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PLANT A FALL GARDEN & SAVE Posted on 14 Sep 11:21 , 0 comments

Depending on where you live, many of you are planting FALL Crops.  This is a great way to extend your growing season and save money!  If you have never planted a Fall garden but you would like to, this is a great opportunity.  If you're on the fence about planting a Fall garden, this is definitely a must-read!

Let's get started!

RADISH everywhere!!!  Yes, I'm that excited about Growing Radish.  From Seed to Harvest, many Radish varieties are ready to harvest in 23-35 days.  Longer & larger varieties such as the Japanese Minowase Radish can take up to 70 days.

From our tutorial Growing Radish from Seed to Harvest,
"Sow radishes in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before average date of  the last frost in spring. Sow succession crops every 2 weeks in spring and in autumn. Two or more crops can be grown in spring. Radishes require 22 to 70 days to come to harvest. Warm weather can result in small roots. Long days may also cause radishes to flower; plant radishes during the shorter days of spring and autumn. In mild winter regions, grow radishes in late autumn and early winter. Radishes can withstand frost.
Keep radish planting beds moist but not too wet. Even, regular watering will result in quick growth. Radishes that receive too little water will become woody tasting. Prepare planting beds with aged compost. Side dress radishes with aged compost at midseason."
 
Cost Breakdown:
1 pack of Purple Plum Radish = $2.00 for 100 seeds
 
1 "bunch" of organic Radish from the store = $1.49 for 6 radishes
**That means you'll spend almost $25 for 100 radishes!!!
 
Don't like raw Radish?  Try Pickled Radish!  I just posted the recipe to our blog.
 
 
ARUGULA is another great Fall Crop.  From seed to harvest, Arugula is ready to start eating in as few as 40 days.  You can harvest the entire bunch or just a few leaves at a time.
"Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep in moist soil.  It is best to sow lettuce or spinach seeds thinly in rows spaced about 1 ft. apart or simply scatter the seeds in blocks. Cover lightly with soil, firm in place and water well. Keep the soil moist until germination. Once the plants have a grown their true leaves, you can begin to thin the plants to about 6" apart."
Cost Breakdown:

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, a packet of Arugula seeds is $3.00 and contains 200 seeds. Even if only 90% of those seeds germinate (almost 100% of mine grow!), that still leaves 180 plants!
For this comparison, we're going to share a very economical option for growing greens (especially if you don't have a yard or much room to grow)
Grow Your own:
Sterilite 18 gallon bin: $9
Organic Potting Soil: $9 a bag
Arugula Seeds: $3
Total: $21 for 180 Arugula Plants (much more than a bunch)

Purchased at my local store, organic Arugula is about $1.99 per bunch. Let's compare:

180 homegrown bunches of Arugula $21

180 store bought bunches of Arugula $358.20

If you save your seeds...The savings are incalculable!

 
BEETS are another easy Fall crop.  From seed to harvest, beets reach maturity at approx 55 days! **Leave them to grow longer for larger beets**  BEETS are a "double-duty" crop for us.  When we harvest beets, the greens are used raw in salad or sauteed with garlic and onions (just like spinach). The actual beet has many uses!  We roast them with garlic & olive oil, shredded over salad and even pickled!
 
From our article Growing Organic Beets From Seed to Harvest,

"Beets are fairly frost hardy and can be planted in the garden 30 days before the frost-free date for your area. Although beets grow well during warm weather, the seedlings are established more easily under cool, moist conditions. Start successive plantings at 3 to 4 week intervals until midsummer for a continuous supply of fresh, tender, young beets. Irrigation assures germination and establishment of the later plantings."
 

Cost Breakdown:

1 pack of Beets (on average) = $3 for 100 seeds

1 bunch of Organic Beets at my local store is $1.99 for 3 beets

**That's over $65 for 100 beets and that doesn't even include the greens!

 
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture.  Growing your own organic food is fun, rewarding and it can save you a lot of money.  Bonus, you know exactly how your food is grown and it didn't have to be transported in from thousands of miles away.

**I didn't mention soil and water for most of these. Soil can be used again if you replenish nutrients and water can be recycled from rain and other household activities.**
RUBY RED SWISS CHARD

What are some other Fall or Cool Weather crops?
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PLANT A FALL GARDEN & SAVE Posted on 14 Sep 11:21 , 0 comments

Depending on where you live, many of you are planting FALL Crops.  This is a great way to extend your growing season and save money!  If you have never planted a Fall garden but you would like to, this is a great opportunity.  If you're on the fence about planting a Fall garden, this is definitely a must-read!

Let's get started!

RADISH everywhere!!!  Yes, I'm that excited about Growing Radish.  From Seed to Harvest, many Radish varieties are ready to harvest in 23-35 days.  Longer & larger varieties such as the Japanese Minowase Radish can take up to 70 days.

From our tutorial Growing Radish from Seed to Harvest,
"Sow radishes in the garden 2 to 3 weeks before average date of  the last frost in spring. Sow succession crops every 2 weeks in spring and in autumn. Two or more crops can be grown in spring. Radishes require 22 to 70 days to come to harvest. Warm weather can result in small roots. Long days may also cause radishes to flower; plant radishes during the shorter days of spring and autumn. In mild winter regions, grow radishes in late autumn and early winter. Radishes can withstand frost.
Keep radish planting beds moist but not too wet. Even, regular watering will result in quick growth. Radishes that receive too little water will become woody tasting. Prepare planting beds with aged compost. Side dress radishes with aged compost at midseason."

Cost Breakdown:
1 pack of Purple Plum Radish = $2.00 for 100 seeds

1 "bunch" of organic Radish from the store = $1.49 for 6 radishes
**That means you'll spend almost $25 for 100 radishes!!!

Don't like raw Radish?  Try Pickled Radish!  I just posted the recipe to our blog.


ARUGULA is another great Fall Crop.  From seed to harvest, Arugula is ready to start eating in as few as 40 days.  You can harvest the entire bunch or just a few leaves at a time.
"Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep in moist soil.  It is best to sow lettuce or spinach seeds thinly in rows spaced about 1 ft. apart or simply scatter the seeds in blocks. Cover lightly with soil, firm in place and water well. Keep the soil moist until germination. Once the plants have a grown their true leaves, you can begin to thin the plants to about 6" apart."
Cost Breakdown:

At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, a packet of Arugula seeds is $3.00 and contains 200 seeds. Even if only 90% of those seeds germinate (almost 100% of mine grow!), that still leaves 180 plants!
For this comparison, we're going to share a very economical option for growing greens (especially if you don't have a yard or much room to grow)
Grow Your own:
Sterilite 18 gallon bin: $9
Organic Potting Soil: $9 a bag
Arugula Seeds: $3
Total: $21 for 180 Arugula Plants (much more than a bunch)

Purchased at my local store, organic Arugula is about $1.99 per bunch. Let's compare:

180 homegrown bunches of Arugula $21

180 store bought bunches of Arugula $358.20

If you save your seeds...The savings are incalculable!


BEETS are another easy Fall crop.  From seed to harvest, beets reach maturity at approx 55 days! **Leave them to grow longer for larger beets**  BEETS are a "double-duty" crop for us.  When we harvest beets, the greens are used raw in salad or sauteed with garlic and onions (just like spinach). The actual beet has many uses!  We roast them with garlic & olive oil, shredded over salad and even pickled!
 
From our article Growing Organic Beets From Seed to Harvest,

"Beets are fairly frost hardy and can be planted in the garden 30 days before the frost-free date for your area. Although beets grow well during warm weather, the seedlings are established more easily under cool, moist conditions. Start successive plantings at 3 to 4 week intervals until midsummer for a continuous supply of fresh, tender, young beets. Irrigation assures germination and establishment of the later plantings."
 

Cost Breakdown:

1 pack of Beets (on average) = $3 for 100 seeds

1 bunch of Organic Beets at my local store is $1.99 for 3 beets

**That's over $65 for 100 beets and that doesn't even include the greens!

 
I could go on and on but I think you get the picture.  Growing your own organic food is fun, rewarding and it can save you a lot of money.  Bonus, you know exactly how your food is grown and it didn't have to be transported in from thousands of miles away.

**I didn't mention soil and water for most of these. Soil can be used again if you replenish nutrients and water can be recycled from rain and other household activities.**
RUBY RED SWISS CHARD


What are some other Fall or Cool Weather crops?


Helpful Links






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Easy Refrigerator Pickled Radish Posted on 14 Sep 07:33 , 1 comment

Customers and friends are always asking for recipes for their harvest.  The thing is, I usually just throw a bunch of things together and it usually turns out great.  I don't follow recipes exactly unless I'm baking something that requires specific measurements.

Too many Radishes in the garden?   Pickle them!!!

Easy Refrigerator Pickled Radish
Ingredients:
Fresh, cleaned Radish
Dill
Garlic cloves
ACV with mother (Apple Cider Vinegar)

**Notice I do not use specific measurements.  You can make a small jar of pickled radish (pint size) or even a HUGE jar at a time.  Which ever you decide, adjust accordingly.  For this recipe and pictures, I used a pint jar** 

Instructions:
Slice radishes into thin rounds.  Add to a glass jar.  For smaller jars, add 1 clove of garlic.  For larger jars add 3-6 cloves of garlic

For a pint jar, add "A pinch" of fresh or dry dill.  For larger jars, 1-2 teaspoons of dill.

Cover with ACV and close up your jar.

Refrigerate for 24-48 hours before eating.  These pickled radish will get more pickled the longer you leave them but should be consumed within 1 month.

Enjoy!


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Perennial Veggies & Herb Info Posted on 27 Aug 07:07 , 0 comments

Here's the latest from Mary @ Mary's Heirloom Seeds!

There's still time to order Your ORGANIC GARLIC before we are all sold out!  We just added 2 new varieties!


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August 27, 2016
We're shared about Perennial veggies a few times over the years and thought it would be good to share a bit more.

below you'll find a bit more of an in depth explanation of Perennial Veggies and how to grow some of them.

If you have additional questions, please ask!

Perennial Vegetables 
What is a Perennial? 
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years.  Some perennials grow for decades!

"It's as close to zero-work gardening as you can get," says Eric Toensmeier, author of Perennial Vegetables. "Our perennial vegetable beds planted 11 years ago still bear food, and all we do is add compost and mulch once a year."

From The Self Sufficient Homeacre, "Are you interested in growing your own healthy food, becoming more self reliant, saving money, and planning for the future? Then you should be interested in perennial crops. Your initial investment of time and money will reward you for years to come. Prepare your perennial beds properly, water and weed your plants, top dress with compost, and you will harvest fresh food for your table year after year."
Just a few from Mary's Heirloom Seeds,
Grow artichoke (Cynara scolymus) in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Artichokes require ample, consistent moisture for best growth. They survive drought but don't produce as well in dry conditions.
Plant 24-36 inches apart in rows about 36 inches apart. Amend the soil prior to planting with 2 inches of compost. Fertilize monthly with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. When growing artichoke as a perennial, amend the soil around plants each spring with a 1- to 2-inch layer of compost.  
Artichoke plants should produce for about 3 - 5 years. At that time, you should notice side shoots at the base of the plant. You can lift, divide and replant the new shoots.
This hardy crop lasts for decades in the garden and is one of the first vegetables that can be harvested in spring. Plant asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Mix a 2-inch-thick layer of compost into the planting site. Because asparagus is long-lived, it's important to adequately prepare the soil before planting.  
In the second year after planting, harvest for only two weeks. By the third year, harvest for the usual five to eight weeks. Start harvesting when the spears are 1/2 inch in diameter 
This sharp-flavor vegetable is technically a hardy biennial, meaning it grows for two years. It is a type of chicory and is related to Belgian endive. Dark red leaves with white veins form into a tightly clumped head that resembles cabbage or romaine lettuce. Grow radicchio (Cichorium intybus) in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Sow seeds in spring or autumn, then harvest the inner heads in late fall when they are firm and have the deepest color of white and red, leaving the roots in the ground to produce another crop.
Though many people treat it like a fruit, rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum) is actually a hardy perennial vegetable (because you eat the stems, not the plant's fruits).
Plant rhubarb in full sun and moist, well-drained soil. Locate it where it won't be disturbed because it will be productive for many years.
Apply a balanced fertilizer in early spring. After harvest, spread a 2-inch layer of compost around plants. When the stalks become thin, usually after six to eight years, dig and divide the plant in spring or fall.  Leave first-year plants unharvested. By the third year, harvest all stalks larger than 1 inch wide for as long as eight weeks. Use only the stems; the leaves contain oxalic acid and are poisonous. 


Some eggplants will continue to grow for up to 3 years.  This takes propper care and the right conditions.  The greatest bloom is usually observed in the indeterminate, with fruit and seed production starting in the year round and continuing until year round. Leaves are retained year to year. The Eggplant has a short life span relative to most other plant species and a rapid growth rate. At maturity, the typical Eggplant  will reach up to 4 feet high.
To grow sorrel, sow seeds directly in the garden in full sun and average soil 6-8 inches apart in rows 2 feet apart. Established plants may be divided.
Certain varieties of pepper can grow for several years.  Perennial Peppers include:
Scotch Bonnet (special order) 
Habanero
Tabasco
Ghost
The young leaves and stems of this 6-foot-tall perennial are an excellent substitute for celery in springtime soups. The seeds and roots are also edible, and the umbel flowers attract beneficial insects. Lovage thrives in average garden soil, in sun or partial shade. 


These are different than herb varieties that self-seed or re-seed such as Basil and Cilantro.

ROSEMARY is a perennial herb. 
I've seen them grow over 5 feet tall and over 8 years old.  Rosemary is an excellent choice for a "plant it once" kinda garden!

Additional Perennial Herbs include: 
Sage
Lavender
Lemonbalm
Lemongrass
Oregano
Thyme

If you are going to have both perennials and annuals in your garden, it's wise to keep them in separate areas to make planting annuals easier, as well as cleaning up at the end of the growing season.
Be warned that some perennials can be so hardy that they are actually spreading and invasive. Everbearing strawberry plants and blackberry vines are known to spread and spread. You may want to plant them in containers to control them.
 


We are now past the date for Pre-orders and almost sold out of our current availability of organic garlic.

However, we were able to add 2 NEW varieties of Organic garlic.
**PLEASE READ the ordering info prior to making your purchase**


ORGANIC GARLIC

 CURRENT AVAILABLE
ORGANIC GARLIC VARIETIES:

INCHELIUM RED

RED CHESNOK

*new*

GERMAN RED
If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 
Happy Planting,
Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

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FALL HERB GARDEN Posted on 17 Aug 10:04 , 0 comments

Fall is a prime time for planting the hardiest herbs that actually grow very well in areas with mild winters. You can put an assortment of your favorite cool-weather-loving fall herbs by the kitchen door—all in one container, if you like—for a pinch of each right at your fingertips. You can also plant pretty cilantro and parsley in existing flower beds or containers to serve as a green companion for pansies and other winter flowers.


With just a little early planning NOW, you can have several herbs that like cool weather this Fall.  Fall Herb Garden suggestions include parsley (flat Italian or curled), sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, lavender, Basil, cilantro, and mint. Within a few weeks, you will be rewarded with the freshest flavors for autumn meals. 


From Seed to Harvest:

Basil - 60 to 90 days *I've harvested as early as 30 days*
Chives - 80 to 90 days
Garlic Chives - 80 to 90 days
Cilantro - 60 to 90 days *I've harvested as early as 30 days*
Lavender - 90 days
Italian Parsley - 40 to 60 days
French Parsley - Chervil - 80 to 120 days
Peppermint - 90 days - Perennial
Rosemary - 90 days - Perennial (grows for several years) *I have seen Rosemary "trees" almost 5 feet tall
SAGE - 90 days
Thyme - 90-180 days

 For more FALL Planting info check out our recent articles:

I hope you have enjoyed another educational article and video.  Please share so that we may help more people grow their own organic food!

 

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SEPTEMBER PLANTING GUIDE FOR THE US Posted on 17 Aug 07:34 , 1 comment

As promised, we are continuing to share our month-to-month, regions specific Planting Guide from Mary's Heirloom Seeds!  Can you believe it's almost September?  It's still super hot and we're already planning out our FALL garden!
 
**Just a reminder**  Organic Garlic is now available as a Pre-Order thru August 20th
Please read all of the ordering info before placing your order. Organic Garlic must be purchased in advance and we usually sell out by August/September
 
 
 
SEPTEMBER  SEED PLANTING GUIDE
 
 
SOUTH FLORIDA
Bush & Pole Beans, Lima Beans, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Kale, Lettuce, Melon, Mustard, Okra, Bulbing Onions, Bunching Onions, Southern Peas, PEPPERS, Sweet Potatoes, Radish, Romaine, Sorrel, Summer Spinach (Malabar Spinach), Summer Squash & Winter Squash, Swiss Chard TOMATOES, Turnips

 Herbs: Anise, Basil, Borage, Calendula, Catnip, Chamomile, Caraway, Chives, Cilantro, Comfrey, Dill, Echinacea, Lavender,  Lemon Bee Balm, Lemonbalm, Lemongrass, Mugwort, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Tarragon, Toothache Plant, Thyme and Yarrow 

Pretty much EVERY  Herb!! Don't forget the  Wildflowers!

CENTRAL FLORIDA
Bush & Pole Beans, Lima Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Kale, Lettuce, Mustard, PEPPERS, Pumpkin, Radish, Romaine, Sorrel, Summer Spinach (Malabar Spinach), Summer Squash, Swiss Chard TOMATOES and Turnips
 Herbs: Anise, Basil, Borage, Calendula, Catnip, Chamomile, Caraway, Chives, Cilantro, Comfrey, Dill, Echinacea, Lavender,  Lemon Bee Balm, Lemonbalm, Lemongrass, Mugwort, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Tarragon, Toothache Plant, Thyme and Yarrow 
Pretty much EVERY  Herb!! Don't forget the  Wildflowers
 
Glass Gem Corn

NORTH FLORIDA
Bush & Pole Beans, Beats, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Cabbage, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Endive, Fennel Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Bulbing Onions, Bunching Onions, Radish, Romaine, Sorrel, Spinach, Summer Squash & Winter Squash, Strawberry, Swiss Chard and Turnips.
 Herbs: Anise, Basil, Borage, Calendula, Catnip, Chamomile, Caraway, Chives, Cilantro, Comfrey, Dill, Echinacea, Lavender,  Lemon Bee Balm, Lemonbalm, Lemongrass, Mugwort, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Tarragon, Toothache Plant, Thyme and Yarrow 
Pretty much EVERY  Herb!! Don't forget the  Wildflowers
 
 
Arugula, Beets, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cilantro, Endive, Fennel, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard, Bunching Onions, PEAS, Radish, Rutabaga, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips
 
Sugar Snap Pea

Arugula, Beets, Chinese Cabbage, , Carrots, Collards, Endive, KALE, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Onions, PEAS, Radicchio, Radishes, Rhubarb, Rutabaga, Sorrel, Spinach, Swiss Chard and  Turnips
Transplant: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Chinese Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks and Mustard.
HERBS: Basil, Cilantro, Dill and Fennel
 
Arugula, Beets, Cilantro, Collard greens, Endive, Lettuce, Mache, Mustard Greens, Pak Choy, Radicchio, Radishes, Rutabaga, Sorrel and Spinach


Arugula, Basil, Cilantro, Collard greens, Lettuce, Mache, Mustard Greens, Peas, Radishes, Sorrel, Spinach and Turnips
Cover Crops: Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Oats and Wheat
 
Crimson Giant Radish


SOUTHERN INTERIOR
Arugula, Beans, Beets, Carrots, Chinese Cabbage, Cilantro, Collards greens, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Parsley, Pak Choy, Radish, Rutabaga, Sorrel, Spinach, Swiss Chard and Turnips
Arugula, Beans, Beets, Broccoli (Transplants), Brussels Sprouts (Transplants), Carrots, Cauliflower (Transplants), Cilantro, Collard Greens, Corn, Cucumber, Endive, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Onion, Pak Choy, Parsley, Peas, Radish, Rutabaga, Sorrel, *Malabar Spinach,* Spinach, Summer Squash and Turnips
Our favorites: Basil, Cilantro and Parsley
 
 
HAWAII
Sow Outdoors - Arugula, Beans, Cabbage, Carrots, Corn, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Lettuce, Melons, Onions, Radish, Summer Spinach (Malabar), Squash, Peppers, Tomatoes and Zucchini.
Herbs: Anise, Basil, Borage, Calendula, Catnip, Chamomile, Caraway, Chives, Comfrey, Dill, Echinacea, Lavender,  Lemon Bee Balm, Lemonbalm, Lemongrass, Mugwort, Oregano, Parsley, Sage, Tarragon, Toothache Plant, Thyme and Yarrow
Pretty much EVERY  Herb!!!
Don't forget the  
Wildflowers!



MARITIME CANADA & NEW ENGLAND
Arugula, Beets, Cilantro, Endive, Lettuce, Mache, Pak Choy, Radish, Rutabaga, Sorrel and Spinach
Cover Crops: Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Oats and Wheat
 

Arugula, Beets, Calabrese Broccoli, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Radish, Rutabaga, Spinach and Turnips.
FALL HERBS: Basil & Cilantro


NORTH CENTRAL & ROCKIES
Arugula, Cilantro, Endive, Lettuce, Mache, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Sorrel and Spinach
Cover Crops: Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Oats and Wheat



If you have warmer days and cold nights, consider planting greens in small containers to bring inside at night.  Or, plant an indoor windowsill garden to harvest fresh greens such as European Mesclun Mix and Arugula

RADISH is an excellent Fall crop.  It is easy to grow and a quick harvest!  
 
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Growing Broccoli from Seed Posted on 06 Aug 05:55 , 2 comments

*UPDATED 1/24/17*
Broccoli is a cool weather crop that generally thrives in cooler temperatures that do not exceed 30°C (86°F). The ideal temperature for cultivating broccoli is between 65 - 75°F.
Broccoli should be planted in an open, sunny or partially shaded area.  I like to soak seeds for up to 24 hours before planting.
Sow broccoli seeds thinly, approximately 1/4 inch deep in rows that are 2 feet apart. Cover the seeds loosely with soil and water well. The seeds will germinate within about 10 days and then the seedlings can be thinned out to 1 foot apart (for Calabrese).

Spring Raab Rapini Broccoli is an excellent variety for shorter growing seasons and gardeners who want a quick-growing crop.

36 days.  Broccoli Raab is also known as broccoli Asparago in Italy where it is prized for being a culinary delight.
Spring Rapini doesn't grow like the broccoli most people think of.  It doesn't have a central head, but rather it is treasured for its cluster of yellow buds.

Matures very quickly from seed. Green shoots have a captivating flavor. Cut 6" pieces when the "broccolis" are the size of a quarter.

Calabrese is another fast-growing crop and some varieties will be ready to harvest from anything between 40 - 65 days. If sown in April or May, the broccoli should be ready to harvest from July onwards until November. In warmer climates, plant early in the year and again in Fall.
48 days. (Brassica oleracea) An Italian heirloom that was brought to America in the 1880s, 5-8" heads and many side shoots.
For the best results, broccoli should be planted after a crop of peas or beans, as these vegetables leave deposits of nitrogen in the soil, which is much needed by the broccoli for healthy growth and development. 

 
Romanesco Italia Broccoli
Romanesco Italia Broccoli 
75-100 days.    The true and popular Italian heirloom with spiraling, apple-green heads that are so superbly flavored.   Romanesco broccoli heads are really densely packed clusters of lime green flower buds that develop in the center of a leafy rosette. This variety is widely grown in northern Italy.  
 
Harvest the broccoli when the side florets start to loosen slightly but the main head is still very compact. Cut at the base of the stalk, so that the main head is removed.
Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli
Fertilizer Requirements for Broccoli
Broccoli plants are heavy feeders and will do well with a dose of fertilizer every couple of weeks. Use a well balanced fertilizer for best results. This will give the plants enough energy to get large enough to support full heads of broccoli. 
If you are interested in growing broccoli organically, you can work some compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting. You can also use organic products like Mary's Organic 3-4-4, Blood Meal or fish emulsions to fertilize your broccoli plants.  
If you're looking for a good organic, liquid fertilizer, try our DIY Liquid Fertlilizer Kit
  • Nitrogen deficiency: If the bottom leaves turn yellow and the problem continues toward the top of the plant, the plants need a high nitrogen (but low phosphorus) fertilizer or bloodmeal. Blood meal is a quick Nitrogen fix for yellowing leaves.
Companion plants for Broccoli include: Basil, Bush Beans, Cucumber, Dill, Garlic, Hyssop, Lettuce, Marigold, Mint, Nasturtium, Onion, Potato, Radish, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme and Tomato. 
Celery, onions and potatoes improve broccolis' flavor when planted near it. Broccoli loves plenty of calcium. Pairing it with plants that need little calcium is a good combination such as nasturtiums and beets. Put the nasturtiums right under the broccoli plants. Herbs such as rosemary, dill and sage help repel pests with their distinct aromas. 
 
Cabbage loopers: Small holes on the leaves between the veins mean small green caterpillars are present. Look at the undersides of the leaves.
Harvesting Tips from The Old farmer's Almanac
  • In terms of timing: Harvest broccoli when the buds of the head are firm and tight before the heads flower. If you do see yellow petals, harvest immediately.
  • For best taste, harvest in the morning before the soil heats up.
  • Cut heads from the plant. taking at least 6 inches of stem.
  • Cut the stalk of the main head at a slant, about 5 to 8 inches below the head.
  • Most varieties have side-shoots that will continue to develop after the main head is harvested. You can harvest from one plant for many weeks, in some cases, from spring to fall, if you’re summer isn’t too hot.
  • Store broccoli in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If you wash before storing, make sure to dry it thoroughly.


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Using Calcium in the Garden for Healthy Plants Posted on 04 Aug 22:25 , 1 comment

Have you ever added Oyster Shell Fertilizer to your soil?  Wondering WHY we add calcium?  Well here ya go!

Calcium is a component of plant cell walls, and it’s needed for enzyme formation and nitrate uptake. Oyster Shell is ground up into a powder and used as a natural and organic source of Calcium!  Organic calcium can also be used to help neutralize excessively acidic soils, which is especially important when you’re growing green, leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach, or cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and kale.
 
KALE in the garden
 

Calcium carbonate is used to help prevent the spread of various diseases, such as powdery mildew, black spot, and blossom end rot. Other benefits of calcium include, protection from heat stress, increases metabolic functions in plant cells,  leading to a greater intake of other nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.  Natural, organic source of calcium is used to correct Ca deficiencies and raise pH in acidic soils.

 

RADISH!  If you grew spindly radish or your radish did not form a "bulb," that usually means that your soil in calcium deficient.  This is an indicator that other plants might be suffering as well.

Organic calcium sources include dolomite lime, calcite, ground oyster shell (oyster shell flour), and crushed eggshells.
 

We eat eggs here but not near enough to supply our gardens with calcium.  So we substitute with Ground Oyster Shell.
 
TOMATOES
If you experienced issues with "Blossom End Rot" then adding calcium to your soil might greatly improve your harvest!  Blossom End Rot: "This funky-sounding plague is a disease in tomatoes due to a calcium deficiency (or a watering issue). It manifests itself as a watery spot near the blossom end (the bottom, the butt, etc) when the tomato has begun to develop. Eventually, the spot will spread like a cancer. And it will be game over for that fruit."
 
The black spot will spread, eventually rotting the entire tomato
 
 
SQUASH can also be affected by calcium deficiency.
 
PEPPERS

Calcium plays a pivotal role in the development of cells in plants. Bell pepper plants need calcium to produce fruits that have thick, sturdy walls. The thick walls are good for the health of the plant, as they are better able to resist rot and other diseases. Well developed peppers are also good for you, as the fruit has a better taste and flavor.
 
Blossom End Rot is a sign of calcium deficiency in Peppers as well.
 
Are you seeing the pattern here?  Instead of waiting until you see a sign of distress in your plants, Plan ahead and boost your soil health.

Oyster Shell flour
Applying Oyster Shell Flour to you soil
 
For new container gardens, add 1 tablespoon per gallon of soil. 
 
For new gardens:

2 lbs /100 sq ft, depending on soil analysis and crop. Repeated applications may be needed to fully adjust pH and Ca levels.
 
Adjust down if you have already applied calcium to soil or if you are using additional amendments with calcium included.
 
How to Apply
Mix into top 4-6" of soil for planting preparation
Side-dress around single plants or along plant row for established plants, 2-4" from plant stem; lightly scratch in to soil (maximum soil contact)
 
Water in after application


I hope you have enjoyed another educational article and video.  Please share so that we may help more people grow their own organic food!

 


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FALL Garden Soil Prep Posted on 04 Aug 10:00 , 1 comment

Are you ready for FALL???

From Fall Planning & Planting Part 1
 

CROP ROTATION
This is a very critical part of any garden scheme. Do not plant the same fall or winter vegetable crops in the same location as they were planted the previous year or the summer season. It is important to note that if the same crop is planted in the same location, not only will the soil be weakened through continual loss of the same nutrients but the plants will also attract the same insects and diseases to that part of the garden.

FALL Garden Bed of Beets, Swiss Chard and Borage


It's only August but it's never too early to start thinking about our FALL Garden!
Even in September it’s not too late to plant a fall crop. Vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, radishes and peas are hearty decisions for climates that are likely to encounter frost. Vegetables like beets, carrots, cauliflower, and other lettuces can also tolerate a light frost and will still yield a good harvest if you get them started in early October.

Something I read that really stuck with me, "The gardener feeds the plant, the organic gardener feeds the soil."

If you plan on planting a fall garden, a little planning can go a long way.

Pull up old or dying plants.  Add disease-free debris to your compost pile/bin.  Do not compost diseased plants as this could further spread disease.
REPLENISH YOUR SOIL!
Whether you plant to let your garden rest after Summer gardening or you plan to plant fall crops, giving back to your soil is important.
Adding fresh compost or essential minerals and nutrients is a must for healthy soil.  

**UPDATE**
RADISH! If you grew spindly radish or your radish did not form a "bulb," that usually means that your soil in calcium deficient. This is an indicator that other plants might be suffering as well.

TOMATOES
If you experienced issues with "Blossom End Rot" then adding calcium to your soil might greatly improve your harvest! Blossom End Rot: "This funky-sounding plague is a disease in tomatoes due to a calcium deficiency (or a watering issue). It manifests itself as a watery spot near the blossom end (the bottom, the butt, etc) when the tomato has begun to develop. Eventually, the spot will spread like a cancer. And it will be game over for that fruit."


Alfalfa Meal Tea and Kelp Meal Tea are both excellent liquid fertilizers you can make at home.  These are readily-available nutrients to boost soil health.
As a garden fertilizer, alfalfa meal is used to increase organic matter in the soil and makes an excellent fast and effective soil conditioner. The high amounts of carbohydrates and protein encourage beneficial soil microbes and earthworms that are responsible for quickly breaking down the nutrients and making them available for use by the plants
BONUS:  Sprinkle a small handful of  kelp meal early in the growing season around and on the base of squash plants to help deter squash bugs.  Do this every 10 days where squash bugs are a problem.


Mycorrhizae is a fungi that has a beneficial relationship with a plants roots. When Mycorrhizal fungi comes into contact with a plants roots it begins to colonize, or multiply, on the roots and begins to spread out into the surrounding soil. These strands of mycorrhizal fungi effectively become an extension of the roots and can increase the absorbtion area of a plants root system by 10 to 1,000 times. This allows the root system a more efficient intake of nutrients and water.

From Using Azomite in the Garden for Healthy Plants

Azomite rock dust is a naturally mined volcanic rock composed of over 70 minerals and trace elements that are essential for optimal plant health.  The rock formation in Utah from which Azomite is mined was formed when volcanic ash merged with sea water.  This mixture of volcanic ash and sea water created a unique source of trace minerals and elements that most soils are void of.  Just like humans, plants require many minerals to reach peak health and vigor.


 

For a complete breakdown of Organic Nutrients, read our article

**NEW VIDEO**

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Fall Garden Planning & Planting Posted on 01 Aug 18:29 , 4 comments

FALL is fast approaching!  Some of you are thinking about your favorite fall crops.  Those of you in warmer climates like South Florida are gearing up for big-time planting season.

We're growing HUGE BEETS and they're 100% organic!

The key to successful winter gardening is knowing the average date of the first frost in your region (for example late October in the Pacific Northwest). You then plant your winter crops early enough to let them reach their full maturity before the first frost.
Late maturing crops
  Approx maturity 90 days.
**Plant Now**
ROOTCROPS
Parsnip
LEAFCROPS
Fava Bean

Kentucky Wonder bean is a fast-growing pole bean!


Mid-season crops
 Approximate maturity 60 days.
**Plant Mid August-September**
ROOTCROPS
Early Carrots
LEAFCROPS
Early Cabbages
Winter Cauliflower
Perennial Flowers
Perennial Herbs
Early maturing crops
  Approx maturity 30 days.
**Plant now to Mid September**
Succession planting is a great way to maximize garden production!  This is the practice of planting in intervals.  For example, plant 2 rows of Radish every 2 weeks thru Fall.  This will give you a steady harvest of radish throughout Fall and winter instead of all at once.
 
ROOTCROPS 

CRIMSON RADISH is a great choice for a fall crop!

LEAFCROPS
Cover Crops
Quick Tips
Try successive plantings of quick growing items like leaf lettuce, beets, spinach and radishes.
Don't be afraid to try planting some crops later than recommended. While it is a bit risky, the rewards are definitely worth the risk.
Harvest over-wintered carrots early in spring before they start to go to seed and the roots get woody.
The Chinese Cabbages and Mustards also grow especially well in cold frames. They taste great, too.
Parsnips are best when pulled in January or early February after the heaviest frosts have turned them the sweetest.
CROP ROTATION
This is a very critical part of any garden scheme. Do not plant the same fall or winter vegetable crops in the same location as they were planted the previous year or the summer season. It is important to note that if the same crop is planted in the same location, not only will the soil be weakened through continual loss of the same nutrients but the plants will also attract the same insects and diseases to that part of the garden.
There's still time to plant for August...
AUGUST SEED PLANTING GUIDE FOR THE US



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