Welcome to my new website. It will be both fun and informative. It will have five of my favorite topics: pictures, thoughts, recipes, gardening ideas and did you know? Please enjoy, leave comments, ask questions and visit often.
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    Posted on March 23rd, 2011 Pam No comments

    1. Buy only the seeds that will be planted this year.
     They say gardeners buy three times the seed they need each year. I probably buy five times the amount of seed I actually use. I also save seeds from heirloom vegetables I grow. I try to plant my ‘heirloom’ seeds each year to keep seed fresh, but that doesn’t always happen. 

    2. Know the life expectancy of various garden seeds. 
    Some seeds only have one year of good germination, it is good to know which seeds these are. Below is a list of vegetables and an estimate of their longevity. But remember, how the seeds are handled and cared for will also determine how long a seed will last and still germinate.
    Some recommend putting seeds in a glass jar and placing it in the refrigerator, others say a cold basement shelf will do the trick. I worry about putting seeds in the refrigerator, they might freeze if placed in the coldest part. Did you know the warmest place in a refrigerator is the door? That might be the best place for storing seeds.
    But however seeds are stored, keep them dry, cool and out of direct sunlight. I put all of my seeds in a box or a tub and away from light. I also test them for germination if I want to know if the seeds are still good.  


    1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Years +
    Onions Peppers Carrots Beets Cucumbers
    Parsley Sweet Corn Peas Broccoli Lettuce
        Spinach Cabbage Spinach
        Beans Swiss Chard Radish
    3. Mark seed packets. 
    It is a good idea to mark the seed packets when they are purchased each year. I use a different colored marker every year. Most of the seed packets will have a date, but having the packages color coordinated makes it easier to find the packages that need to be planted before their expiration date. Another thing that might be helpful is to write the last year they should be planted on the packet. 
    It is also good to keep the empty seed packets for future reference, I staple them in my garden journal. I also put other information next to the seed packet, such as, where and when I planted the seeds. 
    4. Take an inventory. 
    It is sometimes helpful to go through seed packets each Spring, before it is time to purchase new seeds. Make a list of the seeds to buy and separate the seeds that need to be planted this year before their expiration date expires. 
    5. More about germination. 
     Some seeds need a certain temperature before they will germinate. It is good to know what those conditions are for each type of seed. Some seeds will germinate at 50 degrees while others like a temperature as high as 85 degrees. Although some seeds will have some germination results at a lower or higher temperature, each seed has an optimum germination temperature. Some need light conditions while others need dark, some need a cold treatment first and some do not. Check the seed packet, some will give that type of information.



    Posted on March 22nd, 2011 Pam No comments

    Garden rotation should take place every year.

    Follow heavy feeders in one part of the garden with light feeders the next year, plant shallow rooted plants with deep rooted plants the following year.

    Some plants take nutrients from the soil, while others add nutrients. Some are heavy feeders, others are light feeders. Almost every vegetable take different nutrients from the soil. Some will take away nitrogen while others put nitrogen back in. It is hard to keep track of what does what, that is why it is always a good idea to rotate vegetables in the garden each year.

    It is recommended to put a garden on a three to five year rotation. While this is hard to plan out, it is worth it for plants to have fresh soil each year.

    Another reason to rotate crops is the pest and fungus situation. Bugs and fungus get very comfortable in a certain areas and come back with a head start the next year. For example, aphid eggs live in the ground over the winter, ready to begin where they left off the year before. But when their favorite food source isn’t there the next year they aren’t as powerful as the year before. When rotating crops, it confuses the pests and it isn’t as easy to destroy the same crop year after year.

    Here is an idea for a simple crop rotation.  This guide also shows planting the same type of plants in the same area. 

    Year 1        
    Row 1 Row 2 Row 3 Row 4 Row 5
    Broccoli Squash Peas Potatoes Leafy vegs.
    Peppers Pumpkins Peas Potatoes Root Crops
    Cabbage Cucumbers Beans Corn Carrots
    Tomatoes Melons Beans Corn Onions
    Year 2        
    Row 1 Row 2 Row 3 Row 4 Row 5
    Leafy vegs. Broccoli Squash Peas Potatoes
    Root Crops Peppers Pumpkins Peas Potatoes
    Carrots Cabbage Cucumbers Beans Corn
    Onions Tomatoes Melons Beans Corn


    Each year, move each row or group to the right, with this example, a complete rotation should take five years.

    With planting right around the corner, write down your ideas now.  It is surprising how easy crop rotation can be.


    Posted on March 21st, 2011 Pam No comments

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    Posted on February 18th, 2011 Pam No comments

    Have you made a rough drawing of your garden plan yet? Now is the time, to make your first version, as changes will be made as you learn more about new, exciting and different plants you want to try.

    I came across this garden layout the other day. Click here to check out these ideas.
    These plans make your garden look like an old fashioned quilt.
    I am going to plan a small one this year, it looks like fun.

    Here is an outstanding picture of a huge layout sooooo cool.


    Posted on February 5th, 2011 Pam No comments

    I know it is February, but this is something you can do now to plan for a sucessful garden.
    Keeping a journal for your garden is so important. Here’s why.

    1. It will help you plan this and next years garden.
    2. It is a great place to write ideas.
    3. It is a place to store empty seed packets, so you know the variety you used.
    4. It helps you keep organized.
    5. It is a place to keep a drawing of your garden plan.

    Try a calendar or planner, make sure there is lots of room to write something every day.
    Or use a binder, that way just add extra pages.
    IMPORTANT!!! Make sure to write the dates with any information.

    My journal may include things like this:
    1. Empty seed packets stapled to heavy sheets of paper, (they hold up better).
    2. Dates when I planted, (sometimes I write these next to the seed packets).
    3. Dates when I should plant.
    4. Goals and dreams.
    5. Failures and successes.
    6. What I planted, where I planted it, how much I planted and when I planted it.
    7. Firsts, like first frost, first tulip, first tomato, first summer squash…
    8. My garden plan.
    9. Lots of pictures
    10. Ideas for next year.

    If you use a calendar, you can begin now to fill in target planting dates. Fill in the target date with pencil, then adjust if things change. Planting isn’t done in one day, it is a continous process.

    Here is MY rough example for eastern Idaho . This didn’t work last year though, I planted about 15 days later than the dates on this list.
    1. Plant HARDY plants like onions, potatoes and peas around April 1. They like a soil temperature of 50 degrees.
    2. Plant NORMAL plants like peas, lettuce and radishes around May 1. They like a soil temperature of 60 degrees.
    3. Plant TENDER plants like cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and squash around June 1. They like a soil temperature of 70 degrees.
    4. Plant FALL CROPS like lettuce, peas, radishes, spinach, cress and swiss chard around August 15. I love to plant a ‘Fall crop’. The vegetables are more tender and don’t bolt as easily. Plus, a light frost doesn’t effect these vegetables.

    A note about seed packets. It is not necessary to keep all seed packets, just the ones you need future information from. If you keep the seed packet you will also have all of the seed information plus a picture. Something you won’t have if you just write the name down. The seed packet not only has planting information, which you will use during planting, but it also has days to maturity, disease resistance information, brand name, proper name, plus a host of other things you may need later in the season.


    Posted on January 20th, 2011 Pam No comments

    When planting seeds it is best to speed up the germination (sprouting) process. Sometimes it is best to soak the seeds first. Some seeds have a rough outer shell. To help with germination, try scoring the tough seeds first with a file or sand paper. Then soak the seeds in Accent meat tenderizer overnight in a diluted solution. Use one teaspoon tenderizer to one quart of water. Another tip is to soak them in a thermos of warm water for a couple of days. The tannic acid in hot tea will also soften the outer coating. Some people use hot water when watering their seeds for the first time, claiming they soften the seeds faster.

    My trick is to use a bathtub. Yes a bathtub!! Put four 4-packs upside down in the bottom of the tub. Then place a planted flat on top of the 4-packs. Place each 4-pack under a corner of the flat. Then fill the tub with ‘hot’ water up to just below the flats. Drain and fill the tub with hot water three to four times each day. This creates a humid environment that plants love. You will be surprised how fast seeds will germinate this way. Peppers will germinate in 13-15 days and tomatoes in about 10 days, squash and pumpkins in about five days. I only use this method when I need to speed up the germination of some of my seeds, don’t leave them in the tub too long or they will get leggy from growing too fast.

    Another technique that people use is to soak the seeds in a wet paper towel placed in a zip lock bag. Then plant the seeds after they have sprouted. This is a more time consuming task, but you can plant only the seeds that have germinated and usually don’t need to thin the plants later.

    Before I plant things like squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and cantalope, I soak the seeds in water for about five days. Then plant them in the ground about five per hill, thinning to three plants later.

    Before planting corn, I soak the seeds in a jar of water overnight. I don’t soak pepper, tomato, pea or bean seeds before I plant them.


    Posted on January 17th, 2011 Pam No comments

    As I wrote a few days ago, it is time to plan your vegetable garden. Draw a rough sketch and pencil in were to plant certain vegetables. There are lots of things to consider when planning a garden spot.

    1. Types of vegetables
    2. Space each of the vegetables take.
    3. Sun or shade vegetables
    4. Crop rotation
    5. How much of each vegetable, this alone will take lots of thought.
    6. Thinking about enlarging or moving the garden spot.
    7. Watering access
    8. Plants that like or don’t like each other
    9. Plants that might shade others
    10. Changes from last year and new plants to try
    11. Improvements or experiments for this year.
    12. Consider the direction your garden faces and decide to run the rows east and west or north and south.
    13. Re-planting certain vegetables during the season.
    14. Most important, plant only vegetables your family will eat.
    15. Consider using trellises or stakes to grow your vegetables vertically.

    NOTE: If you don’t have enough room for vegetables that take lots of space, consider buying those vegetables and only plant vegetables that take less space. The four vegetables that take up the most space are: corn, squash, potatoes and pumpkins. Some vegetables that give you the most for the area are: beans, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.

    Think about companion plants, corn, beans and squash compliment each other. The corn supplies a trellis for the beans, the corn shades the squash and the squash provides shade for the roots. I have tried this and it really works. The squash (pumpkins would work too), really love weaving in the corn. NOTE: Wait to plant the beans until the corn is about 16″ tall, so the beans will have a stalk to climb. Peas do will planted in the corn too. They love some shade too. Also, plant the squash out in the sun and let the vines travel into the shade of the corn.

    Now is the time to order catalogs and research online for different and rare seeds. Decide if you want to try to save your own seeds by planting Open Pollinated (Heirlooms), or plant Hybrid seeds. Then you can start to buy the seeds needed for the garden. Don’t wait too long to purchase seeds, the most popular seeds will sell out fast!!

    It seems learning about gardening never ends. There is always something new coming out or something fun to try.

    A garden is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.