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  • Sowing Method: Direct
  • Plant Type: Vegetable

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Gardening Tips

Diakon Radish Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Row Spacing:8”
Seed Spacing:1/2”-3/4”
Days to Germination: 3-7 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-85°F

After the danger of hard frost has passed, direct sow Daikon Radish seed in moderately fertile, well draining soil in full sunlight. If necessary, amend the soil lightly with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well-rotted manure: overly rich soil may result in too much top growth and not enough Radish. They prefer sunny, cool weather. Direct-sow 1⁄4" deep in rows about 8" apart, tamp down and water lightly. The key to growing crisp, mild Daikon Radishes is to keep them well watered and thinned to 1" to 2" apart once they are 2" tall. Radish thinnings may be tossed into salads – tops and all. Harvest Daikon Radishes when they are small and tender for the mildest flavor and most crispy texture. Pull each Daikon Radish gently out of the soil. Direct-sow every 7 to 14 days for a steady supply through the summer.

Shade Tolerance
Pumpkin Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1”
Row Spacing:5’
Hill Spacing:5’-6’
Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature: 65°-75°F

Pumpkins need space to ramble, as well as a hot growing site in full sunlight. They may be started outdoors shortly after the last frost. Direct-sow 3 to 5 seeds per hill, then thin to the 2 strongest seedlings. To start seedlings indoors, sow singly in pots 3 to 4 weeks before transplant date. Provide seedlings with good ventilation, strong light and even moisture. Transplant outdoors after the last frost date. Enrich soil with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well rotted manure. Cover seedlings with cloches if it gets cool, water regularly and feed as needed with kelp or fish emulsion. (Powdery mildew on leaves won’t affect the pumpkins.) Harvest when mature with a sharp knife, leaving 2" of stem at the top. To cure Pumpkins, if there is no danger of frost, leave outdoors in the sun for 10 days or place in a warm, dry room for 5 to 7 days. Store in a cool, dry place until use.

Our Pollinators are in Peril

Tips for Harvesting and Storing Pumpkins and Winter Squash

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

Cooking Tip:
The Frost Is on the Pumpkin

We’d be happy just to grow Rouge d'Étampes Pumpkins for their beauty alone, but they also make heavenly, velvety soups. Since they often grow quite large, we cut them up into large chunks, blanch briefly in boiling water, then wrap the chunks individually in foil and put them in the freezer for a winter-long supply.

Radish Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”
Row Spacing:8”
Seed Spacing:1/2”-3/4”
Days to Germination: 3-7 days
Germination Temperature: 45°-85°F

After the danger of hard frost has passed, direct sow Radish seed in moderately fertile, well-draining soil in full sunlight. If necessary, amend the soil lightly with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well rotted manure: Overly rich soil may result in too much top growth and not enough Radish. They prefer sunny, cool weather. Direct-sow 1⁄4" deep in rows about 8" apart, tamp down and water lightly. The key to growing crisp, mild Radishes is to keep them well-watered and thinned to 1" to 2" apart once they are 2" tall. Radish thinnings may be tossed into salads~tops and all. Harvest Radishes when they are small and tender for the mildest flavor and most crispy texture. Pull each Radish gently out of the soil. Direct-sow every 7 to 14 days for a steady supply throughout the summer.

Kids and Radishes
Radishes are often suggested as a crop for children because the roots are so quick to mature. Dropping the seeds into the rows and then waiting for them to come up is a great introduction to gardening. It teaches children patience without taxing it too greatly. Thinning the little seedlings after a few weeks is fun too, because they can see the tiny red Radish just starting to form. At harvest time, they're proud of their contribution to the family salad, even if the taste of Radishes might be a bit hot for them. Making it an early spring project will ensure sweeter, less pungent roots. And you'll share in their discovery of the miracle of nature: a miracle that has the power to enthrall at any age.

Shade Tolerance

Cooking Tip: Cooking With Radishes
Red radishes are usually eaten raw, to preserve their color and crispness. But I love to use them in cooked dishes as well. The trick is adding them toward the end of the cooking process. I toss in a handful of sliced Radishes when I’m stir-frying vegetables. I also love the bright color they give to fried rice.
Salsify Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”-3/4”
Row Spacing:4”-5”
Seed Spacing:1”
Days to Germination:14-21 days
Germination Temperature:45°-85°F

Tragopogon porrifolius, the Oyster Plant. Salsify can be slow to sprout, so order fresh seed each year. As soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, soak the seeds for 24 hours in lukewarm water to assist germination. Sow directly into a well-draining, deeply dug bed in full to partial sunlight. Sow thickly and evenly, cover well and tamp down firmly. Keep the seed bed evenly moist until germination. Once the seedlings are 2" tall, thin them out to 4" apart. Mulch to deter weeds and retain ground moisture. Salsify produces flat, narrow green leaves and pale-skinned thin roots, often forked, with scraggly little rootlets. After the first hard frost, gently work them free of the soil and store in a cool, dry spot until use. You may also leave them in the ground to harvest up until the ground freezes, or overwinter them for an early spring treat.

Spinach Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Row Spacing:12”-18”
Seed Spacing:1/2”
Days to Germination:10-14 days
Germination Temperature:45°-85°F

Vitamin-rich Spinach likes it cool, so you may direct-sow in the spring as soon as you can work the soil. You may also sow in the late summer or early fall for fall and early winter harvest. Spinach thrives in rich soil, so amend beds with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well-rotted manure as needed. Keep soil evenly moist. When seedlings are 2" tall, thin to 4" to 5" apart. (Thinnings are great tossed into salads.) If you plant Spinach in warm weather, sow seeds deeper and in partial shade with frequent watering to help it avoid bolting. In cool climates, direct-sow Spinach seed every 2 to 3 weeks for constant harvest. To harvest, either use a few outer leaves from each plant or cut the plant off at the base, after which the plants will likely regrow a second crop of leaves. Make sure to wash thoroughly in cool water before use. Pat dry.

Cool Weather Spinach
Summer gardeners miss out on the three seasons in which this tasty, nutritious green truly thrives. For fall Spinach, wait until cool weather is just starting to settle in, but there are still enough frost-free days to bring the crop to maturity. For winter Spinach, just protect it with a cold frame or--if your climate is mild--a layer of straw. The outer leaves may look beat-up in the dead of winter, but fresh new growth will continually appear at the center. For spring Spinach, you can keep on harvesting these wintered-over plants, or start new ones from seed as soon as the soil can be worked. Another trick is to sow a late fall crop that will germinate just before the ground freezes up, then overwinter the young seedlings. (In cold climates, protect them with a cold frame.) They’ll start to grow as soon as spring arrives!

Hail to the Hardy Greens
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as Spinach, Arugula, Claytonia and Mâche, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and Endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.

Kale, Collards and Brussels Sprouts fare better if grown to full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.

Shade Tolerance
Winter Squash Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1”
Row Spacing:5’
Hill Spacing:5’-6’
Days to Germination: 5-10 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Winter Squash needs space to ramble as well as a hot growing site in full sunlight. They may be started after the last frost when the temperature is a reliable 60°F. Direct-sow 3 to 5 seeds per hill, then thin to the 2 strongest seedlings. To start indoors for transplanting, sow singly in pots 3 to 4 weeks before the transplant date. Provide seedlings with good ventilation, strong light and even moisture. Transplant outdoors after the last frost date. Enrich soil with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well-rotted manure. Cover seedlings with cloches if it gets cool, water regularly and feed as needed with kelp or fish emulsion. Powdery mildew on leaves won’t affect the squash. Harvest with a sharp knife when skin is hard and fruits are fully colored. As long as there is no danger of frost, you may cure squash outdoors in the sun for 10 days. Or, you may place them in a warm, dry room for 5 to 7 days to cure.

Our Pollinators are in Peril

Patience Pays Off
I’m always in a hurry to get my Winter Squash growing, and have often started them ahead indoors. But I find that the plants really dislike being transplanted, especially into chilly spring soil. I find it works best to sow directly. If your growing season is short, it helps to warm up the soil with black plastic sheets instead, cutting an X wherever a Squash plant will go.

Squash as a Groundcover
Here's a trick that saves space, keeps down weeds and deters critters, all at the same time. Plant Winter Squash along the edge of the garden and train the vines outward, through the fence. The vines will soon blanket the area just outside, shading weeds out; the leaves make a prickly carpet that some animals prefer not to walk on.

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

Tips for Harvesting and Storing Pumpkins and Winter Squash