.

RADISH: Sow directly outdoors. Plant 4-6 weeks before the average last frost date.

SPINACH: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as the soil can be worked. Spinach need 6 weeks of cool weather. Minimum soil germination temperature 35 degrees.

SQUASH AND ZUCCHINI: Sow indoors. Plant 2-4 weeks before last spring frost. Transplant outside 1-3 weeks after spring frost.

STRAWBERRIES: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as the ground can be tilled.

TOMATOES: Sow indoors. Plant 6-8 weeks before the last average spring frost date. Transplant outside when soil has warmed up and all signs of frost are gone, before transplanting outside make sure you harden off your seedlings.

TURNIPS: Sow directly outdoors. Plant as soon as soil is tillable.

WATERMELON: Sow indoors or directly outdoors. Watermelon need at least 70 degree soil temperature to germinate. If planting indoors sow about 4-6 weeks before soil warms up. Transplant when all signs of frost are gone.

Here is a great resource to find your local extension agents information.

http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services