Winter In The Vegetable Garden: No Season For Discontent

Now that winter is upon us, there’s still plenty to do in the vegetable garden. Aside form any pruning that didn’t get done earlier in the fall, there’s plenty to do just getting your garden soil prepared for next spring and the new growing season. Here’s an article by L. Woodrow Ross written for the Independent Mail at IndependentMail.Com all about what we should be doing in our gardens and around the yard this winter to get a jump start on spring.

Winter In The Vegetable Garden: No Season For Discontent

vegetable garden

Take the time to prepare your vegetable garden soil this winter to get a jump on next spring. Photo by audaxi c/o Photos.Com.

Humus can be added to improve the texture of the soil. This can be leaf mold or purchased peat moss. Leaf mold is easily created by composting leaves that you rake from your lawn in the fall. By the following fall they will have broken down and created leaf mold that is a wonderful amendment for the soil. Four-foot high fence wire can be staked into a circle and leaves piled inside and allowed to compact and decay for garden use.

In addition, a compost heap is a good investment for gardeners. Vegetable peels, decayed fruit, watermelon and cantaloupe rinds and other kitchen discards may be composted to create rich amendment for gardens and ornamentals. Composting can be done by created wooden bins and tossing vegetable matter inside. A little soil can be thrown in to hold moisture and it can be sprayed with a garden hose. Use a pitchfork to turn the compost occasionally.

Commercial compost bins come in many shapes and sizes. Some are elevated and barrel-shaped. They can be turned with a crank to mix the contents and are among the easiest to use. Others are simple plastic bins that have top-loading features and doors that open at the bottom to remove the composted material.

To maintain the soil in the best condition for spring planting, cover the surface with several inches of straw or leaves to keep it from freezing and to maintain moisture. If the soil is fertile, this covering will even allow earthworms to be active in the soil during the winter months. When the mulch is raked away in the spring, the rows can be laid off and you are ready to plant with a minimum of effort.

Read original article here:

The winter vegetable garden is still a place with plenty of activity if you focus on all the under the scenes action. Go ahead and get your soil and any plants and trees that need tending if you get a nice day. You’ll thank yourself later this year (and so will your vegetables).

Please go ahead and share your thoughts and opinions below by leaving a comment. Click on the like button and share this with a friend. I also have another magazine I’ve started over on ScoopIt! that has more interesting and fun articles for your reading enjoyment!

Fall Vegetable Gardening Tips

You might be tempted into thinking that the growing season is over now that it’s almost October, but there are still plenty of fall vegetable gardening activities to get going on. Besides cleanup, there are still plenty of crop varieties that can be planted and will yield a nice harvest later in the fall. These have to be cold tolerant plants that can take a bit of mild frost. Here is a short article by U. C. Master Gardener Jim Borland that appeared in the San Luis Obispo Tribune describing all the frenetic gardening activity going on this fall.

Fall Vegetable Gardening Tips

In your vegetable garden, pumpkins and winter squash should be harvested soon and moved into a cool, airy location where they can

fall vegetable gardening

Fall vegetable gardening brings the season to a close and gets the garden ready for next year. Photo by George Doyle c/o Photos.Com.

last for many months. From now on, regularly check your stored vegetable crops and remove anything showing signs of rot or damage to prevent the spread to healthy material.

You can plant hardy lettuce crops, spinach, onions, broccoli, beets, carrots and other winter vegetables. Don’t forget to aid next summer’s effort by making a note of what has been growing, and where, in your summer vegetable garden.

Fall vegetable gardening can be both fun and productive. Do make sure to mark what was growing where in your garden so you can plant something else there next spring. This will hopefully be a normal part of your crop succession plan so that your soil never gets depleted of nutrients because of over planting of one crop. Get out all the dead stuff and make sure you remove anything with disease or fungus and dispose of it separately. Make sure to harvest and store your produce properly (more on this in an upcoming post). You’ll find out that growing and harvesting vegetables in the fall greatly extends your growing season and maximizes the productivity of your garden.
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The day of fortune is like a harvest day, We must be busy when the corn is ripe.
                                                                 — Torquato Tasso

Heirloom Organic Vegetable Gardening Tips: Keep Your Seeds For Next Year

I think that one of the best aspects of organic vegetable gardening is your ability to propagate your vegetable plants each succeeding year. As long as you are using heirloom varieties and not the commercial hybridized seed varieties, you can isolate and preserve your seed stock for the next season. Once they’re dried, store them either in the refrigerator or some cool dry location away from light. The article here is more focused on flower seeds, but the principles apply. I’ll be setting up a static page here soon that covers this topic in detail for those of you who are interested. preserving our seed stock has become more important lately due to economic and climate factors that may make it necessary for many of us to depend on our vegetable gardens to grow more of our own food than ever before. Here is a short primer on seed preservation by Master Gardener Joe Lamp’l written for Scripps Howard News Service that recently appeared in Wicked Local Ashland.

Heirloom Organic Vegetable Gardening Tips: Keep Your Seeds For Next Year

One of fall’s most pleasant chores is collecting, drying and saving the seed from my favorite garden flowers and vegetables. It’s

organic vegetable gardening

Organic vegetable gardening heirloom plants allows saving seeds for next season. Photo by IT Stock Free c/o Photos.Com.

relaxing, and fills me with anticipation about next year’s garden even as this one is winding down. I also love to share seeds with other gardeners. This preserves and propagates favorite plants across the land — and propels them into the future.

You can collect most any seed, but I recommend starting with easy-to-save kinds like sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus), Zone 3-8, or hollyhock (Alcea rugosa), Zone 4-8, and those whose seed is expensive to buy commercially, like gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii), Zone 8-10.

Hard-to-find seed like Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum), Zone 3-8, are good candidates, too. Collect from as many healthy, robust plants as you can. This helps preserve genetic diversity and reduces the chance for passing on undesirable traits such as susceptibility to disease.

It’s best to harvest from heirloom or open-pollinated plants — those propagated by wind, insects and other “natural” means — rather than hybrids.

Using organic vegetable gardening techniques you can very easily preserve and propagate your vegetable seeds for next year. There are methods for preparing your seeds for longer term storage, but I plan to cover that topic in a report that’ll be up in the near future. Try your hand at saving some seeds for next growing season. You can always start them indoors and see if they germinate before committing them to your vegetable garden in earnest.
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The man who has nothing to boast of but his ancestors is like a potato – the only good belonging to him is under ground.  — Sir Thomas Overbury

Take Steps Now For Best Fall Vegetable Gardening Experience

For the best fall vegetable gardening experience this year, take steps early to grow vegetables that are appropriate for the late season. Certain crops are particularly suited to be planted in late summer or early fall and are usually always cold and frost tolerant. You can typically harvest them very late into the fall, some well into November. This piece written by master gardener Charlotte Glen for the Star News Online provides a great deal of guidance to beginner and experienced gardeners alike this fall planting season.

Take Steps Now For Best Fall Vegetable Gardening Experience

Don’t let limited garden space stop you from growing vegetables this fall. Many cool-season crops are easy to grow in containers

fall vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening into the fall extends the growing season.

and now is the time to plant them.

Salad greens like lettuce, spinach, and arugula thrive even in shallow pots. They are often planted mixed together with herbs and other greens in bowl-shaped containers, providing all the ingredients you need for healthy, tasty salads in a single pot.

Supplies

You do not need a lot of supplies to start a salad bowl garden.

Start with the container, which does not have to be bowl-shaped. Rectangular window box containers and round pots work just as well. Containers of many types can be recycled for the purpose as long as they are at least six inches deep and have several drainage holes drilled into the bottom. I have even seen cardboard boxes used as planting containers for a single season. An old T-shirt can be wrapped around the outside of the box to help it hold together.

Next, you need potting soil. Most potting soils will work well, but avoid those that have a lot of bark. They are too coarse for smaller pots and will dry out too quickly.

If you are unsure of what to buy, choose a seed-starting mix. These mixes usually contain a combination of peat moss and vermiculite and are designed for use in shallow containers. There is no need to buy a soil that already contains fertilizer. In fact, it is usually better to add fertilizer separately.

Get the complete list for all of Charlotte’s fall gardening recommendations here at starnewsonline.com:

Late season vegetable gardening is something I am increasingly turning to in order to extend my growing season in the backyard. You can also use these techniques, with a little advanced planning, to help rotate your crops through your garden and thereby not deplete your soil of certain nutrients. Just go ahead and start some vegetable crops now and see what grows. You’ll have a significant amount of knowledge built up for next year by trying your hand at late season vegetable gardening this autumn.

Please share your experiences by leaving a comment below. What sorts of vegetable are you planting this fall? Click on the like button to share.

Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.  —  Marcelene Cox

More Container Vegetable Gardening Tips And Tricks

When it comes to container vegetable gardening one of the best reasons to try it is to extend your growing season. If you get your late crops in on time but don’t want to worry about whether or not the first frost will wipe out your best efforts, you can always move the show indoors. That’s right! You can thumb your nose at Jack Frost and just move all of your plants indoors to finish up their growing. I mean, why should all of your efforts go to waste? It’s the best thing since climate control. This short article in MyWestTexas.Com provides some ideas for longer growing.

More Container Vegetable Gardening Tips And Tricks

An early frost can spell disaster for some plants in the fall vegetable garden. Fortunately, we can expect some advance notice of the

container vegetable gardening

Container vegetable gardening prevents frost damage late in the season by allowing plants to be moved indoors.Photo by FreezeFrameStudio c/o Photos.Com.

first frost. One way to be prepared to deal with an early frost is to grow your vegetables in containers. Containers can be relocated to a warm spot until the threat of frost has passed. Gardening in containers is more complicated than traditional gardening, but with careful attention to detail, you’ll be successful.

Let’s use tomatoes as our example. Very often, warm days follow the first frost of the season. This can help extend your growing season for a few more days; perhaps just long enough to allow your tomatoes to ripen on the plant and avoid searching out recipes for green tomatoes.

 By this time, you should be considering using transplants to achieve the greatest success before the first frost. Purchase young, vigorous tomato transplants from your nursery. Avoid tomatoes that have been too long in the nursery which you’ll recognize by their large and leggy appearance relative to their container. Also, steer away from tomatoes that appear wilted or diseased.
When it comes to some of the best ideas for container vegetable gardening, moving the show indoors has got to be at the top of the list. Why not try to plant some of your favorite vegetables in the late summer or early fall this year and get the best that nature has to offer when it turns cold outside (but where it’s still nice and warm inside).
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A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.  —  Laurie Colwin

Planning And Planting A Fall Vegetable Garden

Planting a fall vegetable garden requires planning. You have to know when the first frost is likely (going to) occur. You also have to know the time to maturity of each of your plantings so you can beat that date and have time to harvest your crop. Here is an article by Karol Kelly for The Telegraph that covers some of the basics you should know before planting.

Planning And Planting A Fall Vegetable Garden

August is filled with hot days and wilted plants. While we have been fortunate to receive afternoon showers the past few weeks, it is

fall vegetable garden

Planning and planting your fall vegetable garden. Photo by Jupiterimages c/o Photos.Com.

usually only a temporary respite for our lawns and gardens. With the promise of cooler temperatures blowing in during the next couple of months, this is an ideal time to begin planning for a fall vegetable garden.

As with spring gardens, till the soil and add lime and fertilizer as recommended by your soil test. In the absence of a soil test, start with 10 pounds of 10-10-10 per 1,000 square feet. Follow the label directions if you are using a liquid fertilizer. Crops such as cabbage, lettuce, onion, greens, peppers and radish are considered heavier feeders and require more fertilization.

Fall vegetables vary in the number of days required to reach maturity. A radish plant can take as few as 25 days to maturity, while carrots, lettuce and cabbage can take up to 80 days. To maintain a constant supply of lettuce and radish, seed every couple of weeks through early October. Transplants can be set out later.

A fall vegetable garden is easy to start and to grow once you know when to plant and when to harvest. By growing later in the season you can extend your growing season and make the most of your garden space.
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CABBAGE, n. A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man’s head. The cabbage is so called from Cabagius, a prince who on ascending the throne issued a decree appointing a High Council of Empire consisting of the members of his predecessor’s Ministry and the cabbages in the royal garden. When any of his Majesty’s measures of state policy miscarried conspicuously it was gravely announced that several members of the High Council had been beheaded, and his murmuring subjects were appeased.”          — Ambrose Bierce

Fall Vegetable Gardening

So you’ve decided to do some fall vegetable gardening this year. Well, there are a few things you should know. You can in fact get certain crops going late in the regular growing season. In fact, some are really ideal for starting out late in the summer or very early fall, depending on where you happen to be living. Many crops thrive in the fall coolness and will take a frost or two and come back for more. Here is a short piece by Neil Sperry written for the Star- Telegram that gives a short primer on what to do for a great fall season, and how to protect your investment.

Fall Vegetable Gardening

Mid-August might not pop to mind as a prime planting time, but for several important vegetable crops and for three popular

fall vegetable gardening

Fall vegetable gardening extends the growing season and provides new crops to enjoy. Photo by Stockbyte c/o Photos.Com.

annual flowers, it’s their turn for the spotlight.

You’ll find the various “cole” crops at the top of the mid-August vegetable planting list. Cabbage is the most popular, but the list also includes broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. All thrive in fall’s cooler weather. In fact, all are capable of withstanding light freezes prior to harvest. But they need to be planted now.

The biggest challenge in growing these plants in the fall might actually be in finding the transplants. You’ll want fresh and vigorous plants of well-suited varieties, and your best chance of finding them now will probably be through local independent retail garden centers and feed stores.

Set the transplants into well-prepared garden soil. All of them will need 18 to 24 inches of space between plants within their rows, and the rows should be 36 to 42 inches apart to permit easy access. If you’re careful to select transplants that have been in full sun in the nursery, setting them into the garden now should present no problems. Plant them into small “wells” an inch or two deep to facilitate watering. Soak them every day for the first week or two, to allow them time to develop good roots.

Cabbage loopers are the bane of our spring cole crops. The larvae chew multitudes of holes in the leaves. They render cabbage useless as a leafy vegetable, and they weaken the growth and productivity of the other types. They’ll probably also find your fall plantings, so be on the lookout for the white butterflies that serve as your early warning signal. They seek the cole crops and lay their eggs on the leaves.

As soon as you see the horseshoe-shaped caterpillars starting to feed, apply the biological worm control Bacillus thuringiensis, known more commonly simply by its initials, “B.t.” It’s available as a dust or a spray, and it’s the only control, organic or inorganic, that works on these pests. It stops their feeding immediately, and they will die within 24 hours. It can be applied within 24 hours of harvest.

Fertilize all of these crops with a high-nitrogen food similar to one you might use on your lawn grass. Most of our soils test too high in phosphorus (middle number of the analysis) anyway, so nitrogen will be the prime need.

Read the entire article here at star-telegram.com:

Fall vegetable gardening can be both an adventure as well as a very enjoyable and delicious enterprise. Make sure you protect your veggie investment from those bugs and pests who want to get a free lunch at your expense. Try it and see what you can grow. You just might surprise yourself.

Share your thoughts and experiences with us. Have you tried fall vegetable gardening before? Give us some advice. Click the link and share it with friends.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it.  If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant.                                                                                                                                            — Author Unknown

Start A Fall Vegetable Garden

When it comes to trying to start a fall vegetable garden, many beginning gardeners tend to have a few questions. Like, when should I start my plants, where can I start them, and how should I start them? Most vegetable crops that grow well in the fall when it’s cooler tend not to do so well when they’re just starting out in the full eat of summer. There are a few tricks to getting around that problem. Go ahead and pretend that it’s early spring and start them indoors. Why not! If the temperature isn’t right (too cold or too hot) just start them where they like it better and where you can control the growing conditions better. If inside isn’t going to work out, then work outside. Try getting them started in the shade of taller plants that are already established. Here’s a short (really short) take on the topic, as well as some other vegetable gardening tips, from Ellen Nibali written for the Baltimore Sun.

Start A Fall Vegetable Garden

One way is to start them indoors, even leaf crops like endive. A cool basement works well. When they’re a few inches tall, you’ll need

fall vegetable garden

Start a fall vegetable garden indoors. Photo by Comstock c/o Photos.Com.

to acclimate the transplants to sun and heat conditions before you put them in the ground. A good time to transplant them into the soil is when a few days of overcast weather are forecast.

You can also start fall veggies in your garden in the shade of taller vegetable plants that will be removed at the end of summer. If your fall vegetable choice tolerates some shade, then you can plant in a semi shade location. Mulch them to keep roots cool as well as moist.

Read the entire article here at baltimoresun.com:

Sure, it’s an adventure to start a fall vegetable garden. Why not get going now? You can have another wonderful crop of fall veggies all ready to eat by late October and even into November.

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Last night, there came a frost, which has done great damage to my garden…. It is sad that Nature will play such tricks on us poor mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her, and then, when we are entirely within her power, striking us to the heart.

                                                                            — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks

Step Forward Into Fall Vegetable Gardening

When it comes to fall vegetable gardening gives many gardeners the opportunity to extend their growing season. They also have the opportunity to try some new crops that do well later in the year. Here. author Robert Hoffman, writing for the Your Houston News.Com has some tips on what to do to give your garden that second wind later on in the growing season.

Step Forward Into Fall Vegetable Gardening

After a long hot summer, residents look forward to planting their fall gardens full of vegetables. In the Houston area, the fall season is one of best times to garden, with mild days and cool nights. Gardeners can grow many delicious vegetables, and the cooler weather makes gardening more enjoyable.

fall vegetable gardening

Fall vegetable gardening brings more variety.

The best time to plant fall garden vegetables is around Labor Day. If planted the first week of September, all tomatoes should ripen by mid-November to avoid frost damage. However, some cold hardy vegetables, such as carrots and radishes perform well when planted in October and November.

 Many vegetables can handle a mild frost during the fall season, remaining sturdy and strong. As the end of November approaches, growers experience cooler nights and even freezing temperatures. As long as a frost is not severe, most fall vegetables will not die.
There are plenty of things you can grow later in the season that will result from your efforts at fall vegetable gardening. Why not try some later plantings and see what comes up.  Your garden has plenty of life left in it to provide you and your family with plenty of nutritious crops well into November. Whether it’s late lettuce, cauliflower, late broccoli, carrots, pumpkins or squash, there’s plenty of life left in the soil. Go ahead and plant around Labor Day and see how much you can still get out of your garden.
Please share with us your own late planting experiences to encourage more people to plant that later crop. You can click on the like button and share this idea with your fellow gardeners.
To create a garden is to search for a better world. In our effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of paradise. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.

                                                                                                               —   Vegetable Quote by Marina Schinz

The Best Sweet Corn And How To Grow It

The Best Sweet Corn And How To Grow It

Face it, everyone just loves that taste of the best sweet corn during the summer months. It’s one of those experiences you just never get tiredbest sweet corn of. It is easy to grow corn in your vegetable garden and it’s remarkably simple, but you do have to understand some basics about the plant itself to have it turn out the best.

Grow Corn Without the Birds and Bees

Corn plants are actually in the grass family. Each plant has both male and female reproductive elements. The tassel is the male portion of the corn plant. Corn is wind pollinated. The tassel will shed its pollen grains into the wind. These pollen grains then find their way to “silk”, which is the female flower’s connection to the outside world. Just one grain of pollen has to find a silk in order to fertilize the flower part of the plant.

Once fertilized, this will ultimately give rise to an ear of corn. It helps fertilization if you plant your corn in blocks to ensure that no matter which direction the wind blows from, there will always be corn plants down wind to receive pollen. You can even pollinate and grow corn by gently bending the tassels down and manually fertilizing the silks on each stalk.

How to Grow Corn and When to Harvest

When the silks are brown and dry, peel away just enough of the outside of the ear near the top to test the kernels. Puncture them with your thumbnail. If the juices run clear, leave them a bit longer. If the juices are milky and white, they’re ready to harvest. See this interesting video to learn more about how to grow the best sweet corn.