Still time to plant zucchini in some locations

goldmine zucchiniThey say 1 zucchini plant will feed an entire family. I’m a believer in that. My experience has been this: the original zucchini plant does well and then finally dies, but there’s still a fair amount of warm weather available. Why don’t I just plant another one? The reason why is that now its too late in the season. I like to plant another zucchini about 4 weeks after my first planting. That way I’ve got plenty enough to take me until frost. Here in zone 6, we still have time to plant one more zucchini before it’s too late.

Like you, I’ve grown many different varieties of zucchini. Black beauty is a standard and its easy to grow and a good producer. Because its so readily available, I now grow a few other varieties.

This is goldmine-a yellow zucchini with a nice white stripe down the length of the fruit. It goes great with its companion safari-a green zucchini with a white stripes. If you’re looking for a way to mix it up a little bit with zucchini, these are great additions.
For those in the area, I will be teaching the seasons first winter low tunnel garden class. I would love to have a greenhouse but it doesn’t work for me. They are expensive, and usually permanent. You can do virtually the same thing with a low tunnel, although you will be harvesting in challenging weather sometimes. If you’re interested registration is simple. We cover how to build a structure that holds up under snow load, what crops do best in our climate, and when to start them. Class is about 75 minutes long.

Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.

Growing leeks

leeks 070816I’ve already begun to think about the fall harvest season. That means starting a couple of things inside for transplants to go out in the garden soon. Lets talk leeks. If I were to wait until fall for planting them it wouldn’t allow enough time to harvest them this year.

There’s many different varieties of leeks, and I’ve tried lots of them. These are a variety that only take 75 days from seed to harvest. Many leeks take upwards of 110 days. My method of growing leeks is a little different. A chef would tell you that the most desirable part of the leek is the white stalk. The more white portion the better. I would encourage you to visit the produce section of your supermarket and check out the leeks. The white portion is usually pretty short: 3-4 inches. I try for 6-8 inches of white, and its very easy to do.

I start by placing leek seeds in a container as shown. The container itself isn’t very deep, and it’s got 4 holes on the underside for drainage. After a short time you’ll end up with skinny little transplants. I get mine to a certain size before transplanting. When I see leek roots beginning to come out of the drainage holes, its time for them to be transplanted. Hardening off is not necessary.

From here I will plant each individual leek start in a hole thats been made with a pencil. How deep do you plant them? I like to plant them so that about 2 inches of the leek remains above ground. I don’t even backfill the holes with dirt. As I water the holes fill up naturally and without even trying I can get a good 6 inches of white on my leeks-sometimes even more.

Now is the time to plan for things like leeks, green onions, kale, cabbage, and brussel sprouts

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter

Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.

Growing potatoes in the square foot garden

IMG_0451Alright-square foot gardeners talk about growing things in only 6″ of soil. That’s true most of the time, but for potatoes not so much.

In Mels book on SFG he talks and shows pictures of his “top-hat” as it’s referred to. This is a simple wood structure that has four side, with no top and no bottom. It can be a 2X4, 2X6, 2X8, etc. Place this top-hat on any square(or squares), fill it with more Mel’s mix, and then you can successfully grow potatoes or any other root vegetable with more soil available.

I make sure that each seed potato has at least 2 eyes, and then I place 5 of them in each square. If it works out, I can count on 6-7 pounds of potatoes per square foot. I don’t bother hilling the potatoes. I just bury them 6-8 inches in the soil, cover them up, water, and then in a matter of weeks they will break the top surface.

Let them grow until the stalks turn brown and start to fall over. Cut back the growth and then reach down to find little gold nuggets. Once you’ve grown your own new potatoes you’ll never want to buy them again.

My favorite potato to grow is Red Pontiac. I grew a purple variety last year and they were okay. Nowhere near as good as the red’s, so I’ll stick mostly to that. Growing different potatoes does give you a contrast in taste and color.

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter

Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.

Square foot gardening-keep growing summer greens!

braising greenIn addition to the many designer lettuces that I love to grow in the summer months I also add some different things-like these braising greens.  Planted 16 per square for a dense harvest, they are delicious and come up quickly.  After 45 days you can either harvest the entire square for a saute, or clip them about an inch above the grown for a cut-and-come again crop.  The second cuttings aren’t as clean looking but they still taste great and grow back quickly.

All week long we’ll have temperatures in the 90’s.  Looks like summer has arrived early.  I’ve begun plantings for summer lettuces in anticipation of a long, dry, and hot summer.  Trying to grow lettuce in this environment is a huge challenge-many gardeners don’t even attempt to do it for that reason alone.  I’ll have an ebook coming out very soon that will teach you how to grow lettuce right through the summer months.  It takes a little more effort, but it is so worth it.  Since nothing can beat the taste of those just harvested off-the-vine summer tomatoes, you might as well have the best tasting lettuce around to go with them.  I’m hoping to finish it in a week.

Writing doesn’t come easy for me.  It’s taken 2 years to put this ebook together.  Much of the material was written in a timely fashion, but it’s all other things that bog me down.  I won’t bother going into it, but I think you’ll be pleased with the information contained  in the book.  Aside from the growing techniques taught, I think the best part is that I’ve actually done what I’ve written about.  And I’ve done it successfully for a long time.  So, keep an eye out.

For folks that live in northern Utah I’ve got a couple of classes being offered in the next couple of months.  If you’re not a square foot gardener but would like to be, there’s a class for you.  If you’re interested in learning how to have a winter garden in our zone, there’s another class for that as well.  Please pass the word along to friends, neighbors,  and family members who would be interested in attending.  Thank you

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter

Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.

Square Foot Gardening-protecting early zucchini

goldmine zucchiniThis is an easy method I use to protect my early sprouting zucchini and beans. There’s been many times in the past when it looks pretty good in the morning but when I came home from work it was no longer there. The culprit? Birds. It’s like filet mignon to them.

Hardware cloth is an excellent and very adaptable thing to have around. For my squares foot garden I have lots of these that can be bent slightly upward to be placed on any square of beans and zucchini or squash. Another nifty thing to do is to make little individual square foot greenhouses. Just cut and bend them large enough to fit over a square and then cover them with plastic. Be sure to vent it as it can get 30 plus degrees warmer under the plastic than it is outside.

Okay, this if for real this year. My new ebook is shortly slated to arrive. It’s been in the works for over a year but life just gets busy. This will be a how-to book. In this case, how to grow lettuce in warm or hot weather, which is a challenge for many at this time of year. I’ve been able to grow lettuce right through our 95+ degree summers with the techniques discussed in the book. It’s a little bit of extra work, but it’s so worth it. There’s nothing better than just harvested cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and summer lettuce. You’re salads at home will be better than any expensive restaurant you visit. That’s not a knock on restaurants-it’s just a fact that when greens have been harvested 10 minutes ago it will beat anything that’s been out of the ground for a couple of days or in most cases even longer. Keep an eye out for it and I hope you’ll be interested in its content

Did you enjoy this post?
Share the Love
free square foot gardening seasonal newsletter

Thanks for installing the Bottom of every post plugin by Corey Salzano. Contact me if you need custom WordPress plugins or website design.