JULY Planting Guide for the US *Updated* Posted on 5 Jul 13:32 , 1 comment
Are you ready for planting info?
Are you ready for planting info?
Some seedlings may have to be transplanted into larger pots to give them room to grow and develop their root systems. Handle the baby plants gently by their leaves, not stems or roots, and try to keep the tiny rootballs intact as you move plants to their new pots.
When watering seeds, I use either a spray bottle to moisten the soil or pour water into the reservoir so the soil wicks up the water. Heavy-handed pouring can displace tiny seeds so it is best to use caution.
Kathryn at Little Bits of Heaven homestead mentioned her secret to avoid "dampening off" in her video Starting the Summer Garden & Cheap Seed Organization and it's cinnamon! We use Cinnamon as well and it definitely helps.
Check on your plants once a day
Harden off your seedlings prior to transplanting outdoors. Not sure how, we have an article Hardening Off Seedlings
If you'd like to check out our very first video on seed starting, it's also on our youtube channel
If you're like me and you're looking to add a few more varieties to your garden that will produce for more than a season, Perpetual Spinach is a fantastic option!
From seed, Perpetual Spinach is usually producing by 50 days. I've had quite a few swiss chard varieties continue to produce for over 9 months so they're well worth the moderate amount of space they use in the garden. Perpetual Spinach is a great container variety as well.
50 days. European heirloom dating back to the 1860s. Belongs to the same species as chard and beets, but it has distinctive differences.
The taste is more like a true spinach than ordinary chard, and the leaves look like spinach too. Pertetual Spinach leaves are flatter and more pointed than chard, with slimmer stems.
An excellent no-fuss warm weather substitute for spinach in the Southeast.
From Mary's Blog, Growing Swiss Chard from Seed to Harvest
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.
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.
Companion Plants for Swiss Chard:
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.
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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!
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.
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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.
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
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.
Common Seed-Starting Issues
-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.
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.
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
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.
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.