2014 Fall Planting

Garden Tools SGIt’s a little difficult for me to think about the fall planting when I’m sweating my patooty off in the garden in 90 degree heat! In fact, the whole fall planting thing sneaked up on me right before I left on vacation when I realized I hadn’t yet mapped out my fall garden plan.

The fall planting plan is the most difficult for me because here we have so many summer veggies still growing while fall crops are being planted. I have to determine which crops stay planted through first frost (the week before Thanksgiving) and which will be “done” or sacrificed to make room for the fall crops. Also, fall crops are planted at varying dates from August to November, adding another wrinkle in the process. Granted, having 21 raised beds makes the job easier, but I still have to put my thinking cap on and play with my garden map. Well, I can now say the plan is complete, and I’m ready to share with you what I’ll be planting for my fall crops. 2014 Fall Planting!

Sanctuary Spotlight: How to Grow Purslane

Spotlight on Purslane pic

When I was browsing my seed catalogs this past January, I was looking for some greens that I could grow in the heat of summer. I found two varieties of purslane in the catalog from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Because I’d heard purslane was good for you, I ordered both varieties. Little did I know just how good it is for you and how awesome it tastes. How to grow purslane!

Sanctuary Spotlight: How to Grow Corn

Anasazi corn in one of my raised beds

Anasazi corn in one of my raised beds

When most people think about growing corn, they picture large farms in the U.S. Midwest with acres of corn being harvested by large combines. Yet, growing this crop is not outside the realm of the urban farmer or backyard gardener. You can grow enough corn for your family in a raised bed in your garden with ease. How to grow corn!

The Good Idea that Wasn’t

The Good Idea that Wasn't PicDuring this week’s garden update, I mentioned how hard I had worked in the garden last weekend, but all I got accomplished was preparing the raised beds (and still have four more to do). Twelve hours of labor on five beds! What was I doing and why did it take me so long?

The good idea that wasn’t!

2014 Spring Planting

Garden Tools SG

Here in Zone 8, spring planting begins the last week of March. That’s only a week away!! My seedlings in the grow room got a late start (see Germination Failure), so they won’t be ready to plant outside next week. But that’s okay as I have so many other things to plant. And with working full time, there’s no way I could plant over 750 square feet of garden in one weekend! This year is definitely going to be a staggered planting. As I did for the winter planting, I’ll share with you what I’m planting with links to where you can get the seed. 2014 Spring Planting!

Sanctuary Spotlight: How to Grow Elderberry

Black Elderberry fruit via publicphoto.org SG

Normally, when I spotlight a fruit or vegetable, it’s one I have grown. Today’s spotlight is a little different in that I have not grown this wonderful fruit – yet. However, I just ordered two shrubs from Jung Seed (along with my new batch of raspberry canes to replace the ones I lost to disease last year). I’m very excited about growing these fruits as they are extremely nutritious and are used in medicinal treatments. Of course, in preparation for the arrival of my order, I did quite a bit of research on how to plant them, grow them, and harvest them. I figured, why not share the information with you now and give you time to order and plant elderberry shrubs for yourself? How to grow elderberry!

New Grow Lights and Spring Seeds Started

New grow lights hung on my germination station

New grow lights hung on my germination station

Last year, my beau and I created this germination station for my spring seedlings. I used CFL grow lights, but I found they had two problems. One, they didn’t put out enough light, and my seedlings were leggy. Two, I recently learned that they can catch fire when they burn out! So, I decided to order a 4 ft x 2 ft grow light fixture that contains eight 54 watt T5 bulbs (6400K each). We immediately hung the unit on my germination station and voila! Great light over the entire heating mat (and trays), and it’s adjustable for when the seedlings grow.

This past weekend, I planted my tomato, pepper, and eggplant seeds. This year, I also planted my squash and some melons, hoping that the transplants will be more resistant to the dreaded squash vine borer and actually survive to give me a crop. What I planted!

2014 Planting Calendar for Zone 8

Seed packets SG

It’s a new year on the calendar, and that means a fresh start in the garden. The seed catalogs are arriving in everyone’s mailboxes, and I received my seed orders today. I’m so excited! Seed packets spread everywhere ~ it’s like garden porn! What an exciting time of year. Last year’s garden is in the log book, and this year’s garden beckons with the possibility of new life. In the garden, there’s always another chance to plant a new seed, grow a new plant, or try a new technique. More!

How to Plant Asparagus

When I bought my apple trees and grape vines last month, I added a new kind of asparagus to my nursery order – Purple Passion asparagus. It’s a purple variety that is supposed to taste sweeter than the green variety I already have planted. Well, I love my Mary Washington (green) asparagus, so I can’t wait to try the Purple Passion. In the beginning of this year, I posted an article, Sanctuary Spotlight on Asparagus, giving information on the plant, recipes, and a slide show of asparagus growth. I did include information in that post on planting asparagus (along with a hand-drawn diagram), but I wanted to dedicate an entire post on how I planted asparagus and include actual photographs of the planting. Join me as I plant my Purple Passion Asparagus!

I Planted a Vineyard!

Yes, I planted a vineyard! Well, sort of. I’m not exactly going to make bottles of wine, but I did plant three grape vines on my homestead the week before Thanksgiving. That’s a mini vineyard to me. I had ordered the grapes along with two apple trees from Stark Brothers Nursery. (See The Orchard is Growing! to see how I planted my apple trees.) I wanted red, white, and blue (purple) grapes, and the nursery had a great package of seedless grapes that would grow in my climate (zone 8). I received one Reliance grape vine (red), one Marquis grape vine (white), and one Concord grape vine (blue).

(Above photo credit: http://www.commons.wikimedia.org)
The planting of my vineyard!