Growing in the Garden...

Fall/Winter Garden tips

posted Oct 27, 2011, 9:50 AM by Karen Sesnon

I feel very sure that if anyone is going to plant a second crop, it should be done this week. It's late already. We just don't know what the weather will be in the next couple of months. The cabbage farmers planted their little starts about 2-3 weeks ago. They come in 6-packs but transplant very easily. Again, all our plants and seeds need to be watered deeply each time...We need to dig our finger down into the ground a couple inches to see that the ground did get wet enough. Also, if planting now, I add some fertilizer. I use a granular and could bring a container of it over to the garden if you think people would like that.

Darolen's Tips on Gardening

posted Aug 18, 2011, 11:29 AM by Karen Sesnon

Picking: Most of our garden vegetables don't bloom unless they are "going to seed."  Ones that do bloom are ones like beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and peas--where we eat what the bloom produces.  All those whose leaves or roots we eat should be picked before that center stem starts to shoot up in order to blossom and make seeds.  These include lettuce, spinach , and radishes.  The younger they are, the more tender, sweet and delicious they are.  When that bloom stem starts to shoot up they get tough and strong tasting.

    So, if you see a blooming thing coming up in the center, you might as well pull them out for the compost--unless you want to save the seed for next year.  Occasionally a plant will try to "go to seed" when it is very small and never makes a tasty vegetable.  Plants such as cauliflower, broccoli, etc., should be picked when they look almost the size of what we buy in the store--well before they begin to want to flower.  As far as carrots and beets, pull them when they are the size you'd like them to be...bigger is not always the most tender and yummy!

  We haven't mentioned the importance of watering our garden early enough that the plants are thoroughly dry before the day is gone.  As for our flower gardens in our yards, it's best to water things early before the sun gets really warm.  This way the plants have a chance to take a good big slurp before the sun dries the water off of them. The reason our plants need to be DRY at bedtime is so they can avoid fungus which loves to grow when things are 1) moist,  and 2)  dark (like toe-nail fungus!).

     Again, the best time to water would be in the morning and remember to water enough.  Just because the ground looks damp on top, doesn't mean the water has gotten down to below the roots!  Stick your index finger into that soil an inch or two to see that the water has penetrated.


posted Aug 15, 2011, 4:55 PM by Di Anderson   [ updated May 9, 2015, 1:51 PM by Steve Lund ]

End of Summer

posted Aug 15, 2011, 4:51 PM by Di Anderson

Well, I pulled out my peas and have trimmed my nasturtiums. I'm getting a ton of sweet and yummy cherry tomatoes and am enjoying them in many dishes. My thoughts have turned toward fall crops. I'm trying to decide what I want to plant. Hmmmm. I want more lettuce, some spinach, peas again maybe, some carrots, and ? I can't eat cabbage and my family doesn't like it so I know I won't do that. I'll have to do more research. It needs to happen this week. Are you going for some fall crops? Have you thought about winter? I'll let you know what I decide to do.

Wow! What a difference!

posted Jun 24, 2011, 12:32 PM by Di Anderson

I visited my garden bed this week after a bit of a hiatus. The rains have meant it doesn't need me to come and water and I was recovering from a scheduled surgery followed by an emergency surgery. I'm amazed at the beautiful bounty we're already seeing this year. Last year really was too cold for gardens. My tomatoes are too big for cages so I have to come up with a Plan B for that. The nasturtiums are huge! We just harvested spinach and lettuce and some very small carrots that were too shaded by the nasturtiums. I finally was able to plant my lemon cucumbers, onions and zucchini. I know it's late but, well, life happened. We'll see what we get. 
I hope you've been able to enjoy your garden bed and the bounty of life it's producing. I hope that as you meet others, you are able to experience a bounty of friendships and the life they produce.

June Tasks - Watering and Thinning!

posted Jun 7, 2011, 10:57 AM by Karen Sesnon

    The best way to tell whether our garden's soil is moist or dry, is to dig a little hole about an inch deep with our index finger and see if it's damp, or if it's dry.  Whenever we water, it's best to water with a very gentle spray until the soil is damp down to an inch or so.  Often this takes much longer than we think it will.  Just spraying the soil on top won't help the little roots get what they need.
     Tomatoes  --  Should be watered when they are dry...not every time the sun shines.  They need less water than most of our other garden plants and when they are watered, they should be watered deeply.  Too much water will cause tomatoes to be spindly.  Our plants here in this garden are planted above the surrounding soil depth, have a nice, loose soil texture, and will need water more often than our plants in the ground around our homes.  Still, unless the weather is very warm and/or windy, most plants probably won't need watering more often than every 5 days or so.
    Of course, if plants look wilted, they need water, but, in general, less water is better than too much water.
    As soon as our little lettuce, spinach, beets, beans, etc., are big enough to pull the extras out..maybe 1/2 inch tall.., they should be thinned.  When thinning, follow the directions on the seed packets...Some things should be an inch or two apart and others should be maybe four inches apart (like beans).  Think about the size of the vegetable that you want to harvest.  For example, we may want to harvest beets when they are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, so they could be thinned to maybe 2-3 inches apart.  Also, it's wonderful to put little beets, lettuces, spinach into your salads.
    If we don't thin our seedlings when they need it, they will crowd each other and not grow correctly.  When selecting which seedling to thin out, leave the bigger, stronger ones in the ground and pull out the wimpy ones.

What's Happening?

posted May 13, 2011, 7:20 PM by Di Anderson

Have you been to the garden lately? I stopped by to check on mine yesterday and it was so excited to see so many things sprouting. My peas are up and have several leaves and almost all my lettuce is up. I was excited to see so many of the really old nasturtium seeds sprouted. My carrots have peeked up, too. My tomato plants are doing well in the wall of water and one of them even has blossoms. We’ll be planting some cucumbers, another tomato plant, and some zucchini plants tomorrow. Yippee! This is fun!

How’s your garden doing? 


posted Apr 25, 2011, 2:01 PM by Di Anderson

I'm so thrilled. My "Wall of Water" experiment is working. My tomato plants are looking good. (Or they were yesterday when I checked them. I haven't looked yet today). They haven't been shocked by the cold. Filling all those tubes with water was time consuming but definitely worth it. If you can't resist temptation and want to plant these summer things too early, I'd recommend this method. The best part is that I can use them again next year so I'm re-using and don't feel like I'm throwing away money. 
P.S. jbqcoaching is a nickname. I'm actually Diane and a member with one of the garden beds.


posted Apr 21, 2011, 8:15 PM by Di Anderson   [ updated Apr 21, 2011, 8:23 PM ]

I’m being naughty. I have been tempted by a tomato plant sale at a local garden center. I bought some starts and planted them in my plot. It’s too early. I know it’s too early.  I did it anyway. The garden center has some ideas on how to protect them in these early “overnight cold but not quite frosty” days. So, I bought a “Wall of Water” to place around my precious plants. I planted my tomatoes and spent a long time filling up each connected tube throughout the “wall.” I have two of them set up. I hope it works. They’re re-usable so if they do, I can use them next year.  I’ll let you know if they work. Tonight’s almost supposed to freeze so I guess it will be a good test!

OH! And I got a garlic start, too. It's fun to experiment.

What to Plant?

posted Mar 31, 2011, 11:28 AM by Karen Sesnon

Peas? Lettuce? Tomatoes? Zucchini? Sigh... So many choices of what to plant in my garden plot. I never know how many of each or what I actually want to plant. I always have bigger plans than I have room. Over the last few years, I've come to a few decisions of what should be in my garden. Romaine Lettuce, Butter Lettuce and Red Leaf Lettuce--they are easy to grow and I feel so good about feeding home grown salads to my family. If I snip off a head of lettuce about an inch above the ground, more leaves will grow. I usually get 3-4 heads from one planted lettuce.

Lemon Cucumbers--2-3 plants. I grow this because I love lemon cucumbers and can't find them in the stores. This brings up the major rule I've developed for myself about what I like to grow in my garden bed. I try to pick unusual products that I can't buy in a store or the Saturday Market. Unusual tomatoes, zucchinis, fun colored carrots or potatoes, etc. I enjoy the variety of nature with my kids and we have fun picking out the unusual seeds and plants.

I always try to plant nasturtiums because they're pretty and they attract the bugs away from my veggies. I always put out some Walla Walla onion sets 'cause I only like sweet onions.

My final rule is to try something new every year. I think I'll research garlic this year--it sounds fun. I've never grown it so it should be a fun experiment.

One final note--I have a cedar planter by my front door (near the kitchen) where I grow herbs so I don't put them in my garden. And, this year, my daughter and I are experimenting with growing potatoes in garbage bags in the back yard. So far, the potatoes are growing. We have one bag started and I'm starting another this weekend.

What will you plant in your garden? What are your "rules" for making your decisions?


Diane Anderson

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