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Growing Swiss Chard & Kale from Seed to Harvest Posted on 29 Aug 09:41 , 1 comment

I'm updating our "greens" growing tutorials to include a bit more info.  I've written quite a few articles about food prices and growing your own food. 

First, I wrote Food Prices are on the Rise , then I wrote In Times of Uncertainty, Grow & Save and a follow-up Food Prices Continue to Rise.  These articles explain why it is so important to start growing your own food.  Even if it's just a salad garden, there is something for everyone.  So let's get started on started on growing Swiss Chard & Kale

SWISS CHARD

 

Swiss Chard and Kale:

Tip: Soak seeds overnight in water before planting to ensure strong germination.

 

Plant seeds 1/4 - 1/2 inch deep and 3-6 inches apart. Set out seedlings 8-12 inches apart. Indoors or out, thin newly germinated seedlings with cuticle scissors instead of pulling them out. Chard seed capsules often contain two or more seeds. If more than one germinates snip off all but the strongest sprout at the soil line. Gradually thin direct-sown seedlings to 8-12 inches apart.

 

KALE

 

Harvest individual leaves from the outer area but be sure to leave the crown intact.

 

Frequent picking helps to stimulate the production of new leaves. Rinse leaves with cool water immediately, shake off the excess moisture, and store in plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to four days.

 

Swiss Chard is not only heat tolerant, depending on your area, it is also a cool weather crop.  I have had several varieties withstand several days of frost and survive.  So far, Lacinato Kale is the most heat tolerant variety we carry

 Chickens love their kale!

 

Companion Plants for Swiss Chard & Kale

Chards: Bean, cabbage family, tomato, onion and roses. Don't overlook chard's value as an ornamental plant in flower beds or wherever you have room for it. Don't grow chard near cucurbits, melons, corn or herbs.

Kale:  beets, celery, cucumbers, dill, garlic, hyssop, lettuce, mint, nasturtium, onions, potatoes, rosemary, sage, spinach, swiss chard

 

Both Swiss Chard and KALE grow very well together in small spaces

 

TIPS for growing GREENS

-Make sure soil remains moist but is well drained.

-Harvest the outer leaves continuously with both Kale & Swiss Chard.

-Once established, Swiss Chard can continue to produce for over 6 months and even a year!

-Swiss Chard will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime—even in the heat of the day—to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate.

-Weed by hand if necessary, but be careful of plant roots:

 

Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting. Most greens prefer soil that is high in humus, with plenty of compost and a steady supply of nitrogen to keep if growing fast. Alfalfa Meal or Alfalfa Meal Tea works well for Growing Greens.

 

 

 

If you have additional questions please send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com


Happy Planting!


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Growing Lettuce from Seed to Harvest Posted on 29 Aug 09:02 , 0 comments

I've written quite a few articles about food prices and growing your own food. 

First, I wrote Food Prices are on the Rise , then I wrote In Times of Uncertainty, Grow & Save and a follow-up Food Prices Continue to Rise.  These articles explain why it is so important to start growing your own food.  Even if it's just a salad garden, there is something for everyone.  So let's get started on started on growing Lettuce! 

Lettuce and Spinach:

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.


Start lettuce or spinach indoors or direct seeded in the garden as soon as the soil is workable.  Great for container gardens.

Depending on the type of lettuce, harvest outer leaves only or cut down the whole head.  Succession planting can dramatically increase yields, especially in smaller areas.  Succession planting is when you stagger plantings in the same area throughout the season. Each time a crop is finished you pull it and plant a new one.

 

Lettuce and spinach are great options for cold frames if you're growing in a cooler climate.  Fertilize 3 weeks after transplanting. Lettuce prefers soil that is high in humus, with plenty of compost and a steady supply of nitrogen to keep if growing fast. Alfalfa Meal or Alfalfa Meal Tea works well for Growing Greens.

 

Spinach can be harvested in the cut and come again method of harvesting lettuce. Cut individual leaves, starting with the older, outer leaves, and letting the young inner leaves remain and continue growing for a later harvest. You can also cut down the whole plant, for a larger harvest.

Companion Plants for GREENS

Lettuce: Does well with beets, broccoli, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, cucumbers, onion, radish and strawberries. It grows happily in the shade under young sunflowers. Dill and lettuce are a perfect pair. Keep lettuce away from cabbage. Cabbage is a deterrent to the growth and flavor of lettuce.

Spinach: Plant with peas and beans as they provide natural shade for the spinach. Gets along with cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, onion, peas, strawberries and fava bean. Plant spinach with squash. It's a good use of space because by the time squash plants start to get big the spinach is ready to bolt. 

 

TIPS for growing GREENS

-Make sure soil remains moist but is well drained.

- You should be able to sow additional seeds every two weeks for a continuous harvest throughout the growing season

- Consider planting rows of chives or garlic between your lettuce to control aphids. They act as “barrier plants” for the lettuce

-Lettuce will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime—even in the heat of the day—to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate.

-Weed by hand if necessary, but be careful of plant roots: They are shallow.

 

 

 If you have additional questions please send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com


Happy Planting!


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Growing Tomatillo from Seed to Harvest Posted on 19 Jul 09:29 , 0 comments

Tomatillo is an often overlooked heirloom variety.  Native to Mexico and domesticated by the Aztecs around 800 B.C., the tomatillo is one of our most ancient food bearing plants.

Growing Tomatillo is similar to growing tomatoes but isn't as heavy a feeder as tomatoes.

Select a growing area with full sun exposure and well-drained, moderately rich soil.

The rule of thumb for sowing seeds is to plant the seed twice as deep as it is wide (or twice as deep as the diameter of the seed). Tomatillo seeds are really small, so don’t plant them very deep – they only need to be planted 1/8″ – 1/4″ deep.  Grow at least 2 plants at a time, more if you plan to make a bit of salsa.

My personal rule of thumb is to always plant more than you think you'll will need.  This will come in handy if you have pest issues such as bugs, birds, squirrels and even cats.  If you produce more than you need or use, you can always store for later or share with friends and family.

 

Similar to growing tomatoes, Tomatillo sprouts roots along the stems, so it does well when planted deep in the soil. Tomatillo plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall and about the same in width, so space the plants 3 feet apart in rows 3 to 4 feet apart. Plan to give them support in the form of gardening trellises or tomato cages.

Tomatillo will continue to produce until frost takes over.  Although moderately drought-tolerant, tomatillos do best with an inch or so of water per week (more if you live in a very hot climate).

 

You know a tomatillo is ready to be cut from the plant when the fruit has filled out the husk. Left to ripen further, the fruit will frequently split the husk and turn yellow or purple depending on its genetics.


We hope you have enjoyed yet another informative growing article here at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  If you have additional questions please ask!



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RE: Do You Have Hungry Plants Posted on 16 Jun 05:59 , 0 comments

This is a follow up to our previous post

Mary's Heirloom Seeds
Quick Links
Join Our List

Recently added @ Mary's Heirloom Seeds    
June 15, 2018
If you've been a customer of Mary's Heirloom Seeds for any length of time, you probably know that we are always ready and willing to answer questions.  A common concern is feeding your garden. Specifically, the functions of each one.

I realize that this is a lot of info to put in one single email.  If you have additional questions I am happy to help!

This is perfect timing since we're working on a few new instructional videos to help you make your own liquid fertilizer.

We have recently added a few NEW options of
Organic Soil Amendments


 NITROGEN BOOST FISH FOOD
NPK: 8-5-1
Hydrolized Fish Powder for a quick shot of nitrogen for your plants
Easy to use instant fish-based foliar feed or Tea.
Most effective when applied at pre-bloom, again at early leaf development, again at fruit set, and during periods of expected plant stress.


COMPOST TEA
Use:
Foliar feed
All purpose fertilizer
Pre-Soak for seeds
NPK is 6-5-5 plus Calcium and Trace Minerals.



 SUPER KELP
Use:
Foliar feed
Transplant root soak to reduce stress/shock
Pre-Soak for seeds
If you're growing a veggie garden or you've ever grown a garden then you probably know that nutrients are very important.  Sun and soil (and SEEDS) are also important. Nutrients play an integral role in plant health.

Plant Nutrients-Getting Started
Most "all-in-one" type of fertilizers have an "NPK" rating.  NPK stands for Nitrogen-Phosphorus-Potassium(potash). 

What does each nutrient do? 
In addition to other properties, Nitrogen helps plant foliage to grow strong. Phosphorous helps roots and flowers grow and develop. Potassium (Potash) is important for overall plant health.

Minerals are VERY important to healthy plant growth.

What is Alfalfa Meal and How does it Work?
From our website,
Derived from leguminous perennial alfalfa plant used for pasture and cover crop. Primary benefit of this pleasant smelling meal is increasing organic matter, although it is also a valuable plant-derived fertilizer.
  • NPK analysis is 2.8-0.29-2.4
  • Contains trace minerals and triaconatol
  • Excellent addition to the compost pile for nitrogen content and absorbency
**It is important to mention that our Alfalfa Meal is Organic and Non-GMO**  If you are looking to avoid synthetic pesticides and gmo derivatives, Organic and Non-GMO is the way to go.

When added to your compost pile, alfalfa acts as a stimulant. It decomposes rapidly, creating heat which helps the rest of your compost to decompose. And your finished compost will have higher nutrient levels when alfalfa is used. Higher nutrient levels in your compost and soil means more nutrient-dense produce in your garden.  Bonus, Worms LOVE Alfalfa Meal!

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

For more info, read 
MICRONIZED AZOMITE
*on sale* 
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 an estimated 30 million years ago. This mixture of volcanic ash and sea water created a unique source of trace minerals and elements that moist soils are void of. Just like humans, plants require many minerals to reach peak health and vigor. Re-mineralize your soil with Azomite and your plants will thank you and reward you!

For more info, read
Using Azomite in the Garden for Healthy Plants

 

Contains potash and other minerals from natural marine deposits. Excellent soil conditioner. Greensand is a mined mineral rich in soil conditioning glauconite.
 
BOTH of these plant nutrients are important for "heavy feeders" such as Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Pumpkins and Squash 
From our website, 
  • Greensand is a mined mineral rich in soil conditioning glauconite
  • Contains potash and other minerals from natural marine deposits
  • Excellent soil conditioner
  • Carrying a formulation of 0-0-0.1
Greensand turns dense, heavy clay into manageable soil. Greensand is a naturally-occurring iron-potassium silicate that can increase soil's moisture absorption by up to ten times. 
There are more than 30 trace minerals and nutrients in greensand, with high concentrations of Iron (Fe), Potassium (K), Silicon (Si), Oxygen (O), Magnesium (Mg), Aluminum (Al), Sodium (Na), and Hydrogen (H). These minerals release slowly into the soil in just the proportions that plants need.

For more info, read
Using Greensand in the Garden for Healthier Soil  




Kelp is derived from sea plants and is sustainable.  Kelp Meal contains only small amount of N, P, and K (highest in Potash) but adds valuable micronutrients.  Kelp Meal also contains vitamins that help increase yields, improve soil structure, reduce plant stress from drought, and increase frost tolerance.

From our website, 
Organic Kelp Meal (1-0-2) is dried and ground Rock Weed (Ascophyllum Nodosum), which grows in the cold clean waters along the New England coast, and is known as the best marine plant available for agriculture today

Full of trace Minerals, Carbohydrates and Amino Acids, helping create a strong root systems and makes a very healthy plant

It should be tilled in the soil before planting or can be top dressed, incorporated into potting soils, seed beds and composting material. 
Organic kelp meal is ascophyllum nodosum, which is widely recognized as one of the finest marine plants available for agriculture today 
It is a natural and cost effective enhancement to any soil fertilization and conditioning program 
It is suitable for all crops and applications, and can be mixed with most soil conditioners and fertilizers

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.

Fro more info, read
Kelp Tea Recipe for your Garden 

 

A well-balanced organic fertilizer and a good all-around blend. It is easy to use and ready to apply. pH balanced to counteract acidic soil conditions and formulated to deliver a steady supply of organic nutrients to enhance soil fertility and produce vigorous plants.
  • Use at any stage of plant's life.
  • Boosts Microbial Activity
  • Contains Fish Bone Meal, Blood Meal, Rock Phosphate, Greensand, Langbeinite, Kelp Meal, and Humic Shale Ore
For transplants add 1-2 Tbs. per hole
 

  • Easy to use  
  • Works in gardens, yards, lawns, and soil beds
  • Perfect for revitalizing soils that have been heavily worked
  • Scent serves as a deterrent to common garden pests such as rabbits and deer
  • Also helps accelerate composting breakdown of carbon based composts such as leaves and straw

Phosphorus is involved in many plant processes, including:  
  • Energy transfer reactions
  • Development of reproductive structures
  • Crop maturity
  • Root growth
  • Protein synthesis
 

Carefully blended from organic nutrients in the ideal proportions without the use of synthetics, growth stimulants or low quality fillers
Calcium is a component of plant cell walls, and it's needed for enzyme formation and nitrate uptake. 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.

For more info:  Using Calcium in the Garden for Healthy Plants


Very important to mention, ingredients are derived from organic, non-gmo sources.  All-Purpose VEGAN plant nutrients. 
  • Formulated to contain no animal products or animal by-products
  • A blend of excellent medium to long term nutrient sources
  • Add in combination with good organic compost to nourish your plants, improve the soil structure and encourage gardening
  • Ingredients include soybean meal, rock phosphate, alfalfa meal, langbeinite, humic shale ore, azomite, Acadian kelp meal and greensand
  • 3-2-2 formula
   
Humate is a generic name for humic materials -- salt forms of humic acid. They are most commonly low grade lignite coal. Humates regulate water-holding capacity, have extremely high ion exchange capacities, and reduce soil erosion by increasing the cohesive forces of the very fine soil particles. Very low concentrations of humates have been shown to stimulate seed germination and root growth. They have also been shown to stimulate desirable soil microorganisms.

For more info, read
What is Humic Acid & How Does it Work?

 


&
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 absorption 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. 
They are particularly effective for agricultural plants that have high water and nutritional needs.  Over 50,000 University studies have highlighted the benefits of mycorrhizal colonization on the health and yield of plants.

Benefits Include:
Reduces Drought Stress
Reduces Watering
Reduces Transplant Shock
Increases Yields
Increases Overall Plant Hardiness
Promotes Rooting
Promotes Nutrient Uptake
If you have additional questions please feel free to ask. 

Have a safe and happy weekend!

 

Happy Planting,

 

Mary's Heirloom Seeds, P. O. Box 3763, Ramona, CA 92065

JUNE PLANTING GUIDE FOR THE US Posted on 25 May 08:36 , 0 comments

JUNE is time to plant PUMPKIN 
in time for OCTOBER - NOVEMBER

If you're looking to plant this month and SAVE on seeds,

SAN DIEGO 

Arugula, Bush & Pole Beans, Lima Beans, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Chard, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Dwarf Cabbage, Endive, Gourds (Louffa), Kale, Lettuce, Melons, Mustard, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers,  Pumpkin, Radish, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Scallion, Sorrel, Summer Squash & Winter Squash, Tomato and Watermelon.
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!

 

Arugula, Bush & Pole Beans, Lima Beans, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Sweet Corn, Cucumber, Endive, Gourds (Louffa), Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Southern Peas, Peppers, Sweet Potato, Radish, Radicchio and Watermelon.
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!

 
Arugula, Beans, Beets, Dwarf Cabbage, Corn, Cucumber, Endive, Eggplant, Gourds (louffa),  Lettuce, Kale, Melons, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radish, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Scallions, SorrelSummer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon. 
 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, Beans, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Gourds (Louffa), Endive, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Mustard, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radish, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Scallions, Sorrel, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon. 
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, Beans, Beets, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Gourds (Louffa), Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Mustard, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radish, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Scallions, Sorrel, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Cherry Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon. 
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, Beans, Beets, Calabrese Broccoli,
Dwarf Cabbage, Carrots, Corn, Cucumber,
Eggplant (transplant), Endive, Gourds (louffa), Lettuce, Kale, Melons, Mustard, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Radish, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Scallions, Sorrel, Spinach, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watemelon.
 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, Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Gourds (Louffa), Leeks, Lettuce, Kale, Kohlrabi, Melons, Mustard, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkin, Radish, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Scallions, Sorrel, Summer Squash, Winter Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon. 
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, Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Gourds (Louffa), Endive, Eggplant (transplant), Leeks, Lettuce, Kale, Melons, Mustard, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Radish, Scallions, Sorrel, 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!   

 
Arugula, Beans, Collards, Corn, Cucumber, Endive, Lettuce, Melons, Mustard, OKRA, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkins, Radish, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Scallion, Sorrel, Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon. 
  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


Arugula,  Beans, Collards, Corn, Endive, Melon, Mustard, Okra, Onions, Peas, Peppers, Radish, Radicchio, Rutabaga, Sorrel, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon. 
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  WILDFLOWERS!  
  


Arugula, Beans, Beets, Calabrese Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Corn, Endive, Lettuce, Kale, Melon, Mustard, Okra, Peas, Peppers, Radish, Scallions, Sorrel, Spinach, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard and Tomatoes

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
   


Sow Outdoors: Arugula, Basil, Beans, Beets, Calendula flowerCarrots, Celery, Chard, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumbers, Dill, Eggplant, Endive, Kale, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Onion, Peas, transplant Peppers, Pumpkins, Radish, Scallions, Spinach, Squash (summer & winter), transplant Tomatoes and Watermelon 


NEW MEXICO
Arugula, Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Calendula flower, Carrots, Celery, Corn, Cucumber, Lettuce, Melon, Okra, Onions, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radish, Spinach, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips and Watermelon
Plant Herbs and Wildflowers


 
Sow Outdoors: Arugula, Basil, Beans, Beets, Calendula flowerCarrots, Celery, Chard, Cilantro, Corn, Cucumbers, Dill, Eggplant, Endive, Kale, Lettuce, Melons, Okra, Onion, Peas, Peppers, Pumpkins, Radish, Scallions, Spinach, Squash (summer & winter), Tomatoes and Watermelon




Arugula, OKRA, Southern Peas, Peppers, Radish and Swiss Chard. Heat loving herbs such as Basil, Tarragon, Summer Savory Cumin and Rosemary.
 
Arugula, OKRA, Southern Peas, Peppers, Radish and Swiss Chard. Heat loving herbs such as Basil, Tarragon, Summer Savory Cumin and Rosemary.
 
Arugula, OKRA, Southern Peas, Peppers, Radish and Swiss Chard. Heat loving herbs such as Basil, Tarragon, Summer Savory Cumin and Rosemary.
 


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Day 10 & 11 Using Coconut Coir in the Garden Posted on 23 May 07:30 , 0 comments

Unfortunately, We were not able to post yesterday so today we're sharing our Coconut Coir info for day 10 & 11.  Thank you for joining us for another post in our series, Grow Your Own Food in 100 days or less with Mary's Heirloom Seeds  

We've mentioned a few times about using coconut coir in the garden so today we;re sharing about the WHY and the HOW.  Here's our video we posted yesterday
 

 
 
We use Coconut Coir Pellets sometimes when we start seeds.
 

We use Coconut Coir Bricks when we plant in containers or seed-starter pots.
 
 

From Using Coconut Coir in the Garden
"Coconut coir growing medium comes from the coconut's fibrous husk (known as coir) that is bound together by lignin (known as pith). After the husk is immersed in water for 6 weeks, the fiber is extracted mechanically, and the pith is left behind as a waste product and stored in heaps to age. Since the pith comes from the fruit, it is quite naturally rich in nutrients. Coconut coir growing mediums are dehydrated and compressed into a compact form for easy handling. With the addition of water, coir expands to an easy to work with growing medium. 

The addition of water increases the volume 3 to 9 times, depending on the packaging of products. This process results in a 100% organic, biodegradable growing medium, making it a natural and safe growth medium of choice for growers.
1.5 pounds compressed brick
Add water to increase volume 3 to 9 times!
"  Use Coconut Coir in compost or worm bins About Coconut Coir

 

-Coir improves soil drainage in the bed while also helping to retain moisture in quick-draining soils. Since coir breaks down slowly, much like peat, it creates air pockets in the soil that allow excess moisture to drain away from plant roots. The coir itself holds onto some moisture so the drainage doesn't occur too quickly and the soil doesn't dry out completely. These dual drainage and retention properties allow coir to improve moisture management in both heavy clay soils and dry, sandy beds.  

 

From Seed Starting With Coconut Coir


Common Seed-Starting Issues

GERMINATION

-Incorrect Temperature. Different seeds have different needs.

-Old Seeds. When properly stored seeds can have a very long shelf life. But the older they get, your germination rate will begin to reduce

-Incorrect Watering. Water in a necessity for all plants. In the germination stage you need to make sure you keep the soil evenly moist. If you water too much, you run the risk of your seeds rotting before they germinate. If you let them dry out, they will either never germinate or die trying!

-Planting Depth/Light. When you plant your seeds pay attention to your planting depth. This is important because if planted too deep you plants could run out of energy before reaching sunlight. Planting too shallow can lead to drying out. Some seeds actually need some light to germinate, so instead of digging them down you just press them into your soil.

MOLD or ROTTING
Dampening off, is probably the most common disease when starting seeds. It’s a fungus that can attack the seeds as soon as they germinate or after the seedling has emerged. You will know this is what killed your seedlings when you notice dark spots on the stem right at the soil level and the seedling topples over and withers away.

-Don't over water

-Provide air movement. A small fan will work

-Nutrients: Use a half-strength, organic fertilizer with tiny seedling. Our DIY Kelp Meal Tea is a great option for tiny seedling. You can use this as a foliar feed as well.

 

OVERCROWDING
For coconut coir pellets, plant no more than 2 seeds per pellet for small seeds and only one per pellet for larger seeds. If both seeds germinate, do not pull one out.

Pinch off one of the seedlings at the base to remove. This will give the remaining seedling a chance to survive and thrive.

Once your seedlings are strong and roots start to grow out of the mesh, it's time to transplant them into the garden or into your containers.

 


Thank you for joining us for another day of Grow Your Own Food in 100 Days or Less.  If you have additional questions please send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Happy Planting!


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Day 9: Nitrogen in the Garden Posted on 21 May 16:27 , 0 comments

Welcome to another day of our series Grow Your own Food in 100 Days or Less at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.


On DAY 5 we discussed basic Nutrient Requirements for veggie garden.  Nitrogen was the first macronutrient we mentioned and is the "N" in fertilizer NPK listings.


Nitrogen deficiency in plants can be easy to detect.  Symptoms of nitrogen deficiency are yellowing, pale leaves and/or stunted growth.

Here's our Day 9 Video making Mountain Flower Compost Tea




Before planting or re-planting, it's a good idea to amend your soil.  Homemade compost and aged manure are both great options for free amendments.  We have several videos to help you get started.


  



There is no homemade way how to test nitrogen of soil. If your want to test your soil, you can take a sample to be tested or purchase an at-home tester.
If you don't have access to compost or manure, we have a few organic approved options.
*NEW FORMULA* this month Mary's Organic Plant Food 4-6-2
 
A well-balanced organic fertilizer and a good all-around blend. It is easy to use and ready to apply. pH balanced to counteract acidic soil conditions and formulated to deliver a steady supply of organic nutrients to enhance soil fertility and produce vigorous plants.
  • Use at any stage of plant's life.
  • Boosts Microbial Activity
  • Contains Fish Bone Meal, Blood Meal, Rock Phosphate, Greensand, Langbeinite, Kelp Meal, and Humic Shale Ore
For transplants add 1-2 Tbs. per hole


Derived from leguminous perennial alfalfa plant used for pasture and cover crop. Primary benefit of this pleasant smelling meal is increasing organic matter, although it is also a valuable plant-derived fertilizer.

  • NPK analysis is 2.8-0.29-2.4
  • Contains trace minerals and triaconatol
  • Excellent addition to the compost pile for nitrogen content and absorbency
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.  For more info, read
Benefits of Using Alfalfa Meal




Kelp is derived from sea plants and is sustainable.  Kelp Meal contains only small amount of N, P, and K (highest in Potash) but adds valuable micronutrients.  Kelp Meal also contains vitamins that help increase yields, improve soil structure, reduce plant stress from drought, and increase frost tolerance.

From our website,
Organic Kelp Meal (1-0-2) is dried and ground Rock Weed (Ascophyllum Nodosum), which grows in the cold clean waters along the New England coast, and is known as the best marine plant available for agriculture today

Full of trace Minerals, Carbohydrates and Amino Acids, helping create a strong root systems and makes a very healthy plant

It should be tilled in the soil before planting or can be top dressed, incorporated into potting soils, seed beds and composting material.
Organic kelp meal is ascophyllum nodosum, which is widely recognized as one of the finest marine plants available for agriculture today
It is a natural and cost effective enhancement to any soil fertilization and conditioning program
It is suitable for all crops and applications, and can be mixed with most soil conditioners and fertilizers

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.



Organic Blood Meal 12-0-0
Depending upon the crops you grow, soil that has been too often planted can start to lose its growing potential. Over time, the minerals and nutrients that plants need to grow and stay healthy become depleted. Blood meal helps restore these lost nutrients and revitalize depleted gardening beds.
Blood meal is an all natural powdered fertilizer that contains one of the highest, non-synthetic nitrogen counts (12-0-0) available.

  • Easy to use  
  • Works in gardens, yards, lawns, and soil beds
  • Perfect for revitalizing soils that have been heavily worked
  • Scent serves as a deterrent to common garden pests such as rabbits and deer
  • Also helps accelerate composting breakdown of carbon based composts such as leaves and straw



Easy to use instant Compost Tea.
Each packet of powdered mix makes a gallon of full strength compost tea or 2 gallons of diluted compost tea
Use:
Foliar feed
All purpose fertilizer
Pre-Soak for seeds
NPK is 6-5-5 plus Calcium and Trace Minerals.
Sourced from organic material. Contains no synthetic ingredients



5-4-2 Fertilizer
Ideal for all plant types, use Mountain Flower Root Boost to encourage expansive root systems, increased crop yields and superior quality flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables.
Boosts Microbial Activity
Vegetable and Flowers -  1-2 Tbs per planting hole for new transplants
Ingredients: Fish Bone Meal, Fish Meal, Alfalfa Meal, Crab Meal, Shrimp Meal, Langbeinite, Basalt, Kelp Meal, Humic Acid, Mycorrhizal Fungi, and Beneficial Bacteria


Thank you for joining us for another day of Grow Your Own Food in 100 Days or Less.  If you have additional questions please send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Happy Planting!


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Day 8 Transplanting Seedlings Posted on 20 May 08:20 , 0 comments

We're so excited to be Transplanting Seedlings today into our garden. 

Thank you for joining us for Day 8 of our series Grow Your Own Food in 100 Days or Less at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.

Today we have a 4x8 raised bed that has already been filled with aged manure and soil.  We're transplanting Dakota Black Popcorn, Blue Lake Bush Beans and Yellow Scallop Squash.  **Once we finished filming we also planted Genovese basil**

Here's our video to get started




Transplanting Seedlings
Since our seedlings were grown outside 100% of the time, we did not need to harden off before transplanting.  If you are transplanting seedlings that were grown indoors, I recommend starting with our article Day 7 Hardening Off Seedlings

First, whether you're planting in-ground, in containers or raised beds,water the garden area BEFORE you transplant seedlings.  I like to give it a good soaking.

Plan out what seedlings you want to transplant and where they're going.

When we transplant I use 2 soil amendments, Mountain Flower Root Boost (5-4-2) and Micronized Azomite.  Another option would be to feed and Organic Liquid fertilizer or Kelp Tea.  We do this to cut down on shock to the plants.

For this, I used approximately 1 tablespoon Mountain Flower Root Boost and 2 tablespoons Azomite in each hole before transplanting.  Prior to transplanting I did not add fertilizer to the bed.  You'll need to adjust your own garden accordingly

Gently squeeze the bottom of the cup/container to loosen soil and roots.

Do not pull on the stem to remove the seedling from the container.  I prefer to tip over in my hand and loosen the seedling from the base of the container

If you are transplanting seedlings in Coconut Coir Pellets, do not remove the outer mesh.  Transplant the entire pellet into the soil and cover completely.

Once you've placed the seedling in the hole, gently cover with soil and water very well.


All of our starter cups and containers are washed and re-used for our next planting.  You can use almost any recycled container to start seedlings.


Stay tuned for more info on growing your own food!
Thank you for joining us for another day of Grow Your Own Food in 100 Days or Less.  If you have additional questions please send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Happy Planting!


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Day 7: Hardening Off Seedlings Posted on 20 May 07:34 , 0 comments

Welcome to Day 7 of our series Grow Your Own Food in 100 days or Less at Mary's Heirloom Seeds!


These are the extra Heirloom Corn seedlings that didn't make it into our Mother's Day Garden

So far we have planted heirloom seeds in our raised bed, planned out our garden, watered our seeds and applied cayenne pepper to deter gophers.  If you start seeds indoors and plan to transplant seedling into the garden, it is important to harden off your seedlings.

No video today but we have pictures!

What does it mean to "Harden Off" seedlings?
From our article Hardening Off Seedlings before Transplanting

Hardening off gradually exposes the tender plants to wind, sun and rain and toughens them up by thickening the cuticle on the leaves so that the leaves lose less water. This helps prevent transplant shock; seedlings that languish, become stunted or die from sudden changes in temperature.

Hardening off times depend on the type of plants you are growing and the temperature and temperature fluctuations. So be flexible when hardening off your seedlings and be prepared to whisk them indoors if there's a late freeze and snow.
 

Jarrhadale Pumpkin Seedlings happily growing outside



If you're growing seedlings indoors, they might have been pampered all winter/spring.  Aside from the random cat attack or possibly too much watering, they have been relatively safe compared to the dangers that await them in the great outdoors.

 

This was taken at one of our school garden volunteer days
How to Harden Off Seedlings
Start by putting your seedlings outside 7-10 days prior to transplanting.  In the beginning, give them shelter and plenty of water.  You can strengthen stem of indoor seedling by adding a fan while they're indoor.  This will help to prepare them for windy days outside.

Start by leaving them outdoors for 3 - 4 hours and gradually increase the time spent outside by 1 - 2 hours per day.  Bring the plants back indoors, or somewhere warm like a heated garage or porch, each night.
If temperatures remain warm both day and night,  the plants should be able to handle the sun all day and stay out at night after about 7 days, Keep an eye out that the soil doesn't dry in their small pots and bake the plants if the weather should suddenly turn warmer.
If you've planted in Cococut Coir pellets, pay extra attention to moisture levels.  Coconut coir can dry out faster and might need to be watered daily when outdoors.
If you opt to gradually expose your plants to longer periods of time outdoors, the moving in and out process can be made easier by putting your plants on a wagon or wheelbarrow and simply wheel them into the garage for the night.
Hardening off is an important step is you choose to grow seedlings indoors.  It's a bit of work but can be worth it if you want to get a head start on planting if you live in cool/cold climates.
All of my seedling this year are grown outside on a covered patio.  That means I don't have to harden them off before transplanting. Unfortunately, we lost a few to earwigs.  Fortunately, I planned a head and planted more than I thought I would need so there are extras to make up for any eaten seedlings.

Thank you for joining us for another day of Grow Your Own Food in 100 Days or Less.  If you have additional questions please send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Happy Planting!


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Day 5-Basic Nutrient Requirements Posted on 17 May 13:24 , 0 comments

Welcome to Day 5 of our series Grow Your Own Food in 100 Days or Less.

WE HAVE GERMINATION!


Actually, we had germination of the Early Scarlet Globe radish on Day 4 (3 days to germinate) but I'm sharing the update today.  Here's our video update for the day.  Today topic is Basic Nutrient Requirements to Grow Veggies




Basic Nutrient Requirements to Grow Veggies

Well-balanced soil in the vegetable garden will contain a mix of several important nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.  I call those the basics.  However, there are 12 essential nutrients that all plants require to grow.  Six of these are needed in larger amounts and are called macronutrients.  These include Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Calcium (K), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg) and Sulfur (S).  The other six are called micronutrients and they are iron, copper, zinc, boron, manganese and molybdenum.  While these are considered minor, there is nothing unimportant about them.


From an older post "Feeding Your Plants"

What does each nutrient do? 
In addition to other properties, Nitrogen helps plant foliage to grow strong. Phosphorous helps roots and flowers grow and develop. Potassium (Potash) is important for overall plant health.


We've grown HUGE, organic zucchini using our own recipe for Liquid Fertilizer!


Liquid Fertilizers are favored by most gardeners, regardless of what they are growing. We use our own DIY Liquid Fertilizer mix.  Most liquid fertilizers can be applied as a foliar feeding directly to the leaves, hand applied to secondary roots, and included in the water supply of drip or other irrigation systems.

Aside from cost(and it is not that much), liquid fertilizers have almost no downside. They include all the macronutrients  and micronutrients needed for good growth. In addition, because they are in a water soluble state, they can easily be absorbed by the plant.
 

Here's our video for our DIY Organic Liquid Fertilizer recipe




What do the Macronutrients do for plants?

Nitrogen (N)
Nitrogen is the fuel that makes plants go. It’s used to synthesize amino acids, proteins, chlorophyll, nucleic acids, and enzymes. Plants need more nitrogen than any other element. It’s the nutrient we most often have to apply.  Compost and manure are "free" ways to add nitrogen to your soil


Phosphorus (P)
Phosphorus is the nutrient responsible for plant rooting, flowering and fruiting.  Bone meal is one form of Phosporus that can be added to your garden soil.


Potassium (K)
Potassium is important to plant growth and development. Potassium helps: Plants grow faster, Use water better and be more drought resistant, Fight off disease, Grow stronger and even Produce more crops


Calcium (Ca)
Calcium helps to retain and transport other nutrients by providing strength and structure through its cell walls.  Oyster Shell is an easy option to add to your soil to increase calcium
 

Magnesium (Mg)
Helps activate plants enzymes and part of chlorophyll and photosynthesis. Magnesium works in conjunction with calcium


Sulfur (S)

Sulfur is essential for the production of protein and chlorophyll.


 

A great "all-in-one" is our Mary's Organic Plant Food or our Vegan Plant Food. From there, you can choose any "extras" you'd like to add such as Endo-Mycorrhizae, Micronized Azomite or Mountain Flower Root Boost.



Thank you for joining us for another day of Grow Your Own Food in 100 Days or Less.  If you have additional questions please send an email to mary@marysheirloomseeds.com

Happy Planting!


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