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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
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.
Rutabaga Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Row Spacing:15”-20”
Seed Spacing:2”-3”
Days to Germination:7-10 days
Germination Temperature:45°-75°F

A cool weather root vegetable, Rutabagas are much like giant Turnips with distinctive, leafy necks and smooth, waxy leaves. In mid-summer, about 3 months before the first fall frost, deeply dig a rich, well-draining bed in full sunlight. Amend well with compost and/or well-rotted manure. Sow seeds 1⁄2" deep and 2" to 3" apart. Keep the seed bed moist while germinating. Once the seedlings are 3" tall, thin to 6" to 8" apart. Keep well watered, cultivated and mulched to deter weeds and retain ground moisture: Rutabagas don’t like competition. Once the purple-shouldered, golden roots reach the size of softballs or before a severe frost, harvest by removing the entire plant; cut off tops within 1" of the crown and store. Rutabagas can be stored for long periods in a cool, humid place. A member of the Brassica family, Rutabagas should not be grown in the same site as other Brassicas for 4 years.

Deer Resistant Seed Varieties

Tips for Harvesting and Storing Root Vegetables
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.

Snacking Sunflower Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/2”
Row Spacing:4”-5”
Plant Spacing:12”-24”
Days to Germination: 7-14 days
Germination Temperature:65°-85°F

Helianthus annuus. Easy to grow in full sunlight, Sunflowers should be sown in well-draining, loamy soil after the danger of frost has passed. Plant the seeds 1⁄2" deep and keep the seedbed uniformly moist until the seedlings emerge, about 10 days after sowing. Weed carefully and keep well-watered until established. You may also start Sunflowers indoors 3 weeks before the last frost date. Plant seeds 1⁄2" deep in pots of seed-starting mix at 65° to 85°F. Provide even moisture, strong light and good ventilation. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, thin or transplant them 12" to 24" apart in the garden. To harvest for snacking, wait until the seeds are plump and beginning to loosen from the head. Cut the flower from the stem and then rub the seeds from the head with your fingers. Roast the seeds at 300°F, checking every 10 minutes or so until perfect.
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
Turnip Greens Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Row Spacing:12”
Seed Spacing:1”
Days to Germination:4-14 days
Germination Temperature:45°-80°F

Turnips prefer cool weather, so direct sow in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked and/or in the summer for fall harvest. For smaller Turnips, thin seedlings to 3" apart. For larger Turnips, thin seedlings to about 6" apart. Choose a well-draining, sunny site which is moderately fertile. Dig the soil deeply to a depth of 6" to 8" and add moderate amounts of compost and/or well-rotted manure. Do not overdo nitrogen fertilizer, as this will result in excessive green top growth and no Turnips! Water regularly and fertilize as needed with kelp, fish emulsion or manure tea. Harvest when golf-ball size for immediate use or harvest larger for winter storage. The greens are delicious steamed and dressed with butter or olive oil. Turnips belong to the Brassica family and should not be grown in the same site as other Brassicas for 4 years.

Gardening Tips: 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.
Turnips Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/4”-1/2”
Row Spacing:12”
Seed Spacing:1”
Days to Germination:4-14 days
Germination Temperature:45°-80°F

Turnips prefer cool weather, so direct sow in the spring as soon as the soil can be worked and/or in the summer for fall harvest. For smaller Turnips, thin seedlings to 3" apart. For larger Turnips, thin seedlings to about 6" apart. Choose a well-draining, sunny site which is moderately fertile. Dig the soil deeply to a depth of 6" to 8" and add moderate amounts of compost and/or well-rotted manure. Do not overdo nitrogen fertilizer, as this will result in excessive green top growth and no Turnips! Water regularly and fertilize as needed with kelp, fish emulsion or manure tea. Harvest when golf-ball size for immediate use or harvest larger for winter storage. The greens are delicious steamed and dressed with butter or olive oil. Turnips belong to the Brassica family and should not be grown in the same site as other Brassicas for 4 years.

Double Duty
The best thing about Turnips is that they are two crops in one. Both the roots and the tops are tasty and nutritious, so you're doubling the return from your garden space. We particularly love Turnips when they are golf ball sized and so sweet and mild that you'd barely call their flavor a "Turnip taste". Leave a half inch of the greens on the roots, then cook them in a tightly covered skillet or saucepan over low to medium heat with butter: nothing else! Turnips contain so much moisture when young that they'll steam in their own juices. Shake the pan from time to time to keep them from sticking: it's OK if they get slightly golden and caramelized. Cook for just a few minutes, while they still have a bit of crunch. Tender young Turnip greens are delicious chopped coarsely, steamed, then dressed with butter or oil. Or, you can use them as a bed on which to set pork chops or sausages, letting the meat juices ooze down to flavor the greens.

Northern Star
It's always enlightening to find out where our common vegetables hail from. For example, the fact that turnips are native to Siberia and other reaches of the far north tells you something important about their needs. Plant them as early as possible in spring to get a few quick crops in before summer's heat, then sow them in cold frames for winter munching. The cold just makes them crisper and sweeter. Even the greens are tastier when the weather is chilly.

Right Time, Right Place
Nothing beats a fall crop of tender baby Turnips, sweetened by crisp cool nights. The best way to grow them is to plant in a bed where you have just pulled out your summer Onions. During the first half of the twentieth century, the University of Rhode Island did extensive studies on crop rotations such as this one. Among the findings: proof that Turnips and other brassicas do best following an Onion crop.
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

There are many commercial sprouters out there, but the old jar method works just fine. You can fit mason jars with a special screen or simply use cheese cloth stretched and held in place over the jar mouth with an elastic. Measure out the appropriate amount of seed to sprout (if you have a sprouter, follow the directions that came with it. If using the jar method, add enough seed to just cover the bottom of the jar). Clean, cull (throw out non seeds) and rinse seeds with tepid water before soaking. To soak, add tepid, non-chlorinated water, (3 parts water to 1 part seed) and let soak for the appropriate amount of time for the seed you are sprouting. Discard any non-seed material that floats up. After soaking, drain out the water: the seed should be damp but not wet. Put the jar out of direct sunlight, which could cook the seeds. Every 8 to 12 hours add enough water to cover the seeds and swish around to get all the seeds wet. Drain the water out, leaving the seeds damp but not wet. All sprouts need good air circulation, and a consistent 70°F temperature for optimum sprouting: cooler temps retard sprouting and warmer temps push too hard. Most sprouting seeds do not need light in the early sprouting stages but for the last two days before sprout use they should have some diffused light so they can green up a bit. Check each variety for the approximate days to harvest.

For the final rinsing, fill the entire sprouting container with water. Most of the Sprouts will shed their hulls or seed coats during this final rinsing for skimming off. Thoroughly drain the sprouts for 6 to 8 hours prior to refrigerating them. Store Sprouts dry-to-the-touch in airtight containers. Sterilize your sprouter between crops: mix a capful of bleach to a pint of water, soak for 15 to 20 minutes, scrub well and rinse thoroughly!

Countertop Sprouts Gardening
Direct-Sow Basics

Salad Greens Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
:1/8”-1/4”
Row Spacing:12”-18”
Seed Spacing:2””
Days to Germination: 5-14 days
Germination Temperature:45°-70°F

Salad Greens yield the tastiest and most tender leaves when grown quickly in cool weather. Sow directly as soon as the soil may be worked in the spring and/or in the fall, about 6 weeks before the first fall frost. Follow the spacing on the chart above or broadcast seed in a well-dug bed in moderately fertile soil amended with compost and/or well-rotted manure. A light sprinkling of soil over the seed is sufficient, tamp down lightly and water well. For larger plants, thin seedlings to 10" to 12" apart. To harvest in the “cut and come again” method, you don’t need to thin them out. Just give them a haircut when they are 3" to 4" tall. Weed scrupulously and keep soil evenly moist. Feed with kelp or fish emulsion. Make successive sowings at 2 week intervals until hot summer weather sets in for a steady crop. Hot weather causes bolting and a bitter taste!

Shade Tolerance

Cooking Tip: Flavor Enhancer
We eat salad nearly every day in our house, so I¹m always looking for a way to vary the mix and give it some zing. I often turn to Sorrel, a perennial crop that is always in leaf--even in winter if I give it the protection of a cold frame or greenhouse. I pick a small handful of leaves, then make a “chiffonade” by stacking them in a neat pile, then slicing them thinly into ribbons with a sharp knife. Instant lemony tang!

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