Gardener to Gardener

The Little Bulbs

Fall is bulb planting season, and while many gardeners focus on the showy blooms of tulips and daffodils I have a personal preference for what people call the little bulbs...

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Plan Now for Spring Color

If you want the beauty and joy of colorful tulip and daffodil flowers in your yard next spring, now is the time to start the process....

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Garlic and Shallots: Bulbs for the Edible Garden

Most gardeners know that fall is the time to tuck bulbs like daffodils and tulips in the ground to reap a visual harvest of beautiful blooms the following spring. But did you know that fall is also the time to plant bulbs in the food garden for a delicious edible harvest the following summer? ...

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Vegetable Gardening Q & A

Storing Winter Squash
Q: I grew a bumper crop of winter squash and pumpkins this summer. How can I store them so they will last through the fall?

A: As long as you can give them the storage conditions they need, you ought to be able to enjoy your stored winter squash and pumpkins for at least several months after harvest. First, make sure these vegetables are fully mature when you harvest them, with a rind tough enough that it can't be dented with a fingernail. Next squashes and pumpkins must be cured to dry and harden their shells completely. Choose only the best specimens, with intact rinds and unbroken stems. Place in a warm (75-85 degrees F is ideal), well-ventilated spot for a week or two — perhaps near your furnace or on an enclosed porch. After curing, move to a cool, dark spot (50° F to 60° F), such as an unheated spare room or cool closet. Check the squash and pumpkins periodically and remove any that show signs of rot.

Prolonging the Harvest of Kale, Collards, and Brussels Sprouts
Q: What's the best way to prolong my harvest of frost-tolerant crops such as kale, collards, and Brussels sprouts from my garden?

A: These crops are quite tolerant of the cold, surviving temperatures down to about 20 degrees F, sometimes lower! In fact, their flavor is often sweeter after they have been touched by frost. To extend your harvest even further, cover plants with low tunnels made of heavy-weight row cover fabric stretched over hoops as the weather gets cold. Clear plastic can offer even more cold protection, but you'll need to be ready to ventilate on sunny days to prevent overheating. Or stack bales of straw around the garden bed and set an old storm window or a piece of clear fiberglass over the top of bales to form a temporary cold frame, shifting the cover as needed to vent on sunny days and adding an extra covering of tarps or old blankets on especially cold nights. Catalog

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