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Throw a little science into the garden mix

OK, so Aunt Toby just knows that you’ve got this gargantuan pile of seed catalogs next to the chair or on your night stand and the color photos are just amazing. And your list is growing longer and longer and you are just going crazy with the thoughts of the snow off the ground and the plants IN the ground and what the tomatoes are going to taste like this summer and hey, maybe you’ll make salsa!

Slow down, Bucko. Let’s throw a little science on this, ok? (more…)

Want Peppers in Northern Growing Zones? Give ‘em a Hot Foot!

Up here Chez Siberia might be located as far as the USDA maps are considered, in Zone 4 – but our geography makes it a Zone 3 for sure, which means that growing things like peppers, melons, sweet potatoes, and long season stuff just does..not…work very well. Even when we start plants early and get them in the ground, many times, the soil is just not warm enough for them and they just sit there and sulk.

And when we have had frosts as early as half way through September, we can’t have them sit there and sulk. We need them to get going right away so that they form flowers and make fruit. For years, we tried everything and then, stumbled upon something that just worked great – putting them into plastic milk jugs. Last summer, we had plenty of room in the garden, so I put the peppers back into the garden and got…NO PEPPERS. So, this year, as a demonstration, I’m growing them both ways.

Three of the same variety of pepper plants went into the garden and right next to them, the three plants in milk jugs. The soil and compost are the same. I’ll give them the same care.

And I’ll bet you a nickel that the ones in the milk jugs will do a lot better.

I’ll keep you posted.

End of March Garden Report

Hope…and other things…spring eternal. I went out this morning to take the temperature in the garden beds and frankly, for all the warming up, the soil is no warmer than it was the last time I took it. And it’s actually very consistent around the beds in the garden also – not more than a couple tenths of a degree difference, which is a good thing.

But, a couple of things that I noticed when we were out there:
1) It’s been a very very dry spring – ordinarily, at this point, not only would the soil be colder, it would be a lot wetter as well; digging in it would have been a disaster – producing our own version of gumbo. When we were putting out the plastic, I wanted to pull up some of the old plants from last year. It looked dry enough so the DH pulled out a shovel and came up with – buried treasure!!! (more…)

Tomorrow’s Garden: Today! Part 2

sprouts OK. We are NOT in the kitchen today. This is for those folks who read, way back in October, about starting a garden and perhaps went to their land fill or composting facility and picked up some compost and put out the cardboard and now have …frozen piles of compost out in the yard that has snow all over it. It’s hard to get romantic looking at that stuff – but trust me, in the spring, you will be happy you did the work.

Actually, look at the picture above: I took that yesterday, Christmas Eve day in my garden here in Upstate New York. Those are brussels sprouts, frozen but still cookable and edible. On Dec. 24th!! So, if you get started with more garden stuff this week, you can, even in the coldest places (well, maybe not Alaska…) have something out in your garden that you can harvest a year from now and use to feed your family (ahem..disclaimer: you will have something out in your garden that you can harvest…except if the bunnies and deer get to it. RIP: the kale that was also standing in the snow last week, sniff). (more…)

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