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Thursday, October 30, 2014

How to Plant Garlic in the Fall: How, When and Why

How to Plant Garlic in the Fall: How, When and Why


My method for planting garlic is for gardeners in areas that get freezing winters. If you don't get freezing nights, snow and frozen ground... garlic bulbs are often pushed into the garden bed  surface, about an inch deep and covered with some mulch.

I am in Maryland Zone 7 and my beds freeze in the winter. Garlic should be planted 3-4 inches deep depending on how much cold you get. The video will show you how I set up the soil and plant the garlic cloves, broken from the bulbs. I will use diffenernt fertilizers as available. I often use bone meal for phosphorous, as it helps with bulb growth, and blood meal for nitrogen. The key to nice size garlic bulbs is very loose soil and fall planting.


Garlic Sprouts - The Rusted Garden 2014

You plant them in the fall for two reasons. The garlic will recognize the winter and come spring will set off to form a bulb. Planting them in the fall also allows the clove to sprout a tip and develop a really strong root system. When you plant the clove you want to make sure you have some slow release fertilizer mixed into the planting area. Don't worry if your garlic gets a few inches of green growth that gets beat up before the cold arrives. It won't hurt it.


Plant Garlic in the Fall before the Freeze Comes

I plant my garlic about 4 inches deep in my zone. I don't mulch it. You can plant it in late September through October. If you want to push it, early November is okay. The key is that you want about 4 inches of a barrier between the clove you plant and freeze. You could do a 4 inch depth in the soil or 2 inches in the soil and 2 inches of mulch. It is really up to you. You do not need to be exact.

I use garlic from the grocery store. A lot of people say you shouldn't as you have a risk for diseases. I haven't had issues. You can buy it from catalogs and online. You can go to specialty gourmet stores for different varieties that are meant to be eaten... but I plant them.





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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Fall is Here and Now is the Time to Build Raised Beds and Prepare Garden Beds for Next Spring

Fall is Here and Now is the Time to 
Build Raised Beds and Prepare Garden Beds for Next Spring


Fall often signals the end of the gardening season. It is a great time of year to convert your earth beds over to simple raised beds or to increase the size of your garden with another raised bed or two. If you have a raised bed it also the time to clean out the old plants, amend your soil and prepare them for hibernation. Which really means tossing in some compost, dirt and maybe some cover crops. Come the spring, you just need to turn the beds and get them ready for planting.





If you do the work in the fall, come spring you really just have to turn the soil, add what you like and plant your seeds. Raised beds are a great way to organize your garden. They can be planted earlier in the spring, as they drain better and warm faster. They also help you conserve resources by directing you time, amendments and money into the actual planting area. The space between the beds can be mulched for weed control and walking. The good stuff goes into the raised bed.

If you are framing out a new raised bed, you can actually build the frame, lay it down and put newspaper and cardboard over the grass inside the frame. Cover the frame with basic cheap soil to press down the newspaper and come spring you have a place that is weed and grass free. You can add compost and amendments of your choice and just turn the bed. You will be ready to plant come spring.










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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bulk Seed Sale: 7 Varieties of Cool Weather Salad Greens

7 Varieties of Cool Weather Salad Greens


I selected these bulk purchase seeds based on what I enjoy in my salads. There are 4 types of lettuce with different colors and shapes. A spicy arugula, an endive and some turnip greens. You can grow these in the spring and fall in most areas. They love the cool weather. I am growing these now in my greenhouse cold-frame for fall and hopefully winter greens.


Sprouted Seeds in the Cool Weather Seed Packages

Arugula Roquette
A leafy green with a slightly peppery flavor.  The young leaves can be used fresh or mature greens can be cooked. It will get to 3 feet tall when fully mature. It does not like heat. A definite cool weather crop.

Endive Salad King
Grows 2 feet tall. This is a dark green variety with curled and deeply cut leaves. The plants are slow bolting. Plants can stand a light frost. Plant in spring and fall.

Lettuce Danyelle
This is an incredibly red lettuce from baby leaf size to maturity. It is sweet and crispy with nice full heads and an upright habit. The plants are easy to grow and hold their quality in the field for a long time. 28 days baby leaf. 50 days mature.

Lettuce Grand Rapids
Non-heading variety with fringed and curled, sweet crisp, light-green leaves. Great for leaf picking and cut and come again lettuce. 45 days to maturity.

Lettuce Oakleaf
Medium-green oak leaf-like leaves are born on a single stalk/rosette. As outer leaves are picked, plant continues to produce tender new leaves. A unique loose leaf variety. Good container plant. 40 days.

Lettuce Red Romaine
A great looking lettuce. It is tender crisp with a sweet gourmet romaine flavor. Plants are 12" tall, slow to bolt and widely adapted. The leaves are green at the very base and red on top. The red color intensifies with cool weather. Great for spring and fall crops. It matures later in about 70 days but you can pick it as you wish.

Turnip Seven Top (Greens)
Popular turnip grown not for the root but for the delicious greens. It is an heirloom and has been around for 100+ years. It matures in 45 days. Another great cool weather green.


7 Varieties of Seeds for $ 9.75 (shipping included)



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Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Rusted Garden 2015 Tomato Seed Sale is Active: 40 Varieties I Hand Collected

The Rusted Garden 2015 Tomato Seed Sale is Active: 40 Varieties I Hand Collected


All 40 Tomato Varieties Test Germinated: Sale is On!
Well it was a great summer. I grew over 40 varieties of tomatoes and collected seeds from about 40 plants for resale. All the seeds test germinated well. You can purchase them from my blog and here is the quick link to The Rusted Garden Tomato Seed Sale.  I have decent quantities but I think they will go pretty quickly. You can view the seeds at the link and order there. I have descriptions, pictures and videos for a lot of the seeds. I will add more over time.

I also order some bulk tomato and pepper seeds from a company I use. These will be seeds I grow next year in the a garden. I am also offering them in a package of 10. I will do a few discount packages or bulk deals as time goes on.

Thanks for being kind and watching my videos. I am already looking forward to next year. I hope everyone had a great year in the garden!

Gary
The Rusted Garden Tomato Seeds Ready for Sale




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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Growing, Harvesting and Drying Hot Cayenne Peppers: Red Pepper Flakes for Pasta!

Growing, Harvesting and Drying Hot Cayenne Peppers: Red Pepper Flakes for Pasta!


A pepper that is very easy to grow is the hot 'Cayenne' pepper. There is a sweet version with no heat. I grow the hot cayenne specifically for making red pepper flakes for my pastas. I live in Maryland Zone 7 and transplant my plants late May into my earth beds and container gardens. I typically harvest the peppers in late August or early September when they are a brilliant red and start drying a bit on the plant. I believe harvesting them this way improves their flavor!


The Finished Product - Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Peppers need warm days and nights to really start growing. If you plant them too early, frost will kill them and if you put them in past the frost date but when it is still cool... they will just sit. They prefer 60+ degree nights and 80 degrees days to really start growing. Warmer night bring faster growth. Late May is a good time to get them in ground in my area. I recommend using transplants you either start yourself indoors about 8 weeks before they would go into the ground or you can by transplants locally.


Cayenne Peppers Oven Dried and Ready to be Crushed 

If you don't have room to grow them in the ground you can grow them in containers. I recommend a 5 gallon container but they can also be grown in 2 1/2 gallon containers like in the video. The key to healthy container peppers is never letting the soil fully dry out and liquid feedings about every two weeks with a balance fertilizer or one with a lower nitrogen number. Too much nitrogen gets you a lot of leaf growth.




Over time I found letting them dry a bit on the plant adds flavor. They will go from being a firm plump red pepper that is hard to bend to a slightly wrinkled red pepper that is pliable. Don't let them over dry on the plant but just wrinkle a bit. This is typically around  90 days after transplanting. You may get several harvests too depending on the area in which you grow. Here is a video that shows you my recent September harvest and how the peppers look before picking. I also quickly go over the drying process. Drying time will vary.




One of the great things about gardening is you continually learn. Here is my first video on picking and drying hot cayenne peppers from 2 or 3 years ago. It is essentially the same but I did change a few things. I now let them dry a bit on the plant. And I don't take the tops off when they go in the oven. I think my new method keeps a bit more flavor within the peppers. However, nothing is exact and this video shows you how to dry fully plump cayenne peppers which really means instead of 5 hours drying time it will take you nearly 7 hours. And that makes sense as there is less moisture in wrinkled pliable cayenne peppers you take off the plants... but more flavor!




And finally... store them in an air tight container. You don't want the humidity of the days to seep back into your dried peppers. Keep the crisp. When you use them they will absorb the flavors of the pasta sauces you use. Good luck and enjoy!


Two Ways to Store Your Dried Cayenne Peppers



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Welcome Gardeners!