Sweet Peas Are Starting to Bloom!!

I am so excited!! My Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are blooming. What fragrance!

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These blooms are from the Winter Elegance Mix. This variety does well early and late. Even Miss Kitty likes our Sweet Peas.

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It was well worth the wait. Stay tuned for more adventures with Sweet Peas!

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Papa

Of Cabbage and Calendula

Recently I harvested two varieties of heirloom cabbage.

Red Express cabbage is a compact red cabbage which harvests in 60 – 65 days. The compact nature allow for closer planting which is a plus. Red Express has great resistance to aphids and cabbage worms. The flavor is mildly sweet eaten raw and it is wonderful pickled.

Aubervilliers savoy cabbage produces mature cabbage in 80 days. This beautiful crinkled cabbage has a mild sweet cabbage flavor. The savoy leaves make this variety a good fit for garnishes, stuffed cabbage and coleslaw.

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Red Express cabbage and Aubervilliers cabbage.

 

 

Calendula Kablouna: Heirloom known for mildew resistance.

Originally, Calendula was called Pot Marigold and used as a cool season flowering plant. However, the Indian Prince series is known for flowering  June through October. It can be used as a bedding and potted plant. I enjoy them as cut flowers in smaller arrangements and bouquets.

Direct seeding to flower is 70 days. Grow with your cole crops [Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage and Greens] . They make a beautiful border and look equally beautiful interplanted in the garden.

Orange petaled varieties are used as a saffron substitute, a “poor man’s saffron”. Please remember, do not use chemical sprays (insecticide) on the plants or flowers, as this will render them inedible.

Yes, Calendula is an edible flower.  Salads, soups and garnishes take on more interest and color when they are incorporated. The greens are edible as well but use sparingly as they can be bitter.

Calendula can been used as a beautiful yellow dye. When the blooms are dried the petals can also be added to potpourris.

Calendula has long been known to sooth the skin and can be used in lotions and oils. Calendula tinctures, ointments, and washes are often applied to the skin to help burns, bruises and cuts heal faster.

This versatile flower is deserving of your garden, don’t you think?

Papa

 

 

 

 

 

A Recipe for Healthy Soil for Your Potted Plants

A simple blend for all potted plants including transplants:

  • A bag of soilless potting mix 2 cu. ft.
    • Benefits: Reduces soil diseases,  balances moisture with good drainage, allows for proper exchange of nutrients
    • Milled Sphagnum peat moss: anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties

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  • Perlite : drainage

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  • Rotted pine bark: allows for drainage

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  • 1/2 cu. ft. weed-free compost: Balanced nutrients

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  • Horse manure, composted
  • Cow manure, composted
  • Poultry manure, composted
  • Mushroom compost
  • Mixture of dry grasses and straw composted
  • My “secret weapon” Kelp meal: cold water, dried and ground seaweed,  offering 60 known beneficial nutrients.Plants respond and withstand stress, heat, cold, insect pressure, disease and drought conditions.

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  • Mix thoroughly and wet until the mixture makes a loose ball in your hand.
  • I use a wheel barrow and tarp to mix my soil blend.
  • Store in the bags used to make the soil mix or use a covered container of your choice.

Enjoy this mix for all your potting needs. I do.

Papa

 

What’s Happening?

Introducing our newest family member – Oakley (who doesn’t like her picture taken!) She is quite the lady and has started learning the skills of country life.

 

We like our birds!!!! A small showing of our “regulars”.

 

Hoop house growing! The spinach and cabbage remain delicious!

 

Let’s not forget Miss Kitty, our tomato transplant supervisor. As quick as the transplants were re-potted, she would playfully paw them out of the pot. She is a very curious kitty!!

 

Papa presenting at the Wabash Valley  Master Gardener Spring Conference in Terre Haute, Indiana. The topic , “Starting a Seed Saving Garden”. This wonderful group of dedicated Master Gardeners is very active in their community. Kudos to all your community service projects!!

Wabash Valley Master Gardeners

 

Spring  flowers are cheerful! It is a delight seeing colors once again! Real “eye candy” for the soul.

 

Papa

8 Steps for Successful Tree Planting

Now that you have selected a flowering, shade or fruit tree let it give you years of pleasure by following these steps.

1- Location is essential for flowering, fruit bearing and shade trees.

  • Full sun.
  • Preferably well drained soil.
  • Irrigation source.
  • Right tree for the planting site. Where do you desire shade for cooling properties and where do you want full sun during the fall and winter months?

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2 – Spacing of the tree in relation to buildings and other trees and plantings.

  • Flowering trees: refer to the tag or your local county extension/Master Gardener.
  • Shade trees need a very wide spacing due to shading capacity of the tree and its shape.
  • Fruit trees are planted depending on their characteristic. Does the tree selected require a pollinator tree?  Early, mid-season and late-season fruit bearing trees may each require a season specific pollinator. Your local county extension/Master Gardener will be helpful in your selections.
    • Standard should be planted 25 feet apart.
    • Semi-dwarf should be planted 12 to 15 feet apart.
    • Dwarf should be planted 8 to 10 feet apart.

3 – Make sure the planting site is free of overhead/underground utilities, structures and easements.

4 – Now you are ready to plant.

5 – Dig a hole that is as deep as the root ball and doubled the width of the root ball. Notice the tarp? This is the best way to save the soil you have dug plus it makes for an easier clean-up.

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  • This is the time to add soil amendments such as compost, peat moss, kelp meal, bone meal , sand, etc. These amendments should fill the hole 1/3 to 1/2, mixed with the existing soil. The amounts will vary depending on the size of the root ball.

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  • This establishes a good root system and enhances the transplanting thus reducing stress to the tree.

6 – When placing the root ball in the ground make sure it is 1/2 inch to one [1] inch above the ground level. Planting above the ground level allows for the settling of the root ball.

 

  • Where the trunk of the tree meets the root system is called the root flare. This juncture needs to be 1/2 to one [1] inch above the ground level.

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  • This step is crucial for a successful tree planting and continued growth and development of a healthy tree.

7 – Back fill and make a moat around the perimeter of the  hole with the dirt dug from the tree planting. This moat will act as a reservoir and capture water thus reducing run-off and enhance the growth of the tree roots. This insures the tree receives proper moisture.

 

8 – The use of mulch is up to you.

  • If mulch is used, do not place the mulch against the base of the tree.
  • The base of the tree may respond to this mulch as soil and may stimulate root growth above the tree flare.
  •  See the possible results from “volcano” mulching. Notice the rotted tree flare. Besides it looks dumb!!!!!

It is important to stick to these steps for a tree you will enjoy for years to come.

Papa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circling Roots? Get to the Root of the Problem!

Yes, Spring is in the air and the garden centers and box store outside garden areas are filling with trees, shrubs and annuals. You have decided to plant flowering trees, fruit trees and shade trees on your property this year. Is there something you need to know prior to purchasing?

Absolutely!!

1 – Examine the potted tree and see if there are exposed roots or roots circling the tree trunk.

2 – Pull the root ball out of the pot and inspect the root ball.

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3 – Examine the root ball and see if there are roots growing on top of the soil. This is very easy to see.

4 – Are the roots circling around the edge of the root ball?

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5 -If the trunk of the tree  is loose or wobbly in the pot, it means it was grown from a smaller  container where the roots had earlier in development started the circling pattern.

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6 -If any or all of the above are observed/found, do not purchase the tree.

Why?

The tree will never pull out of this growth habit of circling its roots. The roots should be like the spokes of a wheel growing outwards in every direction.

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Consequences of planting a tree with this rooting growth:

1 – A tree never capable of developing strong lateral, supporting roots.

2 – The tree will have to be permanently staked.

3 – In many instances these roots will surface and girdle other roots and the trunk of the tree thus cutting off its life support.

Be wise and be an active observer as you purchase that  flowering, shade or fruit tree you desire for you property.

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Which tree would you choose?

Papa

 

Need a Garden Planner?

A friend of mine has created an easy to use Garden Planner.

Why would I recommend this helpful tool?

If you are like me, it is good to use a planting schedule to keep on course.

Clyde has created a tool helping you visualize your planting dates for Spring and Fall planting.

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Visit his website Clyde’s Garden Planner

Watch the video on the website as Clyde explains this valuable tool.

This planner is well worth the investment.

Papa

For Fast Cabbage Try Greyhound!!

For a sprint to the finish line try Greyhound (Ersterling) cabbage. Just 63 days for this heirloom variety from transplant and you will have lovely pointed head cabbages.

Eaten raw or cooked, this cabbage has a light sweet taste. Cold or hot weather will not stop this cabbage from performing its’ best. Greyhound did well grown in my hoop house. Plant it spring or fall. This one is a winner!

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Aren’t they pretty!

Papa

Spring Has Sprung!!

Plants are blooming early this year in the Missouri Ozarks. Add to that some crazy temperature swings. This morning (Feb. 29) it was 26° and in the 70°s this afternoon.

Papa planted Sugar Ann snap peas in the hoop house.

Check out these veggies growing in the hoop house!!

The Cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage & collards) were started January 29 and are now ready to plant.

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Gardening is such fun!!

Papa

 

Papa is Published!

What a pleasure! The Heirloom Gardener magazine has published three of my articles. The 2016 Spring edition has highlighted the Etiuda orange bell pepper, Red Express red cabbage and Hilton Chinese cabbage.

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I am currently writing two more articles which may be in the Summer 2016 issue. I look forward to writing more articles for various other venues.

If interested, the magazine may be purchased online, Whole Foods, Home Depot and Barnes and Nobles.

Stay posted!!

Papa