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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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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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What you need to know about Strawberries

Strawberries (Everbearing) Growing Guide

Strawberries are a sweet treat in the garden, and it’s no surprise that they’re the most widely grown fruit in the world. Strawberries thrive from tropical to subarctic climates, are easy to grow, and tolerate a wide range of soil types.

Everbearing varieties, like our Albion, Ozark, and Seascape, typically bear fruit in summer and fall.

  •  When to Sow: As soon as soil can be worked
  • Sun/Part Shade: Full Sun
  • Root Spacing: 18 inches
  • Row Spacing: 2 feet
  • Planting Depth: 7-37 Days
  • Days to Maturity: 90-120 Days

Soil and Fertilizing

Strawberries like deep, well-drained sandy loams. They don’t tolerate extremes in pH well, with the ideal pH being slightly acidic at 5.8-6.2. Have your soil tested before planting, using a home tester or asking your local county extension to do it for you.

About 6 weeks after planting, apply two pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet. Sprinkle the fertilizer evenly over the growing area, avoiding direct contact with the foliage. Add two pounds again after renovating in July.

Planting and Growing

Everbearing strawberries can be grown in-ground, and also in containers and raised beds.

First Year

*Before transplanting, soak the roots for two hours to rehydrate them.

*Dig a hole deep enough so the roots extend vertically and are not bent.

*Cover the plants with soil just below the crown (where the plant top meets the roots). The crown should be at soil surface, not buried.

*Avoid planting strawberries in an area where they were recently grown, or where crops in the tomato family (including eggplants, potatoes, and peppers) have grown, as they may carry a root fungus.

Next Few Years

*If you carefully cover your strawberry plants with straw or mulch, they will overwinter and come back the next year in most climates.

*You can also start fresh with new, disease-free planting stock.

*If growing in containers, replace the growth medium with fresh sterile medium, and replant with new plants.

Thinning

Remove all blossoms 6-8 weeks after planting to improve yields. Clip off runners to keep the plants from getting too crowded.

Watering

Strawberries are shallow rooted. Water often, but keep the plants well-drained.

Harvesting

*To pick strawberries, cradle the fruit in your hand, pinch the stem between thumb and forefinger, and pull. Pick the caps along with the fruit.

 

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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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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