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Gardening Tips

Peanut Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
Row Spacing:30”-36”
Plant Spacing:6”-12”
Days to Germination:3-10 days
Germination Temperature:65°-75°F

Peanuts are usually thought of as a southern crop, but they can be grown in other areas of the country, too! In cooler climates, start seeds indoors, 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost date, and then plant them outdoors 2 to 3 weeks after the last frost date. In warmer climates, direct-sow seeds two to three weeks after the last frost date, around the same time as Bush Beans, to which Peanuts are related. To sow, remove the peanuts from their shells carefully, taking care to leave their red skins intact. Sow seeds 1-2 inches deep and 8 inches apart. Seedlings can take more than a week to germinate and grow slowly at first, but they will take off after the roots have had time to establish themselves. The plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall and wide and prefer full sun and loose, fertile, well-draining soil—if your soil is heavy, add compost and dig it in deeply before planting. The seedlings and young plants are prone to fertilizer burn, so if you do fertilize, either apply organic fertilizer to the soil well before planting or wait until the plants are a bit more mature. Peanuts are legumes, so they fix nitrogen in the soil, feeding themselves and improving the soil for future crops, which makes Peanuts a welcome addition to a crop rotation schedule. The way the peanuts form is fascinating. First, yellow pea-like flowers form low on the plant. Each self-fertilized flower then sends a stem, or peg, down to the ground, where it burrows down and forms a peanut pod below the surface of the soil. When plants begin to flower, gently scratch up the soil below them to make it easier for the pegs to penetrate. Calcium is important to the formation of the Peanuts. If your soil is low in Calcium, amend the soil with gypsum as the plants begin to bloom. As the plants grow, weed carefully, taking special care to not disturb the pegs. Add straw mulch to suppress weeds if necessary. Water regularly and deeply, tapering off at the end of the season. Before the first frost, when the leaves have yellowed, gently fork the entire plant out of the soil, peanuts attached. Hang the plants to dry in a protected spot for 1 to 2 weeks before removing the peanuts.
Pumpkin Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
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.

Snacking Sunflower Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
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.
Sweet Corn Sowing Instructions
Planting Depth
: 1"-1 1⁄2"
Row Spacing: 24"-30”
Seed Spacing: 3"-4”
Days to Germination: 4-14 days
Germination Temperature: 60°-80°F

Direct-sow Corn when the soil is reliably warm, above 60°F, well after the last spring frost date. Prepare a well-draining area with rich soil in full sunlight. Amend the soil as necessary with organic fertilizer, compost and/or well-rotted manure. Corn is pollinated by the wind, so grow a minimum of 4 rows, even if they are short rows, to ensure good pollination. If the weather gets wet and cold, you might want to re-seed just to be safe since Corn has a long maturation cycle. After thinning to 10" to 12" between the plants, water regularly and mulch with hay or straw to deter weeds and retain ground moisture. Corn is particularly hungry for nitrogen: feed regularly as needed.Harvest when the silk begins to turn brown and a kernel, pinched with your fingernail, releases its sweet,milky liquid.Harvest shortly before cooking by holding the stalk and twisting the ears off at their bases.

Note: Try growing Corn in the ancient “Three Sisters”method: in hills spaced 5' apart, sow 3 seeds in the center of each hill. Sow 6 Pole Bean seeds adjacent to the Corn seeds and then sow Pumpkin or Winter Squash seed in the valleys between the hills. The Beans will scramble up the Corn and the Squash will ramble on the ground, creating a living mulch.

Winning the Corn Olympics
Corn is easily grown by sowing it directly into the ground. This is the simplest, most logical way to grow Corn. But if you're in a race to be the first in your neighborhood with Sweet Corn, try this trick. Since Corn needs a much warmer temperature to germinate than it does to grow, start the seeds indoors and then transplant them into the garden the minute you see the Sprouts emerge. This must be done immediately, since the little seedlings grow quickly and can easily become potbound.

Space Saver
In July or August, after the Corn crop is well on its way toward harvest time, set out some Broccoli transplants in between the rows. The shade cast by the cornstalks will help keep the Broccoli from going to seed in hot weather. After the Corn has been picked, cut the stalks down and turn the space over to the Broccoli, which will bear a nice fall crop. A Bean crop would work also, but choose a bush variety. Vining Beans will climb all over the Corn plants and fell them like timber.

Cooking Tip: Uncanny Creamed Corn
Why do most people think creamed Corn always comes in a can? You’ll never touch that sweet, gummy stuff again after you’ve tried creaming fresh Corn. Just cut the kernels off the cob and simmer them in cream until the kernels are cooked and the cream has reduced and thickened. No sugar needed!