Wednesday, February 28, 2007

American Daffodil Society

Looking for information on the spring flowering daffodil?You can get all the information you need from the american daffodil society.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Basic Cucumber Growing Tips

Basic Cucumber Growing Tips

Cucumbers are a subtropical plant and require full sun. Cucumbers also require a decent amount of growing space in your garden, so you’ll need to take this into account. If you’re short on space, vertical structures such as trellises can help make up for limited space in your garden. There are also a number of dwarf varieties if you’d like to grow your cucumbers in containers.

Cucumbers are happiest when the average temperatures are around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant your cucumbers in the late spring or early summer when there is no risk of frost. Even a light frost can kill your plants.

In general, cucumbers are not picky about soils. However, make sure your soil is well-draining and has a pH of around 6.5. Add plenty of organic compost to your garden soil before you grow cucumbers. This will ensure that they have the proper nutrients to grow strong and healthy. Additionally, your soil will have the proper drainage to let your plants thrive when you add compost. Adding organic compost is really one of the best ways to improve both soil drainage and balance soil pH.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

Pole Beans

Pole Beans
How To Grow Pole Beans
Pole beans are among the few vegetables that add a sense of height to the garden. Pole beans can climb up stakes or fence supports, or even scale corn stalks. If growing space is limited, pole beans are the answer. While pole beans are planted later than snap beans, pole beans yield over a longer period of time and frequent picking encourages more production. Pole beans rarely need any assistance once they've started.

Light: Full Sun
Soil: Well-drained, deep sandy loam
Fertility: Medium-rich
pH: 6.0-7.0
Soil Temperature (°F): 60-65
Moisture: Average
Maturity in days: 65-80

Planting Pole Beans:
Plant pole beans 2” deep on slight hills around poles or teepees spaced at 16” apart. Grow 4-8 seeds on each hill. Space pole beans 3” apart if growing on a fence. Sow after all danger of frost is over and the soil is warm, 18°C (65°F).

Growing Pole Beans:
Pole beans prefer an area with full sun and a rich, deeply worked soil with a pH level of 6.5. Pole beans are light feeders. The poles, teepees or a trellis should be erected after 2-4 leaves have developed. Hoe to kill weeds. A mulch of compost, or straw is beneficial to control weeds and hold moisture. Keep the plants well watered in dry weather, especially if they are grown on an upright trellis or poles against a shed or house where soil tends to dry out.

Harvesting Pole Beans:
Pick young, full size pods when smooth and crisp. Pole beans pods are over mature once the beans start to form. Harvest pole beans regularly for a constant supply. Scarlet Runner Pole beans will produce abundant, gorgeous red flowers if the beans are continually picked.

Pole Bean Companions:
Pole beans do well with carrot, corn, chard, pea, potato, eggplant. Avoid cabbage & onion family.

Sowing Rate:
Seed Suppliers vary - check seed package from your supplier or their website.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Growing Tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes
It would be hard to imagine any home garden that did not have at least a few tomato plants. Tomatoes are considered by many to be the most prized vegetable in the garden. There is also plenty of discussion among fellow gardeners as to the best varieties and method of growing each type. This publication will discuss the basics of growing tomatoes successfully, as well as avoiding common problems encountered by the home gardener.


Friday, February 23, 2007

The Frugal Gardener

The Frugal Gardener
By Rachel Paxton

Gardening can be expensive, and for those on a tight budget, garden projects may fall way to the bottom of your list of spending priorities. I love spending time at home in our yard. Though we have never been able to spend the kind of money I'd like on landscaping, over the years I've learned creative ways of making a little bit of money go a long ways.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Garlic Production For The Gardener

Garlic Production for the Gardener.

Garlic (Allium sativum) is a hardy perennial member of the onion family. Garlic is probably native to Central Asia but has long been naturalized in southern Europe and throughout the world.

Garlic (Allium sativum) differs from the onion (Allium cepa), producing a number of small bulbs called cloves rather than one large bulb. Each bulb contains a dozen or more cloves covered with a thin white skin. Each clove is made of two modified mature leaves around an axis with a vegetative growing point. The outer leaf is a dry sheath, while the base of the inner leaf is thickened, making up the bulk of the clove. The larger outer cloves produce the best garlic. Garlic has flat leaves rather than the round hollow leaves of the onion. Garlic is used largely as a condiment and as flavoring in gravies, tomato sauces, soups, stews, pickles, salads, salad dressing and breads. Many cooks find it indispensable in the kitchen.

We can find written references to garlic from the writings of the Greeks, Egyptians, Romans and Chinese. The name garlic comes to us from the Welsh word garlleg, which is transformed into the English word garlic. Wherever it came from, there can be no doubt that garlic has captured the interest of gardeners and cooks alike. It is easily cultivated and, due to its growing reputation in health matters, will be of increased importance in gardens.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Companion Vegetable Gardening


It's said that vegetables are like people, they thrive on companionship. It is believed that vegetables will yield up to twice as much when they are surrounded with companion plants. So in this article we will discuss the top 12 vegetables and their best friends.

If you're getting ready to plant your vegetable garden you may want to try placing the various vegetable crops so you can take advantage of their natural friends. If you have already planted your vegetable garden you may want to make some changes in subsequent plantings later this summer.

The following are a list of the top 12 vegetables and their ideal plantingcompanions.

Beans--they like celery and cucumbers but dislike onions and fennel.

Beets--Bush beans, lettuce, onions, kohlrabi, and most members of the cabbage family are companion plants. Keep the pole beans and mustard away from them.

Cabbage--Celery, dill, onions and potatoes are good companion plants They dislike strawberries, tomatoes, and pole beans.

Carrots--Leaf lettuce, radish, onions and tomatoes are their friends, Plant dill at the opposite end of the garden.

Corn--Pumpkins, peas, beans, cucumbers and potatoes are nice companion plants, Keep the tomatoes away from them.

Cucumbers--They like corn, peas, radishes, beans and sunflowers. Cucumbers dislike aromatic herbs and potatoes so keep them away.

Lettuce--It grows especially well with onions. Strawberries carrots, radishes and cucumbers also are friends and good companion plants.

Onions--Plant them near lettuce, beets, strawberries and tomatoes but keep them away from peas and beans.

Peas--Carrots, cucumbers, corn, turnips and radishes plus beans, potatoes and aromatic herbs are their friends. Keep the peas away from onions, garlic, leek, and shallots.

Radishes--This is one vegetable that has a lot of friends, they are excellent companion plants with beets, carrots, spinach and parsnips. Radishes grow well with cucumbers and beans. It's said that summer planting near leaf lettuce makes the radishes more tender. Avoid planting radishes near cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kohlrabi or turnips.

Squash--Icicle radishes, cucumbers and corn are among their friends.

Tomatoes--Carrots, onions and parsley are good companion plants. Keep the cabbage and cauliflower away from them.

Sometimes plant friendships are one-sided. Carrots are said to help beans, but beans don’t reciprocate. Though beans will help nearby cucumbers.

Other plants have bad companions and you'll be doing them a favor to keep them apart. Beans and onions are natural enemies so keep them at opposite sides of the garden.

If you have a patio you might try mint to repel ants, and basil to keep the flies and mosquitoes away. Both herbs have pretty flowers and are fragrant too. Besides, they're nice to harvest and use in the kitchen. In her book, "Carrots Love Tomatoes" Louise Riotte, says getting to know good and bad companions can double the bounty of your garden. The only required work is to plan your garden planting properly.

"Carrots Love Tomatoes", Garden Way is an informative, well-illustrated guide to the subject of companion planting. The book recently reprinted was originally published under the title "Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening".

If you would like more information on the various plants to use for companion planting and natural insect and disease control, you'll find "Carrots Love Tomatoes" is available in bookstores that carry the Garden Way books.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Simple Garden Tips and Tricks

Simple Garden Tips and Tricks

Give wooden tool handles an oil rub.

To prolong the life of your wooden handles give them a good boiled linseed oil rub down.Not only will it prolong the life of the handle it also will make it smooth,and splinter free.
Ask for it by name at your local hardware store.

Simple garden duster.

If you use a powdered form of sevin dust or some other brand of dust make a cheap duster by placing holes in the bottom of a metal coffee can.A number 4 finish nail works fine to punch the holes.It makes a great way to dust your crops.Place a plastic lid on both ends for easy storage.

Mailbox in the garden.

Are you always misplacing those small garden tools?Put a mailbox at the entrance to your garden,and place them there.It is also a great place to store some extra seed.

There are a few simple,and easy garden tips for you to try.

Happy Gardening

Monday, February 19, 2007

Growing Raspberries

Growing Raspberries

Raspberry plants are relatively easy to grow. If given proper care, they are also very productive. Important cultural practices include fertilization, watering, and weed, insect, and disease control.

Established raspberries should be fertilized in the spring before new growth begins. Apply 4 to 5 pounds of 10-10-10 or similar analysis fertilizer for each 100 feet of row. Uniformly broadcast the fertilizer in a 2-foot band. If the raspberries are mulched with sawdust or wood chips, apply a slightly heavier rate of fertilizer. Do not fertilize raspberries in late spring or summer. Late spring or summer fertilization encourages succulent, late season growth which is susceptible to winter damage.

Adequate soil moisture levels are necessary throughout the growing season for good raspberry production. However, the most critical time for moisture is from bloom until harvest. Insufficient moisture during fruit development may result in small, seedy berries. Raspberries require 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week, either from rain or irrigation, from bloom until harvest.

Weed control in raspberries is necessary to reduce competition for water, nutrients, and sunlight. Cultivation and mulches are the most practical control measures for home gardeners. Cultivate the raspberry planting frequently during the spring and summer months. Small weed seedlings are relatively easy to kill. Large weeds are difficult to destroy. To prevent injury to the roots of the raspberry plants, don't cultivate deeper than 2 inches.

Mulches help to control weeds and conserve moisture. Possible mulching materials include straw, sawdust, wood chips, lawn clippings, and shredded leaves. The depth of the mulch needed depends upon the material. The depth ranges from 3 to 4 inches for sawdust to 8 to 10 inches for straw. (When mulching red raspberries, apply the full depth between the rows. Within the rows, apply only enough mulch to control the weeds so new canes can emerge in the spring.) Since mulches gradually decompose, apply additional material each year.

Good cultural practices should help prevent many insect and disease problems. For example, pruning and removal of the old fruiting canes immediately after the summer harvest will remove potential disease inoculum and help control diseases. Also, maintaining red raspberries in a 1- to 2 foot-wide hedgerow helps insure good air circulation and penetration of sunlight. The narrow hedgerow should dry quickly after a rain, discouraging disease development. Apply pesticides when insects and diseases start to cause significant damage.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Backyard Composting

What is compost?

Compost is a dark, crumbly, earthy-smelling mixture that consists mostly of decayed organic matter. Composting is a simple, natural process, Nature's way of recycling nutrients and returning them to the soil so that they can be used again. Compost is used for fertilizing and conditioning soil. It can be made from materials that most households throw out.
What can I compost?
Yard wastes, such as fallen leaves, grass clippings, weeds and the remains of garden plants.
Kitchen scraps EXCEPT FOR meat, fish, bones and fatty foods (such as cheese, salad dressing and leftover cooking oil).
Woody yard wastes, chipped or shredded, can be used as a mulch or for paths where they will eventually decompose and become compost.

By taking advantage of the natural composting process, you can help lighten the load of waste that would otherwise go to a landfill.
How do I make a compost pile?

It's easy! Follow these simple steps and in just a few hours, you'll be in business. To build a simple compost bin, you'll need:
Small mesh wire fencing or snow fencing.
Seven or more rough boards or stakes, depending on the shape of bin you choose. Build a square, rectangular or circular structure-your choice. For a typical home garden, a bin 3-to-4 feet in height and 5-to-8 feet square will do. Locate it away from buildings and combustible materials.
To start your compost pile:
Spread a layer of plant wastes 6-to-8 inches deep in the bottom of your bin. Moisten the layer thoroughly.
Make a second layer of high nitrogen fertilizer, such as 10-10-10. This will be a very thin layer-use ONLY about 1/2 pound or 1 cup to each 30-to-35 square feet. Moisten thoroughly.
Make a third layer with a few shovelsful of garden soil, about 1 to 2 inches deep. This will ensure that plenty of decay organisms are present in your compost pile. Again, moisten thoroughly.

That's all there is to it!
Repeat steps 1, 2 and 3 until you have used up your waste material. To start, your pile should have at least four or five layers of waste.
Kitchen scraps (minus meat, fish, bones and fatty foods) should be added to the center of the waste layers where heat will be the greatest.
Pile waste material loosely in the bin. Too much compaction inhibits the flow of air through the pile.
It helps to make the top layer slant toward the center where it will catch rainfall. Water is the key to successful composting. A compost pile should be kept damp, but not soggy, especially during dry spells.
Be patient! it will take six months to a year before the compost is ready for use.
Composting Do's and Don'ts
Do add lime, small amounts of wood ashes or crushed eggshells to the compost pile to neutralize acids which may form and cause an odor problem.
Do mix grass clippings with other wastes to loosen them up. They have a tendency to compact.
Do keep compost pile damp, especially during dry spells.
Don't use unfinished compost. It will rob your plants of nitrogen instead of acting as a fertilizer.
Don't compost weeds that are heavily laden with seeds. Some seeds will not be killed during the heating process.
Don't add meat, fish, bones or fatty food scraps to the compost mixture. They will attract animals (dogs, cats, rats, etc.) and they do not decompose readily.
Don't add diseased vegetable plants to the pile if the compost will be used on a vegetable garden. The disease organisms may reappear the following year.
Community Composting

Community composting is beneficial because:
Leaves take up too much space in landfills-many communities now ban leaves from landfills.
Many householders do not have the time or space to compost large quantities of organic waste, such as fallen leaves.
Composting is environmentally safer -- leaves in landfills generate dangerous gases; burning leaves creates smoke pollution and is unlawful in many communities.
Some communities will accept leaves and other yard wastes for community compost heaps. Finished compost is usually available free to residents. Find out what's happening in your area. If no program exists, urge your community leaders to put one in place.
Why Should I Make Compost?

Composting benefits you and your community.

For you . . .
Composting is an easy, practical way to recycle your organic yard and kitchen wastes.
Compost is an excellent soil conditioner for even the smallest yard and garden--it's safe to use and it costs practically nothing to make.
Compost grows healthy plants and healthy plants improve the air by removing carbon dioxide and making fresh oxygen.
For serious gardeners, compost is an inexpensive alternative to peat and other soil improvers.

For your community . . .
Composting could remove more than 15 percent from the solid waste stream, if everyone participated.
Many communities now ban leaves from landfills forcing residents to find other alternatives. Some communities have started composting programs.
Composting eliminates air pollution caused by burning leaves and other yard wastes.
Composting recycles nutrients by returning them to the soil.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Starting Seeds Indoors

Starting Seeds Indoors

You can easily grow annual flowers and vegetables as well as biennials and perennials from seed. The procedure is as hi-tech or inexpensive as you want.

Plant species vary considerable in the time required for germination of seed and subsequent development. Determine when to sow the seed by consulting the seed packet and deciding when it is safe to plant the seedlings outdoors and then calculate how large you want the plant when it is planted. Contact a Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulturist for help in deciding when to sow different seeds.

Begin by using a sterile, artificial growing mix. This is very important because there are several fungi that are referred to as 'dampening-off' diseases that invade the succulent, young stems and cause their death. Moisten the mix uniformly before adding it to the plant containers. Shallow wooden boxes, greenhouse flats, plastic trays, or peat packs are suitable containers. Use peat pots for such plants as vine crops or other plants that cannot tolerate root disturbance.

Fill the container with two to four inches of moistened mix and firm down. Make a furrow, 1/4" to 1/2" deep, depending on the size of the seed. Distribute the seeds carefully, without crowding them into the furrow. Gently cover the seeds with a layer of fine vermiculite or some of the mix. Do not cover fine seeds such as petunia, snapdragon and begonia.

Label each group of seeds before going to a new variety or crop. After a container is seeded, sprinkle or mist with water to make sure the entire mix is damp. Maintain adequate moisture during the germination and growing period, but do not keep the mix saturated as the seed and roots do require air. During the germination period you can place small containers in a plastic bag or for larger containers, a clear plastic cover reduces moisture loss. Remove this covering when the plants start to emerge.

Germination and growing temperatures of 65 degrees F at night and 70-75 degrees F during the day are suggested. Light is not required until the first plants emerge. After germination provide as much sunlight as possible. If a good exposure is not available, supplemental light may help by placing fluorescent tubes 8 to 10 inches above the plants for 12 to 16 hours each day. Allow the surface of the mix to dry, but be sure the mix is adequately moist beneath the surface.

If you plan to transplant the seedling to another container, wait until it has two sets of true leaves. Otherwise, thin the emerging seedlings to prevent overcrowding in their original container.

If the plants become yellowish in color, it means they need fertilizer. Use a water soluble fertilizer such as Rapid-Gro, Miracle-Gro, or Peters. If the plants become tall and spindly, they need more light.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Benefits of Square Foot Gardening

Benefits of Square Foot Gardening
Much less work. Conventional gardening requires heavy tools to loosen the soil, whereas in this method, the soil is never compacted and it remains loose and loamy. Weeding takes much less time due to the compact nature of the garden.
Water Savings. Due to the nature of the soil and its water-holding capacities, this type of garden needs water less frequently than other methods. Also, water is placed very near the plant roots, wasting very little in the process. It also increases your harvest due to the rich soil mixture.
Very little weeding. One benefit of this close planting is that the vegetables form a living mulch, and shade out many weed seeds before they have a chance to germinate.
Pesticide / Herbicide Free. Natural insect repellent methods like companion planting (i.e. planting marigolds or other naturally pest-repelling plants) become very efficient in a close space and thus, pesticides are not necessary. The large variety of crops in a small space also prevents plant diseases from spreading easily.
Accessibility. A plywood bottom can be attached to the bottom of a box, which can then be placed on a raised platform for elderly or disabled persons to use.

Getting Started With Container Gardening

Gardening with containers can add a whole new life to an existing garden. Place containers with your favorite plants in various locations and groupings around your garden. Or, create a garden which consists solely of containers! Containers also:

• Solve the issue of limited space

• Are easy to install if you have a lack of ground to dig in the case of apartment dwellers

• Offer easy accessibility

• Allow you to move your garden around

• Keep your ‘most-used’ herbs and vegetables at your finger tips

• Help keep costs down since you don’t need to purchase as much as a large garden

• Save time weeding

If you’re thinking about gardening with containers, keep the following in mind:

1) Determine how much space you have available.

2) Determine what types of plants you want to grow.

3) Select your containers accordingly.

4) Choose your soil mixture.

5) Take into account the availability of sunlight and shade.

6) Shop around for just the right plants, soils, and containers, at just the right price.

Container gardening is so easy to get into and so easy to manage. And, it’s likely to be one of the most enjoyable gardening experiences you’ll have. Get as creative or stay as simple as you’d like. Choose fancy containers or plain containers, try mixing different plants together, rearrange your containers for a different look now and again. As long as you follow some basic ‘rules’ the sky’s the limit!


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Planning Your Garden

When planning your garden consider the following points.

Sunlight – It seems obvious that all vegetable plants need light, don't choose your location according to appearance, choose it according to what your plants will need. The best and most efficient source of light is the sun. The sun also warms the air and the soil. Choose a site that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day. More sunlight is even better. Prune or take out trees that hinder the sunlight from hitting the garden.

Soil type – Is the soil good for gardening? You can improve the soil by adding organic matter, lime and nutrients. Select a garden site with soil that is well-drained and rich in organic matter.

Water – Water is a must for plants. It is especially important at transplanting time or when a plant is making fruit. Locate your garden near a water source.

Convenience – Plant your garden at a site that is convenient to you. A garden that takes time to get to usually doesn’t succeed. The need for weeding, watering, pest control and harvest means frequent visits to the garden.

Garden size – How large of a garden do you want? Consider the site, your family size and your appetite for gardening when you plan your garden.

Variety selection – Select varieties that are known to grow well in your area. Choose those that fit the growing season; check the days to maturity on the seed packet. Consider the varieties’ resistance to common plant diseases listed on the seed packet.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Use a Trellis for a small garden space

Use a trellis if you have a small garden space.You can grow cucumbers,pole beans,and even small melons with the use of the trellis system.You can even train large tomato vines to climb the fence.

Take two metal fence post or wood you might have stored away somewhere,and place them on both sides of your container or drive them in the ground if the plants are planted in the earth.Wire standard stockade type fenceing to it 1 foot up from soil.Standard fenceing is 5 foot high so this gives you a 6 foot high trellis.Tie your vines to the fenceing as crops grow to keep them growing upwards.This will give you plenty of fresh vegetables or melons throughout the growing season. 

Growing Vegetables in a Cold Frame or Hot Bed

Growing Vegetables in a Cold Frame or Hot Bed

Imagine harvesting fresh lettuce, spinach, radishes, green onions and other vegetables from your own garden this winter. In fact, you could have a fresh homegrown salad for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Yes, it's possible, if you grow your own vegetables in a cold frame or hot bed.

Cold frames are easy to construct, take very little care, and can provide you with fresh vegetables throughout the fall, winter and spring seasons. In fact, with the use of a cold frame it is possible to have fresh vegetables from your own garden all 12 months of the year.

HOT BEDS - if you want to go one step further, you can turn your cold frame into a hot bed by simply submerging a heating cable into the soil in your cold frame. Actually, a light globe, lit on a cool night will even help to provide warmth to your winter crops. The heating cable will also be of great value in helping root winter cuttings or start new seedlings. Of course, the heat will also help bring the winter vegetable crops to maturity quicker. But, I am getting ahead of myself, let's first talk about how easy it is to build a cold frame:

MATERIAL FOR A COLD FRAME - you don't have to be a carpenter in order to construct a cold frame. Even I can do it! There's a good possibility that you might have the materials on hand, or you can easily obtain them from a salvage yard.

The size doesn't make any difference. Start with an old window sash or aluminum/glass doorframe, then build the box to those dimension's. For example, if the window sash is 36 inches wide and 6 feet long, that's the size you want to make the frame. If the sash does not have glass in it, you can replace the glass with fiberglass, polyethylene or a similar material.

It's best to use sturdy 2 by 6's, 2 by 8's, or 2 by 10's to construct the sides of the cold frame. It's up to you, you can use new wood or to keep costs down by using what you have on hand or second grade lumber.

PLACEMENT OF THE COLD FRAME - if possible the cold frame should face south for the maximum sunlight exposure and it should have at least a 10 percent angle for added sunlight exposure.

If a southern exposure is not available the second choice would be a western exposure. Third choice would be an eastern exposure and the least desirable would be a northern exposure. When possible select a site with a slight forward facing slope, for better drainage.

BUILDING A COLD FRAME - you can either set the cold frame on top of the ground or bury it in the ground. You will find you will get better insulation if it is at least partly below ground level

If the cold frame faces south, build the cold frame so it is higher in the back (the north side) and lower in the front (the south side). Ideal dimensions would be approximately 18 inches at the back and 12 at the front. This provides a good angle for sun exposure and a slope for excessive rain to drain off.

Put the sash on top of this frame, holding it in place with hinges on the high end, the north side.

SOIL PREPARATION FOR PLANTING - prepare the soil to a depth of 12 to 18 inches. Mixing compost, processed manure, peat moss or other forms of organic humus with your existing soil to create a good fertile soil. Or, if your soil is quite poor you may want to start with a premixed commercial planting soil. You probably will find it necessary to renew the soil every year or two.

COLD WEATHER PROTECTION - if winter weather gets exceptionally cold, say down into the low twenties or teens, you will need to cover the cold frame with old burlap bags, old blankets, or any type of cloth material to provide added protection during the cold spell. Then once the weather has subsided, the covering material should be removed. Of course, if you have added a heating cable that will help some, but probably not enough heat to save your vegetables, so covering during really cold weather is still a good idea.

WARM WEATHER CARE - on a warm sunny day, during the fall, winter or early spring it will be necessary to open the window sash for ventilation. You can use a stick or wedge, or any similar material to prop it open. Also, during the warmer early fall and early spring months it may get too hot, making it necessary to cover the window sash with a shade cloth, or by treating the glass with a lime wash, to provide additional shade and cooler temperatures for your plants.

WATERING PLANTS IN A COLD FRAME - you will have to experiment a little to determine how frequently to water your cold frame because the watering requirements will vary from day to day and season to season. Generally, during the winter season the cold frame will only need to be watered once a week. Or you can let Mother Nature do the job by opening the top of your cold frame on a rainy day.

FERTILIZING - if the soil is prepared properly, there should be little or no need for feeding during the winter. The exception may be leaf crops, like lettuce, spinach and chard. A light feeding of an organic type 'Vegetable Garden' fertilizer two or three weeks after planting would be beneficial.

SLUGS - the warmth of the cold frame may attract slugs, so be on the lookout for them and take appropriate steps to keep them under control should they become a problem.

BEST VEGETABLES TO GROW IN YOUR COLD FRAME - leaf lettuce is undoubtedly the best crop to grow. It grows rapidly and abundantly in a cold frame. And, there's nothing like fresh, nutritious greens, picked from your own garden during cold winter weather. Spinach is also an excellent green to grow. Other crops that grow exceptional well in cold frames or hot beds are green onions, radishes, and chard, round or little finger carrots, endive and other greens. As you become more familiar with using your cold frame/hot bed, you will undoubtedly want experiment with other vegetables as well.

In addition to growing vegetables, a cold frame is an excellent place to start new seeds in springtime or to take cuttings in the fall and winter months of your favorite evergreen plants. In fact, the propagation of new plants, including rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and other broad-leafed and conifer evergreens, can take place in a cold frame. The cuttings can be taken any time from September until early February. You will find the cuttings will root better with bottom heat from a submerged heating cable.

If you want to cut costs this winter and grow some of your own produce, now would be an excellent time to build your own cold frame or hot bed.


February To Do List

Zone 1

Order fruit and vegetable seeds, roses, bare-root trees and shrubs

Check potted or container-planted bulbs for signs of growth

Bring in pots of crocus and bulbous iris if leaves have formed

Cut branches of pussy willow, flowering quince, forsythia to force indoors if buds are beginning to swell

Freshen house plants with sprays or shower bath

Sow seeds of cool-weather vegetables indoors

Sow seeds of hardy perennials indoors

Zone 2

Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)

Water cymbidiums weekly until they bloom

Sow seeds indoors for tender perennials

Zone 3

Order seeds

Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)

Water cymbidiums weekly until they bloom

Sow seeds for tender perennials

Zone 4

Order seeds

Sow seeds indoors for hardy spring-blooming plants

Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)

Sow seeds for cool-weather vegetables

Sow frost-tolerant perennials indoors

Zone 5
Order seeds
Sow seeds for hardy spring-blooming plants
Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
Sow seeds for cool-weather vegetables
Sow frost-tolerant perennials indoors

Zone 6
Order seeds
Sow seeds of warm-season annuals
Sow seeds for hardy spring-blooming plants
Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
Sow seeds for cool-weather vegetables
Sow frost-tolerant perennials indoors

Zone 7

Order seeds
Sow seeds of warm-season annuals indoors
Plant ornamental trees
Prune flowering fruit trees while in bloom
Prune winter-flowering shrubs and vines after bloom
Sow seeds of warm-season vegetables indoors
Sow seeds for hardy spring-blooming annuals
Plant or transplant cool-season vegetable seedlings
Zone 8

Order seeds
Sow seeds of warm-season annuals indoors
Set out cool-season annuals
Plant fruit trees
Apply dormant spray to fruit trees
Spray for peach leaf curl, peach leaf blight, and canker
Cut back on feeding houseplants (do not feed dormant houseplants)
Plant or repair warm-season lawns
Plant ornamental grasses
Plant or transplant frost-tolerant perennials
Sow seeds for tender perennials indoors
Plant bare-root roses
Apply dormant spray to roses
Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and vines
Prune winter-blooming shrubs and vines just after bloom
Apply dormant spray to shrubs and vines
Plant bare-root perennial vegetables
Plant seedlings of cool-season vegetables
Sow seeds for cool- and warm-season vegetables
Protect tender plants from frost
Zone 9

Sow seeds for hardy spring-blooming annuals
Sow seeds of warm-season annuals indoors
Plant summer-flowering bulbs
Repot cacti and succulents, if essential, once they have finished blooming
Plant bare-root fruit trees
Apply dormant spray to fruit trees
Spray for peach leaf curl, peach leaf blight, and canker
Plant citrus
Repair or plant lawns
Plant or transplant frost-tolerant perennials outdoors
Sow seeds for tender perennials indoors
Plant bare-root roses
Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, and vines
Prune deciduous trees
Prune winter-flowering shrubs and vines just after bloom
Plant bare-root perennial vegetalbes
Plant seedlings of cool-season or winter vegetables
Sow seeds for cool-season or winter vegetables
Sow seeds for warm-season vegetables indoors
Z one 10

Order seeds
Sow seeds for warm-season annuals
Set out seedlings of warm-season annuals
Set out summer-flowering bulbs
Repot cacti and succulents, if essential, once they have finished blooming
Plant bare-root fruit trees
Prune flowering fruit trees while in bloom
Spray for peach leaf curl, peach leaf blight, and canker
Plant citrus
Protect citrus from frost damage
Feed houseplants that are growing or blooming
Plant bare-root roses
Plant bare-root shrubs and vines
Prune evergreen shrubs
Prune winter-flowering shrubs and vines after bloom
Plant bare-root trees
Plant or transplant cool-season vegetable seedlings
Sow warm-season vegetable seeds
Transplant warm-season vegetable seedlings

Zone 11

Sow seed of summer annuals indoors
Sow seeds of hardy vegetables indoors
Improve soil by spading in humus
Plant bare-root trees, shrubs, vines, roses
Be ready to shelter tender plants against frost
Finish dormant spraying