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Fall Vegetables

Do you have an itch to grow something one more time before the cold of winter sets in? Let’s talk about things you can plant that have a short growing season.

As temperatures begin to cool, your growing options change. Mother Nature is telling you that it is time to grow cool weather crops. What are some things that you can grow in cooler weather?

The most easiest and quickest options are lettuce and radishes. There are varieties of each that can be planted by seed and harvested in under 50 days.  Be sure to check with your local agricultural extension for the date of the first frost. (This is the last day you can grow without providing protection.)

If you’re not sure what to plant, I’ve provided a couple ideas below and a couple vendors that I personally enjoy using.

Little Gem Lettuce – This smaller lettuce is great for your Mr. Stacky.  It’s been pretty low maintenance for me. I’ve used seed from Sustainable Seed Company and was pleased. Organic and conventional options are available. I believe the pictures of lettuce in this blog are from spring, but fall planting is great as well.

Radishes – Okay, I have to admit that I really don’t pay attention to the variety of radishes I plant. They are easy to scatter on the ground and quick to harvest. Pick something that visually interests you or has a story to tell. Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a solid choice as a place to purchase heirlooms and things of intrigue.

Enjoy growing!

Cheryl

 

 

 

 

Peppers

Protecting Your Mr. Stacky in Bad Weather

If you’re experiencing inclement weather in your area, you may be concerned about what you are growing in your Mr. Stacky. Hail, frost, wind, repeat rains  and heat can destroy delicate plants.

Covered pot
Demonstration photo of how to cover your Mr. Stacky with a sheet. More than one rock will be needed to hold the sheet in place.

Demonstration photo of a Mr. Stacky covered with a sheet. (More than one rock is suggested for holding the sheet in place.)
The best way to protect your pots is to move them, if they are light enough. Placing your pots indoors temporarily or under an overhang can give a bit of protection. However, some of your plantings may be too heavy to move. In this case, protecting them takes a bit of homespun engineering.

If frost or hail, is a worry, old sheets can be lightly placed over the plants in the evening before you go to bed and removed in the morning.  Tie ropes around the planters or use rocks to hold the sheets in place. While this may not protect your plants 100%, it may give you a slight advantage in keeping them alive. However, it is possible that the weight of the sheet may break the tops or branches of plants. Also, be sure not to leave the sheets on top of your plants too long, as they need sunshine to stay happy.

When wind is concern, you might try carefully scooting your planter closer to a house wall or an area that is less breezy. A mover’s trick that might help move something heavy is to place a moving blanket on the ground and push the heavy object onto as much of the blanket as possible. Then, you drag the blanket (with the object resting on it) carefully to your destination.

Too much water on a consistent basis can lead to plant disease. If repeat rains are a problem, make sure your pot is draining properly. If for some reason your pot holds water and the rain has stopped. you can gently tilt the pot to remove some of the water. If rains continue to be an issue, moving the pot under a patio or against the wall of the house may decrease the amount of water intake.

It only takes a small amount of extreme heat to fry delicate plants. During dry heat spells, try watering plants in the morning or temporarily moving them to the shade. When it is really hot, I will actually drench potted plants to give them protection. However, you have to watch them to be sure you’re not drowning your pots.  It’s also not a 100% solution, if the weather and the plant are not designed for one another.

Be sure to post your gardening questions on our Facebook page and I’ll do my best to help you on your growing journey.

Cheryl

Smart Farm Growing Update

Smart Farm

We introduced everyone to starting seeds in the Smart Farm in earlier posts. I thought it might be a good time to show you what the Smart Farm looks like approximately 24 days later. The picture on the right shows the current Smart Farm. Some of what you see is the lettuce that we started from seed, while other things are transplants. Can you find the basil, tomatoes and squash?

In less than a month, we have a gorgeous planter that is filled with green. The maintenance at this point is very easy. I just have to keep the bottom reservoir filled and the pump plugged into the timer. If you’re wondering how much fertilizer that I’ve used, I am still running off the initial small bottle that was sent as  a sample. I initially poured the whole bottle into the reservoir once the seeds sprouted. Although I have added water, I have not added new nutrients. However, it is overdue for a refresher.

What do you think of my Smart Farm?

P.S. The pic to the left is a reminder of how bare it was before the seeds sprouted and other plants were added. What do you think you can grow in one month? If you need help, please write me on our Facebook page. I’m happy to answer your questions and help you grow whatever you dream about.

The picture to the right is the nearly finished product after growth.  Cheryl