Category Archives: Seed Starting

WINTER GARDEN FUN – Harvest,Prep and Planning

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Now that Christmas has come and gone the new year is a week or 2 old, we can relax and look forward to spring and the GARDEN.

Then the mail comes and in the place of Christmas cards and sale flyers….seed catalogs. My favorite is Johnny Selected Seeds…so much great stuff. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/

OK so what activities can we do in the garden when te freezing weather, ice and snow are around?

First question: Do we have anything growing over the winter?

Greens, roots, anything “stored” in the soil”

Did I properly clear/clean the garden in the fall?

Second question: What am I planting this year? Anything new? Where did I plant everything last season? [important for crop rotation] When can I plant? Start seedlings?

Third Question? : What work is necessary to prepare the garden for the season? Long term planning= helpful this yer but payoff will be realized over several years.

The following posts and articles address some of these ideas:

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/preparing-your-vegetable-garden-for-winter.aspx#axzz3P1HRlkJu

http://www.farmaid.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=qlI5IhNVJsE&b=6281749&ct=12490387

Info from another good seed catalog…http://www.territorialseed.com/category/fall_Winter_seed

http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/starting-seeds-indoors-zm0z12djzsor.aspx#axzz3P1HRlkJu

Enjoy and happy gardening !!

https://twitter.com/martyroddy

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Potato Towers are coming Along Nicely for 2014

After the Potato Tower has been set up with soil/compost and Straw- seed potatoes set in the soil and topped with soil/compost-

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Potato Towers with soil/compost and straw- ready for seeds.

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Allow for the plants to get started and as the leaves spread and vines grow to about 3-5 inches add a mix of compost and soft-sandy soil as well as a ring or straw around the framework-Up to the bottom of the leaves.
Water well again and **

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Potatoes planted-March 2014- leaves poking out

-Allow to grow 3-5 more inches and repeat the process 1 or 2 more times and then let the tower and all of the plants to grow and spread out the top and sides of the tower.

Keep it well watered BUT not too wet. Fertilize with aged manure / compost and an organic fetilizer. Fertilizer should have good mix of Potassium and Phosporous and lower Nitrogen . Too much Nitrogen and you will have a great collection of green and leggy plants but lower output of potatoes. Using any fertilizer with high phosphorus-potassium to nitrogen content will do them well. N-P-K – 5-10-10 or 8-24-24 are good mixes.

If adding fertilizer- make sure to scratch it into the soil and not in contact with the plants growing in the tower.

Option 2 ( add more seedling potatoes)

After the Potato Tower has been set up with soil/compost and Straw- seed potatoes set in the soil and topped with soil/compost-

Allow for the plants to get started and as the leaves spread and vines grow to about 3-5 inches add a mix of compost and soft-sandy soil as well as a ring or straw around the framework-Up to the bottom of the leaves.
Water well again and **

-Allow to grow 3-5 more inches and repeat the process of adding soil/compost and straw and add more seed potatoes and cover with 2 inches of soft sandy soil up to the bottom of the established leaves. you will now have 2 sets of plants growing .
***repeat the fill and cover process 1 or 2 more times to the top of the tower and allow the plants to grow and spread out the top and sides of the tower.

Water and fertilize as before.

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ASPARAGUS – The great skinny spears. Still buying mine.

One week until the Charlottesville farmers Market kicks off an 8+ month
run downtown . See https://www.facebook.com/CharlottesvilleCityMarket .
One of the things I look forward to in the first few weeks of the market
is spring asparagus ( beets too) . My current garden doesn’t work for
growing my own asparagus (though I may do this with some friends in their
garden.    

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Young asparagus spears – READY !

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable that pops up every spring , but
unlike much of the rest of the KITCHEN GARDEN it takes a few years to
enjoy the benefits of these delicious spears.

Root crowns are planted in spring or fall and prepared to grow BUT can
not be harvested until the 3rd ( maybe some 2nd ) year. So we must learn
some patience and remember that THIS SPACE IS TAKEN.

So we care for “nothing” while harvesting beans and cukes and tomatoes
throughout the garden. BUT on the plus side- Well planted and cared for
plants can be productive for up to 20 years.

Aparagus is planted as “crowns” (year old plants) in a clean garden bed
in trenches 6″-12″ deep and separated 18″-24″ . The soil should be well
drained as the plants don’t like to have WET-FEET. Dig the trench and
work in 3-6″ of compost, manure and/or soil mix. Spread the soil in a
ridge in the trench. Place the “crowns” on this ridge spreading the roots
over mounded soil.        Cover with enough well composted soil and mulch 4-6″
and water well.

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Asparagus crowns ready to be set.

YEAR 1

Do not harvest the spears in the first year, allow them to grow and cut
down dead foliage in the fall. At cutting top dress with compost.

During this year letting the asparagus go to seed will give the crown a
chance to establish and get strong. This will set it ( and you) for long
time supply of spears.

YEAR 2
During the second year, keep the bed thickly mulched, side-dress with
compost/manure in spring and early fall, and cut down dead foliage in
late fall. You may be able to harvest and enjoy a meal of two of spears.

                                                                                      

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Asparagus plants- fueling and replenishing the crowns.

YEAR 3
YUMMMMMMMM!
The asparagus can be harvested for a relativley short period (2-3 weeks)as soon as the spears start to show. You will want to keep a close eye on the bed, Clean it after winter so mulch and debris are not too deep. After harvest allow the “ferns” to grow- these plants feed the crowns/roots for future spear production.

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Found a few blogs with similar info. ENJOY !!

http://tendingmygarden.com/growing-asparagus/

 

http://www.gardeningblog.net/how-to-grow/asparagus/

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

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Miss the Daily Fun in the Garden- But need to Plan the New Seeds for Early season Planting

Miss the Daily Fun in the Garden- But need to Plan the New Seeds for Early season Planting

What should I plant next spring?  

What should I start inside?  How many should i start? I have a nice rack to grow/start up to 400 seed starter pots. 

What can I sow directly after starting inside- to stagger harvest for the entire season. Time to do some reading here ON line and some books- 

 

Book reviews to follow.

Seeds ?

http://www.cleveland.com/insideout/index.ssf/2012/02/post_66.html

Starting inside?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/howtogrow/9808259/Ten-tips-for-success-with-indoor-seedlings.html