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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Harvest of 'Salad Rose' Radishes: A Great Radish!

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This was by far my most successful radish. It has a nice radish flavor without being to spicy. I grew about 8  variety of radishes. I am cutting my radishes down to 3-4 varieties for the fall. The 'Salad Rose' radish is definitely a keeper. It is a 6-8 inch long radish. Very tasty and filling!

'Salad Rose' Radishes in the Ground - The Rusted Garden
'Salad Rose' is a 6-8 inch radish - The Rusted Garden
'Salad Rose' Radish Prepared for Eating - The Rusted  Garden

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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This is a tour of my garden as of the end of May. It shows you most of my garden and I present a bunch of gardening tips to help you with your garden. Please check it out and spread the word. Thanks so much for visiting my blog. Good Growing!  You will even see clues to how I named my blog and garden The Rusted Garden.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Use Cedar Shims for Plant and Tomato Markers

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 I am in the process of fixing up The Rusted Garden. I hope to do a video tour today. One thing I do is use cedar construction shims for plant markers. Cedar is naturally bug and decay resistant. They are used for thing like lifting door jams during construction. You can find them pretty easily just by asking.


Use Cedar Shims for Plant and Tomato Markers - The Rusted Garden

Sunday, May 27, 2012

2 of 2: Planting a Tomato Disease Barrier Raised Bed Garden

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Planting a Tomato Disease Barrier Raised Bed Garden
(Part 2 of 2)

The concept of a Disease Barrier Raised Bed Garden is based on facts.
  • Create a barrier to prevent soil splash and disease spore splash
  • Mulch to maintain moisture and tomato plant health
  • Fertilize and compost key nutrients for healthy plant development
  • Prune to manage airflow and decrease plant density that supports disease spread
  • Spray with 'the most' organic spray when needed to fight disease that is don't go so organic your plants die out.
These concepts will be part of a 6 part video I do on my disease barrier raised bed garden over this growing season.  I am presenting the blog version first. Before you get started this idea is designed for plants that will stay in your garden for most of the season like tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplants, zukes, cukes and squashes. It isn't useful for lettuces, greens, radishes and other quick growing vegetables.

Part 1 showed you how to build  a Tomato Disease Barrier Raised Bed Garden. This is a basic planting guide.

Step One: Layout Your Plants

A raised bed will allow you to plant earlier in the season because the soil warms more quickly than an earth garden bed. It will also allow you to plant you vegetables more closely together because the earth around your vegetables stays loose. There is no foot traffic to compact the soil. The vegetables roots can grow downward and compete less for space. That being said, you also need to make sure you don't over-crowd your tomato plants because air circulation is necessary for disease management.

Tomatoes in a raised bed can manage well with 2 -3 feet of space between them. The closer you put them together, the  more you need to prune and manage them. Use the lower end if you want to prune less and worry less about air circulation. You can fit 6 to 8 tomatoes in a raised bed that measures 4 feet by 8 feet.


6 Tomatoes in a Raised Bed - The Rusted Garden
8 Tomatoes in a Raised Bed - The Rusted Garden


Step Two: Clear and Cut a Planting Hole

Clear out a space by moving the mulch and puncture or tear the plastic. Loosen the soil and plant to a depth of about 1/3 the size of the tomato.


Planting a Tomato in a Raised Bed - The Rusted Garden
Planting a Tomato in a Raised Bed : Gary Pilarchik
Plant to a Depth of 1/3 the Tomato - The Rusted Garden

Step Four: Fill the Planting Hole and Replace the Mulch

I filled the hole in around my tomato with some prepared soil. You can fill the hole with whatever you would like.


Fill the Hole - The Rusted Garden
Close the Plastic - The Rusted Garden
Replace the Mulch: Gary Pilarchik


 Step Five: Stake and Label Your Tomatoes

Place the stakes in the ground. You aren't going to tie the plant off to the post until they grow. I use the post as a way to label my tomatoes. You will forget. A tip is to write the name 2 or 3x's on the the post. The sun will fade marker and ink.

This is going to be my prize poundage tomato garden.  I am going for 1-2 pound tomatoes and hope for a record breaker.

I planted:
  • 2 'Aussie' Heirlooms (I got my 2 pounder off this variety last year)
  • 2 'Brandywine Suddath's Strain' Heirloom
  • 1 'Mexico' Heirloom
  • 1 'Mortgage Lifter' Heirloom
  • 1 'Black Plum' Heirloom (cherry)
  • 1 'Yellow Pear' Heirloom (cherry)

As the tomatoes grow, I will blog more about managing the plants and raised bed.  Good Growing!


Stake and Label Your Tomatoes - The Rusted Garden
Label the Stakes in 2 places (notice the top) - The Rusted Garden


Saturday, May 26, 2012

1 of 2: Tomato Disease Manangment and Creating A Disease Barrier Raised Bed


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I hope everything is growing well in your gardens. I have already seen powdery mildew on my hyssop plants. They have been sprayed. My kale is doing the best it has every done because I learned how to control the cabbage worm with baccilus thurengiensis or bt.  Well... I knew it worked but this year I have sprayed regularly and followed my disease and pest management plant. That is probably the main reason.

Disease management is the key to health and harvest for both humans and gardens. So go get your physicals now!  All disease if most effectively addressed early and preventatively. The garden's health and our health! This year I am going to follow my management plans but I say that every year. I am also going to experiment with some key principles and that leads to...


How to Create a Tomato Disease Barrier Raised Bed Garden
(Part 1 of 2)

A video viewer commented that he thought some things I was doing was overkill. I can't disagree with him unless you have had diseases like leaf spot and blight attack your vegetables. I don't think the idea of disease prevention is overkill. The main reason is that these ideas don't take up a lot of time. The least amount of work occurs during the prevention stages.

The concept of a Disease Barrier Raised Bed Garden is based on facts.
  • Create a barrier to prevent soil splash and disease spore splash
  • Mulch to maintain moisture and tomato plant health
  • Fertilize and compost key nutrients for healthy plant development
  • Prune to manage airflow and decrease plant density that supports disease spread
  • Spray with 'the most' organic spray when needed to fight disease that is don't go so organic your plants die out.
These concepts will be part of a 6 part video I do on my disease barrier raised bed garden over this growing season.  I am presenting the blog version first. Before you get started this idea is designed for plants that will stay in your garden for most of the season like tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, eggplants, zukes, cukes and squashes. It isn't useful for lettuces, greens, radishes and other quick growing vegetables.


Step One: Setting Up The Raised Bed

I am using a 4 foot by 8 foot raised bed. It is about 10-12 inches high on the sides. I filled my bed with a mix of 2 year compost and edging soil that I dug out edging my flower beds. I also added a bit of peat moss, a few cups of lime and 10-10-10 fertilizer. Don't get stuck on this part. Just fill up your raised bed and leave about an inch from the top for mulching.

Creating a Disease Barrier Tomato Garden - The Rusted Garden

I just dumped in what I removed from around my yard.  I left whole clumps of grass in it.  I quickly turned the bed over and added a few things. It is important to really soak your bed before the next step. Get moisture in there before you lay your plastic or landscaping barrier and mulch.


Preparing a Raised Bed Tomato Garden - The Rusted Garden


Step Two: Put Down the Disease Barrier

I decided to use a painters plastic drop cloth. The measurement you need is about 9 feet by 12 feet for this bed size. It was .7mm thick. It was doubled over to create a 1.4 mm layer of plastic. MAKE SURE you punch holes in it when you are done. You can also use landscaping fabric that lets water through, newspaper or other barriers that breath. I chose plastic because I got the idea while buying a drop cloth and it will allow me to easily discard the mulch.

The Plastic Disease Barrier for the Tomatoes - Gary Pilarchik

Step Three: Mulch The Plastic 

You can mulch the bed with many things. It is your choice. I chose shredded cypress because it was cheap, hopefully disease free and heavy. It won't wash or blow away. Cover your first barrier with about an inch of mulch. You now have 2 barriers between your soil and your plants. MAKE SURE you punch holes in the plastic when your are done.

A key reason I used plastic is because I wanted a barrier that would not decay. I wanted to be able to remove all the mulch at the end of the growing year easily and move it to my flower beds. Each year I plant to use fresh mulch. Decaying wood, like mulch,  in your garden can reduce nitrogen levels. This is caused by something in the way wood decays.


A Tomato Disease Barrier Raised Bed 1 - The Rusted Garden

A Tomato Garden Disease Barrier - The Rusted Garden




A Tomato Disease Barrier Raised Bed 2 - The Rusted Garden



Step Four: Poke Lots of Holes in It

If you use plastic you will need to put in 100's of quick holes. You need to keep an eye on it and make sure water drains through it. It takes about 3 minutes to fill it full of holes. Water will also drain in the openings where you plant the tomatoes. Just don't forget this step. Other barrier choices will allow you to skip this step. I used a screw driver and followed that basic hole pattern below. After I planted the tomatoes, I went back and added more.


Punch Holes if the Plastic for Drainage - The Rusted Garden

Well this entry got pretty long. I am going to create another blog entry for planting. It will be called and found at this link: Planting a Tomato Disease Barrier Raised Bed Garden.



Friday, May 25, 2012

Video: Tomato Disease Management - Newspaper Barrier and Pruning

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This is a video that shows you how to manage potential diseases on tomato plants by creating a newspaper ground barrier and by pruning leaves. It is the 3rd of 6 videos showing the same tomato plant and how to tend to it at different growth stages. The 1st and 2nd videos in the series are below.


Video 2 of 5 on Pruning and Managing a Tomato Plant
Video 1 of 5 on Planting the initial tomato seen in the series.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Video: Using Baking Soda to Manage Powdery Mildew in the Vegetable Garden

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Important: On June 20th my tomato plants suffered some phytotoxicity which is a fancy way of saying the leaves got burned by a chemical.  I have been applying baking soda at 2 tablespoons per gallon of water since April and it has been effective. However... that was when temperatures were really mid 80's or lower. On June 20th the temperature was over 95 degree with a heat index of 100 degrees. I sprayed my plants the night before with baking soda. The combination of that spray and the high heat (the next day) damaged leaves of different plants. I am now recommending 1 tablespoon of baking soda per gallon of water as a precaution. I will be shooting a YouTube video to describe the damage and process.

Another one of many vegetable spray videos (to come) for fighting vegetable garden diseases. This is a tried way in my garden to fight powdery mildew. It really works. USE ONE tablespoon of baking soda to 1 gallon of water. I will also be using it to try and manage leaf spot and blight. I read it is effective but I haven't tried it yet. I currently use wettable sulfur to manage those 2 diseases. It is a good management spray and I will blog about wettable sulfur later.

Heirloom Roadtrip to Pennsylvania

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of PA Tourism for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Not everyone finds heirloom seeds and plants to be an exciting part of a vacation. I'm not saying you can make a week of seed searching into a vacation but I know Pennsylvania has some best heirlooms around. Along with gardening, I also enjoy the old world culture of artisans and craftsman. I can walk around all day looking at the complexity of the skilled work by glassblowers, potters and woodworkers. Pennsylvania has made it easy to find destinations for vacation. I mean easy. If you are looking for  pa-roadtrips, their site is dedicated to premade icons with vacation themes. Just click the icon and you will get every piece of information you need to travel, lodge and site-see. All you have to do is load up the car and follow the directions.

visitPA-Roadtrip_box_720px.jpg

They call it the Roadtrip-a-Matic and it takes away all the difficulties I have found with traveling. 'Where do you stay', 'how do you get there' and, for example, 'what are all the best artisan destinations' are just some of the headaches associated with vacation planning.  PA makes roadtrips to their State simple. I found an icon on their site marked artisan trails. I clicked it and found a premade vacation agenda. It was perfect. Take a look at what PA has to offer through this site. You will be amazed at not only the great destinations but the ease of planning the trip. As I travel through the artisan trials, I will be looking out of heirloom plants and seeds. I can do what I enjoy and my family can enjoy the history and charm of the old world artisans. This trip will also be a great learning experience for my kids. You can't beat seeing living history.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Video: How to Boost Your Tomatoes Defenses Using Aspirin

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I use aspirin to boost my tomatoes defenses. I works! I have been using it for years. The aspirin mimics a hormone that tricks the tomato into thinking it is being attacked. The disease response starts and the tomato beefs up. (a tomato joke)

I will be doing a lot with tomatoes this year. Many videos are on the way. I just created a 'disease barrier' raised bed for 8 tomatoes. That will blogged about soon. Thanks for coming by.


Monday, May 21, 2012

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This is my second video for peas. The first video showed you how to plant peas in 5 gallon buckets. This video shows you what you will harvest if you plant container peas. It is a great way to grow peas. A more extensive blog about peas is coming soon. This is just the video.

Warm Season Vegetable Crops: A List of Sun Lovers

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It is warm season crop time in Maryland Zone 7. Warm season is typically defined as 70 to 90+ degree days. These vegetables don't like cool days or cool nights. The nights need to be nearly 60 degrees or warmer. 

Temperatures below 55 degrees will inhibit growth of these vegetables and can harm normal growth. They really don't like cold damp soil. The warm days tend to dry gardens more quickly and the seeds of the warm weather crops need that to germinate with success.

Warm Season Vegetable Crops


Basil
Start planting basil when the days stay in the 70's.

Beans
They germinate best between 70 and 80 degrees. They don't like soggy soil.

Beets
Are cold tolerant and can be started earlier but they are also heat tolerant and be planted almost any time.

Cantaloupe
Like most melons they need 80 degree days to thrive best.

Corn
Gets planted when the days are regularly in the 70's and 80's.

Cucumbers
Like beans germinate best around 70 to 80 degrees. They don't like soggy soil.

Celery
Though I managed to grow it as a cool season crop. It is thriving now the day temperature is in the 70's.

Eggplant
They need 70-80 degree days.

Kale Varieties
They love the cold but also grow through the warm season without bolting. They bolt the 2nd year typically.

Peppers
They need 70-80 degree days and 60 degree nights to grow.

Pumpkins
They like 80 to 90 degree days.

Tomatillos
Treat them like peppers and tomatoes.

Tomatoes
Treat them just like peppers.

Spinach (New Zealand Variety)
It will grow in 80 degree days without bolting like standard spinach.

Squash (Summer & Winter)
They start thriving when the days break 80 degrees. 70 degrees will get them germinated and going.

Watermelons
Just like cantaloupe

Zucchini
Treat them like squash.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Some Flowers Around The Rusted Garden

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 Flowers are great to have around the vegetable garden. Aside from beauty, they bring in beneficial insects that every gardener wants. A mix of bulbs, perennials and annuals will keep your garden blooming. My rose comes back every year. The irises are bulbs that come back every year and the columbines are perennials too that seed themselves everywhere. Which is OK!

Fire Rose - The Rusted Garden
Fire Rose (They Change Colors) -The Rusted Garden
Fire Rose and Spider (left corner) - The Rusted Garden
Yellow Iris - The Rusted Garden
Yellow Iris come after the Purple Iris - The Rusted Garden
Columbines - The Rusted Garden
More Columbines - The Rusted Garden





Friday, May 18, 2012

How to Make Kale Chips: A Healthy Green

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Kale Chips Freshly Picked - The Rusted Garden

Well you might have the tendency to over-plant your greens like I do. One great way to manage kale is to dry it out in the oven and make kale chips. It taste great assuming you like kale to start with and it makes a great snack.  Kale is packed with calcium and other vitamins.


STEP ONE:
  • Set your oven to 300 degrees 
  • Cover a few cookie trays with foil
  • Tear you kale into 2-3 inch pieces 
  • Mix some salt and pepper together
  • Get your olive oil or similar ready
Kale, Salt, Pepper and Olive Oil  for Kale Chips - The Rusted Garden

The pictures tell the story. Make sure the kale is torn into 2-3 inch pieces. Larges pieces won't dry out uniformly.


 STEP TWO:
  • Tear the kale into 2-3 inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • You can add garlic or onion powder
  • Lightly oil the kale so all pieces are covered
Tear the Kale into 2-3 Inch Pieces: Gary Pilarchik

Once your tear up the kale, salt and pepper it to your taste. You can always add more later. Put in enough oil to lightly coat all the kale. Don't over oil it. If you like garlic and onion, add it in-in powder form.


STEP THREE:
  • Lay it on a foil tray with some over lap
  • Bake it for 15 minutes to start
Coated and Seasoned Kale on the Tray - The Rusted Garden
Kale After 15 Minutes at 300 Degrees - The Rusted Garden

STEP FOUR:
  • Pick the kale up carefully and flip it
  • A messy flip is fine
  • Bake it for 10 more minutes
Flip and Bake the Kale Another 10 Minutes - Gary Pilarchik

The kale has now baked 15 and 10 minutes. A total of 25 minutes of course. It probably isn't ready yet. Flip it one more time.



STEP FIVE:
  • Flip the kale again 
  • Bake it for 5 more minutes
  • If it isn't all dried after 5 minutes, another 3 minutes will do
  • Season them a bit more if needed
 
Kale Chips are Ready in about 30 Minutes - Gary Pilarchik
A Bowl of Kale Chips - The Rusted Garden

Consider a Sunken Container Vegetable Garden this Summer

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I originally posted this last year. Check the pictures out from bottom to top. I just planted the containers for this season. A sunken container garden is a great addition to your standard garden. Try it out!

Cucumbers and Melons: Pilarchik
Close Up of the Maturing Melon and Cucumbers: Pilarchik
The Sunken Container Garden After: Pilarchik
The Sunken Container Garden Before: Pilarchik
The Sunken Container Garden Conception: Pilarchik
This was 4 to 5 weeks worth of growth from last year.  A space I wasn't using but to grow grass I had to cut. We always need more room!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Vegetable Gardening Tip #10 for 2012: What Does 10-15-20 (fertilizer) Mean?

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Gardening leads to fertilizing. The basics... Fertilizer is broken down into 2 categories. Macronutrients and Micronutrients. You are most familiar with the Macronutrient numbers. A bag of fertilizer may read 10-15-20 and that represents the amount of Macronutrients in the product. In order- it is Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. Or using the example of 10-15-20: Nitrogen 10 Phosphorus 15 and Potassium 20. For gardening I recommend a 10-10-10 fertilizer. It keeps things simple. These are the three primary Macronutrients.

The other three Macronutrients are the secondary nutrients or Sulfur, Calcium and Magnesium. These may or may not be in the fertilizer you purchase.

The Micronutrients are known as trace elements such as boron, copper, zinc and iron. These typically don't come in your basic bag of 10-10-10 fertilizer. Or if the they do, they are in trace amounts. Check the packaging for details.

There are two types of fertilizer. Soil and foliar. Soil fertilizer is typically the granules that come in 40 pound bags. And foliar is more like Miracle Grow you mix with water.

That's the basics.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Looking For Member Gardening Related Articles

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Let's face it, a lot of gardeners coming through my blog are full of information that would help us make a better vegetable garden.

I would be glad to post articles you write with links to your blog or site.  Just send me a reply below and I will get in touch with you.

The Guidelines:
  • Not too short or to long
  • 1-3 pictures (Assuming I figure out how to host them)
  • The topic is of course vegetable gardening
  • Include you name if you want it in the entry
  • Include links to your site if you want it in the entry (No commercial sites or sales)
  • I will format edit it for appearance only
  • Give me 2 weeks to get it on my blog once accepted

Monday, May 14, 2012

Warm Weather is Here in Zone 7: Time to Plant...

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The season is moving from cool weather crops to warm  weather crops. You will probably notice a lot of your cool weather vegetables bolting (flowering). This typically signals the end of  the run for them. Lettuce can become bitter and other plants stop growing the parts we want. You might have time for 28 day radishes but aside from that, it is time to switch gears to WARM WEATHER CROPS.

That is, you can get your tomatoes and peppers in the ground. You can plant your zukes, cukes and squashes. Your beans can go in. You basil can go in. Don't forget your melons too. I'll be doing a full blog on warm weather crops over the next week.

Good Luck and Good Growing!

I plan on making a video demonstrating how to create a disease barrier in the garden. It is time to plan you prevention spraying schedule and get started with the first wave of spraying.

Tending Container Potoates: Back-Filling to Increase Yield!

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 Growing potatoes in containers works. This video shows you the process of back-filling the container once the potato stems grow. The idea is to fill the container with soil, hay or similar to about 1/2 to 3/4 the stems growth. You do this several times as the stems grow. I was actually a little late in the video. Potatoes will grow out from the stems! This is how you increase your potato yield in containers.

 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

How to Tend, Prune and Remove Suckers from a Young Tomato

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 I am continuing to make videos. This video is about tending and training a young tomato. It will show you how to remove suckers, prune lower branches to begin creating a disease barrier and other basic care. The tomato was in the hot-house tomato cage for 4 weeks. It grew nicely!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

More Cool Weather Crops and What's Going on in the Rusted Garden

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I will be shooting several videos this weekend. One will demonstrate how to prune and manage a young tomato. This will include creating a disease barrier. I will be showing you how to tend your 12 inch potato plants by adding soil, compost, or hay to 1/2 the stalks.  And a video on container peas.

I shut down my grow-lights and everything is outside. I'll be writing about creating transplants as a way to manage your summer garden and maximize space and production. Please let me know if you have questions or would like to see certain gardening subjects covered. If I don't know how to do it... I will make up something fun.

Other cool weather crops in pictures below. Oh... In Maryland, we have about 4 weeks left of what would be considered cool weather. Enough time for some baby lettuce, spinach and radishes.

Cool Weather - 'Blue Vates' Kale and Chive - The Rusted Garden

You can see an asparagus branch, strawberry leaves and over-wintered leeks in the picture above.


Cool Weather - Onions Planted in March - The Rusted Garden

That is lemon balm to the left. It is a very hardy and a super fragrant herb. Great in teas! It smells like summer.


Cool Weather - Container Peas: Gary Pilarchik

The peas that are huge are sugar snap edible pod. The little bunch are standard peas. And that is my last wave of tomatoes that are for my garden and for sale.


Cool Weather - Carrots, Beets and Celery - Gary Pilarchik

I wouldn't classify these as 100% cool weather but they need some cool weather growing time. This is my first time growing celery and that is because I stumbled upon it in seed cells. I figured what the heck. The celery had to be protected when frost was around.


Cool Weather - ( L) Pak Choi, Brocolli Raab, and 'Black' Kale: Gary Pilarchik
In the back left corner is 'Red Russian' kale that over-wintered. Kale is a great crop in Maryland.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Lettuces Planting Methods and Cool Weather Crops

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Here is the video describing a couple different methods for planting lettuces - a cool weather crop. Below are updated pictures of the progress of the lettuce as well as pictures of other cool weather crops. Remember in Maryland Zone 7 we can plant cool weather vegetables again mid August for fall vegetables.





Scatter Plot of Lettuce - The Rusted Garden
Heavily Seeded Lettuce Row - The Rusted Garden

In the above picture right in front is parsley and 'Bright Lights' swiss chard. Both grow in the cool weather and survive warm weather well. In the middle are two rows of lettuce seeded in a way that the seeds touch each other. I just dropped a bunch in a row. You can cut leaves and let them grow back or pick whole plants to thin the row and let the remaining lettuces grow larger. In the back are radishes, another row of lettuce and spinach. All cool weather  vegetables.


Lettuce Spaced for Full Heads and Container Greens: Gary Pilarchik

In the containers are mustard greens. And in the bed are lettuces to mature to full heads and spinach in the back left corner. These are all cool weather vegetables. The heat generally makes cool weather vegetables bolt to flower and bitters the leaves.