Vegetable Gardening!

VEGETABLE GARDENING

 

Vegetable gardening in the Northwest is always an adventure. Our ever-changing weather patterns have sent the urban farmer back to the drawing board, looking to utilize that unpredictability to our benefit.

Leading the way is the use of raised beds, containers and straw bales which help to warm the soil faster and allow earlier planting of seeds and starts.

In addition, raised beds, etc. give you greater control of growing conditions such as soils, fertilizer application and pest management.

There are literally hundreds of books, articles and publications that rely on specially blended soils, homemade fertilizers, PH adjusting amendments and more.

Our intent is to help you understand the basics, so you can then experiment and add your own personal touch.

There is no absolute right or wrong in gardening.  What works for you and produces the best results is the right choice.

 

Soil

Soil is a combination of ground rocks, decomposed organic plant material, sand and clay.  It also harbors trace amounts of minerals, insects, beneficial microbes, bacteria, fungal growth, water and air.

The Grange offers the following soils and amendments to compliment your particular type of garden.

 

Potting Soil – A lightweight blend containing a good amount of peat moss and perlite.  A great choice of indoor houseplants and any native plants that require an acid soil.

 

Planting Mix – Combination of topsoil, compost and PH adjusters. Great as an all purpose soil for garden beds and outdoor containers. Can be used for direct planting.

 

Planting Compost – Similar to the planting mix but heavier on the compost. Can be planted directly.  Best for planting fruit trees or larger broadleaf and coniferous trees.

 

Raised Bed Mix – Good, lighter weight “ready-to-use” soil for the raised bed or container,

 

Soil Building Compost – This is a good “all purpose” compost used for supplementing garden beds, top dressing flower beds and as a mulch to cover new grass seed.

 

Harvest Supreme – Mostly used to amend garden beds. This is a very rich compost that should be mixed in with existing soil.  It contains 15% chicken manure making it the only additive you will need for refreshing your garden beds.

 

For those folks who prefer the old standbys, we still carry chicken and steer manure as well as wormgold compost.

 

Fertilizer

N-P-K – This is the rating given to fertilizers that indicates the percentages of active ingredients.  The numbers differ in regards to what is being fertilized.

 

N – Nitrogen.  This is for greening.  Higher nitrogen is used for lawns, conifers and other “non-flowering” plants. Blood meal, fish meal, bat guano and ammonium sulfate are good sources for nitrogen.

 

P – Phosphorous. For buds and blooms. Those fertilizers listed for flower production will have a higher P percentage.  Bone meal, fish bone meal, soft rock phosphate and triple super phosphate are good sources of phosphorous.

 

K – Potash. This aids in root development and general plant health.  Higher levels of potash are good for root crops like potatoes, carrots and beets. Kelp meal, myriad of potash and wood ash are good sources of Potash.

 

Organic vs synthetic – The most noticeable difference is in the NPK ratings.  Synthetics can be concentrated to reach higher levels.  Lawn food can be as high as 46% nitrogen whereas organic lawn food is usually around 9%.

Synthetics directly feed the plant, organics feed the plant as well as the soil microbes.

Some synthetics are coated for a timed release feeding and will provide food earlier in the season when the soil is cool. Organics tend to last longer but usually activate when the soil is above 50 degrees.

 

Over-fertilizing with organics is usually just a waste of fertilizer but over doing it with synthetics can burn the plant and lead to shorter root growth and decreasing plant health.

 

Organic vs Certified Organic – “Organic” means the ingredients come from natural organic materials such as cottonseed meal, bone meal, etc.

“Certified Organic” means there is a paper trail documenting that the ingredients were grown free of GMO’s, synthetic pesticides, and chemicals.

 

What & When

Veggies are broken down to cool and warm season.

Cool season vegetables are those of which we eat the leaves, flowers and roots, (lettuce, broccoli, carrots, spinach).

Warm season includes those that provide us with seeds, pods and actual fruit, (tomatoes, green beans, squash). The one exception is that peas prefer a cooler season.

Contingent on the weather, cool season can be planted March through May with a secondary planting in August.  Warm season usually starts around late April to mid May or whenever the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees.

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Companion Planting Cheat Sheet

Follow this cheat sheet to help your plants thrive with their right companions in your garden bed!

ASPARAGUS

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Companions:

BASIL

PARSLEY

TOMATOES

BEETS

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Companions:                                       Enemies:

BUSH BEANS      LETTUCE               POLE BEANS

ONIONS               CABBAGE

GARLIC

CABBAGE FAMILY

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Companions:                                       Enemies:

SAGE                BEETS                           TOMATOES

ROSEMARY     CELERY                          PEPPERS

POTATOES       GARLIC

ONIONS           SPINACH

CHARD            GERANIUM

LETTUCE

looseleaflettucevarietiesCompanions:                                                 Enemies:

CARROTS                CUCUMBER                     CELERY

RADISHES               BEANS                              PARSLEY

STRAWBERRIES     ONIONS

BEETS                      CABBAGE FAMILY

ONION & GARLIC

Onion-and-garlic-varietiesCompanions:                                                     Enemies:

CARROTS                   TOMATOES                      LEEKS      PEAS

RADISHES                   LETTUCE                         BEANS

STRAWBERRIES        CABBAGE                        PARSLEY 

PEAS

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Companions:                                     Enemies:

LAVENDER         BEANS                    ONIONS

CARROTS          CORN                       GARLIC

TURNIPS            RADISHES

CUCUMBER

*Grows well with most veggies & herbs.

PEPPERS

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Companions:                                            Enemies:

TOMATOES          CARROTS                     BEANS

GERANIUM          ONIONS                         KALE

BASIL                   EGGPLANTS                 CABBAGE FAMILY

POTATOES

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Companions:                                                   Enemies:

BEANS                         EGGPLANTS               PUMPKINS       MELONS

CABBAGE FAMILY      PEAS                           CUCUMBERS    TOMATOES

CORN                                                                SQUASH  

SPINACH

images Companions:                                     

STRAWBERRIES                             

PEAS

CABBAGE FAMILY

Tomatoes

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Companions:                                            Enemies:

BASIL                 CARROTS                        POTATOES

OREGANO         CELERY                           FENNEL

PARSLEY           GERANIUM                      KOHLRABI

CHIVES              ASPARAGUS                   CABBAGE FAMILY

ONIONS            PEPPERS

CUCUMBERS

THYME

images

Companions:

CABBAGE

ROSEMARY

imagesCompanions:

CARROTS

CABBAGE

SAGE

BEANS

No Gardening Space? No Problem!

Many of us aren’t fortunate enough to have spacious yards to enables us to plant various fruits and veggies.  With limited gardening space, it requires us to be more picky & selective on what to plant each season. Especially when we have high hopes of having a bountiful harvest from what we’ve planted.

Luckily, there are plenty of SPACE SAVING options available. Using one of these methods can also help you achieve that end result that every gardener desires… A SUCCESSFUL HARVEST WITH ENDLESS AMOUNTS OF VEGGIES & FRUITS!

During this time of year, it’s the right time to plant your SEED POTATOES & ONIONS SETS OR TRANSPLANTS. Click below to figure out which SPACE SAVING method will fit best with your ‘small’ situation.

You Can Grow POTATOES…

potatobox-300x194        potatoes-grown-in-a-bag_medium            

In a Wooden Box                                   In a Garbage Can 

Marshalls-Seeds_179                               finished-tower-sm

        In a Sack                                              In a Tower

You Can Grow ONIONS…

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Vertically on a Windowsill               In a Burlap Sack

container Onions                   growingleek-211x300

      In a Container                              In a Mason Jar

Master Gardeners TIP: Onions are cool weather veggies that can be easily grown indoors year-round!  

Guide to Growing Garlic

Growing garlic is a gardener’s answer to whose green thumb isn’t at their prime yet. It’s insanely easy to plant, care for and takes up so little space in your garden bed. The end results are beautiful and full of great taste garlic bulbs that you’ll be fully satisfied with!

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Selecting Your Garlic

They’re two type of categories for garlic:

  •  SOFTNECKS: Get their name because the whole green plant dies back and leaves nothing but the bulb with flexible stems that make it easy to braid. This category is easiest to grow in regions where the weather is mild and keep longer than hardnecks. However, they’re less hardy and are likely to produce small, very-strong flavored cloves.

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                Red Toch              

 

  • HARDNECKS: Have a stiff stem in the center that ends in a beautiful flower, or a cluster of little bulbs, which then dries to a rigid stick that makes difficult to braid. This category of garlic thrives best where there is a real winter. When growing in warmer climates, they refuse to produce and are more vulnerable to splitting.

chesnok red.jpg

Chesnok Red

 

Planting Your Garlic

  • Plant your bulbs in mid- fall ( October for most temperate places in the U.S. or at least 3 weeks before the ground freezes) so your garlic can grow their own root system before winter arrives.
  • Make sure that the soil is loose, weed- free and very fertile.
  • Divide the bulbs into cloves but don’t remove all of the papery covering on each clove.
  • Plant the cloves root side down about 8 inches and 2 inches below soil.
  • Space your garlic 6 inches apart -> the further your garlic is spread, the better!
  • TRICK: You can plant your cloves around & between other plants in your garden in use as an alternative to pest control.
  • Green shoots will come up and will need mulch around them.
  • Avoid pouring watering into the crown of your plants!

And that’s all of the hard work that it requires!

Harvesting Your Garlic

  • Depending on the type of garlic that you’re growing will determine when it will be harvested.
  • These varieties are divided by early, mid-season and late. However, it depends not only on your climate zone but on the weather you have during your growing season. Meaning; the warmer the growing season, the faster they’ll grow!
  • When the lower leaves have browned yet the upper leaves are still green… it’s time for the bulbs to be harvested.
  • Make sure to harvest your bulbs on an overcast day when the soil is dry.
  • Gently loosen the soil with a digging fork while making sure to keep it away from the heads and then lift them out of the soil.

larry_purple_garlic.jpg

Growing Dahlias

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Dahlias are perennial flowers that come in various shapes, sizes and colors. These flowers thrive in cool and moist climates which make them perfect for us Pacific Northwesters to grow! However, many struggle with growing these plants into blooming beds of rich color and then turn away from trying to grow them ever again.

Here are TIPS that’ll make you rethink twice about how difficult it is to grow dahlias.

 Preparation for  Planting

  • Soil temperature should be at 60 degrees.
  • Location of planting should receive full sun ( 6 to 8 hours of sunlight)
  • PH level of your soil should be 6.5- 7.0 and slightly acidic. Dahlias grow better in rich, well- drained soil.

 Planting

  • When planting the dahlia tubes, make sure the hole in the soil is slightly larger than the root ball of the tube with some compost or peat moss into the soil.
  • Plant the tubes 9 to 12 inches apart. For small flowering types, space two feet apart and for tall, large flowering types, space three feet apart when planting.
  • Plant tubes that have a little bit of green growth instead of ones that appear to be wrinkled or rotten.
  • Do NOT cut or break individual tubes as you would with potatoes and plant them WHOLE.
  • Plant them with the growing points, or ‘eyes’ pointing up and about 6 to 8 inches deep.
  • Do NOT water right after planting since this encourages rot to happen. Instead, water when you notice sprouts have appeared above the soil.
  • Do NOT cover with mulch or bark which can challenge sprouting to happen.
  • Blooming will start to occur about eight weeks after planting.

 Fertilizing 

  • Do NOT fertilize at planting.
  • Use a fertilizer that is low in nitrogen (5-10-10 or 10-20-20 are recommended).
  • Apply fertilizer when plants begin sprouting and then every three to four week from mid- summer to early Autumn.

Watering

  • Do NOT water the soil until the Dahlia plants appear.
  • Do NOT over water which can cause the tubes to rot.
  • Once plants are established, do a deep watering two to three times a week for at least 30 minutes ( a little longer during warmer climates).

 Pruning

  • To achieve nice stems for cutting: compact plants, pinch out the center shoot above the third set of leaves.
  • To get the most out of your cut flowers, place them in very hot water (160 degrees F) and leave it in there until it cools down.

After Season Care

  • Foliage blackens when the first frost happens.
  • In zone 8, dahlias can be cut back and left in the ground during winter but cover with a deep, dry mulch.
  • In other areas, the tubes should be taken out of the ground. Wait a few days after the foliage blackens to remove from the soil.

 

Still think Dahlia’s are difficult to grow? 

Come to our DAHLIAS SEMINAR on JUNE 7 at 11 A.M. to learn from a MASTER GARDNER on how to be successful with this flower!

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