Thursday, May 27, 2010

How We Plant Sweet Corn - 5 Tips

The final package of corn seed is in the ground, ready for the rain.  Here are some tips we've discovered about planting sweet corn - not to say we followed all of them ourselves!

Tip #1 - Wait until the soil is warm.
Corn likes warm soil and cannot tolerate frost.  If you can't wait, follow the example of our gardening neighbour and plant some seeds in peat soil pellets so that once the soil is warm, you've got a head start.  The peat soil pellets are good because you can plant the whole pellet without disturbing the delicate roots.

This year, because of a very warm spring, our soil was ready early.  We started planting corn on May 19.


Tip #2 Isolate different varieties.
If you're set on having the type of corn described on your package, limit your corn patch to one variety.  Or, have separate corn patches at least 7.5 meters or 25 feet apart (according to the package).  If, like us, you choose not to do this, you risk getting a mixed variety and/or poor results.

There's three gardeners in our plot and we all have different preferences, so we have three varieties right next to each other.  Perhaps our staggered seeding will help by staggering the pollination of the different varieties.

We planted:
  • Canadian Early Supersweet Hybrid F1 on May 19 - matures in 65-70 days
  • Peaches and Cream Bicolour SE on May 21 - matures in 72 days
  • Honey and Cream Bicolour SE on May 27 - matures in 70-75 days
Tip #3 Plant a Minimum of 3 Rows Side by Side
Corn pollination is very interesting.  The pollen is on the big tassles at the top of the mature corn plant.  The pollen must somehow find its way to the corn silk of the forming cob.  That's why wind and having the same variety close by is so important.  The pollen travels down each strand of silk to form each corn kernel. If the pollen doesn't make it to the silk then there will be no corn.  For a more detailed explanation check out Ohio State University.

By planting corn beside each other in blocks, rather than single rows, you increase the chance of the pollen hitting the corn silk as the wind blows the pollen from one plant to the other.  That's why you also risk cross pollination if you plant mixed varieties.

While we didn't leave the required space between different varieties, we did plant in blocks of 4 rows.

Tip # 4 Give corn Nutrients and Water Regularly
Corn is a heavy feeder.  It especially likes a lot of nitrogen.  While fish heads are a good source of nitrogen - mixing in compost or planting after a previous crop of beans might be more palatable for most people.

Once again, we're relying on the compost manure that we mixed into the soil last fall.  As for watering regularly - let's just hope it rains regularly!

Tip # 5 Take into Account that Corn Produces Shade
Remember that corn will grow big and will shade your garden.  Consider this when deciding where you plant your corn and what you plant next to it.  A good tip to remember is that veggies grown for their leaves can handle a bit of shade (spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, etc.).  Planting on the east side of your garden in a north to south direction will produce an early morning shade but leave the garden shade free in the afternoon. While that may be the ideal spot, you can't do that every year since crop rotation is also very important.

We move our corn every year to help with soil nutrients and pest control.  This year our corn is on the south side.  It's not ideal, but the crops right next to it, can handle it.

Now, let's see May 19 plus 65 days until germination means we should have corn on July 23.  Could it be?  We'll be waiting with eager anticipation.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Plastic Garden Pot Recycling

I just came across a copy of Winnipeg's Sage Garden Herbs Catalog and Growing Guide.  It's amazing!  They certainly do seem to have a passion for not only selling unique, organic plants and seeds, but also for educating, sharing and facilitating a love and understanding of growing all types of plants.

Their catalog is not just a catalog, it is a wealth of information and resources.  What really grabbed my attention was their Closed Loop Plastic Pot Recycling program on page 6.  Finally, a place to take all those plastic cell packs, carrying trays, hanging baskets, plastic flower pots and plug trays. Way to go Sage Garden for raising the bar.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rhubarb Crisp

Check out our family favourite Rhubarb Crisp recipe that we just posted at Fruit Share .


So delicious.

Monday, May 24, 2010

How We Plant Tomatoes

Notice the title of this post is how "we" plant tomatoes - not how "to" plant tomatoes. From what I see others do and what I've read online - what we do and what you are suppose to do aren't exactly the same.  We usually opt for the easy way - I'm sure we will reap what we sow!

Here's a run down of how we plant tomatoes.

Choosing Tomato Plants
There are a lot of varieties to choose one.  We usually choose common, trusted varieties that have worked for us before.  This year we bought:
  • Beefsteak - indeterminant, 80 days
  • Better Boy - indeterminant, 70 days
  • Early Girl - indeterminant, 62 days
  • Roma - determinant, 75 days
Indeterminants will keep producing tomatoes until frost kills the plants.  Indeterminants are often tall, vining plants that need staking.

Determinants will produce one set of tomatoes, once they're done, that's it. They're usually bush style plants that don't need much staking (check the label).  

For a more detailed explanation see Garden Web.

Both types and all varieties like full sun.  In our back yard, we've always had good luck with tomatoes right up against the house on the south side.

Hardening off Tomatoes
Tomato plants from a store or greenhouse have likely been indoors all their life.  To give these plants the best chance of making it in the garden, "harden off" your plants by gradually introducing them to more and more sunlight each day.

Our "hardening off" involved putting the plants on the patio one hot, sunny day.  We call it shock therapy!

When to Plant Tomatoes in Zone 2b
Tomatoes are warm weather plants.  They like warm soil and do not tolerate any frost.  For us that usually means after May 24.  Last year, I covered my tomato plants on June 5 due to frost warnings.  We planted ours on May 20 this year.

Preparing the Soil
Our gardening neighbours do an amazing job of preparing their tomato beds.  They work their beds and add all sorts of compost, fertilizer, bone meal, or homemade mixes including banana peels and egg shells.

We dug a deep hole, loosened the soil as much as possible, poured some river water in the bottom and then put the tomatoes in.  We're hoping the compost manure from last fall will provide the necessary nutrients.

Planting Deep
Tomatoes need a strong root network that will support their weight and gather moisture and nutrients.  That's why tomatoes should be planted deep.  We took off the bottom layer of leaves off our tomato plants and covered the roots and the stems with soil.  We put at least half the plant into the soil.

Cutworm Protection
We added our cutworm collars a few days after planting the tomatoes (see our previous post).  We should have done it the same day to avoid any loss. Next year!

Staking/Caging
In order to avoid damaging the root system, staking or caging is best done soon after planting.  We'll be placing our tomato cages on our plants within the next week.

Watering
Even watering is important for strong, healthy tomatoes.  We don't do this very well, instead we rely on rain and deeply planted roots that can draw from moisture deep in the ground.

That's how we plant tomatoes.  We take some short cuts, but luckily for us, each year we get as many tomatoes as we can handle.  Fresh salsa, tomato sandwiches, tomatoes with pasta, tomato soup, bruschetta, tomato sauce are all the delicious creations we get to enjoy from our tomatoes.

Good luck with your tomatoes!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Spinach Frittata

More spinach means another spinach recipe.  Next to the Strawberry Spinach Salad, this one is my favourite. This recipe is incredibly easy, flexible and forgiving.  In fact, I usually don't follow a recipe when making a Fritatta, just whip up some eggs, add some seasoning and toss in whatever is left in the fridge (peas, broccoli, ham, bacon, peppers, etc.).
Spinach Frittata Recipe
Ingredients:
1 Tbsp (15 ml) Canola Oil or Bacon Fat
4 eggs
60 ml milk
60 ml grated cheddar cheese (or whatever type you prefer)
small bunch of fresh spinach
bunch of fresh chives chopped
salt
pepper
nutmeg


Preparation:
In an oven proof skillet (very important for this recipe), heat the oil or bacon fat.
Add the chopped chives and sauté for 1 minute just to release the flavours.
Add the spinach and pack down.  Sauté until just starting to wilt.
Meanwhile, whip 4 eggs in a bowl until well mixed.  
Add milk and seasoning to the eggs.
Pour egg mixture over spinach.
Cook on medium high heat until the bottom sets and begins to brown (about 3 minutes).  The top will still be moist.
Sprinkle cheese on top of the mixture.
Place under the broiler of your oven (be sure your oven rack is in the top rack).
Broil until the top of the frittata is set and starts to brown (about 3 minutes).
Take out of oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes for the inside to set.
Slice into wedges and serve.


Makes: one 9" frittata (2 adult sized lunch portions)


My mom always put nutmeg with eggs and with spinach, so it just seems natural to put nutmeg in a spinach and egg recipe.  It's a classic, nostalgic taste that reminds me of my mom's home cooked meals.

Cutworms in Our Tomatoes

How many more plants must die?  When will the carnage end?

On Thursday, Aidan and I planted 24 tomato plants. By Saturday, we had lost 5 of them to cutworms. That's a 20% loss! It was time to cuff 'em. The tomatoes that is, not the cutworms.

We brought out a variety of wide rimmed containers such as yogurt tubs, coffee tins and large protein powder tubs and cut the bottom off so they resemble large collars. We moved some of the soil from around each tomato plant, checked it for worms (we found 3), placed the collar over the tomato and sunk the collar about 2 inches into the ground.

A better technique would have been to follow the lead of our fellow gardeners and put the collars in at the same time as planting the transplants.  Maybe we'll try that next year and see if we can avoid any loss.

Here's what our tomato patch looks like now.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

From -6 to 29 Degrees Celcius

I checked my notes, last year we were at -6 degrees on May 19.  Yesterday on May 19, we were at 29!  It is ridiculously hot for May.   Now, instead of not planting because of the fear of frost, we're not planting because of the fear of sun and lack of moisture.

The best time to plant is in the evening, when the sun and its water sucking powers have died down. But evenings are also prime time for soccer, biking, archery, doggie walks and BBQs.  The garden has taken a back seat.

There is promise of some rain this weekend.  We're hoping to seed some carrots, potatoes, beans, pumpkins, cucumbers, zucchini and flowers in the next couple of days.  The seeds are already soaking on the counter.

We did plant some corn seeds yesterday to try to stagger the planting a little bit.  We'll put some more in next week so that our corn harvest is spread over several weeks.

We also purchased our transplants: tomatoes, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, eggplant, peppers and some more basil for the backyard herb garden.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Simple But Delicious Spinach Recipe

On the menu tonight - fresh spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil.
Butter and Garlic Spinach
Ingredients:
1 tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 bowl full spinach
salt and pepper
nutmeg

Preparation:
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.
Sauté garlic until just starting to brown, about 1 minute.
Add spinach and pack down. Stir spinach to coat with olive oil.
Cook until wilted, about 5 minutes.
Sprinkle with salt, freshly grated pepper and nutmeg.
Serve and eat immediately.


Makes: 2 adult sized side dishes

My family's comments are priceless:
My husband, Darryl: "This tastes healthy." (He says he meant that in a good way!)
9 year old Aidan: "Tastes like spinach." (I know he meant that in a bad way!)
6 year old Melanie: "I don't like the sauce." (She meant the olive oil, salt, pepper and nutmeg - actually she meant she didn't like the whole thing!)

Maybe, I'm better at growing it than cooking it!

Water in the Garden


Our seedlings are thirsty.  The mighty Red River flows just meters away from our garden.  It seems so simple - take water from the river and water the plants.

But, as we know, things are never as easy as they appear.  There is great debate amongst our garden society members about how, when and even if to water our gardens.  Here are some of the questions posed:
  • Is Red River water safe to use?  
  • What about pesticide and herbicide residues from run-off?
  • What about fecal contamination and coliform bacteria counts?
  • Isn't River water rich in nutrients and therefore good for our gardens?
  • Our gardens are often flooded by the River, so what does it matter?
  • Why not collect rain water for garden use?
  • Is cold, chlorinated, flourinated tap water safe to use?
  • Why water at all, why not just use proper mulch to trap moisture all summer?

It's confusing. Every argument sounds like a good one.  We are left to make our own decisions.

On our family plot, we use river water to get our seedlings and seeds off to a good start.  We don't use river water for our leafy greens that we plan to eat (eg. we don't water our spinach with river water).  We haul tap water that has been left to warm up and dechlorinate for a day.  Once our veggies have a good start, we don't water anymore.  

We don't have a rain barrel - yet!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Patch of Carrots

Carrots - pull 'em out of the ground, wipe off as much dirt as you can and start munching. Mmm!





















We love them, but they can be tricky to grow in our clay soil.  Last year, while we did end up with some good looking carrots, we had to reseed a few times.  

For most seeds, we just put them in the ground, cover them with soil and forget about them (watering if we get a chance).  Carrots, we've discovered, require just a little more TLC.  

This year, after some discussion with our fellow gardeners, we decided to plant a patch of carrots in a slightly raised, well worked bed.  

We made a 2 to 3 foot bed of mixed top soil and sand.  We mixed it thoroughly with the layer of composted manure that we brought into the garden last fall.  By the time we were done, it was the smoothest, lightest, fluffiest bed we've ever had.  We sprinkled on our seed, covered the seed with a thin layer of top soil, tapped it lightly with a rake and then watered it.  Once that was done , we covered it with a thin layer of straw mulch to keep the moisture in.

We think it's an ideal carrot bed - we're just hoping the carrots agree!

We planted Coreless Scarlet Nantes and McKenzie Purple Haze on May 14.

Garden Rows - Learning from the Kids

In less than an hour at the garden, my kids challenged me to reconsider my preconceived notions about garden rows.

1.  Rows don't need to be straight.
Sorry Dad, but I'm with my kids on this one.  Why stress out about perfectly straight rows, the plants don't mind, so why should we.  Wavy rows, here we come!

2. Rows don't need to be planted with just one thing.
Melanie taught me this the other night when she wanted to plant only 4 beet seeds.  I was horrified and exclaimed " You can't just plant 4 seeds, you have to fill the row!"  To which she said, "But Mom, I just want four beets and I want to plant other things too."  So, she has 4 beet seeds and room for more of the things she loves. Makes sense to me.

3.  You don't even need rows.
Okay, this might be going too far.  I can let go of having straight rows, I can even let go of rows having just one type of veggie - but not planting in rows at all!  Sorry, I can't abandon my rows.  As for the kids - well, if they want to be "wild and crazy" and put seeds in unique patterns in their own 3'x4' space then why not!

What are your thoughts on garden rows?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Peas, Beautiful Peas

Fresh garden peas are probably what won my kids over to the whole idea of gardening.  Nothing compares to picking your first pea pod, splitting it open, finding 6-8 perfect little green pearls inside and discovering how sweet and yummy they are.  Although, when they're young and tender - why bother splitting them open, when you can eat the whole pod!

So, it's no wonder that on top of their "things to grow this year" list are peas.  Luckily, peas are easy to grow and are one of the first things the kids can harvest.

We've tried growing regular shelling peas, sugar snap peas and snow peas.  Our favourite are the the regular shelling peas.  When they're young and fresh, we eat the whole pod.  When they're bigger, we shell them and  freeze a few for the winter - that's only if there are any left!

Planting the seeds is as easy as it gets.  Make a trench about 5-8 cm deep, place pea seeds in the trench about 2-3cm apart, cover with dirt, water and watch them grow.  Just follow the instructions on your seed package.

Growing Tips for Peas
Soaking Seeds
Back on the farm, I remember that my mom would soak pea seeds (dried peas) in water to speed up germination.  Soaking seeds in water (large seeds like peas, beans, corn, etc) allows the seed to soak up as much moisture as it needs to germinate.  Seeds do this automatically when in the soil, but soaking them overnight before planting speeds up the process considerably.  It is not necessary, especially if your soil has a lot of moisture, but it's a good idea if you want your plants to germinate early.

Supporting Peas
Last year was the first time we put up a wire trellis for our peas, and what a difference!  It was a welcome addition for both the peas and for us.  The peas grew up the fence and produced more than ever before.  For us, having them on a trellis made the picking much easier.  Check your package of pea seeds to see if you have a variety that benefits from a trellis.

Peas have small tendrils that will look for something to climb.  They need thin horizontal and vertical surfaces that are 5 to 10 cm apart to climb successfully.  We found chicken wire works well for us.

If possible, put up your support system the same day as your planting your peas.  It doesn't take long for pea seeds to germinate and they'll want to start climbing right away.  Their stems can be delicate and you risk breaking them if you try to support them once they're out of the ground and growing.

Extending the Pea Season
This year, we're going to try to extend our pea season in two ways - planting different varieties and staggering our seeding.   We've already planted our Green Arrow variety requiring 58-63 days to mature.  Soon we'll plant our Lincoln Homesteader variety requiring 63-68 days to mature.  We'll be eating peas all summer!

Can't wait for that first pea.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Growing and Loving Leeks

We discovered leeks for the first time last year.  It was late spring when we stumbled across a container of leek seedlings on sale for less than a dollar.  We had never grown leeks before and never really felt a desire to plant them - but we decided to go for it anyway.  We stuck them in the ground in late June and never thought much about them.  In late September, just before the plots were about to be turned over, we harvested our leeks.  And that's when it happened - we fell in love with leeks!  Yes, even me, the non-onion lover, loves leeks.  We fried them in butter, we put them in stirfries and we made potato leek soup.   Trust me, there's nothing more scrumptious than a steaming bowl of potato leek soup on a crisp autumn night.

This year, we purposefully searched for leek seedlings at the garden centre.  We also got more information about planting leeks - now that we know how delicious they are, we don't want to take any chances.  Here's what we discovered.

Leeks are...
  • a mild member of the onion family
  • a cool climate vegetable 
  • easy to grow (more good news for us)
  • planted early in spring and harvested late in the fall (need 110 - 150 growing days)
  • good for storing, especially if kept in a bed of sand
  • heavy feeders and prefer soil with lots of compost
To plant seedlings:
  • Separate the roots very carefully - if all else fails, dip the root ball in water to wash the soil away so that seedlings separate more easily. There must have been 300 little seedlings in our little container - that's a lot of leeks!
  • Dig a 10cm or 3 inch trench. 
  • Place each seedling deep in the trench and cover with soil up to the first leaf notch.
  • Leave about 10 to 15cm space between seedlings.  Smaller spacing will lead to skinnier leeks.
  • Try to keep the trench formation so that water will collect in the trench and the soil will continue to wash up around the leek as it grows and as it rains.  This will help with "blanching" the leeks throughout the growing season.  Blanching refers to turning the green leafy part into the white delicious parts of a leek.  The more white the better!  As the season goes on, continually pile more dirt or mulch around the base of the leek, thereby blanching it.  (We didn't do this last year and as a result our white parts were very small - delicious, but small.)
  • Keep well watered.
To harvest:
  • Harvest the leeks as you need them and leave the rest in the ground as long as you can.  They can withstand frost and even some snow (I've witnessed this in my sister's garden on the farm.)
  • Use a fork to dig out the leeks.  Their roots are much longer than onion roots.  If you try to pull them out, you may snap the bottom and loose the blanched part of the leek.
We'll keep you posted on our leeks and share some recipes in the fall.

Wish us luck!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our First Harvest - Spinach

Look what popped up in our garden!
We've been watching this green patch for a while, hoping it was food and not some unruly weed.  On Sunday, after week of rain and rapid growth, we knew for sure that it was indeed a patch of volunteer spinach.  What a lovely surprise!

There was just enough for two amazing strawberry spinach salads with home made balsamic vinaigrette.
Mmm...delicious!   This is why we garden.
Strawberry Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
90 ml olive oil
30 ml balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp strawberry freezer jam (optional, but oh so nice)
salt
fresh ground pepper


Preparation:
Place all ingredients in a screw top jar and shake like crazy! The more you shake the thicker your dressing will become.  Taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.  If you prefer a more dignified approach, mix vinegar and everything but the oil together in a bowl.  Gradually add the oil to the vinegar mixture one droplet at a time while whisking constantly.  (The shaking method is much more fun.)


Makes: enough for one big family sized salad

Did You Know:
  • white wine vinegar is a good substitute if you don't want a dark dressing (eg. I often use white wine vinegar if my salad includes mandarin oranges or apples.)
  • you can use honey instead of brown sugar
  • mustard helps to keep the oil and vinegar emulsified longer - try different flavours of mustards
  • a good ratio of oil to vinegar is 3 to 1 (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar)

Many Hands Make Light Work

Once a year, the Riverview Garden Society comes together to clean up the common areas surrounding the garden plots.  It's always a great time to connect with fellow gardeners, swap tall tales (I once grew a zucchini that was this big!), and share growing tips.  Working together to pick up litter, whack weeds, turn compost and prepare flower beds is a great way to build relationships and foster a strong sense of community.



Thank you to all the gardeners who came out to pitch in and keep our gardening area looking great.



Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thinking About Food

Are you thinking differently about the food you eat?


Our family definitely is.  The mere fact that we are thinking about it at all is a change.  We do not follow any particular food "ism".  We're a pretty typical family that eats pretty much anything - or we used to anyway.  But lately, we've been becoming a little more conscientious about where our food comes from and how it was grown/raised.


Documentaries like Food Inc., books like The Omnivore's Dilemma, a trip to rural Guatemala, visits to grocery stores overfilled with processed foods, concerns about our environment and watching our society become more obese and less healthy has made us actually think about the food we eat.  We're discussing it, thinking about it and making small changes.


We get our pork from my sister's farm (an idyllic farm), we get our chickens from a Hutterite Colony, we visit the Farmers' Market whenever possible, we make as many homecooked meals as possible, and we're scoping out some sources of local grass-fed beef.  And, of course we're gardening - a great way to become more intimate with the food we eat.


I've also joined the South Osborne Urban Community Cooperative which promotes ecologically and socially responsible ways of interacting with our food system.


I wonder, where will all this thinking lead us?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A trip to the Garden Centre


Vegetable Seeds  - $44
Watering Can and Fencing -  $37
Seedlings - $27
Wandering the Aisles of the Greenhouse - PRICELESS

It was a rainy, cold Sunday - a perfect day to head to the local Garden Centre.  The kids opted out, affording me the luxury of browsing every aisle and taking my time.

This year, we made a thorough list after planning out our garden.  For the first time ever, our list included specific varieties.  For example, instead of just listing "carrots" we specified "Coreless Scarlet Nantes" and "Purple Haze" (Aidan's request).   When I got to the store, shopping was easy and I actually felt like I knew what I was doing!  Making a detailed list is a good idea. (I put that in bold as a reminder for me to do it again next year!)

Our list also included seedlings.  That's right, we're seedling buyers!  I know we could start many plants ourselves, but quite frankly, I like the convenience of buying them from my trusted greenhouse supplier.   We don't have the space for setting up a planting station, and I really don't have the patience for it.  So, we indulge and simply buy whatever we can't sow directly into the ground.

After visiting the seed stands and scouring the veggie and herb aisles, here's what I bought (in case I misplace my paper list):


Vegetable Seeds
  • McKenzie Coreless Scarlet Nantes - Jumbo pack
  • McKenzie Purple Haze - 2 packs
  • McKenzie Bean (Bush) Improved Golden Wax - 1 box
  • McKenzie Bean (Bush) Tendergreen Improved - 1 box
  • McKenzie Bean (Bush) Royal Burgundy - 1 pouch
  • McKenzie Pea Lincoln Homesteader - 1 box
  • McKenzie Pea Green Arrow - 1 box
  • McKenzie Swiss Chard Bright Lights - 1 pouch
  • McKenzie Corn Honey and Cream Bicolour(SE) - 1 pouch
  • McKenzie Corn Canadian Early Supersweet Hybrid F1 - 1 pouch
  • Lindenberg Beet Scarlet Supreme - 1 pouch
  • Lindenberg Beet Natural Red Ace - 1 pouch
  • Lindenberg Lettuce Romaine - 1 pouch
  • OSC Cucumber Straight Eight - 1 pouch
  • Celery Seedlings
  • Leek Seedlings
Flowers for Melanie 
  • Cosmos (Sensation Mixed)
  • California Poppy (Sunset Mix)
  • African Daisy (Aurantiaca Hybrid)
Herbs
  • Curry Plant
  • Sweet Basil
  • Red Rubin Basil
  • Sage
  • Curled Parsley
  • Creeping Rosemary
  • Upright Rosemary
Why McKenzie Seeds & Lindenberg Seeds?  I grew up on the Prairies just south of Brandon.  It feels right to support Prairie businesses that know our Zone intimately.

Why St. Mary's Nursery and Garden Centre?  They have a great selection of seeds and have super friendly and helpful staff.  They're also great supporters of Clean Your Green,  our company's (IBEX Payroll) annual greening of the South Osborne Underpass.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Cool Weather and Warm Weather Plants

Some plants like it hot,
and some do not,
some plants are bold,
and like it cold.
Hee hee!

Not all plants like the same soil and air temperature. We've learned the hard way that you just can't go down to the garden one weekend and plant your entire garden in one fell swoop.  Well, you can, but you'll be less successful than if you plant according to the preferences of your plants.  Here's what we've discovered about plants who like it hot and those who do not.

The general rule of thumb is plant early if you eat the stems (celery), roots (carrots), leaves (lettuce) or flowers (broccoli); plant late if you eat the fruit (tomatoes) or the seeds (corn).  For a more detailed list, look below.

Cold Weather Crops 
- plant outdoors 4 weeks before last frost ( in Winnipeg - April 26)
leeks
onions
spinach
swiss chard
peas
radishes



Cool Weather Crops 
- plant outdoors 2 weeks before last frost (in Winnipeg - May 12)
carrots
lettuce
parsley
beets
potatoes
broccoli
cauliflower
cabbage


Warm Weather Crops 
- plant after the last frost when soil is warm (in Winnipeg - May 24)
tomatoes
peppers
beans
eggplant
melons
cucumbers
squash
zucchini
pumpkin
corn