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Archive for the ‘Gardening tips’ Category

Welcome to March, and hopefully some warmer weather!

Here, “Garden Girl” Patti Moreno, and the pioneer of square foot gardening, Mel Bartholomew, share tips on what needs to be done in March.

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I know I am thinking of spring! Yes, it’s snowing outside today, but it can’t go on for much longer, right? After all, we have spring planting to consider!

There is something you can do right now. Have you received a hoarde of seed catalogs in the mail? Now is the time to plan your garden and order your seeds. One of my favorite sites, The Cooks Garden is packed full of beautiful vegetables to grow. And this morning they sent me an email showing some of the seeds you can plant as soon as the soil is workable – plants that like the cooler weather. You can see that email here. The Kaleidosope mixed carrots look really fun! And I just love peas fresh from the garden – they rarely make it to the kitchen at my house, we just love to eat them right from the shell!

If you’re itching to get out in the garden, grab some seed catalogs and start planning!

The girls and I are hoping to make raised beds in our plots this year. The plots are 15′ x 15′, and we’re thinking of making four 4’x4′ beds with a tiered bed in the middle for strawberries and herbs.

If you’re also interested in square foot gardening, visit Mel Bartholomew’s site. If you like the idea of raised beds, but don’t want to be confined to 1′ increments, you could take a look at Patti Moreno’s site. Known as “The Garden Girl”, Patti is at the forefront of the urban gardening movement, with her back yard “urban farm” in Roxbury, MA. Her site is very informative, with many, many videos explaining her techniques. Patti also raises chickens and rabbits in her backyard farm, and has a very unique way of doing it!

You can see more about Patti here:

Patti Moreno – Garden Girl

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Got a Facebook account? You can find the Westside Community Gardens there, too, come join us! I just posted more photos from the Harvest Festival – photos like this one … can you see the fairies in the fire?

Can you see them?

Can you see them?

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Just when you think the temperature has fallen in line with what autumn temperatures should be …. BAM! It’s up to almost 90 degrees again! What’s going on with the weather? I had to admit, I do like these warmer days and cooler nights – it means that I don’t have to have either air conditioning or heat on, we can sleep comfortably with the windows open, and the temperature inside the house is comfortable. But I’m getting a little too comfortable!

With the way the weather has been this year, it could easily be snowing tomorrow. (I hope I haven’t hexed anyone there!)

So, the gardening sites are still putting out information on what can safely be planted. Can you believe that you can still be planting at this time of year? Take a look at Organic Gardening magazine’s article on winter gardening. No, you won’t be harvesting crops in the middle of winter, it’s actually called “over-wintering”. Your seeds start to grow before the frosts hit – they grow into seedlings, then you use row covers – old sheets, burlap sacks, etc – to cover them over the winter. They’ll basically become dormant, and you’ll have a head start on your crops in the spring.

Another alternative is to plant compost crops – mostly grassy-type plants that will fix the nitrogen in the soil, and in spring you can dig them back into the dirt.

Me? I’m opting for the raised bed-style of gardening. That’s if this ailing economy swings upward enough for me to buy the lumber I need to build my beds! I’m thinking of making four 4′ x 4′ beds – that will give me 64 squares. Plenty of room for enough veggies to feed my family of 3!

There is a Westside Bloomington Summit meeting tonight at 6.30pm at Mt Pisgah Church on Market St. Be there, or be nowhere!

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Yes, dear gardening friends, there is still time to plant for a fall crop!

As summer fades out, it’s now the perfect time to plant the following:

Beets – about 50 days to harvest.

Broccoli – don’t expect the BIG heads that you get in the stores, your homegrown broccoli will be smaller – and tastier, since it’s fresher! Once you pick the main head, you’ll get a second harvest as the plant will put out smaller heads from further down the stalk.

Brussels Sprouts – I still have these growing from a spring planting! As you take off the leaf stalks, little sprouts form on the stalk – they look funny, and I guess it’s an acquired taste, but they taste great!

Bush beans – about 50 days to harvest, and they don’t need any support!

Cabbage – look for late varieties

Carrots – did you know that carrots get sweeter as the weather gets colder? In our plots, you may want to grow the smaller carrots – you know there’s still a layer of brick, or concrete, or something under the soil!

Cauliflower – prefer an organic soil, so our layer of mushroom compost is perfect! Be prepared to keep up the water though, these plants are thirsty!

Chives – a favorite perennial! But watch out … they self seed and can quickly take over a garden! Cut off the dead flower head to avoid unwanted plantings in your neighbor’s plot.

Kale – About 2 months to harvest

Lettuce – you can plant heading varieties and harvest them once the head is nice and solid, or you can choose leaf varieties and pick leaves as they are ready for ultimate freshness!

Peas – Varieties such as Maestro are superssweet, and ready in just 60 days. Build a little teepee for peas to climb on, or use your tomato cages – either will work.

Radishes – they’re ready to harvest in about a month!

Swiss chard – comes in a wonderful array of colors, and it’s SO good for you! Should be ready to harvest in about 50 days.

Spinach – another veggie that’s on the “Superfoods” list. Be like Popeye and eats ya spinach! It’s super easy to grow, and will be read in about 40 days

Turnips – About 50 days from seed to harvest

Flowers? Plant some pansies now and they should be fine over winter for fresh blooms in the spring! You can also plant calendula, and use the petals in a salad.

Did you know that when you plant seeds for a fall crop, you should plant them deeper than if you were planting in the spring? Because the days are still warm, the moisture in the soil closest to the surface is minimal. It’s down below where the water is!

So now you know what to plant! Do you think you may need another plot? LOL!

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