US First and Last Frost Dates

US First and Last Frost Dates

Growing Food, Soil & Compost, Starting Seeds, Weather, Year Round Gardening
USDA Hardiness Zone This information is useful for at least two reasons, to calculate when to plant seeds or plant seedlings outside in the garden to figure out how late in the growing season you can plant certain perennials, trees, and shrubs Dates on this chart are approximations, no one can KNOW the weather, every season is different. Most years, the first and last frost will fall within two weeks of the date on the chart, but some years, we get a very early frost or a late snow storm that throws the dates off. Please use discretion (and your local weather forecast!) along with this chart to plan your seed starting and planting. First, click on the map if you need to enlarge it and find your zone if…
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National Garden Month

National Garden Month

Community, Organic Gardening
April is National Garden Month! Every April communities, organizations, and individuals nationwide celebrate gardening during National Garden Month. Gardeners know, and research confirms, that nurturing plants is good for us: attitudes toward health and nutrition improve, kids perform better at school, and community spirit grows. Join the celebration and help to make America a greener, healthier, more livable place! Celebrate National Garden Month In Your Community... Organize or take part in a town beautification day. America in Bloom is a national greening organization that can help you get started. Click here to learn more. Visit your local farmers' market. Compliment a neighbor on his or her garden. Get together with neighbors to purchase compost and mulch in bulk quantities. Calculate how much you need mulch you need here! . Volunteer…
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Vegetable Gardening Made Easy

Vegetable Gardening Made Easy

Gardening Methods, Growing Food, Healthy Eating, Organic Gardening
Growing your own vegetables is both fun and rewarding. Lets break it down together and get the most food, enjoyment, and nutrition from our gardens! 1. feed the soil 2. efficient use of space 3. keep food moving 4. continuous harvest 5. good record keeping 6. resources feed the soil All you really need to get started is some decent soil and a few plants. But to be a really successful vegetable gardener, and to do it organically, you'll need to understand what it takes to keep your plants healthy and vigorous. Here are the basics. 'Feed the soil' is like a mantra for organic gardeners, and with good reason. In conventional chemical agriculture, crop plants are indeed "fed" directly using synthetic fertilizers. [caption id="attachment_2197" align="alignright" width="211"] observe your garden…
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Ideal Temperatures for Seed Germination

Ideal Temperatures for Seed Germination

Starting Seeds
Seeds germinate (begin to grow/develop) at different rates. Some need warmer temperatures than others. Some seeds actually need light to germinate (like lettuce). Use the chart below on ideal germination temperatures to achieve more success starting your garden seeds growing! Shown below are the ideal temperatures for germination of many of the most common seeds. Temperatures are in degrees F. Asparagus, 75° Beans (lima), 85° Beans (snap), 80° Beets, 85° Cabbage, 85° Carrots, 80° Cauliflower, 80° Celery, 70° Corn, 95° Cucumbers, 95° Eggplant, 85° Lettuce, 75° Muskmelon, 90° Okra, 95° Onions, 75° Parsley, 75° Parsnip, 65° Peas, 75° Peppers, 85° Pumpkins, 95° Radish, 85° Swiss Chard, 85° Spinach, 70° Squash, 95° Tomatoes, 85° Turnips, 85° Watermelon, 95°
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Companion Plants Top 10 Best

Companion Plants Top 10 Best

Companion Planting, Gardening Methods, Organic Gardening, Organic Pest & Disease Control
Some plants do better when in the company of other plants for a variety of reasons...to repel harmful insects, to attract useful insects, or to enhance the growth rate and flavor of other plants. Companion plants help bring a balanced eco-system to your garden. Every garden is different with different problems. All problems will not be eliminated, but it is definitely worth experimenting with companion plants. Below are the top 10 plant companion combinations. Tomatoes & Basil Both greatly improve the other's growth and flavor. Basil also helps control the tomato hornworm. Garlic & Roses Pests, such as aphids, are repelled by the smell of garlic. [caption id="attachment_1625" align="alignright" width="300"] example of companion plants[/caption] Horseradish & Potatoes Horseradish repels the Colorado potato beetle and blister beetles. Spinach & Strawberries Corn,…
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Grow Lettuce in Containers

Grow Lettuce in Containers

Container Gardening
Why grow lettuce in a container? In my case it is because the snails and slugs will not let me enjoy fresh, tender lettuce, straight from the garden. For some reason, they have not yet discovered it when grown with this method. Another reason is that it is weed free, making a cut-and-come-again harvest a snap. Still another benefit is that you may move them around as the seasons change. More sun in the spring, more shade in the summer. In many areas lettuce may be grown most of the year this way. The cut-and-come-again harvest is really the key to this type of planting. Here is how you do it: [caption id="attachment_2252" align="alignright" width="300"] lettuce is easy to grow in continers[/caption] Step 1 Plant a blend of leaf lettuce…
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Vegetable Garden Planting Chart

Vegetable Garden Planting Chart

Growing Food, Organic Gardening, Starting Seeds
Schedule your vegetable garden planting with this guide. As you plan which foods that you'd like to grow in your garden, remember that among other things, you must also take the following into account: Soil pH Requirements of Different Garden Vegetables Vegetable Gardening Basics (Planning, Preparing the soil, and Planting) Identifying Your Soil Type Note: This does not include plotting for Square Foot Gardening Food Vegetable Start Seed Indoors Plant in Garden S = SeedP = Plant Seed Spacing Distance Between Rows Seed Depth Days toMaturity YIELD PER100' ROW ArtichokesFeb-MarS - After FrostP - After Frost36"48"1/2"36535+ heads Asparagusn/aP - Mar-April8" between root tips34-36"1/4-1/2"365400+ spears Beans, Bush (snap)n/aS - After Frost4-6"18"1"60-6480 lbs Beans, bush (dry)n/aS - After Frost4-6"24"1"90-1008 lbs Beans, Polen/aS - After Frost8"36"1"70-85150 lbs Beans, Favan/aS - After Frost8"36"1"18020 lbs…
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How to Grow Lettuce

How to Grow Lettuce

Growing Food
Lettuce is a most poplar garden crop. Lettuce is easily grown and adds color and beauty to the home garden. One good reason for its popularity (aside from the fact that it tastes good!) is that lettuce is hardy and can be planted as early as the soil can be worked. So when you start getting the heebie jeebies because you have't had your fingers in the dirt for months, you can start lettuce as early as just about anything. It is a cool weather crop and makes its best growth at temperatures of 60-65°F (16-18°C). Careful variety selection is important for hot weather crops. Sow every 3 weeks for a continuous supply of fresh lettuce. There are four types of lettuce. Crisphead types form heads and include the popular…
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Pre-Sprouting Seeds

Pre-Sprouting Seeds

Starting Seeds
Poor seed germination is often the result of planting in cold soil. Place pre-sprouting seeds between layers of moist paper towels. Keep moist and in a dark place. These "Pre-sprouted seeds" may become successfully established when dormant seeds fail. There is an article on ideal germination temperatures to achieve more success starting your garden seeds growing! Pre-sprouted seeds are fragile to handle. A planting gel can be made by suspending pre-sprouted seeds in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch heated to a boiling 1 cup of water. When the mixture cools, put it in a plastic bag, add pre-sprouted seeds, and stir gently to distribute seeds evenly. Then cut a small hole in the bottom of the bag and squeeze the gel out along the planting furrow. Benefit of…
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How to clean and disinfect your seedling trays

How to clean and disinfect your seedling trays

Starting Seeds
I know it feels cold and seems like spring is in the far distant future, but if you are starting your own seedlings in pots and trays from last year, you know it is time to start! An important step in preparing is to clean and disinfect your seedling trays. Not cleaning them first can set your seedlings up for failure by exposing them to bacteria and fungus that can cause any number of issues from damping off to Botrytis. Step #1Be sure to clean the underside of the trays and pots and scrape off any spider eggs or old nests that you find. Most often they look like white fluffy spots and stick to your fingers when you try to move them. Turn your trays upside down and remove…
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