Archive for February, 2009

March in the Garden

February 28th, 2009

March is when things really start happening in the garden – even though some wintry weather is normal for this month you can’t help but notice the flowers appearing, the buds swelling, and the birds singing – nature knows that winter is almost over.  If you haven’t already placed your seed order you need to do it ASAP! If you save your own heirloom seeds you don’t have to worry about buying seeds – ever again.

March is the right time for planting many cool season plants, but unfortunately the unpredictable weather means that it might be hard on any given day to work in the garden.  So try to take advantage of any break in the weather to  prepare the ground as soon as possible.  Add  compost, manure, lime and other soil amendments at  planting time if you haven’t already.

Freeze hardy annual and perennial vegetables can be planted or set out any time in March:

  • Potatoes *
  • Onion and Shallot sets
  • Peas**
  • Fava Beans
  • Spinach
  • Asparagus
  • Rhubarb
  • Horseradish
  • Jerusalem artichokes

Frost hardy vegetables can be seeded or set-out later in the month: » Read more: March in the Garden

Prevent Garden Pests by Rotating Crops

February 23rd, 2009

raised-beds2

Before farmers had the option of battling pests and diseases by applying petroleum based poisons to crops or tampering with genetic designs they worked out sustainable systems to manage  insects and pathogens by rotating crops. » Read more: Prevent Garden Pests by Rotating Crops

Plan Now for a Fall Garden – Before it’s Too Late!

February 19th, 2009

Before it’s too late?!  Yes, that’s not a joke.  It’s still winter but the cabbage, broccoli, peas, potatoes, etc that you’re planting now (or soon will be) for your early spring garden are almost the same things you will want to plant in July – August (in zone 6)  for a Fall garden.  The thing is that seed will be hard to find, and seed potatoes and bedding plants will be just about non-existant by then.  Buy a few extra now while they are plentiful  and stash them for later.  You’ll be glad you did.

Home Made Bottom Heat for Seed Starting (or pet bed)

February 17th, 2009
These tomatoe plants were grown under shop lights in only 4 weeks from planting the seeds!

I always had problems starting seeds in our plant room, but these tomato plants were grown under shop lights in only 4 weeks from planting the seeds!

These seedlings were planted only one week ago.  I used to wait weeks for germination that was spotty at best in my cool plant grow room.

These seedlings were planted only one week ago. I used to wait weeks for germination that was spotty at best in my cool plant grow room.

The answer was simple…
Recycling rope lights turn out to be a great way to make bottom heat for seed starting under lights.

Recycled rope lights turn out to be a great way to make bottom heat for seed starting under lights.

I built our “plant room” about 2 years ago – just a small well insulated room with a lot of windows and shop lights – and since then I’ve tried starting my own seeds with varying degrees of success.  The problem that I’ve had is that over night temperatures in the room routinely fall into the 50s which is fine for maintaining tender plants over the Winter, but makes seed germination spotty at best.  I knew that what I needed was bottom heat.

The thing is that retail bottom heat is expensive – I saw one “kit” at a local garden center that was big enough for 2 flats and was $79 – wow!  You can buy a lot of tomato plants for eighty bucks!  A low cost alternative had to be possible for a dedicated scrounger like myself.

Whatever I decided upon had to be:

  1. Safe – neither an electrical shock nor a fire hazard!
  2. Cheap
  3. Simple
  4. Big  enough to start all of our early Spring seeds.

Before proceeding – You the reader must agree that you will not hold the author or anyone associated with doorgarden.com responsible for your use of this information.  What you see being done in this article may not be safe (and probably isn’t), and could cause injury, death, destruction, mayhem, fire, dammage to your home, and prolong the economic downturn by preventing you from spending money and thereby stimulating the economy.  It might not even work.  In any event thou shalt not hold me responsible.  If you don’t agree with any of that then turn back now – don’t even look at the pictures. » Read more: Home Made Bottom Heat for Seed Starting (or pet bed)

February in the Garden

February 4th, 2009
Cold weather and snow concentrates birds near food supplys

Cold weather and snow concentrate birds near food supplies in February.

What to plant in the garden in February – Cool Season Vegetables – February is not too early to begin planting the spring vegetable garden.  Take action now and your family will be eating fresh garden fare months before your neighbors.

  • Cool season crops such as broccoli, cabbage, radishes, kale, turnips, Irish potatoes and onions planted now will yield their harvest soon.
  • Arugula, lettuce, and other salad greens can also be planted out in the garden this month, but will do better if started under cover of a simple plastic tunnel, or a cold frame.  Plan on succession plantings every week or two to keep the homegrown goodness coming.
  • Spinach – plant out in the garden around the middle of the February – cover spinach seeds with 1/4″  of peat moss or screened compost instead of garden soil so that the tiny plants don’t have to fight heavy crusty soil just to emerge.  Plant plenty to share with family and friends.
  • Potatoes – toward the end of the month plant potatoes in trenches or pits leaving room to add additional soil as the plants emerge.
  • Black berries, grapes, strawberries and other small fruit and hardy perennials can be transplanted out this month.
  • Asparagus crowns can be set out or moved, as can almost any dormant hardy perennial. » Read more: February in the Garden