The Joy of Fall!

The Fall season is my favorite time of year! Leaves changing color, final summer harvest and cool, delightful weather. The Fall mums are in bloom. Time to enjoy!

I almost forgot, beautiful sunsets!!!!

There’s more to come.

Papa

Advertisements

Tomato Cuttings Made Easy!

You desire to grow some late tomatoes, but you didn’t start more seed. What do you do?

Take an old shallow container, drill holes in the bottom and root tomato cuttings in vermiculite and water. It’s actually pretty simple. Tomato plants are actually very tough.

Find a container that will hold coarse vermiculite and water ( a plastic dishpan works great!!). Drill several 3/8 inch holes in the bottom of the container. By the way, you may use a large shallow nursery pot as well. Now place about 3 to 4 inches of coarse vermiculite in the container. Water the vermiculite to supply moisture to the cuttings. Allow excess water to drain prior to taking cuttings.P1040429

Carefully take cuttings from desired tomato plants using garden pruners. I have found, the larger the cutting, the easier to root! Place the cuttings in the moistened vermiculite about 3 inches apart. I place my rooting container in the shade to maintain proper hydration of the new cuttings. Usually it takes 10 to 14 days for proper rooting.

You may notice raised bumps or even small roots starting on the stem. These cuttings are the easiest to root.

Look at the results after just 10 days.

Now it is time to pot up your rooted cuttings in large containers to use for transplant in 10 days.

Water the newly potted cuttings and place in a lightly shaded area. Gradually move the pots into more sun light. Plant the potted plants as you would any transplant.

This an easy, effective way to start large, quick growing tomato plants.

Enjoy!

Papa

 

Heritage Day Festival with Papa

Sunday was a beautiful day for a festival. It was a wonderful day to meet and greet new people and the Bluegrass music from the Missouri Ozarks was amazing! What more could you ask from the day?

IMG_2666

My Miss Sunshine was a wonderful helper.

IMG_2687

Gardening questions included “How do you change the color of hydrangeas?”, “Why did my strawberry plants die?”and “You can grow lettuce during the hot summer months?” I plan to address these questions in future posts.

The booth was a stunning success. Heirloom Tomato and Hot/Sweet Pepper transplants in addition to potted June bearing Strawberry plants, Annual Phlox and Hollyhocks were for sale.

IMG_2681

IMG_2665

The lettuce bowls with Oak Leaf, Amish Deer Tongue and Red Romaine lettuces with edible Pansy’s were well received.

IMG_2671

Sweet Peas on the vine, Bachelor’s Buttons and Snowball Hydrangeas complimented the booth receiving surprised and rave reviews. People in this area are not familiar with cultivated Sweet Peas and were pleased with their knockout colors and fragrance.

IMG_2678

IMG_2670

IMG_2663

Thanks again for visiting the world of Papa’s Gardens.

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.

P1040384

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

milledsphagnummoss

  • Perlite : drainage

perlite

  • Rotted pine bark: allows for drainage

Mulch_composted_pine

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

compost

  • 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.

kelp meal

  • 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

 

Seed Saving Garden? What’s That? Part 2

As heirloom vegetables, herbs and flowers are losing ground by an estimated 10,000 a year, seed saving has become a race for time and the home gardener has a place in this race.

This information was part of a presentation offered during the fall festival at Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.

Pepper-Etiuda-PP192-web07-IMG_3150Purple Basil

Seed Saving for the Beginner

  • Self pollinating annuals

–It is wise to perpetuate only open pollinated, heirloom varieties.

  • Beans, lettuce and peas are easy for seed saving production.
  • Tomatoes – bagging tomato hand (truss) or meeting isolation distances between varieties.
  • Cucumber, okra and melons are insect pollinated. One variety allows for production of true to type seed.
  • Pumpkins and squash should be hand pollinated and kept in a bag or cage until fruit is set.
  • Do not take on biennials requiring vernalization.
  • Do not take on those varieties requiring large isolation distances.

Population Size

  • Seeds collected from a number of plants of the same variety, protects the variety’s genetic diversity.
  • Seeds collected from a number of plants of the same variety, is essential to the health and performance of the variety.
  • Seeds collected in your garden are unique to the changing conditions of you area.
  • These seeds are now a one of kind variety for your special use.

Isolation

  • Goal – produce true to type seeds

–Prevent unwanted cross pollination

  • Isolation techniques:

–Blossom bagging – successful fertilization evidenced by development of  fruit.

Save okra seedTomato seed saving

  • Caging – a physical barrier made of a frame and screen to prevent cross pollination of insect pollinated plants.

seed saving cages 2bf220def13c0a7dd7fe13d3e8f860078seed saving cages 3whole

Garden cages4

Bagging and caging are useful for those who have limited space. The netting or row covers will prevent inadvertent cross pollination by wind or vibration.  Plus, the caging method is a great way to contain pollinators (such as bumble bees and mason bees) to pollinate Cucurbit (cucumbers, melons, squash, watermelons) crops.

Please, I am looking forward to answering any of your questions!!

Papa