Many food crops thrive only when they are bathed in sunlight most of the day. Most of the “summer crops,” such as tomatoes, corn, beans, squash or cucumbers, need a minimum of six hours of sun a day. Other crops, those we grow for leaves or roots, such as lettuce, kale, cabbage or carrots, can be grown where sunlight will strike them as few as four hours a day. A number of our favorite herbs and edible flowers also want half- to full-day sun. Shade often limits the part of the garden where an urban gardener can grow food crops. There are buildings, fences, trees all around. What’s a food gardener to do? Because my backyard is half shady in fall and spring and completely shady in winter, I can offer some advice. Is part of your garden under a dense tree? That’s heavy shade. Most food plants will not thrive there, but it’s a great place for a compost bin — not too close to the tree, though. A “hot” pile will heat from the compost bacteria … [Read more...] about Food crops and edible flowers that thrive in the shade
Sowing the mustard seed
Carol Stocker - Globe Correspondent May 2, 2019 5:39 pm What to do this week: This is a good time to buy and plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. Direct sow seeds of carrot, dill, broccoli, spinach, pea, radish, and beet outdoors, as well as bachelor’s button, sweet pea, and larkspur, but wait a few weeks to buy young annuals. But you can plant seedlings of frost-resistant vegetables such as cabbage, Swiss chard, kale, lettuce, and collard greens now. Plant them outdoors on an overcast day at the same depth they are growing in their trays (not deeper). Placing a floating row cover over these crops will help protect them from insects and chilly nights. Start seeds of melon, cucumber, tomato, and basil indoors under grow lights. Snap off spent flowerheads on hyacinths and daffodils, but spare stems and leaves until they “ripen’’ (turn yellow) in early June to store energy for next year’s performance. Remove old tulip bulbs and leaves that did not … [Read more...] about Ask the Gardener: Boost your garden with wood stove ash
Stopping to smell the flowers By Arlene Marturano SCGardenLearning on Facebook Although the winter garden gives the appearance of dormancy, the gardener’s tasks rarely diminish. Winter work in January and February is pivotal to the success of the spring and summer garden. By the time the checklist of chores is accomplished, the vernal equinox will have arrived. • Since soil is the foundation substrate of the garden, take a soil sample to the county extension office hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/soil-testing/ • Dig deeper into the history of your home property soil from a soil scientist perspective at websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.html • Uncover the secrets of soil as Buz Kloot introduces basic principles of soil health www.youtube.com/watch? v=cGxr9N7FjkQ • Encourage soil microbe allies by composting, vermicomposting, and cover cropping. • Make a map of your garden for planning purposes. • Rake leaves … [Read more...] about Winter Work for the Gardener
Carol Stocker - Globe Correspondent August 23, 2018 11:47 pm What to do this week: Sow fall vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, radish, mustard greens, Chinese cabbage, parsnip, turnip, peas, radicchio, escarole, collards, beets, spinach, and lettuce. A layer of shade-netting garden fabric, preferably fastened over hoops, will improve germination and young plant growth in the summer heat. Mow natural meadows once now and again in late fall to discourage a takeover by invasive weeds, vines, and woodies. Lightly fertilize annuals and vegetables once a month just before you water or when rain is due. Stop fertilizing perennials and roses so they can start preparing for winter dormancy. Most trees, shrubs, and perennials do not require fertilizing, and lawns need to be fertilized only once a year, in the fall. Q. Should iris rhizomes (but not the roots) be exposed above the ground? C.W.O., Malden A. Yes. Bearded iris roots usually need dividing every four years to keep flowering … [Read more...] about Ask the Gardener: How often should you divide bearded iris?
AUGUST IS THE perfect time to grow cool-season vegetables for harvest in fall and early winter. I’m not talking about winter-hardy vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts (the most delicious of all vegetables), broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots, which all are overwintered for harvest in spring. Those plants need to be planted by early July in order to grow sufficient roots and obtain enough size before the winter rain and cold are upon us. Instead, I’m referring to leafy greens that resent the hot temperatures of summer, but thrive in the cooler temperatures of late summer and fall. Leaf lettuce and mesclun blends, for instance, germinate and grow best when air temperatures range between 60 and 70 degrees, and most are hardy enough to withstand light freezes. Sow seed in mid-August; harvest individual leaves as needed; and, if temperatures remain moderate, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh salad greens right out of the garden well into winter. Mustard greens, corn … [Read more...] about Sow these seeds now, and you could be eating fresh homegrown salads by October