Front of the White Icicle Radish packet.
Front of the Royal Purple Bean packet.

July 2018

Red, White & Blue Veggie Trio

 Common Names: Red Oak Leaf Lettuce, White Icicle Radish, Royal Purple Bean

 

Red Oak Leaf LettuceLeaves of Red Oak-Leaf Lettuce on a white plate.

Type: Annual

Days to Maturity: 45-55

General Description:

The beautiful, deep burgundy colored, oak-shaped leaves of this lettuce are delicious and quick to mature. When planting in late summer for a fall harvest give plants some protection from the hot afternoon sun and keep well watered.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun or light shade for late spring and summer plantings
  • Water: Moist
  • Soil: Rich in organic matter

Seeding:

Directly sow into rich, moist soil at a depth of ¼”. Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days.

Harvesting:

Pick the individual leaves at any time or harvest the entire plant.

 White Icicle RadishA row of White Icicle radishes with cropped tops.

Type: Annual

Days to Maturity: 28-30

General Description:

The white skin and flesh of the icicle radish is crisp and mild. The 5” long tapered, icicle-shaped roots can be grown in the ground or in containers.

Site Requirements:

Light: Full sun to part shade

Water: Consistent moisture

Soil: Loose, well amended

Seeding:

Sow directly into rich soil in the early spring. Continue sowing every two weeks except during hot weather.

Harvesting:

Begin harvesting when the radishes are young and roots are about ½” in diameter. This is when they are at their mildest and it will give more room for their neighbors to grow.

Royal Purple BeanPole beans growing up a trellis.

Type: Annual

Days to Maturity: 50-60

Site Requirements:

Light: Full sun

Water: Moderate

Soil: Loose and fertile

General Description:

These purple beans are a delight to find in the garden. Both the purple flowers and beans are a lovely contrast to the plants green foliage. Purple beans are great in a children’s garden because their beautiful color makes them easy to spot.

Seeding:

Sow seeds in a sunny location when all chance of frost has passed. Optimum soil temperature for germination is 70-90° F. Plant seeds 1” deep and 2” apart in loose, well-amended soil. Continue to sow seeds every two weeks until the end of July for a non- stop supply of beans summer into fall. Keep beans well watered, especially when they are in flower.

Harvesting:

Pick beans when they are tender and plump. Regular picking will ensure the plants keep producing. These beans are excellent for eating fresh, freezing or canning.  The bright purple pods do turn green once cooked.

July 2018

Common Name: Firecracker Penstemon

Scientific Name: Penstemon eatonii

Native Range: Southwest U.S.

Hardiness Zone: 4-8

Type: Perennial

Bloom Time: Mid spring-early summer

General Description:

Firecracker Penstemon is hard to miss when in bloom.  Covered in vivid scarlet flowers on tall spikes in mid-spring this plant is perfect for the native, dry and/or rock garden.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Dry
  • Soil: Lean, well-drained, gravelly

Seeding:

Firecracker penstemon is an excellent choice for rock gardens and gravelly roadsides. The seed germinates best in cool season conditions found in spring or fall. For more detailed seeding information check out our website https://www.bbbseed.com/wildflower-grass-tips/.

Fun Facts:

  • Deer and rabbit resistant
  • Excellent companion plants include Catmint (Nepeta spp) and English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia).
  • Hummingbirds and butterflies love the red tubular flowers.

Firecracker Penstemon with brilliant red tubulalr flowers on tall stalks

June 2018

Common Name: Yellow Crookneck SquashA Yellow squash blossom.

Scientific name: Cucurbita pepo

Native Range: North America

Days to Maturity: 42-60

General Description: A classic summer squash variety with yellow skin and a narrow curved neck. Best picked when 4-6” long and the skin is tender. This plant produces prolific yields.

Companions: Beans, corn and squash (like yellow crookneck) make excellent companions. In Native American gardens, these “three sisters” were always planted together, eaten together and celebrated together. Other good companions include basil, nasturtiums, onions and radish.

 

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture **
  • Soil: Highly fertile, well-drained soil

Seeding: Don’t be in a rush to plant your squash. Squash seeds will not germinate in cold soil! Wait to plant until soil temperatures reach at least 70 degrees or about two weeks after your last frost date. Squash plants are space hogs so make sure to leave them plenty of room to grow. Direct seed ½-1” deep into hills or rows. Sow 4-5 seeds per hill, thinning to 2-3 plants per hill. Space hills 3-4’ apart. In rows, sow seeds 4”apart in rows 4-5’ apart. Thin to one plant every 12-24”. If you want to get a head start, seeds can be started indoors 3-4 weeks before transplanting outside.  Seeds should germinate in less than a week with adequate soil temperatures and moisture.

Harvest Time: Pick the fruits when 4-6” long when they are most tender and taste their best. Keep squash picked regularly to ensure a continual harvest until the end of summer.

Fun Facts:

  • Seeds can be saved for 6 years.
  • Stuffed squash blossoms are a delicious treat.
  • Squash is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Squash, Summer, Organic Yellow Crookneck

June 2018

Common Name: Hubbard Squash A collection of winter squash.

Scientific name: Cucurbita moschata

Native Range: North America

Days to Maturity: 105-115

General Description: These teardrop-shaped squash are on average 12”long and 10”wide with hard, bumpy, deep green skin. The flesh is yellow-orange and very flavorful. Hubbard squash are excellent keepers and can be stored for many months.

Companions: Beans, corn and squash (like Hubbard squash) grow well together.  The corn gives support to the beans while the squash helps shade the ground preventing weed growth. Other vegetable companions for squash include onion, radish, cucumber and carrot.  A good herb companion is borage. Borage planted next to or nearby squash helps to deter cabbage worms and squash beetles.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture **
  • Soil: Highly fertile, well-drained soil

Seeding: Squash seeds germinate best in warm soils, so wait to plant until your soil reaches a temperature of about 70 degrees F.  Unless, you are trying to grow a long- season variety in an area prone to early frosts there isn’t a need to start winter squash seeds indoors. Instead, direct seed in the ground ½-1” deep into hills or rows. Sow 4-5 seeds per hill, thinning to 2-3 plants per hill. Space hills 4’-8’ apart depending on the size of your variety. If you want to get a head start, seeds can be started indoors 3-4 weeks before transplanting outside. Seeds should germinate in less than a week with adequate soil temperatures and moisture. Mulching plants helps to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Harvest Time: Harvest just before fall frost by cutting the squash from the vine. Leave a portion of the stem attached, otherwise, it won’t store well. The skin should be deep green and firm to the touch.

Fun Facts

  • Hubbard squash is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins A &C and beta-carotene.
  • “Squash” comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means “eaten raw or uncooked.”
  • The Hubbard squash was formally introduced to American gardens by James J. H. Gregory (1857) from Marblehead, Massachusetts.
Squash, Winter, Green Hubbard
Front of the Boston Pickling Cucumber seed packet.

May 2018

Common Name: Boston Pickling Cucumber

Scientific Name: Cucumis sativus

Native Range: Probably originated in India before spreading to Africa and SE Asia.

Hardiness Zone: Grown as an annual

Days to Maturity: 50-60 days

General Description: Boston Pickling cucumbers bear small, blocky fruits with firm flesh and tender skin that are ideal for making all types of pickles. This long-standing variety, first available in the 1800’s is also great used as a slicing cucumber when allowed to reach full size. This warm-weather vegetable is an easy, vigorous grower.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Consistent
  • Soil: Well-drained, fertile

Seeding:

Cucumber seeds can be sown directly in the garden once the days and soil are warm ,70 degrees or above.  Plant 6-8 seeds in a cluster about ½-1” deep.  Seeds will germinate in 7-14 days.  For areas with a shorter growing season, seeds can be started indoors 4-6 weeks earlier.

Bloom Time:

Most cucumber plants produce both male and female flowers.

How to care:

Cucumbers require rich, well-drained soil, consistent moisture and proper spacing to help reduce stress on plants and avoidance of common cucumber diseases like scab and mosaic.

Harvest Time:

Pick these cucumbers when they are about 4” long and the texture is firm.  Pick often so the plants will keep producing.

Fun Facts:

  • The cucumber is believed native to India and has been cultivated in western Asia for 3,000 years.
  • Cucumbers are the 4th most cultivated vegetable in the world.

May 2018

Common Name: Golden Detroit Beet

Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris

Native Range: Europe and Asia

Hardiness Zone: Grow as annuals

Days to Maturity: 50-60 days

General Description: Golden Detroit Beets are large, orange, round heirloom beets that are so sweet and turn deep yellow when cooked. Young beet ‘greens’ can be used in salads and cooked when mature. Beets are easy to grow, tolerate low fertility and prefer cool conditions to develop the sweetest flavor.

Beets add minerals to the soil and their leaves are composed of magnesium that is an excellent addition to your compost pile. Plant your beets with lettuce, onions and brassicas (mustard family). Planting garlic and mint with your beets will improve the growth and flavor.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture
  • Soil: Average to low fertility

Seeding:

Beets are a cool season vegetable, germinating best at temperatures between 55-80 degrees F.  Plant seeds in early spring and again every 3 weeks until early June. Plant again in August for a fall crop.  Beets can also be started indoors in February then transplanted into the garden.

Sow seeds ½” deep directly into the garden or in a container in full sun.  Germination takes between 10 to 20 days.  When seedlings are 4-5” tall thin to 1-2” apart to prevent overcrowding.  Cut the seedlings instead of pulling so you do not disturb the developing roots.  Use these tender thinings in salads.

Harvest Time:

Beets are ready to harvest when the exposed root tops are 2” across. Pull up individual plants as needed. Leaving about an inch or two of stem attached to the root will help keep the golden color of the root when boiling.

How to care:

The secret to tender, juicy beets is consistent moisture and fertilization and keeping them well weeded.

Fun Facts:

Since the 16th century, beet juice has been used as a natural red dye. In 19th century England the Victorians used beets to dye their hair.

In 1975, during the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, cosmonauts from the USSR’s Soyuz 19 welcomed the Apollo 18 astronauts by preparing a banquet of borscht (beet soup) in zero gravity.

Packet picture of Golden Detroit Beet seeds

See below for past Plant of the Month articles.

April 2018 - Green Arrow Pea

April 2018

Common Name: Green Arrow PeaPea, Green Arrow

Scientific Name: Pisum sativum

Native Range: Cultivated by Neolithic farmers in the Near East at least 8,000 years ago.

Days to Maturity: 68

General Description: This old-time English garden pea has been a cool weather favorite for generations. The small and tender immature pods are great for eating fresh, unshelled or cooked. The plentiful pods are bursting with 8-11 peas when mature and great for shelling.

Companions: Peas fix nitrogen in the soil which helps them to form a close friendship with corn. You can also plant your peas with bush beans, pole beans, carrots, celery, chicory, cucumber, eggplant, parsley, early potato, radish, spinach, strawberry, sweet pepper, tomatoes and turnips. Keep your peas away from chives, grapes, late potatoes and onions.

 

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture **Avoid heavy watering when flowering. This can interfere with pollination.
  • Soil: Fertile, well-drained soil

Seeding: Sow seeds directly into the soil as soon as soil can be worked in early spring (late March). Replant seeds at 3 week intervals until mid-May. Provide support for the vines when they are 6 inches tall.

Harvest Time: Pick pods while they are small and eat fresh from the garden. Allow pods to fill out fully for shelling. Pick continuously for better production.

Fun Facts:

  • Good source of protein and fiber.
  • Seeds can be saved for 3 years.

April 2018 - Organic Contender Bean

April 2018

Packet picture for Contender Bean

Common Name: Organic Contender Bean

Scientific Name: Phaseolus vulgaris

Days to Maturity: 40-55

General Description: Contender Beans are garden staples and old-time favorites. Great for kids’ gardens and known to be one of the first varieties to begin producing.  Early harvest begins only 40 days after planting.  A heavy producer of 6-8″stringless, meaty pods on sturdy, bush-type plants.  Excellent for freezing and canning or fresh right out of the garden.

Companions: Plant beans with carrots, celery, chards, corn, eggplant, peas, potatoes, brassica (mustard family), beets, radishes, strawberries and cucumbers.  Keep your beans away from alliums.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained soil

Seeding: Sow seeds directly in the garden, beans do not like to be transplanted.  Place seeds in a sunny location 1 inch deep when danger of frost has past. If planting in containers, place 1-2 seeds per container. Keep soil moist until germination (3-7 days) and water regularly.

Harvest Time: Pick regularly when pods are plump and snap when bent.

Fun Facts:

  • Heirloom Beans enrich the soil with nitrogen for heavy nitrogen users like corn and grains.
  • Seeds can be saved for 4 years.

March 2018 - Organic French Breakfast Radish

MARCH 2018

Common Name: Organic French Breakfast Radish

Scientific NameRaphanus sativus, Radiculata

Native Range: Mediterranean Region

Days to Maturity: 20-30

General Description:

The French Breakfast radish is an early heirloom radish that has been grown since the 1880’s. The beautiful rose-scarlet roots are oblong with a blunt white tip, 2″ long, 3/4 ” diameter and a small tender taproot. The crisp white flesh has a distinct mildly pungent flavor. This is a top quality old-fashioned favorite.

Companions:

Radishes like to be planted with beets, bush beans, pole beans, carrots, chervil, cucumbers, lettuce, melon, nasturtium, parsnip, peas, spinach and any members of the squash family.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun in spring and fall. Partial shade in summer.
  • Water: Consistent moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained soil high in organic matter, free from stones

Seeding:

Directly sow seeds into rich soil in full sun as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring. Plant at a depth of ¼ to ½ an inch. Germination should occur in 4-10 days. For summer plantings sow seed in light shade areas. Re-seed every two weeks for continuous harvest.

Harvest Time:

Pull individual roots when young and mild. Start harvesting when the roots are about ½ an inch wide. It is recommended to pull one at a time, to check size. If they appear to be small, pull every other one to give others room to grow.

Fun Facts:

  • Radishes should not be planted with hyssop, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and turnips.

March 2018 - Organic Lacinato Kale

MARCH 2018

Common Name: Organic Lacinato Kale

Scientific NameBrassica oleracea var. acephala

Native Range: Europe

Days to Maturity: 25-50 days

General Description: Lacinato Kale is an ancient Italian heirloom with large, meaty leaves that become even sweeter with the first frosts. Blue-green leaves make a striking addition to an edible landscape. Use the young leaves for salads and the mature leaves sautéed or steamed

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun in spring and fall. Light shade during heat of summer.
  • Water: Plentiful, consistent moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained soil with high organic matter

Seeding:

In the early spring directly sow the seed at a depth of ¼ to ½ an inch. During germination period (4-7 days) water consistently. Provide light shade for the late spring and summer plantings.  Re-seed in late summer for a fall crop.

Harvest Time:

Pick individual outer leaves once they reach 3 inches. Alternatively you can cut the entire plant from the base.

Fun Facts:

  • Seeds can remain viable for up to 5 years.
  • Excellent source of vitamin K
  • Kale was one of the most common green vegetables in Europe until the Middle Ages and was encouraged to be grown in the UK during World War II to supplement diets during food rationing.

February 2018 - Rainbow Swiss Chard

FEBRUARY 2018

Common Name: Organic Rainbow Swiss Chard

Front of the Rainbow Swiss Chard seed packet.

Scientific NameBeta vulgaris subsp. cicla

Native Range: Eastern Mediterranean

Days to Maturity: 55-60

General Description: Rainbow Swiss chard is a great blend of heirloom varieties. Greens tend to be glossy and are thick and tender. The flavor is full and slightly salty with the typical bitter bite of this type of cooking greens, similar to spinach. Vibrant leaf and stem colors make for a great addition to any dish. Chard is an easy-to-grow, attractive plant that also grows well in containers and garden borders. Plant will typically reach a maximum height of 3 feet.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun in early and late season. During the heat of summer, prefers part shade.
  • Water: Consistent moisture, especially as they become established
  • Soil: Loose, fertile soil with high organic matter

Seeding:

In cold climates, start seeds indoors 2-3 weeks before last frost date. Otherwise, sow seeds in the spring as soon as soil can be worked (soil temperature at least 45°F). Plant seeds ½ an inch deep and 2 inches apart. Seeds will germinate within 7- 10 days. Similar to beets, Swiss chard seeds will produce more than one plant, so thinning will be required. Thin to 8-12 inch spacing. For continuous production, re-seed every 2-3 weeks. It is recommended to use a row cover during heat to extend production.

Harvest Time:

For best flavor, pick individual leaves which the reach at 3-6 inches long. Harvest leaves from the outside inward. Older leaves tend to get tough.  Alternatively, you can harvest the entire plant by cutting the stems an inch or two above the soil.

Fun Facts:

  • Seeds remain viable for up to 4 years
  • Tolerates light frost and salt
  • Chard is a good substitute for spinach in most recipes
  • Perfect for an edible landscape or ornamental plantings

February 2018 - Wild Arugula

FEBRUARY 2018

Wild Arugula

Common Name: Organic Wild Arugula

Scientific NameEruca vesicaria 

Native Range: Mediterranean Region

Days to Maturity: 30

General Description: Arugula is an easy-to-grow, aromatic salad green, with slightly more peppery/nutty flavor than the cultivated variety and is rich in nutrients. The deeply lobed leaves provide variety in salads and great flavor to sandwiches. Arugula is a great variety for container gardens and winter microgreens. This fast-growing cool-season green is often ready to harvest in 4 weeks!

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Even moisture (this will help slow bolting)
  • Soil: Rich soil, tolerates low fertility

Seeding:

In the spring, direct seed into soil as soon as it can be worked. Sow seeds 3-4 weeks before last frost date. Seeds can germinate at temperatures as low as 40°F. Plant 1/8 an inch deep and 1 inch apart. Water regularly during germination period (5-7 days). Re-seed every 20 days until mid-summer for continuous production. During the heat of summer, seed areas that have partial shade for best flavor.

Harvest Time:

Pick individual leaves when 3-6 inches long. For best flavor, be sure to harvest before the plant flowers.

Fun Facts:

  • Seeds can remain viable for up to 5 years
  • A popular salad plant in the Roman times

January 2018 - Yellow Window Box Cherry Tomato

January 2018

Common Name: Yellow Window Box Cherry TomatoPicture of Yellow Cherry Window box tomato seed packet.

Scientific Name: Lycopersicon esculentum

Days to Maturity: 75

General Description: Perfect for patio containers, this compact bush tomato reaches a height of only 12 inches. Produces an abundance of flavorful, bright-yellow cherry tomatoes.  Plant this tomato in pots or as a border plant. They are ideal for colorful, attractive hanging baskets and containers.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun. Tomatoes need at least 8 hours of direct sunlight
  • Water: Regular moisture at ground level
  • Soil: Well-drained & HIGH organic matter

Seeding: Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in the spring for the earliest harvest, maintaining a soil temperature of 75°F. Shift hardened seedlings to the garden shortly after the last frost. Fertilize the plants when they are 6″ tall and again in mid-summer.

Companions: Tomatoes grow well with asparagus, basil, beans, carrots, celery, chives, cucumber, garlic, head lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, peas, peppers and marigold. Basil will repel flies and mosquitoes from your tomato plants while also improving the growth and flavor. Beebalm, chives and mint will improve the health and flavor of your tomatoes. Keep potatoes, fennel, dill, cabbage and cauliflower away from your tomato plants.

Harvest Time: Cherry tomatoes are prolific produces all season long. Pick the fruit carefully when they are full-colored and firm but before they begin to soften.

Fun Facts:

  • Tomato seeds will maintain viability for 4-10 years if kept in a dark, cool, dry place.

January 2018 - Yellow Bush Scallop Squash

January 2018

Common Name: Yellow Bush Scallop Summer SquashPicture of a packet of Yellow Bush Scallop Squash seeds.

Scientific Name: Cucurbita pepo

Native Range: North America

Days to Maturity: 75

General Description: This bush scallop is an open-pollinated heirloom patty pan type squash with scalloped edges and a compact growth habit. This is a Native American squash that produces abundant, rich flavor squash throughout the summer. An easy-to-grow patty pan squash ready in 75 days. With compact bush growth this is an excellent variety for small spaces and container plantings.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Plentiful, consistent moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained, fertile soil

Seeding: In some areas with shorter growing seasons, start indoors one month before the last expected frost date, planting two seeds into individual peat pots.  Keep the stronger seedling in each pot and transplant outdoors, after hardening off, one week after the last frost date or when the soil temperature reaches 65°-70° F.  Water regularly at ground level and fertilize when 6 inches tall.  Mulching under plants will keep squash off of the soil.

Harvest Time: The yellow bush scallop will produce abundantly throughout the summer. For best flavor harvest when 2-3 inches in diameter. Use cutting shears to remove fruit from the vine.

Fun Facts:

  • Resistant to powdery mildew
  • Squash seed can remain viable for up to 6 years if stored in a cool dry location.

December 2017 - English Lavender

December 2017

Common Name: English LavenderFront of the tag for the English Lavender packet.

Scientific Name: Lavandula angustifolia

Native Range: Mediterranean Region

Hardiness Zone: 7-9

General Description: English lavender is an evergreen perennial with beautiful purple spikes of flowers and subtle gray-green foliage of linear, downy leaves and sweet fragrance. The leaves first open white, then turn a pale gray-green color. Stalks of tiny purple flowers grow up to 14 inches tall. Trim back in spring to encourage bushier growth; also deadhead after flowering. This is a shrub that can be trimmed in a formal garden or used naturally in a rock garden, do not prune all the way to the base. In Southern climates, lavender grows best in pots where there can be better drainage and air circulation. Fresh flowers may be used in sauces, marinades, and desserts. Handle fragile dried blossoms with care and use them in teas, salts, potpourri, and crafts.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Once established low moisture, drought tolerant
  • Soil: Well-drained alkaline soils

Seeding: Sow seeds in late spring or early summer. Start indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost.  Plant outdoors 18-24″ apart in full sun once soil temperatures have warmed. Germination can be slow, roughly 15 to 45 days. Plants should be thinned to 24-36 inches apart with rows 30 to 36 inches apart.

Bloom Time: Early summer through late summer

Fun Facts:

  • Loved by bees and butterflies
  • All parts of the plant are fragrant including the seeds!
  • Deer resistant

December 2017 - Native Purple Coneflower

November 2017 - California Poppy

November 2017

Common Name: California poppy

Scientific Name: Eschscholzia californica

Native Range: Pacific slope of North America

Hardiness Zone: 6a – 10b

Tender Perennial Species

General Description: An extremely drought tolerant annual that will re-seed easily or a perennial in mild climates.  These beautiful 2-3″ funnel-shaped, golden-orange flowers are found on sandy slopes and grasslands throughout California and Oregon and the southwestern states.  The state flower of California is great for wildflower gardens, roadsides or slopes or in meadow mixes.  Occasionally colors vary from satiny cream to yellow or orange with finely textured, silver-green foliage.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Dry to moist. Tolerates drought conditions.
  • Soil: Well-drained soil with high fertility.

Seeding: The California poppy should be directly seeded into the garden. It does not transplant well. Scatter seeds in early spring and again in mid-summer to have a continual bloom throughout the growing season. For fall planting, wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently freezing (Dec/Jan). Scatter seeds on bare soil, gently tamp seeds down and water once after seeding. Seeds will lie dormant through the winter and germinate in spring

Bloom Time: April to August

Pollinators: The California poppy is most attractive to bumble bees, honey bees, sweat bees and mining bees. Other visitors include butterflies and beetles.

November 2017 - Mixed Shirley Poppy

November 2017

Common Name: Mixed Shirley PoppyMixed Shirley Poppy

Scientific Name: Papaver rhoeas

Native Range: Europe

Hardiness Zone: 4-10

Annual Species

General Description: This delightfully colorful species derived from the European, wild, Flander’s Poppy is easy to grow and will thrive in most areas of the country.  Shirley poppies will brighten any wildflower meadow and can make excellent cut flowers if the cut stem is first singed.  The mixed colors of red, pink, white and salmon flowers have single and double petal forms with compact basil foliage.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Dry to moist. Tolerates drought conditions.
  • Soil: Well-drained soil.

Seeding: The mixed Shirley poppy should be directly seeded into the garden. Scatter seeds in early spring and again every two weeks for color all summer. For fall planting, wait until nighttime temperatures are consistently freezing (Dec/Jan). Scatter seeds on bare soil, gently tamp seeds down and water once after seeding. Seeds will lie dormant through the winter and germinate in the spring

Bloom Time: Late spring – summer

Photo Credit: Sharon & Gary Quinn Monument, CO (7,300 ft)

October 2017 - Low Maintenance Grass Seed Mix

October 2017

Common Name: Low Maintenance Grass Seed MixLabel from the Low Mantenance Grass Seed Mix

Species Included (7): Chewing Fescue, Sheep Fescue, Creeping Red Fescue, Canada Bluegrass, Hard Fescue, Kentucky Bluegrass, Perennial Ryegrass

General Description: This low growing grass mixture is dark green, shade and drought tolerant with low water requirements. Intended for areas that require low maintenance, such as transition areas in backyard lawns, parks, ditch banks, road cuts, or golf course roughs.  Mature height is 6-12″ and the color stays green through late fall.  This can be mowed twice a year, if desired, at 4-6″.  It is an excellent mixture to combine with wildflowers for a meadow effect.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun to shade
  • Water: Consistent moisture until established. Tolerates drought conditions thereafter.
  • Soil: Well-drained

Site Preparation:  Ensure adequate drainage of your site.  Cultivate 4-6 inches of the topsoil. Incorporation of a starter fertilizer will help provide proper nutrients for early growth. Keep seed bed firm, not fluffy.

Seeding:  Using a drop spreader or a broadcast spreader, spread half the seed lengthwise over your site, then the other half crosswise over your site.

Seeding rate: 2-3 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.

Over-seeding: To mend an established lawn, mow very closely and rake deeply.  Spread 1/2″ to 3/4″ of sand or topsoil over the area. Over seed up to 5 lbs per 1,000 sq. ft.  Spring or fall are excellent times for over seeding.

September 2017 - White Dutch Clover

September 2017

Common Name: White Dutch Clover

Scientific Name: Trifolium repens

Native Range: Europe

Hardiness Zone: 3-9

General Description: White Dutch Clover is a cool-season perennial legume that is used, as a ground cover, cover crop, erosion control, and in pasture mixtures. Many homeowners use white dutch clover in their lawn seed mix as it is quick to sprout and provides soil stabilization and nutrients for the lawn grasses. It has a creeping growth habit and spreads with rhizomes or “runners” and usually matures between 6 – 8 inches tall. Grows best in moist, well-drained, fertile soils, however will tolerate clay soils.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Water: Average, consistent moisture
  • Soil: Fertile, well drained soil

Seeding: Seed at a rate of 1/4 – 1/2 lb per 1,000 sq ft. or 8-10 lbs per acre. Seed during the cool seasons of your area; spring or late summer.

Bloom Time: Spring- Early Summer. White flowers.

Benefits of planting clover:

  • Widely adapted to various soil conditions. Light flooding, periods of drought and clay soils
  • Once established, tolerates heavy foot traffic.
  • Builds soil health. Fixes nitrogen into the soil. Nitrogen plays critical roles in plants (i.e. photosynthesis and protein production)
  • Prized by the bees! Bees seek both nectar and pollen from clovers.

For more information visit Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education

September 2017 - Green Manure Cover Crop Mix

September 2017

Common Name: Green Manure Cover Crop Mixture

Contains: Austrian Winter Peas, Winter Hairy Vetch, Common Vetch, Oats and Winter Rye

General Description: This mix is a late season, winter cover crop and will provide vigorous late-season growth to loosen the soil and improve drainage. It provides winter erosion control, adds vital nitrogen, nutrients and organic matter to enrich and build the soil and control weeds. The vetches are excellent pollinator plants, attracting honeybees and beneficial predatory wasps. The winter rye and oats will grow over the winter even when the temperatures are barely above freezing and form a thick tangle of roots and tough stalks that add fibrous organic matter to the soil. The vetches and Austrian Peas are winter hardy and prolific nitrogen producers, so you’ll need less fertilizer come spring. This ‘green manure’ can be mowed or incorporated after flowering, before seed production if you don’t want volunteers sprouting up next season.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Average moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained soils of various quality

Seeding: Plant in orchards, vineyards, or in rotation with vegetable and field crops from mid-September to October to get established before freezing temperatures arrive.  Sow the Green Manure Cover Crop Mixture at a rate of about 1 pound per 500 sq feet, about 50 days before the first killing frost.

 

Why is Green Manure Beneficial?

  1. Enhances soil fertility and soil structure by adding nitrogen and forming soil particles into aggregates
  2. Erosion protection from winter winds. Cover crop roots hold soil in place during snowmelt periods and heavy storms.
  3. Weed suppression. Annual rye has allopathic properties that prevent weed seeds from germinating around the root zone.
  4. Insect reduction. Cover crops attract beneficial insects that will help control garden pests including aphids.

For more information visit Colorado State University Extension.Generic graphic for Green Manure Mix.

August 2017 - Red Russian Kale

August 2017

Common Name: Red Russian Kale – Organic

Scientific Name: Brassica oleracea var. acephala

Native Range: Europe & Mediterranean region

Days to Maturity: 25-50

General Description: Red Russian kale is a tender and colorful leafy green. This plant can reach a height of 1-3 feet. With blue green leaves with reddish purple veins, red Russian kale is a perfect addition to salads or sautéed in stir fries. When the cold weather arrives, kale will tolerate frost, color will deepen and flavor will be improved. This is an excellent variety to plant for fall harvests. Nutritious, fast-growing and cold hardy.

Site Requirements:Organic Red Russian Kale seed packet

  • Light: Partial to full sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained, fertile soil

Seeding:

For summer harvest, direct sow seeds in early spring. As summer approaches, provide light shade to protect against the strong summer sun. For fall harvest, direct sow seeds in mid-late summer. Plant seeds ¼ to ½ an inch deep. After two weeks thin seedling to 12-14 inches apart.

Harvesting:

To harvest kale leaves start from the outside of the plant and pitch off from the base. Leaves should be at least 6-8 inches.

Fun Facts:

  • Kale arrived in the US during the 17th century
  • Seeds can be saved for up to 4 years
  • Love kale? Check out Eat More Kale for fun kale apparel, stickers and recipes

August 2017 - Bloomsdale Spinach

August 2017

Common Name: Bloomsdale Spinach – Organic

Scientific Name: Spinacia oleracea

Native Range: First cultivated in Afghanistan or Tajikistan

Days to Maturity: 45-55

General Description: Very few leafy greens top heirloom spinach for easy-to-grow productivity and nutrition. This fast-growing variety produces thick, oversized leaves with a superb flavor. Plants resist tip burn and downy mildew. This variety thrives in cool weather and is a great variety for container growing. During the summer consider providing additionally shade cover. This will prevent bolting during long, hot summer days.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Partial to full sun
  • Water: Frequent, consistent moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained, fertile soil. Avoid acidic soils

Seeding:

Direct sow seeds in the spring once the soil is warm enough to be worked. Plant seeds ½ an inch deep and 1 inch apart. For continued harvest throughout the season, re-seed every two weeks. For fall harvests, sow seeds in late summer.

Harvest Time:

Carefully cut outer leaves when they are between 4-6 inches long. Be sure to leave the center stem so the plant can continue to grow.

Fun Facts:Picture of a packet of Organic Bloomsdale Spinach seeds.

  • Peas and beans will provide your spinach with natural shade when planted together.
  • Spinach gets along well with cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, onions and strawberries.
  • Seeds can be saved for up to 2 years

July 2017 - Evening Primrose

July 2017

Common Name: Dwarf Evening PrimroseTag for Dwarf Evening Primrose packet

Scientific Name: Oenothera missouriensis

Native Range: Southern / Central United States

Hardiness Zone: 4 to 10

General Description: Commonly known as Missouri evening primrose will produce large, showy yellow flowers. As the name suggests, blooms will open in late afternoon and last until the following morning. This is a long-lived perennial that makes a great ground cover around shrubs or in rock gardens. The plant typically grows 6-12 inches tall.

Site Requirements:

    • Light: Partial sun to full sun
    • Water: Low moisture
    • Soil: Wide range of soil conditions: clay, dry or rocky soils

Seeding: Start seeds indoors 8 weeks before last frost date for early summer blooms. For direct sowing in the garden plant seeds in the fall or early spring. Spread seeds on the top of soil and press into the soil for good seed to soil contact. If planted in spring, keep seeds moist during the germination period.

Bloom Time: May through August

Fun Facts:

  • Fragrant, showy flowers are loved by moths
  • Drought tolerant
  • Seed pods are beautiful! Color is spotted red/pink

July 2017 - Jack O’Lantern Pumpkin

July 2017

Common Name: Jack O ‘Lantern PumpkinJack O'Lantern Pumpkin

Scientific Name: Cucurbita maxima

Native Range: Central America

Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Days to Maturity: 100-110

General Description: The Jack O’ Lantern variety is a perfect pumpkin for carving and cooking. Each fruit averages 20 pounds. The skin is deep rich orange making them perfect for Halloween festivities. The shape is a slightly flattened sphere which helps the fruit stay upright. The flesh is richly flavored, ideal for pies and breads. Seeds can be roasted for a nutritious snack.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture
  • Soil: Fertile, well-drained soil

Seeding: Directly sow seeds into hills after last chance of frost. Seeds should be planted 1 inch deep. Plant 4-6 seeds per hill then thin to 2 plants per hill. Seeds will begin to germinate after 10-14 days. When fruits begin to appear, lay straw, hay or mulch around the base of the plant and under fruit. This will reduce the chance of disease.

Harvest Time:

In late September / early October pumpkins will become ready for harvest. Fruit should be firm. For harvesting, cut pumpkin from the vine leaving 3 inches of stem attached.

Fun Facts:

  • Pumpkins are an easily propagated by seed.
  • Pumpkins are very sensitive to frost and thrive in warm soil conditions.
  • Powdery mildew is a common disease. Avoid watering the foliage and water directly at the base of the plant. Give plants plenty of space to allow air circulation.

June 2017 - Red Kuri Squash

June 2017

Common Name: Red Kuri Winter Squash

Scientific Name: Cucurbita maxima

Native Range: Japan

Days to Maturity: 90-95

General Description: Red Kuri is a Japanese winter squash that produces teardrop-shaped fruits roughly 12” long and 10” wide. With rich, buttery flesh and chestnut-like flavor this variety can make a great addition to pies or many baked goods. When grown organically, the stunning bright orange rind can be eaten. Each plant will produce 2-3 fruits weighing between 3-5 pounds.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Average moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained fertile soil

Seeding: Direct seed when the soil reaches 70°F. Sow in groups or hills of 3-5 seeds. Plant seeds 2-2.5 cm deep. Seeds will begin to germinate in 5-10 days. Thin to the 2 strongest plants per hill. As fruits start to develop, place mulch or straw under the squash to keep them off the soil.

Harvest Time: Fruits will begin to mature in late summer into early fall. When fruit is full size, the rind should be hard and have a rich orange color. Harvest by cutting 2 inches above the squash, stem should be attached. The long stem will prevent fruit from rotting quickly.

Fun Facts:

  • Drought tolerant
  • Reliable yields in cold climates with short growing season
  • Red Kuri Sqaush can be stored in a dry, cool space for 3-6 months

June 2017 - Lemon Queen Sunflower

June 2017

Common Name: Lemon Queen Sunflower

Scientific Name: Helianthus annuus

Native Range: United States

Hardiness Zone: 3-10

Type: Annual

Bloom Time: July/August, 6-8 weeks of blooms

General Description:

The Lemon Queen Sunflower can reach a height of 5-7 feet. Petals are pale lemon-yellow with dark brown centers. Butterflies and bees adore sunflower nectar! Plant along borders or in mass plantings to attract pollinators. To increase blooms, keep up with deadheaded spent flowers. Towards the end of the season, allow the last batch of blooms to go to seed. This will be a great food source for backyard birds.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Regular moisture
  • Soil: Wide range of soil conditions

Seeding:

Direct sow seeds in the garden when soil has warmed to 70°F. Plant seeds ½-1” deep and 6” apart. Seeds will begin to germinate in 7-10 days. When planting sunflower seeds a common problem is predation by birds. To reduce predation, cover seeds with straw, hay or fine netting.

Fun Facts:Lemon Queen Sunflower

  • Sunflowers were named for their habitat of facing the sun throughout the day
  • A perfect cut flower
  • Native Americans cultivated sunflowers over 1,000 years ago
  • Thrives in well-drained dry soils

June 2017 - Mexican Sunflower

June 2017

Common Name: Mexican Sunflower

Scientific Name: Tithonia rotundafolia

Native Range: Mexico & Central America

Hardiness Zone: 2-11

Type: Annual

Bloom Time: July to Sept.

General Description: The Mexican Sunflower is a tall, heat-loving beauty that is a must for any butterfly garden. This variety is easy to start from seed and brings vibrant orange blooms starting in July.  Mature plants will reach a height of 4-6 feet, spreading 2-3 feet.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full Sun / partial shade
  • Water: Dry to medium moisture
  • Soil: Well-drainedTag for Mexican Sunflower packet

Seeding:

For early blooms, start seeds indoors 4-8 weeks before last frost date. Transplant in the garden after last chance of frost, planting 2 feet apart. For direct sow, seed in mid-spring. Regularly deadhead spent flowers throughout the season to prolong bloom time.

Fun Facts:

  • A monarch butterfly favorite! You can often see swarms around Mexican Sunflowers during migration period
  • Attracts: butterflies, bees and hummingbirds
  • Low maintenance care

May 2017 - Lemon Basil

May 2017

Common Name: Lemon Basil

Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum

Native Range: India

Days to Maturity: 80-90 days

General Description:

Lemon basil is a heat-loving heirloom herb. Intense, citrus flavor makes a great addition to many cuisines. A great variety for container planting. Lemon basil will reach a height of 12-24 inches. Basil is very susceptible to frost and cold-weather injury. Consider drying leaves or making pesto!

Site Requirements:HERB, Organic Basil, Lemon

  • Light: Full sun / part shade
  • Water: Average moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained, fertile soil

Seeding:

Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Sow seeds and lightly cover with a thin layer of sand. Be careful, seeds are small so they do not need to be buried.

Seeds can also be sown directly in the garden once the soil is warm enough (60-70°F).

In mid-May, transplant into the garden once danger of frost has passed. Space plants 10 inches apart. Be sure to give them plenty of room for good air circulation.

Bloom Time: Mid-Summer. Lemon basil will produce white flowers.

Harvest Time:

Leaves can be harvested once the plant has produced at least six sets of leaves around the stem. Harvest by pinching off leaves. It is recommended to harvest no more than 20% of leaves. Harvest regularly to encourage growth and flavor.

Fun Facts:

  • When mass planted, basil is very attractive to many pollinators. If allowed to bloom, bumble bees, sweat bees, honey bees, syrphid flies and tiny beneficial wasps will be frequent visitors.
  • The picture below shows a metallic green sweat bee foraging on lemon basil flowers.Green bee on stalk of mint

May 2017 - Borage

May 2017

Common Name: Borage

Scientific Name: Borago officinalis

Native Range: Mediterranean region

Hardiness Zone: 2 to 11

General Description: Borage is easy to grow annual that readily self-seeds. Blue, star-shaped flowers make for a showy display in the garden. Stems and leaves are covered with bristly hairs. Both flowers and leaves are edible, with a mild cucumber taste. The mature plant will reach a height of 1-3 feet. This bushy plant will tolerate drought conditions and tends to be avoided by deer. Plant borage around your tomato plants to repel pests such as hornworms.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun / part shade
  • Water: Dry to light moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained, tolerant poor soils

Seeding:

In the spring, sow seeds outdoors a week – two weeks before last frost date. Plant seeds ¼ – ½ an inch deep and 24 inches apart. Be sure to cover seeds well as they need darkness to germinate.

It is not recommended to start indoors and transplant. Borage does not like to be moved.

Bloom Time: June- August

Fun Facts:Photo of Borage wildflower packet.

  • Attracts LOTS of honey bees and bumble bees
  • Borage honey is a light amber to white color with a distinctly sweet taste
  • As flowers age, blue color turns pinkish white

April 2017 - Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato

April 2017

Common Name: Aunt Ruby’s German Green Tomato ORGANIC

Scientific name: Lycopersicon esculentum (Solanaceae Family)

Native Range: North America

Days to Maturity: 85 days

General Description: This is an heirloom beefsteak variety with an indeterminate habit.  The fruit ripens to a pale green with a hint of yellow and a pink blush that runs to the interior.  These 5″ diameter tomatoes have a juicy, slightly spicy, fruity flavor. One of the largest green beefsteak varieties. Be sure to rotate planting location every three years. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and need LOTS of nutrients to produce fruit.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full Sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture
  • Soil: Fertile, rich soil, high in nutrients

Seeding: Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date for your area. Begin by sowing seeds in one container. Cover seeds with soil; they will germinate better in the dark. When seedlings reach 2 inches, transplant into individual pots. When transplanting, set the seedling deep into the soil. Depth will encourage more root formation. Once you are ready to plant in the garden, harden off your seedlings by setting them outside after last chance of frost.

Once established in the garden, they will need staking or additional support due to the weight of fruit. Water regularly at ground level and fertilize once plants are 6 inches tall. Fertilize a second time in mid-summer.

Harvest Time: Pick fruit carefully when they have turned pale yellow-green. Tomatoes should be firm when picked. They will soften after harvest.

Fun Facts:Tomato, Organic Aunt Ruby's German Green

  • Open-pollinated
  • Indeterminate varieties will continue to grow, produce flowers and fruit all season until killed by frost.

April 2017 - Sweet Chocolate Pepper

April 2017

Common Name: Sweet Chocolate Pepper ORGANIC

Scientific Name: Capsicum annuum (Solanaceae Family)

Native Range: Tropical America

Days to Maturity: 58-86 days

General Description: These sweet, medium-sized, tomato-shaped peppers are great for northern gardens.  Chocolate-red, three or four-lobed fruits are early to mature.  Fruits ripen from green to deep chocolate with dark red interiors. Great for all purposes!

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full Sun
  • Water: Consistent moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained, fertile soil

Seeding: Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date of your area.  Sow seeds in one pot and cover lightly with soil. For better germination provide bottom heat using a heat mat. Peppers will germinate better at 80°-85° F. Transplant seedlings into individual pots and harden them off a week or two before the last frost. Space plants 12-15 inches apart in the garden. Water regularly and fertilize when plants reach 6 inches tall.

Harvest Time: Carefully remove peppers from the plant when they reach full size (3-4 inches). Fruit should be ready by early-mid season. Sweet Chocolate Peppers are good to eat at any time but become sweeter when they remain on the plant until they are dark brown.

Fun Facts:Pepper, Organic Sweet Chocolate

  • Rare seeds!
  • Abundant phosphorus and calcium is needed for the best harvest.

March 2017 - Sugar Ann Snap Pea

March 2017

Common Name: Sugar Ann Snap Pea

Scientific Name: Pisum sativum var. sativum


Native Range
: Central Asia and Middle East

Hardiness Zone: 3-11

Days to Maturity: 52-75

General Description: A cool season crop, great for small gardens! Extra sweet pods arrive about 14 days earlier than other Sugar Snap varieties. Bushy vines will reach 24-30” tall and do not need support. Edible pods are medium green 2.5-3” with about 7 peas. Enjoy fresh from the garden or steam and add to a stir fry.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun – part shade
  • Water: Moderate moisturePea, Sugar Ann
  • Soil: Loamy, well-drained

Seeding: Directly sow into garden soil as soon as soil can be worked (late March- early April).  Peas will have better germination in warmer soils (60°F or warmer).  Sow seeds again in early-mid May for increased harvest. Seeds should be planted ½-1 inch deep and 2-4 inches apart. Keep soil moist during germination period.

Harvest Time: Pick pods when they reach 2.5-3”. To encourage production, do not allow excess pods to remain on vine.

Fun Facts:

  • Flowers are white and violet, arriving as early as late spring.
  • Powdery Mildew is a common disease. To prevent, avoid wetting foliage and water at the base of the plant. Space plants evenly to allow for air circulation.

March 2017 - Blue Flax

March 2017

Common Name: Blue Flax

Scientific Name: Linum lewisii

Native Range: Europe and Asia

Hardiness Zone: 3-9

General Description: Five petal flowers ranging from vibrant blue to light blue on tall branching stalks. Foliage tends to be light to medium green. Blue flax will reach a height of 1-2 feet with a spread of 1 foot. This perennial is non-aggressive and will self-seed during the fall. USDA noted blue flax for their value in erosion control. Consider mass planting for an eye catching display.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun
  • Water: Light moisture (will tolerant dry soils once established)
  • Soil: Well-drained

Seeding: Sow seeds directly in the garden in early spring or late fall. For spring planting, sow one month prior to last frost date. Soil should be lightly tilled or raked to promote good seed-to-soil contact. Broadcast seeds and gently cover with soil. Keep the area moist for germination period. For late fall planting, sow seeds in soil after November 1st. The seed will lie dormant through the winter and germinate in spring as the days become warm.

Bloom Time: Early summer – midsummer, 6 week bloom period. To encourage blooms trim back spent flowers.

Fun Facts:

  • US Native Plant
  • Deer resistant
  • Drought tolerant

February 2017 - Scarlet Nantes Carrot

February 2017

Common Name: Scarlet Nantes CarrotScarlet Nantes Carrot

Scientific Name: Dacus carota var. sativus

Native Range: Mediterranean Region

Hardiness Zone: 4 to 10

Days to Maturity: 65-75

General Description: Scarlet Nantes Carrot is a standard market carrot that has a long, cylindrical shape and a rich reddish-orange color. Flavor is sweet and delicious. Roots are fine-grained, containing almost no core. High moisture content makes this variety perfect for juicing. Carrots can reach up to 7 inches long. To prevent diseases, rotate planting location every season.

Site Requirements:Scarlet Nantes Carrot

  • Light: Full sun. Will tolerate very light shade.
  • Water: Moderate moisture. Crusted soil can suppress germinated sprouts.
  • Soil: Well-drained soil with organic matter. Area needs to be free of stones.

Seeding:

This cool-weather crop is easily overplanted due to its fine seeds. Sow seeds directly into loose soil in early spring 2-3 weeks before last frost date. Carrots are slow to germinate, emerging in 2-4 weeks. Cover seeds with ¼ inch of soil—no more than ½ an inch. Lightly water seeds everyday for best germination. Once sprouts emerge thinning is critical to reduce competition. Thin seedlings to 1/2 – 1 inch spacing. Best time for thinning is when soil is damp. Plant seeds every 2-3 weeks throughout midsummer for continuous harvest.

Harvest Time:

Start harvesting as soon as carrots have reached desired size (up to 7 inches). Try pulling up one at a time to check size. Watering the area before harvest can make pulling by hand easier. Harvest by mid-September to avoid pest damage.

Fun Facts:

  • Carrots are a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
  • Carrot greens can be used in soup stock, pesto, curries or tea.
  • Common pest: carrot rust fly
  • British gardeners plant sage around the area to repel the carrot fly

February 2017 - Detroit Dark Red Beet

February 2017

Common Name: Detroit Dark Red BeetDetroit Dark Red Beet

Scientific Name: Beta vulgaris var. crassa

Native Range: Europe & Asia

Hardiness Zone: 2-7. For zones 8-11 grow as a fall crop

Days to Maturity: 55-65

General Description: The Detroit Dark Red Beet is the most popular all-purpose red beet. It is globe-shaped, tender with blood red flesh that is sweet and delicious. Beets are easy to grow and tolerate a wide range of climates. Beets prefer cool weather; in zones 8-11 where summers can be hot, grow them as a fall, winter or early spring crop.

Site Requirements:Picture of the packet of Detroit Dark Red Beet seeds

  • Light: Full sun to part shade
  • Water: Consistent moisture
  • Soil: Well-drained, sandy loam soil high in organic matter. Avoid acidic soil areas.

Seeding:

Sow seeds directly into soil in early spring as soon as soil can be worked. Beets tend to have spotty germination. Pre-soaking seeds for 1-2 hours will soften seed coat and speed germination. Plant seeds ½ inch deep and 1 inch apart. Seeds need close contact with the soil; it is best practice to press down on soil after planting. Sprouts will emerge in 10-20 days. Thin seedlings when they reach 4-5 inch to 3 inches apart.

Harvest Time:

Pull up plants when exposed root tops are 2 inches across.

Fun Facts:

  • Reddish green leaves make a great addition to summer salads
  • Planting garlic and mint with your beets will improve the growth and flavor
  • Beets are very sensitive to toxic substances in the soil and may not germinate if planted near walnut trees or soils containing herbicides

January 2017 - American Flag Leek

January 2017

Common Name: American Flag LeekAmerican Flag Leeks

Scientific Name: Allium ampeloprasum

Native Range: Egypt

Hardiness Zone: 2 to 5

Days to maturity: 120-155

General Description: Leeks require a long season but are otherwise very easy to grow and the mild onion flavor makes a great addition to many soups, stews, sautés or salads. Start the tiny seeds indoors in early spring, setting out any time after hard frosts are gone—seedlings can tolerate a few degrees of frost.  As the plants start to become larger, earth up soil or mulch, covering the stems, which then blanch or turn white and improves their flavor.  American Flag Leek has blue-green leaves with thick white stalks and will make an attractive and tasty addition to your vegetable garden.

Site Requirements:Leek, Organic American Flag

  • Light: Full sun to partial shade
  • Water: Medium moisture and tolerates some periods of drought
  • Soil: Well-drained soil high in organic matter.

Seeding:

Start the tiny seeds indoors during February or 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Seeds should be planted in soil 1/4 to 1/2 inch in depth. Seedlings will begin sprouting between 5-7 days. For direct seeding, sow seeds in mid-late April. For transplanting, space seedlings 3-4 inches apart in the garden.

Harvest Time:

When tops are 8-12 inches and white stalks are 1 inch in diameter.

Fun Facts:

  • Leeks are a great source of fiber, folic acid, vitamins B6 and C, manganese and iron.
  • Leeks are cold tolerant so they can be left in the garden for fall harvest but should be lifted and stored before the bitter cold arrives.

January 2017 - Walla Walla Sweet Onion

January 2017Walla Walla Onion

Common Name: Walla Walla Sweet Onion

Scientific Name: Allium cepa

Native Range: Corsica

Hardiness Zone: 2 to 5

Days to Maturity: 90-100

General Description: Walla Walla Sweet Onions are an heirloom from the early 1900’s.  They are large and (you guessed it) sweeter than typical onions.  They have a slightly flattened, round shape with light brown skin and creamy white flesh. Plants will reach a height of 10-12 inches with fruits sizes between 4-6 inches.

Site Requirements:

  • Light: Full sun to partial sun.
  • Water: Moderate moisture until tops fall over.
  • Soil: Fertile well-drained soil. For sweeter onions, avoid fertilizing with gypsum.

Seeding:Picture of the Walla Walla Sweet Onion package.

Begin planting onion seeds indoors between January and February. Use fresh seeds because onions will lose their viability after 2 years. Set out starts a month or six weeks before your frost-free date. For direct seeding, sow seeds at a depth of 1/8 to 1/4 inch during mid-late March to April. Seedlings will start to sprout within 10-14 days. Thin to 4 inches apart when seedlings have 5-10 leaves.

Harvest Time: Can be harvested for fresh eating at any size. As summer progresses, days become warmer and longer which encourages bulbing (formation of underground tissue). By late August the tops of plants will begin to fall to the ground and watering is no longer needed. Once most of the tops are on the ground, bulbs will be ready for harvest in a week or two. Harvest by pulling the neck and lift the onions out of the ground. Leave onions on top of soil for 3-5 days to let cure for better storage properties.

Fun Facts:

  • The Washington State Vegetable is the Walla Walla Sweet Onion.
  • Onions are an excellent source of vitamin C, B6, Folate, and manganese.
  • Slice into planks, grill until caramelized and enjoy your summer bounty!