Sunday, February 28, 2010

Growing Spring Vegetables

Early spring is the perfect time to plant your peas, spinach, and other salad greens. These vegetables can thrive in cool temperatures and withstand light frosts that are common this time of year. Follow these tips for planting and caring for early spring vegetables.
-Sow seeds into cell packs and grow seedlings.
- Place seedlings in a cold frame to harden off. If you don’t have a cold frame taking the mature transplants them outside during the day and bring them in at night will be just fine.
- Bed preparation: Add compost layer, use a tiller or shovel to turn your soil to lift, fluff, and aerate the soil.
- Transplanting seedlings: Check seed packets for proper spacing and depth.
- Direct sowing techniques: Use a guideline and hand-plant peas.
- Watering: Keep plants and soil moist.
- Row covering is important to help stave off insect and frost damage.

Here are some varieties that do well in Utah.
Shell type: Patriot, Lincoln, Early Frosty, Novella
Edible pod: Little Sweetie, Oregon Sugar Pod.
Snap type: Sugar Snap, Sugar Daddy Stringless.
Leaf type: Red Sails (AAS), Green Ice, Oakleaf,
Butterhead type: Cindy, Buttercrunch, Prizehead
Heading type: Ithaca, Salinas
Skookum Hybrid, Melody Hybrid, Rhubarb, Fordhook Giant, Locullus
Swiss Chard:
Rhubarb, Fordhook Giant, Locullus

Happy planting and enjoy eating your homegrown spring vegetables.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Need the Green

When the weather starts to warm up I get the need for some green. I like to plant wheatgrass for decoration in my home. I plant it in flats, but you can plant it in any type of container. It takes about 7-10 days for a lush green patch. With spring and Easter just around the corner this is an inexpensive and easy way to decorate. It is also fun if you have your kids help and have them learn how seeds grow.

- Hard red wheat grass (You can find this at most nutrition stores in bulk)
- Any container or plastic growing flat will do. It is best to use something with a drain. But if you don’t have a drain you will need to make sure you don’t over water and be sure to dump excess water out of the container.
- Spray bottle for misting seedlings
- Paper towels

How to measure your seed:
1/4-1/3 Cups Dry Grain for a 4-5 inch square Tray.
1-2 Cups dry grain for an 11 inch square Tray.
2-4 Cups dry grain for an 11 inch x 22 inch Tray.

The surest way to measure your way is to spread the dry seed in your tray or container. Make sure the seed is spread evenly and densley.

How - to grow Wheatgrass
1. Spread dry seed on the bottom of the area you want to seed making sure that the seed is spread evenly but densely.
2. Rinse the measured out seed and soak in a bowl for 8-12 hours.
3. After they have soaked rinse again and drain.
4. Lay 2- 3 sheets of paper towel in the bottom of the container or flat.
5. Spray the paper towel until moist.
6. Spread seed evenly but densely on the paper towel. (Cut your paper towel to the size of your container or flat so it sits flat in the container or flat).
7. Keep seeds moist so they don’t dry out. Use a spray bottle to mist the seedlings.
8. When the grass starts to grow and get thick pour water on the inside of the container and then you are not damaging your grass. Make sure you drain the remaining water!
9. When growing your grass, make sure you have good air flow or else you can end up with mold in the roots.

It will take about 7-10 days until you have your own grass patch .

Some fun things to do with your wheat grass are:

- Cut into 3x2 squares for a holder for you place cards for your Easter meals.
- Use as a table runner with spring flowers placed into the grass. (Use real or silk flowers).
- Just grow to eat or juice.
- Cats like to eat it as well.
- I just love to grow it and bring some green inside my house while I am waiting for my lawn to green up.

It is up to you on how you decide to use it.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Closed Terrariums

It may be gray outside, but it's always green with indoor terrariums. You can use any kitchen canisters, glass jars or apothecary jars. It just has to have a lid. The tight-fitting lids capture the condensation the plants require to thrive. Making beautiful terrariums is a prefect way to bring the outside indoors during the winter months.

Tools and Materials
• Container with closing lid
• Plants of your choice
• Charcoal (horticulture or fish)
• Potting soil
• Moss ( sheet, clump, cushion or reindeer)
• Pea size gravel or river rocks for drainage and accents

How to Steps

1. Cover the bottom of a jar with rocks about 1 inch depth. You can use river rocks or pea size gravel for this.
2. Then add 1/4 inch of ground charcoal.
3. Add a layer of potting soil 1-1/2 inches.
4. Now add plants if you want or just lay your moss over the soil.

5. Make surethat any leaves, petals, and stems do not touch the glass once planted.

6. Spritz twice with water, and place the lid on the jar.

Care Tips

The terrarium should retain moisture, so re watering won't be necessary, but you should check the soil periodically to be safe.

Keep terrarium in a spot with diffuse light. If too much much condensation forms, give the terraarium a little less light or remove the top for two hours.