Knockout Colors of Heirloom Sweet Pea Blossoms

Check out the third cut of our Sweet Peas.

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Visits with local florists have been encouraging and enlightening. Apparently Sweet Peas have not been offered for decades in this area. Many younger designers did not know what they were.

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Grading in bundles.

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This process allows us to offer the very best of color and freshness. The fragrance fills the room.

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More sweet peas on the vine for floral arrangements.

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A simple arrangement from irregular and short stems. A tea cup and saucer provided the perfect “look”.

Aren’t they beautiful?

Papa

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Sweet Peas for the Sweet!!!

Now is the time to start Sweet Peas for winter and early spring production. Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus) are members of the legume family Fabiaceae which hail from Southern Italy, Sicily and the Aegean Islands.

Henry Eckford of Scotland is responsible for the incredible crosses which produced many of the famous heirloom varieties known today. The noted beauty and fragrance is a direct attribute of the careful breeding by Eckford in the late 1800s through 1906. The breeding production of today focus on stem length and lasting abilities of cut flowers.

Sweet Peas require scarification (nicking or abrading the seed coat to enhance seed germination). Warm water soaking of the seeds may also enhance germination.

Use a nail file or nail clippers to nick the seed coat. The nicking or “chipping” will speed up the germination process. By the way, this is a tedious process. Make sure you give your self plenty of time to keep on schedule for your planting area.

Planting in large cell packs or 4″ pots for transplants is a proper way to plant exactly where you desire. Start the process by using a soiless soil mix with generous compost added. Make sure the soil is adequately moist and plant the seed 1″ deep. I usually plant two seed per cell or pot. Once planted, water in the cell packs/pots and place where the soil temperature is  65° to 68° (F). I know that sounds pretty cold but that is what sweet peas prefer.

The correct germination temperature will insure proper germination in 7 to 10 days. When most of the seeds have germinated move the seed flats to a much cooler area (45° to 55° (F)). A mildly heated greenhouse, coldframe or hoop house will do the trick. Sweet pea seedlings can take it down to 32° (F). The added benefit is stronger and cold tolerant seedlings.

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Sweet peas may be bothered by aphids when planted outside. The aphids spread disease and stunt the plants and subsequent production. The other area for concern is powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is caused by too much shade and poor air movement. Watch cultural practices (such as full sun and planting further apart to provide air circulation) to prevent the scourge of this pernicious disease.
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Be careful with sweet pea seeds! They are toxic for consumption. If you have small children the seeds could be enticing!

I will keep you posted on future development.

Papa