Category Archives: Flowers

LEEKS – Growing Leeks for a Delicious addition to the Garden and Kitchen

Planning on adding Leeks to the garden to share the space with onions and garlic( as well as the tomatoes/basil and other delicious goodies)

Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum var. porrum) are fun plant and beautiful plant in the garden and a delicious addition to the kitchen- they can also be stored over the winter for some delicious garden freshness during the snowy season.

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Leek Seedlings for Transplant

 

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Trench for row of Leeks

Leeks are easily started in soil-less mix. When they reach the thickness of a pencil, they can be transplanted outdoors(they can also be purchased in pots with several seedlings per pot).

Grow them in soil that has plenty of compost and nitrogen.Add manure throughout the growing seaqson to feed and grow.
• Water and weekly
• As they grow add some material around the stem every 2 weeks or so to blanch the plant. Add about 1 inch every time. The mix can be soil.mulch,compost,manure (make a mix)

Space leeks 6 inches apart.

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Leeks growing to maturity

To produce a tasty white stem, leeks must be blanched—in.This is done by protecting them from the sun- To do this, plant leeks into deep holes 6-7 inches deep. This can be in a trench or individual holes. Plant to the depth of the first GREEN leaf

Let a few leeks in the garden go ahead to set seed. They grow a good looking starburst of tiny whitish flowers on a long stem. When the flower opens it will take a few weeks until the tiny black seeds are mature.

 

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Mature and going/Growing to seed

Summer not over but losing plants and Having Questions

Sad day at garden yesterday. The cucumber plant that has produced some nice fruits finally gave up and died. I got 1 last cuke from it but it is a bummer. Image

It was having some problems over the last few weeks and I trimmed a few vines and leaves off but was not sure what was worng and how to save it.
Must do some reading about cucumbers and the diseases/ enemies.

The other fun item in the garden that has concerned me in the weird and under-grown sunflowers.
I planted seeds for 2 different types and they took off initially but they never seemed to grow. The only ones that grew are no more than 18″ tall and the flowers are only 2-3″ across.                      Image

Bad soil, Too much water,too little feed, bad seeds, wrong seeds?

I have a fall plan to build up the soil- something I could never do since I got into the garden in early spring.

Mulch, grass, leaves, compost and soil will do the OVER-winter build up and hopefully give us a great soil next spring.

The soil seems to start plenty of plants quickly and heavily- but they seems to back off.

Finally summer- like and Some dry sunny days.

Now that the hottest week of summer has passed and the early summer rainy season has passed. The plants have a chance dry out and grow. After several weeks of wet-feet the plants that survived now have the chance to grow and produce flowers and fruit. Image

After 3 sunny days without rain the sun and dry warm earth gave the wet plants a chance to grow and start producing. A slow growing cucumber took off, grew 18” and produced the first cucumber of the season, tomatoes grew 3-6” each and the cabbage started to fill out. Herbs that had been doing well took off, rosemary went from 12’ to 26”, parsley filled out and winter savory exploded in size. Greens remained leggy and will be turned under as a manure and 2nd planting of green beans were removed after bugs took over. The new beans sprouted in 5 days and are about to climb the bamboo teepee- time to keep them protected and sprayed with a little soap and onion tea….

Now a week later the melons and squash are flowering and climbing. They should be fruiting  soon and if I can keep them wet enough  and producing food .  I have 2 kinds of melons plus 2 winter squash and some fun patty-pan summer squash. No Zucchini or crookneck squash this year( plenty from friends). Image

Recent floods didn’t seem to tear my garden up as much as some of my neighbors, the pallet based raised beds seem to be helping. The goal at the end of the season will be to build up double-decker or triple level pallets for deeper root options and to better handle heavy rains. The raised beds will also make it easier to control irrigation in the event of dry or drought like summer.

The hugelkultur hill I built seems to be working well but I need to perfect the process. I have plans to build at least 1 more.

I have started some fall kale and it seems to be coming up nicely and I will thin it shortly.

  I have collards and beets for another fall crop and will some start some garlic for next year.

Growing my Own Fertilizer {very cheap} – Comfrey

I have planted and relocated a few Comfrey plants in my new garden this year. I hope to be able to use them for “fertile-i-tea” late in the season and then really use next year for mulch etc.

They can be used as mulch or a powerful tea( uses-below). Image

Comfrey  – Symphytum officinale- grows to about 2 feet and is deep rooting and the leaves have a broad spectrum fertilizer in the blend of N-P-K and are useful in the following ways.

A) Spread the leaves  as a mulch to control weeds and protect the soil.

B) Fill a bucket (w/lid) with water and 1/2 filled with comfrey leaves- allow the mix to “brew” for 3-5 weeks and can then be used full/half strength as a feed or water amendment

C) Compost “energizer” – add leaves to a slow “processing” compost pile to give it a kickstart

D) Add chopped leaves to soil while planting/transplanting as a safe/gentle food.

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This is perfect for cheapskate gardeners as it provides a full spectrum fertilizer, a mulch and also a good looking plant in the garden.

In future posts we can look at herbalist uses of comfrey in repairing broken bones and healing injuries.