Heat Resistant Dahlias!!!

Absolutely amazing! 110° (F) heat and my dahlias are thriving. Originally from Mexico, dahlias can take it to a sultry 120° (F). These two heirloom seed varieties (Double flowered & Cactus flowered) will grow to a height of 6 feet.

From this:

To this!!

I love the colors and shapes. Check out this collage!

These beauties will be great for cut flowers. Make sure you have 15 to 18 inches of stem. Immerse the flower stems in 160° (F) water until water cools off. Place the flowers in new water with a floral preservative and they will last for 4 – 6 days. I hope to have enough to sell by mid-August.

Zinnias are up next to sell in the Fall. Florists love the bright colors when you can’t get them!

See you soon!

Papa

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Sweet Peas Blooming! Dahlias Planted, Finally!

Sweet Peas are definitely worth the wait. I walked into the hoop house the other day and was overwhelmed by an incredible sweet fragrance. Whoa!

The range of colors, diversity and the heady fragrance, are quite a combination! This experience is quite a learning curve. The Elegance Mix and Spencer seedlings were started in cell trays using a compost enhanced potting mix. The seeds best germinated at 60° to 65° (F). The seedlings were placed 6 inches apart in a raised bed with plastic netting to allow the peas to climb to a potential height of 8 feet.

Next year I plan to direct seed some of the sweet peas for a comparison. I believe the plants and subsequent blooms will be stronger.

Next up are seedling dahlias. Started in cell trays with well nourished potting soil, cactus flowered and double flowered mixed colors should be a delightful opportunity for our local florists. The amazing fact is dahlias can grow in 120° (F) heat. Originally from Mexico, dahlias are a natural to grow in a hoop house. I am looking forward to a plentiful harvest.

We will keep you posted on our progress!

Papa

 

Papa is Back! Fall and Winter Growing in the Hoop House!

Howdy folks! I am glad to be back. The hoop house is in production for late fall and winter gardening.

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Cabbage, Collards, Broccoli, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Oriental Greens, Radishes and Beets have been started and are on the grow. Higher than average temperatures are making the plants grow faster than I expected. Every season is an adventure.

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Under the row cover, the environment is like an incubator. Germination is slow but sure. Tasty veggies will soon be on the menu!

Leeks for late winter/early spring harvest. Yum!!

Soon, Sweet peas will be grown on trellises on the northern most bed in the hoop house. Hopefully we will have flowers in late winter/early spring.

Using Christmas lights will supplement the heat needed to speed up production in the hoop house. The lights will be strung from the low tunnel hoops just above the soil and ground cover.

Stay tuned for continued updates.

Papa

10 Steps to Make Free-Form Raised Beds

I just completed 3 raised beds for my fall garden. After harvesting garlic and shallots, I used a weed eater to burn down the remaining weeds. Here are the steps I used to make free-form raised beds.

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Till your plot thoroughly in several directions.

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Remove weeds, roots and other debris.

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After initial tilling incorporate finished compost to the bed area.

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Form your beds to the shape and size you desire. I make mine tall due to heavy surrounding soils and standing water after rain.

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Add composted poultry manure and kelp meal before final raking and bed forming.

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Some final touches to the bed.

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Place your drip or soaker hoses prior to applying weed cloth.

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Place weed fabric over the bed and stake down to the adjoining soil with pins of wire.

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I use a butane mini torch to burn planting holes in the fabric. This is an easy way to make your planting areas which will not fray!!

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Plant your seed in each hole.

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Water the seeds and the weed fabric to start your fall garden. Mulch the middles with straw, used carpeting, cardboard or any other clever method to prevent weeds in your walkways.

I use free form beds to reduce the risk of slugs and snails that hide between the bed bordering material and the soil! Plus, it is way less expensive!!

Papa