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Growing Tatume Squash from Seed to Harvest Posted on 10 Jun 16:28 , 0 comments

Summer squash is very popular for home gardeners. If you've never heard of Tatume Squash you are in for a treat!

 

"Tatume is a summer squash popular in Mexico and Texas, round/oval med-dark green to yellow fruits with faint stripes.

This old heirloom is picked small and used like zucchini, but these are so much more unique than regular zucchini!

Excellent resistance to squash vine borer."
Squash vine borers are the most common issue customers ask about. If you struggle to grow healthy squash plants, this is a definitely must-grow.

 

Planting Tatume Squash Seeds

Plant Tatume squash, as with other squash, after all danger of frost has passed and the ground is warm. Choose a spot with full sun. Mix compost or well-rotted manure into the soil before planting.

Sow seeds 1 inch deep and 8 to 12 inches apart. This variety of squash can climb a trellis if you are looking to optimize your "air space."

Keep soil moist until seeds germinate. Germination usually occurs in 3 to 7 days under optimal conditions.

 

Tatume Squash is drought and heat tolerance make it a popular choice for growing in Texas and the U.S. Southwest. 

Companion Planting for Squash

Beans, corn, cucumbers, icicle radishes, melon, mint, onions and pumpkin. Helpers: Borage deters worms, improves growth and flavor. Marigolds deters beetle. Nasturtium deters squash bugs and beetles.

Oregano provides general pest protection. Dill may repel the squash bug that will kill your squash vines. Generously scatter the dill leaves on your squash plants. Keep squash away from potatoes.

 

Harvesting Tatume Squash

You can start harvesting Tatume Squash when they are the size of a baseball but you might have a more substantial harvest if you wait a few more days.

This was at 51 days from seed to harvest and it weighed over 3 pounds.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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How to Grow Melons from Seeds Posted on 28 May 15:36 , 0 comments

Heirloom Melons are a summer favorite and with a little planning, you can grow your own delicious melons from seeds.

 

HEIRLOOM MELON SEEDS

 

From seed to harvest, melons are ready in as few as 70 days. This greatly depends on your soil temperature, weather, type of melon and moisture.

Melons like warm temperatures and plenty of sun.

Prior to planting your melon seeds, prepare your soil with a good layer of compost. If your soil needs a boost, add fertilizer 2 weeks prior to planting.

 

Planting Melon Seeds

Seeds can be sown indoors 4-8 weeks prior to your last frost date or direct sown in the garden after your last frost date.

Plant melon seeds 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep. If you are growing in rows, space several feet apart. If you are growing in hills, plant 4-5 seeds per hill.  If you are growing in raised beds, plant 1 seed per square.

Melon Seeds usually germinate in 3-10 days. This can vary with soil temps and moisture.

Melons plants need 8-10 weeks of good, hot growing weather.

Water deeply and infrequently, one to two inches per week. Use drip hoses, soaker hoses or careful watering of the soil. Keeping the leaves dry with decrease your risk of powdery mildew and other diseases.

 

 

Companion Planting for Melons

Squash bugs, vine borers and striped cucumber beetles are common pests for melons.

Companion planting is definitely worth a try, using repellent plants that deter the squash bug.

They include catnip, tansy, radishes, nasturtiums, marigolds, bee balm and mint.

Melons are one of the most compatible plants in the garden and do well when planted with most anything including beans, peas, onions, leeks, chives, and garlic. They also flourish with cabbage, broccoli, carrots, kale, okra, cauliflower, spinach, brussel sprouts, and lettuce

 

Harvesting Melons

Melon fruit will also develop a sweet, musky aroma when ripe

Harvest melons when small cracks appear in the stem where it joins the fruit. Once the cracks circle the stem and the stem looks shriveled, the melon will break off with a slight twist. If more than light effort is needed to remove from the vine, it is not ripe.

 

 

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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How to Grow Thai Roselle from Seed to Harvest Posted on 18 May 05:25 , 0 comments

Thai Roselle is pretty easy to grow. It makes a beautiful, delicious tea and can be harvested then dried to enjoy year round.


What is Thai Roselle?

Also called Jamaican Sorrel or Florida Cranberry.
Thai Roselle was called "Florida Cranberry) as early as the 1890s. The flowers and young leaves are edible and have a citrus tang.
Roselle, part of the hibiscus family, is a tropical plant. Started indoors, it can be grown successfully in more northern climates. You can start Thai Roselle seeds around the same time you would plant pepper, tomato and eggplant seeds indoors.
Since this is a heat loving plant, you want to give is a good head start!

Planting Thai Roselle Seeds
Roselle germinates at soil temperatures between 75°- 85°F, and does well directly sown in the garden.
Plant seeds 1/2 inch deep and about 3 feet apart.


Roselle prefers well-draining fertile soil. Overly rich soil or extra fertilization leads to a very large plant with fewer calyxes. A sunny spot is best for growing roselle successfully.
Roselle hibiscus prefers humid, warm conditions and does not tolerate frost.

Roselle is day-length sensitive
When a plant is "day-length sensitive", the light cycle affects when the plant will bloom. The stunning blooms (similar to okra blooms) are triggered as the days get shorter in the fall.

Harvesting Thai Roselle
It is time to harvest when the pointy red calyx around the seed pod is just over an inch wide. The seed pod is fully grown but still tender. Harvesting the calyxes early will promote greater yields throughout the season. You can also pick the edible young leaves and shoots at any time starting about 6 weeks from planting or transplanting.
Fresh calyxes are usually dried or dehydrated prior to storage. You can keep them fresh in the fridge for 4–7 days while collecting enough to dry a bigger bunch at once. Leaves and stem tips can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week. Juice can be frozen for later use.
.

 

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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How to Plant and Grow Zinnia Flowers Posted on 25 Jan 04:35 , 2 comments

These beauties are a favorite in our Pollinator Gardens.

Zinnia flowers are an annual, so they’ll grow for one season and produce seeds, but the original plant will not come back in subsequent years.

 

Zinnia flowers (Zinnia elegans) are a colorful and long lasting addition to the flower garden. They're also great as a cut flower!

I found that our Zinnia flowers really attracted Bumble Bees and Butterflies. There were so many butterflies this year!

 

Growing Zinnia Flower from Seed

Zinnia Flowers are possibly one of the easiest to grow from seed.

Zinnias grow and flower best in full sun. They can flower in part shade, especially in warmer climates with afternoon shade, but they may be more susceptible to disease and have fewer flowers.

Plant zinnia seeds 6-8 inches apart in rows or clumps. Sow seeds approx 1/4 inch deep in the ground or container.

Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Zinnia seeds usually germinate in 4 to 7 days.

Zinnia plants do not always transplant well and sometimes become stunted or do not thrive. If you choose to transplant, it is recommended that you do so early and with care.

After zinnias flower, cut off the old flowers (a process called “deadheading”) to encourage more flowers to form.

Under optimal conditions, Zinnias generally take 60 to 70 days from seed to flower.

Ready to plant Zinnia Flower seeds? We offer a few different varieties at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.


 

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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Growing Borage from Seed to Harvest Posted on 13 Jan 04:01 , 4 comments

January is Plant for Pollinators month at Mary's Heirloom Seeds so this how-to article is just in time! Borage (Borago officinalis) is an amazing plant to grow in your garden to attract pollinators.

Borage plants can grow up to three feet tall, producing gorgeous blooms.

The flavor of Borage is similar to a cucumber.  Borage has bright blue, star-shaped flowers that explode in a blue profusion all summer attracting honey bees.  The flowers and young leaves may be used to garnish salads, dips and cucumber soups.

Borage is also a companion plant for Tomatoes, Peppers, Squash, Strawberries and more.

 

Growing Borage from Seed

Borage is a hardy annual, which means that the plant will die in a frost . A word of caution, if you let Borage mature to produce seeds, you will have LOTS of borage next year.

Borage plants produce the most flowers in full sun, but they can also tolerate partial shade. Choose a planting area that gets at least six hours of sunlight per day for best results.

Sow seeds 1/2 in deep in moist, well draining soil. Water regularly so the area does not dry out.

If you have a container garden, Borage should be planted in a container that is 12 inches deep or more.

This hardy plant can thrive in hot and cool weather so it's prefect for just about every garden zone.

 

Companion Planting with Borage

Companion plant. Companion planting borage next to strawberries and tomatoes can increase their fruit yield, while also fending off tomato hornworms. Borage attracts beneficial insects, pollinators like honeybees, bumblebees, and butterflies, while also serving as a deterrent to cabbage moths.

Complete COMPANION PLANTING GUIDE

 

Harvesting Borage

As we mentioned early, Borage can easily go to seed and "pop up" next year in your garden. Remove flower heads towards the end of their lifecycle to prevent self-seeding. 

Both the flowers and the leaves are edible. Smaller leaves are my favorite as the larger leaves can be prickly.

The gorgeous flowers make an excellent garnish for baked good and savory dishes.

If you end up with LOTS of Borage, you can feed some to livestock or even make a fertilizer tea. Yes, that's a 5 gallon bucket of borage leaves! Our chickens love it!

I use scissors to clip off flowers and leaves. It's easy to collect them in a bowl or bucket. The larger leaves can be prickly so it would be a good idea to wear gloves when working with Borage.

Borage is a hardy annual, which means that the plant will die in a frost, but the seeds can survive in the frozen ground.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Borage Seed Growing – How To Plant

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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A Growing List of Herb Seeds to Stratify Posted on 30 Dec 14:18 , 1 comment

In our article The Wonder of Seeds and Germination we discussed the different environmental needs of some seeds. In this article, we will share a more in depth look at Cold Stratification as well as specific varieties that should be stratified for optimal germination.

In nature, seeds require certain conditions in order to germinate. Seed stratification is the process where seed dormancy is broken in order to germinate. In order for the stratification of seeds to be successful, we create an environment to mimic the natural cycle. For cold stratification, we use coconut coir or sand, water and refrigerate.

Winter Sowing is the natural germination process. For this article, we are re-creating that environment in 4-6 weeks instead of several months.

At the bottom of the list, we've copied the instructions we originally shared in The Wonder of Seeds and Germination.

 

LIST OF HERBS TO COLD STRATIFY

Anise Hyssop

Angelica

Arnica

Bergamot / Beebalm

Betony

Butterfly Weed

Catmint

Catnip

Chamomile

Comfrey

Echinacea (purple coneflower)

Goldenrod

Larkspur / Delphinium

Lavender

Lemon Balm

Lupine

Marshmallow

Mountain Mint (L)

Mugwort

Mullein

Phlox

Ramps

Sage

Saint John's Wort

Self Heal

Skullcap

Stinging Nettles

Rosemary

Valerian

Verbena

Wild Strawberry

Artichokes

 

Cold stratification is an extremely easy process and once you’ve done it once, you’ll no doubt get the hang of it. The time you need to keep your seeds in the refrigerator depends on the variety, but 4-5 weeks should be a sufficient amount of time for most seed varieties.

Once there’s no more chance of frost in your area, take your seeds out of the fridge and plant as normal. The simple, quick process of cold stratification helps the seed germinate quicker and grow more readily in your garden bed.

 

DIY Cold Stratification

Coconut Coir or Sand & Water

  1. Place a 1/4 cup of coconut coir sand (or more) in a mixing bowl. Slowly add water until you can form a ball with the sand/water mixture.
  2. Add your desired seed amount to the sand. Mix thoroughly.
  3. Place sand/seed mixture in a ziploc bag or container and seal.
  4. Label the variety and date clearly on the bag.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks before planting. If seedlings start to sprout in the bag in the refrigerator, remove immediately and either plant in the ground or in pots until it’s time to plant outdoors.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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Growing Rosemary from Seed to Harvest Posted on 18 Dec 05:53 , 0 comments

Rosemary is one of my favorite culinary herbs. Growing Rosemary from seed can be a bit tricky but it's definitely a worthwhile endeavor.

 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region. The leaf and its oil are commonly used in food and also to make medicine.

This herb can be grown outdoors as a perennial shrub in Zones 7 and warmer. In colder areas, it should be kept in a pot and brought indoors for the winter.

 

Growing Rosemary from Seed

Like many herbs and flowers, rosemary seeds benefit from cold stratification. You can read more in our article The Wonder of Seeds and Germination.

Cold Stratification simulates a brief winter dormancy that the seeds would otherwise experience if they had been grown in the wild.

Sow seeds indoors in mid-February to April and transplant or direct sow into the garden in May. When planting seeds, barely cover them with a seed starting mix and apply bottom heat.

Germination is notoriously low, so plant more seeds than needed.

Rosemary should be grown in a pot that can be brought indoors during the winter if winters are harsh in your zone (or in an area that can be covered and protected). Outdoors, rosemary can tolerate temperatures as low as 15 degrees.

If growing rosemary in containers, provide monthly feedings of liquid fertilizer. Keep watered in hot weather.

Plant Rosemary in full sun. For optimal growth, plant in well drained soil as Rosemary does not tolerate consistently wet/soggy soil.

Choose a garden spot with plenty of room to grow. Once established, Rosemary can grow 5 feet tall and even 4 feet wide. This is a gorgeous perennial that will continue to produce for many years with adequate care

Companion Planting

Rosemary is a good companion for beans, Brassicas, and carrots.


Harvesting Rosemary

To harvest rosemary, pull individual leaves off the plant or cut entire stems. Use a sharp knife to harvest the rosemary, as scissors may damage plant tissues. Rosemary is also often used dried. To dry rosemary, hang bunches of the plant upside down on a rack. Strip the leaves from the stems once the stems are dry. Prune the rosemary heavily in the early spring before new growth begins.

Store fully dry Rosemary in a labelled container.

 

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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Why Start Herbs from Seed? Posted on 14 Dec 15:27 , 0 comments

In case you're wondering about the benefits of starting your own herbs from seeds, this might help you decide.

Sure, you can go to the local nursery and pick out a few herbs for your garden, but do you know how they were grown and if the label is actually correct?

Growing your own herbs from seed means knowing exactly how they are cared for from seed to harvest. You can decide to grow them organically, which is a healthier option for you and your garden.

Have you ever noticed the selection at most garden centers is mostly the same every year? Growing your own herbs from seed means a larger selection to choose from and grow in your own garden. If you like Basil, we currently carry 15 different varieties!

Growing your own herbs from seed can be much less expensive than buying starts. Depending on the seed pack, you can expect to spend $1-4 per pack for 20-250 seeds. That's a lot of plants per pack! At a nursery, you can usually expect to pay between $1 and $10 per plant. As an added bonus, if you don't use all of the seeds in each pack the first year, you can always use the leftovers next year is you store your seeds properly. You can do the math but that adds up to a huge savings if you grow your own herbs from seed.

Medicinal Herbs are very popular with our customers. We offer quite a few unique varieties that you probably won't find in a nursery. Toothache plant for example is a fantastic, easy to grow from seed variety. Toothache plant is not only a medicinal plant but it's a beautiful addition to any garden. German Chamomile is another great medicinal herb that can be easy to grow under the right conditions.

Growing Herbs from Seed takes a little more effort and timing but the benefits are awesome!

Herb and vegetable gardens begin with healthy soil and receive 6 to 8 hours of sun daily. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Some herbs do better when they are sown directly into the garden. These include borage, chervil, coriander, dill, and fennel. Other varieties do well when started indoors 4 to 6 weeks before your last frost. This can give them a head start especially if you have a shorter growing season.

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
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Growing Seminole Pumpkin from Seed to Harvest Posted on 10 Dec 03:05 , 0 comments

Seminole Pumpkins are a Florida native variety grown by Native American tribes for hundreds of years.

The shapes and sizes can vary. Some look like a traditional pumpkin, others can resemble a gourd "tear drop" shape, and other shapes resembling a butternut squash.

Seminole Pumpkin is prized for it's heat tolerance and pest resistance. From seed to harvest, Seminole pumpkins take 90 to 130 days to mature.

 

Planting Seminole Pumpkin Seeds

Direct sow: Plant seeds after your last frost date when soil is warm.

Indoor sow: Plant seeds 2 weeks before your last frost date and transplant within 3 weeks.

Plant seeds 1/2 to 1 inch deep. Pumpkins do well in "mounds" of well amended soil (compost, worm castings, aged manure, coconut coir). Plant in a spot that receives plenty of sun and will receive plenty of water.

From UF, The Seminole people gave the name "Chassahowitza" to a region on the gulf in Southwest Florida. The name means "pumpkin hanging place."

Seminole Pumpkin plants can climb up trees, fences and trellis. If grown on the ground, Seminole Pumpkin plants can easily grow 25 feet long.

 

Companion Plants for Pumpkins

Pumpkin pals are corn, melon and squash. Marigold deters beetles. Nasturtium deters bugs, beetles. Oregano provides general pest protection. Dill may help repel those frustrating squash bugs. 

 

Seminole Pumpkin Plant Care

Pumpkins require pollination of the female flowers to produce fruit. It is recommended to encourage pollinators to your garden by planting flowers nearby. Nasturtiums, Marigolds and Sunflowers are easy to grow and will attract a variety of pollinators to your garden.

 

Seminole Pumpkins are naturally adapted to HOT, humid climates but require plenty of water. If you are growing in an arid climate, you will need to water regularly.

If you have struggled with pests in your pumpkin patch, I highly recommend trying Seminole Pumpkin. While not completely immune to pests, this variety seems to be more pest tolerant.

 

Harvesting Seminole Pumpkins

Growing pumpkins takes a bit of patience. Depending on your region, Seminole pumpkins can take up to 130 days to fully mature.

Once the Seminole pumpkins are mostly orange in color, they are ready to harvest. If stored in a cool, well-ventilated area, the pumpkins can last anywhere between six to twelve months with no effect on the taste or quality.

During our Food Storage Prepping in the garden series we discussed Pumpkins!

 

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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Growing Chamomile from Seed to Harvest Posted on 30 Jul 14:07 , 0 comments

Did you know that there are 2 types of Chamomile? The first is Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and the other is German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). At Mary's Heirloom Seeds, we carry both and the growing conditions are almost the same.

German Chamomile is the most popular herb used in medicinal teas and tinctures.

Roman Chamomile is a perennial, while German Chamomile is an annual that easily re-seeds.

Roman Chamomile grows like a creeping ground cover while German Chamomile grows up about 1 to 2 feet tall.

Chamomile likes to grow in a semi-shady spot with well-drained soil.

 

Planting Chamomile Seeds

Chamomile can be started indoors or direct sown. 

Sprinkle seeds lightly over moist soil and gently top with seed starter mix or coconut coir, no more than 1/4 inch deep. Keep soil moist and warm but not waterlogged. Seeds should germinate in 7-14 days.

Once established, Chamomile is a pretty hearty herb that makes a great companion plant. It can also be grown in containers so this is a great plant for just about any gardener.

From seed to harvest, Chamomile can be ready in as few as 8 to 9 weeks. Chamomile can easily re-seed so if you don't want it to spread, harvest often.

 

Companion Planting with Chamomile

Companion planting with herbs can increase vegetable yields, repel pests, and provide "trap crops" depending on your planting goal. We use companion planting in all of our gardens as our first line of defense.

Are you ready for this awesome list? Chamomile is a companion plant for garden vegetables like cabbage, onions, beans, cucumbers, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, tomatoes, and potatoes.

Flowers also benefit, such as Bee balm, Phlox, Roses, lilacs, zinnias, petunias, and snapdragons.

Beneficial insects and friendly pollinators are attracted to chamomile while helping to rid your garden of pests and improve pollination. Poor soil is no problem for chamomile, so plant it generously in, around, and near your garden. 

 

Harvesting Chamomile

Chamomile flowers are ripe when the petals curl back toward the center in late summer or early fall.

Allow flowers to fully dry on a drying rack or screen away from direct sunlight in a well ventilated area. Store fully dry flowers in a labelled container.

 

 

If you have additional questions, please feel free to ask!
Email: mary@marysheirloomseeds.com
HAPPY PLANTING!


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