Saving Herbs for Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year when the frosts are getting colder and colder.  It’s time to cover your herbs like parsley and sage.  Covering these up for a little bit longer will ensure that you have fresh herbs for your turkey dinner and stuffing/dressing.  To help them stay a little longer there are many things that can be used.

  1. Old bed sheets
  2. Row covers protecting to 25°
  3. Old windows protecting to about 15° with all sides sealed
  4. No weed straw 8-12 inches deep

I am sure there are a ton more, but these are the ones I have used with success here in the cold Midwest.  The row covers can gently be laid right over most things growing in the garden.  The more delicate the herb or vegetable, the heavy or more enclosed the cover. This is a very easy way to install the row cover system so starting your garden next spring, is a breeze!

Row Covers for garden

 

Potatoes and Beans: A Love Story

Some people may know about this love story, others may not.  We all want that perfect relationship and they have it!  It has been going on hundreds of years.  It’s about the potato and bean.  It is also called companion planting which has been around even longer.  Companion planting is when two plants (herbs, veggies and even flowers) like each other and help each other to be better.  I have been planting this way for about 5 years now and find I have a more maintenance free veggie garden because of companion planting.  I am starting a bed renewal in the front of my house and I am going to try to implement this there too, but that will be another day.

So, it has been proven for 100’s of years that this system works.  Farmers tend to use it and well, if they use it, it’s probably reliable.  I like a more natural gardening style.  I try really hard not to put pesticide on my veggie garden because I need the bees to pollinate my stuff.  If you use pesticide, you will likely kill things you NEED in your garden.  I also like to use birds to eat the bugs, which is why I encourage them by putting out my PB PineCone Bird Feeders.  And you thought that was a random post?  No way.  Whether we like animals or not, we are part of a big ecosystem which relies on all of these things to work together.  Anyway…back to potatoes and beans.

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Planting Potatoes

  1. Dig a 12 in deep row keeping it 3 foot apart from other potato rows.  Stand on a board so you don’t compact the soil, if needed.  Cut your seed potatoes into 1/4’s and place them 12 in apart in the rows.
  2. Once the potatoes break the soil surface, plant your beans on one side of your row where the soil is not piled up.  (On your board side).   *Push the beans into the soil 1/2  inch at most and about 4 in apart.  You can add more or less depending on your food need and area.
  3. When the potatoes grow about 4 more inches, it is time to push the soil heap over your potatoes plants.  This will now leave you more space to have a second sowing of beans.  Repeat #2.
  4. When your first crop of beans finishes, you will have a small amount of time before your next crop happens.  This is an excellent opener to my Dilly Bean Post which will come later.  After your second crop of beans finishes, your potatoes should be ready.  The bean plants will be withered, dying or dead by then.

I will be starting on mine this weekend because I am running late!  I must say that I use Rodale Books a lot for help with planting my garden in a safe and happy way.  Thank you to Sally Jean Cunningham who wrote Great Garden Companions which got me started on this companion planting craze.

If you have any questions, I am here.  Have fun out there!

What Veggies to Plant in April

VEGETABLES Photo

What Veggies to Plant in April

My kids have been getting pretty stir crazy with our yo-yo weather so I was trying to think what we could do to get rid of their excess energy.  I came up with vegetable gardening.  It always makes me feel like I have accomplished something and helps me sleep well!  I know, most kids aren’t so keen on planting, but when we go to the store to pick up our veggies, I let them each pick out a veggie to plant.  It makes them feel a little more in control of what they grow and eat.  I can usually get them to do some follow-up care too! lol

Our weather is still pretty cool but I opened my garden journal to view what we could plant and realized I am behind schedule.  Whoops.   I thought I would share the list in case someone else decided that this week was a good time to get the kids out in the yard working, and falling asleep earlier!

We live in the midwest so it’s mild days with cold nights still.  You can start planting cool season plants in your garden anywhere using row covers if necessary.  I started a list so you can tweek it to your situation and area.  This is for outside sowing.

SEEDS

  • Beets
  • Fava beans
  • Brussel sprouts late varieties
  • Autumn cabbages
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chard
  • Early kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Arugula
  • Spinach
  • Chives
  • Dill
  • Lemon balm
  • Onion (if not too wet)
  • Asters
  • Calendula
  • Cosmos
  • Nigella
  • Sunflowers
  • Sweet William

PLANTS

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Summer Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Onions, from seed
  • Oriental variety salad greens
  • Second early potatoes – early in the month
  • Maincrop – later in the month
  • Marjoram
  • Thyme
  • Asters
  • Sweet Peas