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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cool Season Vegetable Crops (Spring & Fall): Facts and Planting - Revised 2016

Cool Season Vegetable Crops (Spring & Fall)


A  Mix of Cool Weather Vegetables: The Rusted Garden

What Makes A  Vegetable a Cool Weather Vegetable?
The cell structures of vegetables differ in that some vegetables have plant cells that will burst if they freeze or encounter even a light frost.. Cool weather vegetables tend to have the ability to freeze without cell damage. They are designed for the cooler temperatures. The cells can freeze and defrost in the sun with out damage to the plant leaf. When a extend cold comes that will freeze the roots or area where the roots meet the stem, that is when the plant usually dies or is damaged. So you have a lot of time to grow cool season vegetables!



Fully Frozen and Survived: The Rusted Garden

Cool season vegetables prefer the cooler weather. This group of vegetables grows best and tastes their best with 50 degree (F) nights and 60-70 degree (F) days. Cool weather vegetables can be broken into two sub-categories which are Hardy and Semi-Hardy.

Why Can’t I Plant Them When It Is Hot??
Many of the cool weather vegetables try and set seed when it gets warm. Lettuces, for example, don’t mature to full heads and grow quickly to flower and set seeds when the warmth comes. This is aprocess called ‘bolting’. Most lettuces will also become bitter tasting when it is get regularly warm.

Radishes become woody and also ‘bolt’. The cool weather allows vegetables time to mature slowly and it inhibits (slows) the ‘bolting’ process. Kale is a hardy cool weather crop that tastes sweeter when‘cool grown’ but it can be grown through the whole season in many locations.

Hardy Cool Weather Vegetables: 
This group of vegetables can manage well with mid 40 degree days and can survive a strong frost. Many vegetables in this group can over-winter in your garden and bring you early spring greens. Vegetables in this group can be planted up to 4 weeks before the average last frost date in your area. You can probably even get away with 6 weeks if you like pushing garden limits.

Semi-Hardy Cool Weather Vegetables: 
This group of vegetables doesn’t fare as well with frost although they can handle a light frosting with minimal to no damage. They prefer daytime temperatures in the 50’s and nights that don’t fall below 40 degrees, although they can handle nights in the 30’s. Vegetables in this group can be planted up to 2-4 weeks before the average last frost date in your area.

A Cool Weather Tip
In places with warm to hot summers, you actually have two cool weather seasons. I plant in Maryland Zone 7. I can start my cool weather planting March 1st and I can plant them again mid August for a fall cool season. I actually plant at this time to also establish vegetables that I will let over-winter.

Different Types of Cool Weather Vegetables

The exact split, between hardy (H) and semi-hardy (SH), and where to place a vegetable in the sub-categories is debated. It is best used for general planting guidelines and understanding they simply like the cool weather. My guidelines for each vegetable is based on my growing area (Zone 7). I am giving you the general range for first planting of these vegetables. You can plant successive crops every 2 weeks as you wish based on you planting zone.


Some Cool Weather Vegetable Crops: The Rusted Garden

Asparagus (H) (Perennial) It takes about 3 years to establish a viable crop. It is a perennial plant that will start sending up stalks in March when planted the previous year. If you are planting it for the first time to establish it your garden, it is best to use transplants. You can grow them from seed in cell trays. They should be planting in the garden in May.

Arugula (SH) It can be started indoors and planted in the garden 2 weeks before last frost date. You can also plant seeds at the same time.

Beets (SH) It can be planted as seeds 2 weeks before last frost date. I have had success growing transplants.

Bok Choy (Pak Choi) (H) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I do recommend growing it indoors and transplanting it into the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Broccoli (H) It is best planted as a transplant 4 weeks before last frost date. I would not recommend starting it as seeds in the ground in Zone 7.

Brussels sprouts (H) It is best planted as a transplant 2 weeks before last frost date. I would not recommend starting it as seeds in the ground in Zone 7.

Cabbage (H) It is best planted as a transplant 4 weeks before last frost date. I would not recommend starting it as seeds in the ground in Zone 7.

Carrots (SH) Carrots should not be grown as transplants. They can be seeded in your garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Cauliflower (H) It is best planted as a transplant 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I would not recommend starting it as seeds in the ground in Zone 7.

Celery (SH) It is best planted as a transplant 2 weeks before last frost date. I would not recommend starting it as seeds in the ground in Zone 7.

Cilantro (H) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Collard Greens (H) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I do recommend growing it indoors and transplanting it into the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Fennel (H) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I do recommend growing it indoors and transplanting it into the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Kale (H) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I do recommend growing it indoors and transplanting it into the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Kohlrabi (H) It can be started indoors and planted in the garden 2 weeks before last frost date. You can also plant seeds at the same time.

Lettuce (H) It can be started indoors and planted in the garden 4 weeks before last frost date. You can also plant seeds at the same time.

Mustard Greens (H) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I do recommend growing it indoors and transplanting it into the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Onions (H) If you are using bulbs you can plant them 6 weeks before last frost date. I have not used seeds.

Parsley (H) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I do recommend growing it indoors and transplanting it into the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Peas (SH) They should be planted directly in the ground 4 weeks before last frost date. Peas do not like soggy cold soil.

Potatoes (SH) They should be planted directly in the ground 4 weeks before last frost date.

Radishes (H) They should be planted directly in the ground 4 weeks before last frost date.

Spinach (H) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I do recommend growing it indoors and transplanting it into the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Chard (SH) It can be planted as seeds directly in the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date. I do recommend growing it indoors and transplanting it into the garden 2-4 weeks before last frost date.

Turnips (H) They should be planted directly in the ground 4 weeks before last frost date


More Cool Weather Vegetable Crops: The Rusted Garden

Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)

Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Squash & Zucchini (Pests/Pollination) Grow It, Cook It, Eat It - A Garden & Cooking Series E- 3

Squash & Zucchini (Pests/Pollination)  
Grow It, Cook It, Eat It - A Garden & Cooking Series E- 3


Coley and I are excited to present our 3rd episode of Grow It, Cook It, Eat It. You can find the recipe and other garden links below.

This episode is all about Squash and Zucchini. Coley presents 5 tips on cooking and storing the vegetables which includes Zoodles. I focus on pollination and why fruit browns. I also talk at length about identifying and controlling squash bugs, beetles and vine borers. I grow my S & Z up cages and supports for easy spraying. And most importantly, don't forget to eat what you grow and cook, with your family and friends!

Cheers!
Coley and Gary





Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)

Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

Join My FB VIDEO Page - :The Rusted Garden FB Videos

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Growing Tomatoes and Peppers From Start To Finish: A 9 Video Garden Series


Growing Tomatoes and Peppers From Start To Finish


Growing Tomatoes

This is a 9 part series I just finished and it is hosted on one of my two garden YouTube Channels - My First Vegetable Garden. It holds nearly 200 garden videos for new gardeners.

The 9 videos take you from seed starting tomatoes and peppers to hopefully a wonderful harvest. In between you can find all the steps on planting, feeding, tending and manage pests and disease.

I've included all 9 videos on this page with their video descriptions. If you enjoy this series please check out my channel linked above.

Growing Peppers

(1 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and Peppers: 
When to Seed Start,  Starting Mix, Light, Watering and Feeding

This is a 9 part series that takes you from seed starting to picking tomatoes and peppers. The 1st video shows you how to seed start your tomatoes and peppers indoors. I show you how to prepare the starting mix, how to prevent fungus and insects, when to fertilize, how and when to water and a bit about lighting. And I tell you when to start them. This is a series you can follow to grow your own tomatoes and peppers. Makes sure you have annotations on as I add information in text boxes.




(2 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and Peppers: 
Acclimation (to Sun), Fertilizing and Cup Transplanting Peppers

This is a 9 part series that takes you from seed starting to picking tomatoes and peppers. This is the 2nd video.  I shows you how to transplant the peppers into cups in 3 ways and how to fertilize them. I also talk about acclimating them to the sun.  This is a series you can follow to grow your own tomatoes and peppers.




(3 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and Peppers: 
True Leaves and Fertilizing, Purple Stems and Cinnamon Anti-Fungal

This is the 3rd video in a 9 part series about growing tomatoes and peppers from seed starting to harvesting. This video shows you when to fertilizer your tomato starts (1st True Leaves) and discusses water soluble fertilizer and how much to use. I give you an update on the pepper transplants, talk about purple pepper stems, how to use neem oil for insects, cinnamon as an anti-fungal and the way I label my seedlings.




(4 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and  Peppers: 
Cup Transplanting Tomatoes, Fertilizing, Stem Bumps and Tips 

This is the 4th video in a 9 part series about growing tomatoes and peppers from seed starting to harvesting. I show you how to transplant the tomatoes into cups and talk about fertilizing. I also show you some over-grown tomatoes in starter cells that are doing well from processed fertilizers. The tomato stems have bumps, this occurs on many stems and it is nothing to worry about. Make sure you have annotations on. There are lots of notes.




(5 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and Peppers: 
Pruning Peppers, No Flowering, Feeding and Progress

This is the 5th video in a 9 part series on growing tomatoes and peppers from start to harvesting. This video quickly explains why you would and how to prune peppers. It is a great way to get stronger more productive plants.. Feed your tomatoes ever 10-14 days with a water soluble fertilizer and don't let them flower while you wait for final transplanting.




(6 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and Peppers:
Pepper Planting, Container Soil, Basic Feeding and Tomato Progress

This is the 6th video of 9.  Peppers and tomatoes like the warmth and generally like to be planted when the nights are in the 50's and the days are in the 70's.  Too much nitrogen grows a lot of pepper leaves. While tomatoes love to be fed, a bit less for peppers is better. I talk about some basic fertilizing principles and how to make a basic container soil. I also show you how to plant your peppers in containers and in earth beds. Tomatoes show up in the video to but they will be the star of the next video.



(7 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and Peppers:
Prevention, Splash Barrier, Aspirin and Sprays, Planting

In video #7 I talk about disease prevention. Mulch is used for moisture and weeds but also as a disease splash barrier. Bottom pruning leaves helps create a disease barrier. Slugs are treated with Iron phosphate and I plant my indeterminate tomatoes. Finally I talk about Aspirin spray (which really works) for bolstering you tomato plant's defenses. Baking soda makes a great anti-fungal.




(8 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and Peppers:
Side Dressing, Pruning, Suckers, Removing Leaves and Sprays

Video #8 of 9 gets your tomatoes and peppers ready for growth and production. I show you how I remove bottom leaves from my peppers and talk about fertilizing them. They don't need much. I also show you how I stake, prune and remove suckers from tomato plants. I explain what a production stem is and discuss why you may want to manage stems on your tomatoes. I also show you how to side dress tomatoes with fertilizer and lime.




(9 of 9) Growing Tomatoes and Peppers:
My Harvest, Saving Tomato and Pepper Seeds, Final Tour

Thanks for watching this series: Growing Tomatoes & Peppers. This is the final video of the series. I show you my harvest, how to save tomato and pepper seeds (for next year!) and give you my final tour of the tomato and pepper gardens.





Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)

Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

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Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Difference Between Determinate & Indeterminate Tomatoes



The Difference Between 
Determinate & Indeterminate Tomatoes


There are generally two types of tomato plant categories. A tomato plant is either a determinate plant or an indeterminate plant. You may come across tomatoes called semi-determinate, however, you can treat them as a slower growing indeterminate tomato plant variety.

Clusters of  Determinate Tomatoes
Ripen Together for a Large Harvest
Determinates Mature Together
A determinate tomato grows to a set height and stops growing or greatly slows growth. They may be anywhere from 1-5 feet tall.

The determinate variety tomatoes tend to set all of their flowers over a very short period of time.

You will often see clusters of  green tomatoes that seem to appear all at once. They also tend to ripen together quickly, be ready for a large harvest.

The determinate plant typically begins to die off while the fruits are in the later stages of maturing.  Often, while the fruits mature, you will notice the plant leaves yellowing and dying off. This is a normal process for the plant.

Determinate types of tomatoes are great for getting early tomatoes from your garden and they do well in containers and in small spaces. You can often plant two rounds of determinate tomatoes in your garden, where you have about 5 months of warm weather. They can be planted in May and again in mid July.

Staked Indeterminate Tomatoes
The indeterminate tomato variety continues to grow and grow until frost or disease takes the plant. These plants can easily get to 6, 7, 8 feet tall and even taller. It will set flowers and fruit throughout the entire growing season. Typically, it produces several leaves, a cluster of flowers, several leaves and a cluster of flowers. This general pattern repeats, as tomatoes are vines.

Only frost or disease will stop an indeterminate tomato from growing and setting new flower clusters.  Think of it this way, a determinate tomato grows to a predetermined size and stops. Indeterminate tomatoes often need to be staked and pruned to manage their vigorous continuous growth.

Flower Cluster Form Tomatoes Over the Whole Season




A 'Sucker' in the Joint About to Be Pruned Out


I recommend slowly pruning the bottom leaves of indeterminate tomatoes and removing some suckers over the growing season. Pruning helps with airflow around and through the plant and it is done to help manage diseases and excessive growth. When and how much to prune is the gardener's choice.

You can often find out whether or not your tomato plant is an determinate or indeterminate plant variety from the seed pack. If you happen to buy a transplant or can't find what type it is, search the name on the internet. Very often you will find seed companies that carry your tomato variety and the plant description will tell you what type of growth to expect.

Tomatoes form from the bottom up on indeterminate plants. The lower part of the plant holds older tomatoes that mature and ripen. New flowers and tomatoes are found toward the top of the plant, as it grows.

The 'suckers' that form in the joints of leaves and stems will also produce flowers and continue to grow. Indeterminate plants are often pruned to limit production while determinate tomatoes should rarely be pruned.

Pruned and Staked Indeterminate Varieties
A Cluster of Green Tomatoes Mature 

Indeterminate Varieties Set Fruit Over the Season





Good Luck with Your Garden,
Gary (The Rusted Garden)



Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

Join My FB VIDEO Page - :The Rusted Garden FB Videos

Join My FB DISCUSSION Group - :The Rusted Garden: All About Vegetable Gardening

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Kale & Kale Pests: Grow It, Cook It, Eat It - A Garden & Cooking Series E- 2 (Pilot)

 Kale & Kale Pests: Grow It, Cook It, Eat It
A Garden & Cooking Series E- 2 (Pilot)


Coley and I are excited to present our 2nd episode of Grow It, Cook It, Eat It. You can find the recipe and other garden links below.

This episode is all about Kale and it is a little heavier on the Grow It side. Kale is easy to grow and a great crop, if you can manage 3 annoying pests. I spend time showing you how to do just that. Coley has 5 tips for you to tame that delicious yet sometimes dirty leaf. She shows you how to prepare it, dry it, crisp it, blend it and even massage it. And don't forget to eat what you grow and cook, with your family and friends.
 


Cheers!
Coley and Gary
 



Join My New YouTube Channel Just for NEW Gardeners: My First Vegetable Garden

Join My FB VIDEO Page - :The Rusted Garden FB Videos

Join My FB DISCUSSION Group - :The Rusted Garden: All About Vegetable Gardening