Wednesday, 21 August 2013

What to Do Now?

Is nearing the end of August, and folks are wondering what to plant now?

Herbs to plant now....

Cool season herbs can be planted from seed now..
Please keep in mind that as you seed, you must also keep the soil damp. If you do not, the seeds will either wither and die, or then they will sprout, only to then wither and die.

- dill
- chives
- parsley
- cilantro

Vegetables to plant now from seed....

Please make sure that you are purchasing seed for winter or fall vegetables, not summer/spring ones... as they will not perform as well. Shops should actually not sell the wrong seed at this time of year, is not ethical, but read the packaging, because every so often, some shops will...

-  Cabbage ( Look for Danish Ballhead, Ermosa, January King)
-  Carrots ( Scarlet Nantes, Bolero)
-  Lettuce ( Winter Density, Rouge D'Hiver, Continuity)
-  Peas
-  Radishes
-  Onions (Walla Walla)

Veggies from transplants ...
-  Sprouting broccoli
-  Cauliflower
-  Cabbage
-  Kale

Flower seeds to sow now for next year ....

- Sweet Peas (Lathyrus)
- Columbines (Aquilegia)
- Coneflowers (Echinacea)
- Lavender
- Catmint (Nepeta)
- Hollyhocks ( Alcea)
- Poppies
- Violas and Pansies
- Calendula
- Anise Hyssop ( Agastache)


Other garden tasks to do now...

- Trim your lavender after blooms are spent. Cut only the spent blooms and trim up about an inch or so of the green and soft tips. Do not cut into the woody bits as it may not recover from such a harsh pruning.

- Clean up strawberry plants as they finish fruiting.
Remove runners or pot up the daughter plants if you want to start a new row or two of strawberries. Simply press the small daughter plant into the soil-less potting mix in the pot. Leave runner attached to the mother plant. After the daughter has rooted in, remove the runner and save the potted berries for planting in baskets or beds next year, or plant now into a new bed, new row in your garden.
Remove all dead leaves, finished berries and stems.
Side dress with compost or manure.

- Pinch out the tops of your tomato plants to promote ripening of the remaining fruits.

- Continue to feed your tomato plants with seaweed or kelp.

- Pick your fresh herbs, either hang to dry in a shaded location or freeze in ice cube trays, etc...

- Water your summer and winter squashes well as they are fruiting and growing. Harvest your summer squash ( zucchini ) when they are small and tender. They can be picked, washed, chopped and frozen for later use if they are ripening faster than you can eat them ; )

- Winter squash such as pumpkins, butternuts, Hubbard's, spaghetti's, etc.. will need a month or two yet till they are ripe. They will ready to eat when they are deep in colour and the skin is hard. You can begin to harvest some younger ones with good colour for immediate eating, however, leave the majority on the vine till the skin is hard ( when you push your thumb nail into it, it does not puncture very easily) else they will rot and not store well.

- Your Hallowee'en jack-o-lantern pumpkin needs to colour up more and have a hard skin, too. If you pick it too soon, it will rot and will not make it till Hallowe'en. Leave on the vine till deep in colour and you feel resistance when you push your thumbnail into it. If it pushes thru easily, then it is not ripe and needs more time.

Greek Oregano

Thursday, 8 August 2013

August Ramblings in The Potager


Wow, things are really rocking in the potager... wish I had planted more goodies this year ; )

By the time September Ramblings rolls along, we will have moved into our new digs, with no gardens (yet!) but a whole lot of potential. Stay tuned for all the building of the new potager and perennial rose bed, plus the set up of the new and improved Nitty Gritty Greenhouse and shop.

This year, I am cleaning up the beds here earlier than I would otherwise, in order to have them ship shape for the new peeps. They could probably benefit from some cover crops, however, will have to hope that they are into that kind of thing. Feel like it is not really my place to seed them, lol, as I will not be here to turn them over.

That said... here's some glimpses of the early August garden beds...

Oh, and a whole lot of artichoke pics ; )

Artichokes just about to 'flower'
Artichokes in flower : )
Humming with bees!
They simply love to burrow into the bottom of the 'blossom'!

Purple Dragon carrots have a hint of purple to the blossoms.
Are very, very pretty!
Save the seeds for your own Purple Dragon carrots.
 Chantenay Carrots.... one of my favourites.

Pretty sure that these are the prettiest tomatoes that I have ever grown!
This old Italian heirloom tomato is Grappoli D'Iverno
What to plant from seed this month ...
- greens such as arugula, lettuce, spinach ...
- scallions
- cilantro, dill
- radishes
- turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi
- carrots
- winter onions (Walla Walla's are great!)
- peas! Plant your fall crop of peas now. To aid with the germination, start indoors on wet paper towel, or in a saucer of water for 24 hours.

From Transplants ...
- cauliflower
- Brussels sprouts
- broccoli
- cabbage
- onions
- kale

Feed your veggies!
Feed your veggies with a side dressing of compost or manure.
You can also use blood meal around the heavy feeders like onions.
Feed your tomatoes, roses, cukes, etc.. with a foliar spray of compost tea or liquid seaweed once a week. I also water with alfalfa tea once a week, you can do the same with compost or manure tea.
Keep beds well weeded so your veggies are not competing for water with the weeds.
Water most veggies deeply once a week, tomatoes and cucumbers will need more watering unless you have them heavily mulched to retain moisture.
If aphids are a problems, spray with a strong jet of water each time you water your garden. This should remove the problem. If you still have an issue, spray with insecticidal soap.
Do not worry about the ants that are on your plants, hanging around with the aphids. They are not harming your plants. However, they are doing their best to keep the aphids there, farming them for the nectar that they produce. Therefore, once you get rid of the aphids, your ants will also leave.

  Dill ... Wow, nothing lovelier!
Making tons of homemade crock pickles this year, and the dill makes it extra fabulous.
Garlic, all cleaned up and ready to go...
Onions, had to be pulled early to cure ...
As,  I do not want to leave the new peeps with lots to deal with in the garden beds!
Regarding Onions ...
You should be side dressing your onions with blood meal or rich compost, if the tops are still nice and straight. This will help your onions size up well. Also water well about once or twice a week.
If your onion tops are starting to yellow or brown and fold over, you should push over the other tops, too, so that they are all ripening at the same time.
Push the tops down but leave the onions in the ground for another week or two ...
Then pull the onions from the soil, they should loosen easily. Place them in a shaded area to cure, I use my carport. It has great airflow and yet is shady. Leave to cure for several weeks.
If any of the onions have 'bull necks' aka really thick necks, they will not cure or keep well, so use those up first. 
The Red Russian garlic is amazing this year.
One of my favourites to grow.
The ever bearing Seascape strawberries are just beginning to size up and colour up...

This is a good time to take your strawberry runners and place them where you want them to root in,
or put a small pot under them if you want to pot them up to plant elsewhere.
Strawberry beds should be re-planted every 3 years to keep getting nice, big, juicy berries.
As the plants get older than that, you will get deformed fruit, small in size, not so sweet or tasty any longer.  

The new puppy, our latest addition to the Nitty Gritty family, is baby Ruby Tuesday
Ruby has decided that she adores strawberries...
Here she is picking her own berries for the very first time... trying to get a red one!

Ruffles Victorian Pansies!

Moving Thyme

Sadly, the Nitty Gritty Potager blog is no more... but the good news is that I can now be found at my new blog called the Olde Thyme F...