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Friday, March 26, 2010

What I planted, seeded, and kept from last winter: Early Greens

Swiss chard
Colored stalks red, yellow and orange. Bought as transplants from Loews.

Red and Green cabbage
Bought as transplants from Loews.

Brussel Sprouts
Bought as transplants from Loews.

Red Lettuce
Bought as transplants from Loews.

Bought as transplants from Loews.

The transplants will get my garden producing earlier. You can eat the leaves of all the above plants.

I moved last years onions, old turnips and beets to one location. I buried the turnips and beets and will let them grow leaves for harvesting and eating. My last year turnip greens are back and I will leave them as they lay. The onions I planted along the boards of my raised beds. I will use them for their stalks. I also had several kale plants survive the winter. I cut the beat up leaves back and cut stems back that were partially rotted. The are all growing new leaves. They will turn to seed heads which I also put in salads.

I planted 8 varieties of radishes, a red veined russian kale, spinach, lettuce, red onion sets and beets. The radishes are up after 5 days of warmth. The peas I planted a few weeks back are up. They are about an inch high. Oh I also planted 3 varieties of carrots.

A mixture of last years plants, Loew's transplants and seeds have started my cool weather garden. In about 3 weeks, I will be able to make salads with regularity. Each week will bring new products to the table. Now is the time to get your garden started.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Peas are Breaking Through: Get Them in the Ground

The peas I planted in containers about 2 weeks ago are breaking through the ground. If you haven't planted peas, get them in the ground now. You still have time. They don't mind cold weather. Use your containers on the deck. Let the peas borrow the space till you plant them with flowers.

I just planted a row of 25 seeds along my cucumber bed. The peas will be long gone by the time the cucumbers need the space.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Grow Bunching Onions (Scallions) in 5 Gallon Bucket

I planted a lot in the garden this weekend. One idea I want to pass on is container gardening. I have a lot of  5 gallon paint buckets I use for growing upside down tomatoes and peppers.

While the season is still too cool for tomatoes, I used the bucket to pack in bunching onion seeds.

The bucket  was filled with soil. I just cleaned it up and mixed in some fertilizer. I scattered the onion seed (the entire packet) into the bucket and stuck it in the corner of my garden.

The bunching onions don't mind be packed tightly. You can pick them as the mature and sort of thin them as they grow.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Use Historical Data to Plan Tomato and Vegetable crops.

The best data is old data. This link will show you all you need to know for timing your plantings. For tomatoes it looks like May 20th.  Keep in mind the 37 degree night was frost in my area. I remember it. The city areas tend to stay warmer and Im in a lower area.
Tomatoes want warm nights.
LAST YEARS temperatures for May 2009

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tomatoes: What is a Determinate and Indeterminate Tomato?

Tomatoes come in two basic forms. There are determinate tomatoes and indeterminate tomatoes.

Determinate tomatoes typically grow to a specific height, stop growing and all the fruit sets at once. There are many types of determinate tomatoes. They are great for early fruit. They are outstanding in containers and small gardens. Its worth planting one or two determinate tomatoes in your garden. They will mature while your indeterminate tomatoes grow.

Indeterminate tomatoes typically grow continuously and set fruit all summer long up until the first frost. Indeterminate tomatoes will continue to grow and need a lot of maintenance. They are more work but continue to fruit all season long.

Determinate tomatoes require less staking and tending vs. their counter-part. They both have places in your garden. Any tomato plant you buy will have the words determinate or indeterminate on the label. This is also true for seed packets.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

NEW KNOL: When to Start Tomatoes Indoors and Plant Outdoors

Check out my Knol on When to Start Tomatoes Indoors and Plant Outdoors.

A good question was asked. The short answer is 6-8 weeks. But there are some basic questions you need to ask yourself and some basic guidelines to help plan your planting. Check it out.

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Unique Tomato: Micro Tom grows 5 to 8 inches

I ordered a bunch of unique tomatoes this year. One of them is Micro Tom. Why? Why not? Check out the description from the catalog I purchased them from. It grows 8 inches. I think this will be perfect for baskets and containers.

I will be doing a photo log of many tomatoes and will start writing Knols reviewing tomato varieties. Micro Tom will be one of them. I also have a variety from the Galapagos Islands.

World's smallest tomato variety,' developed by Drs., J.W. Scott and B.K. Harbaugh at the University of Florida. Grows 5 to 8 inches tall in a 4 inch pot bearing flavorful miniature tomatoes about the size of salad croutons. Plants are truly diminutive and wonderful for patios, windowsills or garden borders. Determinate. 85 days from seed.

Planting Peas: Good for Tomatoes

Peas can go in the ground now. It's 3/12. I planted my peas seeds yesterday into the large containers I use to grow tomatoes. The tomatoes won't go into the ground for about 8 weeks. Thats plenty of time for the peas to grow.

The benefit of planting peas is that they fix nitrogen to the soil. Not a lot, they tend to use what they make. But some none the less.

The technical process has to do with rhizobia.

The rhizobia chemically convert the nitrogen from the air to make it available for the pea plant.
They have symbiotic relationship with the pea plant roots. I turn my pea plants right into the ground. Decay and time, help release back the nitrogen into the soil.

Go plant your peas. 1 inch deep, 2 inches apart.

Monday, March 1, 2010

March 1st: Time to Start Cool Weather Seeds Indoors

You can check my Knol on cool weather crops or do a search for cool weather vegetables above.
Now is the time to start the following seeds indoors, in the Maryland area. Remember cool weather crops not only like, well cool weather, the can take some light frost.

Root crops have to go in the ground. That is carrots, radishes, beets, onion sets and turnips should be planted in the ground. Transplanting them from seed trays isn't effective.

Peas should be planted directly in the ground, although if the seed tray is larger, they can do well as a transplant. They need to be in trays that are at least 3 inches wide.

The following seeds can be started in your standard 9 section cello tray.

Collard Greens
Basil (though they don't like the cold)
and finally any other greens

You can do this on a south facing windowsil.