• Oct 6

by Rene Hostetler

For some people, planning ahead for the holidays begins immediately after the holidays.  So, like in January?  And, yes, I have bought Christmas wrapping paper on sale at Target in January, so I guess I could fit into that illustrious category.  But that’s so not normal for me!  I’m somewhat of a last minute kind of a person.  I like to think that it has more to do with my need for things to be relevant than that I put things off, but that’s a little too analytical and way too deep for this Monday morning.

I do, however, like to have a plan!  And since the months of November and December can become just a little hectic I have begun to think about the right blend of entertainment, shopping and indulgence.   And indulgence always means good food, right?

When it’s time to take the relatives somewhere or keep the grandkids busy, my plan usually includes something in Shipshewana.  I can’t believe there are people who live in my community who have never been there, but it’s true.  It is my best resource and whoever I take there always has the best time.  It helps that November and December are some of the busiest months in Shipshewana.  They know how to do the holidays, and I’m sure it brings people in to do some shopping.  It’s all good!

It also helps that the holiday schedule stays pretty much the same each year.  I can depend on the Light Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony to always be on the same weekend in November every year.  This year it happens on November 8th, and  it’s called “The Colors of Christmas.”  I’m sure it will live up to its name.  It’s a magical event and kids line the streets to catch candy and get the best view of the lit floats and wagons as they go by.

For me, the holiday season in Shipshewana begins with the Light Parade in November and ends with the Ice Festival after Christmas.   Those two are definitely on my calendar, but there are a whole lot of other choices in between like Chocolate Day, Gingerbread Houses, Christmas concerts at the Blue Gate Theater, Kids Day (Santa too!) and shopping! Shipshewana truly is the place to find that one of a kind gift, not to mention the great food to be had when you need to rest.

To plan your own special time for you and your family in Shipshewana during the holidays, please check out all the details at www.Shipshewana.com.  There’s a handy dandy calendar to help you fill up your calendar!

Now all this talk of the holidays is putting me in the mood!  I’ll have to dig out some Christmas CDs and make some fudge. Shopping?  Oh, I’ll get around to it….probably around mid-December or so!

Hey, it’s not relevant until then, right?!

Leave a comment

  • Oct 3

Preparing Garden Soil for Spring
by Karen Weiland, Purdue Master Gardener

As I have been cleaning up my garden this fall the thought came to me that I need to plant a cover crop before cold weather sets in.  It is important for a healthy garden to take good care of the soil that works so hard to grow all the great produce that has been planted in it.

Fall is an excellent time to prepare garden soils for spring, for several reasons. There is a chance that in the spring soils remain too wet to “work” for long periods.  Amendments added in fall have time to incorporate before spring.  Removing diseased plants in the fall keeps those diseases from overwintering in the soil, only to reemerge the following growing season.  Of course if you are planting crops such as spinach or garlic in the fall for the following season you’ll need to prepare the soil first.

When removing old vegetation, whether vegetables or weeds, don’t put them in the compost if they are diseased, if the weeds have seeds, or thick stalks that are difficult to decompose.  If weeds have gotten away from you and gone to seed, try to carefully cut off the seeds first and remove them so that they won’t disperse around the garden as you pull up plants.

For perennial weeds, make sure to remove any roots, or they will sprout and grow again next year.  Tilling them in will only break up the roots into many more pieces, making your weed problem even worse next season.  For weeds with wide-spreading root systems, such as some grasses, you may need to use an herbicide to kill them off.

If you can get the garden cleaned up by early fall, you can plant a cover crop.  This is simply a crop such as oats or clover that will protect the soil from erosion, and add important organic matter when tilled in later.  If later, winter rye is about the only choice.  If frosts have begun, it is probably too late to establish a cover crop before winter.

Fall is a very good time to have the soil tested.  This is especially true if your soil needs lime added to it.  Most forms take some time to work, so adding it in the fall gives the soil time to be at the right pH by spring.

One of the most important amendments you can add to your garden is compost.  Add about a one inch layer to your garden and work it into the top several inches of soil using a garden fork, rake or claw.  Add a bit more if you have poor soil or if it’s a new site.  Other sources of organic matter include shredded leaves and dehydrated cow manure.  Do not use fresh wood products like sawdust as it can rob the soil of nitrogen as it breaks down.  Organic matter loosens heavy clay soils, helps sandy soils hold more water and nutrients and by attracting all those soil microorganisms makes soils healthier.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Leave a comment

  • Sep 29

By Karen Weiland, Purdue Master Gardener

Mixed feelings abound this time of year for many of us gardeners.  We are relieved to get a break from the work of pruning, watering, weeding and more weeding but we are also sad to see the end of our beautiful flowers and fresh produce.  As I was in the garden yesterday working on clearing the last of my  tomato plants, many other fall “things to get done” came into mind.  Here are a few.

Evergreens are particularly susceptible to drying out over the winter.  The above-ground parts, like twigs and leaves, are very much alive and are constantly losing water through a process called transpiration.  When the ground is frozen the plants’ roots are not able to take up water to replace that which is lost through the tops.  As a result the leaves, buds and twigs dry out.  Fighting the winter battle will be made easier by making sure the plants have a sufficient supply of moisture before the ground freezes.  Give your evergreens an extra drink.

Now is the time to purchase spring flowering bulbs for forcing.  Forcing, which is the process of coaxing bulbs into thinking they have overwintered and are ready for spring, allows you to produce beautiful blossoms when you need them the most – during the drab days of winter.  Hardy bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, crocuses and hyacinths are good choices for forcing.  Mix together equal parts of peat moss, sand and garden soil.  To ensure adequate drainage I like to cover the bottom of the pot with broken clay pot pieces.  Add some of your soil mixture and place the bulbs into the pot according to the depth measurement on the package.  Cover with soil mixture and water generously.  The potted containers must be kept in a cool location, 40 to 50 degrees.  A refrigerator will work.  I keep mine in a cardboard box at the bottom of an outdoor basement entrance.  When you see the roots peeking out of the bottom of the pot or growth at the top of the bulb, move them to a warm, sunny spot and enjoy!

This is also the time of year to put flower bulbs in the ground.  Planting bulbs in September and October will allow time for the bulb to become rooted before freezing weather arrives.

Winter mulch is not critical for all garden plants, but it can mean survival for some of the less hardy ones.  Winter mulch protects against wide temperature fluctuations in the soil and prevents extreme cold temperatures from harming plants.  The soil has a tendency to heave when subjected to wide temperature changes, pushing the plant roots out of the ground.  Shallow-rooted plants, such as strawberries and newly planted stock that have not had a chance to develop a solid root system, are most subjected to the heaving process.  Using mulch such as bark chips, hay, pine needles or straw will give your plants protection.  2 to 4 inches should do the job.  More protection is needed for some plants such as roses (see HO-128 Roses).

The sunny days of winter are a welcome sight to us humans, but they can cause trouble for some landscape plants such as young thin-barked trees.  The bark tends to split vertically on the sunny side of the tree because as the temperatures quickly drop at sundown the outer bark cools down and contracts faster than the inner bark.  Therefore the outer bark must split to accommodate what’s happening underneath it.  You can protect the tree be wrapping the trunk with a commercial tree wrap.  I like to use the black plastic, flexible drain pipe.  Purchase the size that will fit around your tree plus an inch or two and the length you want to cover.  Cut a slit in the length of the drain pipe and fit it around your tree.  In the spring I take it off and save it for the next winter.

Apply fertilizer to the lawn.  Fall fertilization helps to produce the healthiest turf with benefits lasting throughout the year.

Lastly, mulch those leaves.  Layers of leaves can smother and kill the grass beneath it this fall and winter and contribute to disease.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information is available online at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs.html

The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Leave a comment

  • Sep 12

Organic Pest Control in the Garden by Karen Weiland,  Purdue Master Gardener

I have come into contact with gardeners who are seeking information on organic pest control for their gardens.  Their reasons range from wanting healthier options for their own consumption to environmental concerns.

There are chemical free control methods that can be used to keep chemical use as a last resort. Perfect vegetables are not realistic.  You may have to tolerate a bit of insect damage on your produce come harvest time.

Learning about a pests life cycle and when it is most susceptible to whatever control method you choose to use is of much help.  For example, a squash bug can be controlled better with a chemical in its younger stages than it can in its adult stage.

Know the difference between good and bad bugs. Plants such as marigolds, sunflowers, sweet alyssum, cilantro and dill can attract beneficial insects that will help control pests.  Attracting insect eating toads and birds to the garden is also beneficial.

Crop rotation…it is one of the oldest and most effective control methods known to gardeners.  This involves planting a crop in an area where it or a relative crop has not been grown for one year.  Insects and disease organisms can become established in the soil when a crop is planted there year after year.

The use of floating row covers screens out the pest until bloom time for certain crops.  However, if crop rotation is not practiced, a row cover will trap emerging insects from the soil.

Choose insect resistant varieties.  Hand- pick larger pests.  Yes, it is labor intensive, but it works very well.

Keep your garden clean.  Eliminate weeds and clean up crop residues as soon as you are finished with a harvest.  Don’t leave anything lying around that can be a hiding place for pests.  Remove over-ripe produce.  This will prevent the appearance of scavenger-type insects such as picnic beetles and yellowjackets.

There are a number of naturally derived organic pesticides that can be used.  Some may need to be applied frequently.   Refer to the product label for that kind of information. Organic insecticides include Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensus), pyrethrums, rotenone, insecticidal soap, diatomaceous earth, neem and horticultural oils.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Leave a comment

  • Sep 8

by Rene Hostetler

The only thing good about summer ending is fall beginning.  I have to admit I’ve been reluctant to welcome fall to my calendar this year even though fall is probably my favorite season.  I think it has to do with my most recent winter’s experience which is still fresh in my mind and knowing that inevitably winter comes after fall.  AND…the ever reliable Farmer’s Almanac is predicting another nasty winter.  Is it really all that reliable?  I’m going to choose to stay hopeful or live in denial.  I DO live in Northern Indiana after all.  What do I expect?!

It’s a little early to celebrate fall yet, but I am starting to see some pumpkins appear (or are those still from last year?) and the Burning Bushes are beginning to start their autumn  blush.  The evenings are cooler.  The fire pit is inviting us to its warmth and the idea of putting on a pair of shoes again is causing me to investigate my closet to see what is available there.

Fall is also a time to get out the fall decorations and recipes.  I’ve missed the soup, chili and pumpkin desserts I tend to favor towards the end of the year. To help you get in the spirit of fall, here’s my favorite Pumpkin Bar recipe:
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Bars

1/2 c shortening          1 c brown sugar
2 eggs                            2/3 c canned pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract    1 c flour
1 tsp cinnamon           1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda   1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg           1/2 c chopped walnuts

Cream shortening and brown sugar.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in pumpkin and vanilla.  Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, ginger and nutmeg.  Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in nuts.

Spread in a greased 13 x 9 pan.  Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack.  Frost with orange frosting:  3 TBSP shortening, 2 1/4 c confectioners sugar, 3 TBSP orange juice.  Beat shortening, sugar and orange juice until blended.  Spread on bars and cut into squares.  Enjoy!
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - -
Fall Festivals are also always a part of my fall celebration.  I love wandering through booths of crafters showing off their handicrafts with the hopes I will add one of their creations to my stash of  fall delights.  I always do!  One of my annual festival trips includes the Fall Crafters Fair in Shipshewana.  Between the music, the food (cornbread!), and the demonstrations it always gets me in the mood for fall and cooler weather.  This year the Shipshewana Crafters Fair is October 1st through the 4th, so there’s plenty of time to put that on my calendar and bring the grand-kids along for the fun!
You can check it out at www.riegsecker.com/fallcraftersfair

Each season brings its own beauty and fun.  I hate to see you go, Summer, but I’m throwing out my fall welcome mat with the pumpkins on it and hanging the wreath on the door.  Now, where did I put my red cowboy boots?  I’m going to be needing those!

Leave a comment

  • Sep 3

Bulb Planting and Care

By Karen Weiland, Purdue Master Gardener

Fall is the best time to plant hardy, spring blooming bulbs and properly preparing the planting site is a must.  Good soil drainage is important to healthy bulb life so if your soil contains clay, amending it with some compost, peat moss or other organic material into the top twelve to eighteen inches will help.  Sunlight requirement is also something to consider.  Check the package label to see if your bulbs need full sun, partial shade or full shade.  Keep in mind that bulbs planted on a south slope will bloom earlier than the same bulb planted on a north slope.

Planting bulbs in September to early October will allow time for the bulb to become well rooted before freezing weather arrives.  In general it is recommended to plant a bulb two to three times as deep as the bulb is tall and the planting depth is measured from the bottom of the bulb.  The planting depth for summer bulbs vary, so check the package label for instructions.  Lightly press the bulbs into the prepared soil with the root plate facing down.  Water the bulbs once they are planted.  This will help to settle the soil and provides moisture so the bulb can start growing roots.

Bulbs need phosphorus to develop a good root system.  Note that research has shown that phosphorus from bone meal is only available to plants in soils that have a pH below 7 (www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07410 ).  Refer to or have a soil test done for this information.  Mix bone meal or superphosphate into the soil just below where the bulbs will be located when preparing the site.  In an already established bed it is important to supply the bulbs with additional fertilizer.  For spring flowering bulbs, in the fall, mix into the soil five tablespoons of a 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer plus two cups of bone meal for a ten square foot area.  In the spring as soon as you see the shoots breaking the surface of the ground, apply the same mixture.  Do not apply fertilizer to spring flowering bulbs after they have started flowering.  For summer and fall flowering bulbs, fertilize monthly from shoot emergence to the time that the plants are in full flower.  For a ten square foot area apply seven tablespoons of a 10-10-10 soluble fertilizer split into two or three applications.

One of the issues I have with bulbs is the ugly dying off of the foliage.  The foliage should not be cut or mowed off until it turns yellow and dies off on its own.  The plant needs its green leaves to make food that is stored in the bulb for the next years’ growth.  I like to plant my bulbs under the roots of chrysanthemums or another perennial.  As the perennial grows it hides the fading foliage of the bulb.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects can be found online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Leave a comment

  • Aug 29

Harvesting and Drying Gourds By Karen Weiland,  Purdue Master Gardener

Fall is definitely my favorite season.  I love to sprinkle areas outside my house with combinations of mums, pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks.  It is also a good time to move some  plants around the landscape.  I seem to do this a lot, trying to find just the right place this time for that certain flower or bush.  I have had some people ask me about preserving gourds.  Here is some information that I hope will be useful.

There are three basic types of gourds, Luffa, which are used as sponges, Cucurbita, also known as Ornamental and are for decoration only and Lagenaria, which are handcrafted into birdhouses, dippers and containers.

Gourds should be harvested when fully mature.  Look for a hardened shell and a withered vine. Harvesting before frost reduces the possibility of spoilage during storage.  Bottle gourds can take a light frost or two before harvest without damage.  The gourd will be ripe when the stem turns brown and dries.  Use sharp shears or a knife to cut the stem.  To avoid bruising the fruit, leave a few inches of the stem attached to it.  Do not handle the gourd by the stem.

The surface of the gourd will be very tender, so handle it gently to avoid bruises and scratches.  A cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol will sufficiently clean a slightly dirty gourd.  However, if it is very dirty, wash it in warm, soapy water and rinse it in clean water to which a household disinfectant has been added.  The disinfectant will remove any soil-borne bacteria.

The gourds should next be surface-dried.  Spread them out so they do not touch on several layers of newspaper or on open shelves in a warm, dry place such as a garage, porch or shed.  Do not allow dew to fall on them at night if placing outside.  Turn the gourds every day and replace newspapers that have become moist.  Allowing the air to circulate freely speeds up the surface drying time, which should take about 1 week.  Throw away all fruits that begin to shrink or develop soft spots.  This keeps mold and bacteria from spreading to the healthy gourds.  If molds begin to appear on the surface of ornamental type gourds , wipe clean and continue with the drying process. The surface will be dry when the shell hardens and the color brightens.

Depending on the cultivar it can take up to 6 months for a gourd to fully dry.  Wipe the gourds with a cloth soaked in household disinfectant.  Spread them in shallow trays or on newspapers in a warm, dry, dark area.  An attic, closet or under a bed would be good.  The warmth encourages fast drying, the darkness prevents color fading and dryness discourages mold. Storing gourds in a damp basement, a closed, heated room or in tight, closed containers encourages the development of rot and mold.

Luffa gourds should be handled a bit differently from the other two.  Harvest them when the gourd is lightweight and the seeds rattle inside.  After it is dry, cut off the end with the stem and shake out the seeds.  The skin should come off rather easily, but if it needs a little coaxing, soak it in warm water until the skin softens and comes off.  The sponge will need to be soaked in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.  This will turn the color to a creamy white.  Rinse it well and let it thoroughly dry before using.

Gourds may be displayed in their natural state and applying a protective coating will increase their usefulness a bit longer.  Apply a paste wax to the gourd then buff it with a soft cloth to achieve a shiny appearance with some highlights or spray it with a clear shellac or varnish to give it a glossy finish.

As always, happy gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online at http://www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs.html The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Leave a comment

  • Aug 25

Harvesting and Drying Herbs by Karen Weiland, Purdue Master Gardener

Drying herbs is a wonderful way to save your fresh harvest and extend the use of your garden into the winter months.

Less oil is produced on really wet days and most herbs will have their most oil content just before the flower opens.  The best day to harvest is a rather dry, sunny one and should be done in the morning after the dew has dried from the plant.  Herbs grown for their foliage should be harvested before they flower.  Herb flowers have their most intense oil concentration and flavor when harvested after flower buds appear but before they are fully open, so collect herb flowers just before full flower.  Harvest herb roots in the fall after the foliage fades.

Annual herbs can be harvested until frost.  Perennial herbs can be clipped until late August, early September.  Stop harvesting about one month before the first frost date.  Pruning late into fall could encourage new growth that will not have time to harden off before winter.

The plant will need enough foliage to re-grow after harvesting, so for a mid-season harvest do not take more than one third of the plant foliage.  Check the picked foliage for insects, eggs or leaf damage and rinse in tepid water if needed.  Pat dry with a paper towel.

To prepare for drying, remove any foliage near the base of the stem and tie twine around 6 to 7 stems to form a bundle.  A rubber band works well too as it contracts as the stems dry.  Hang in a cool spot that has good air circulation and is not in direct sunlight.  You can dry individual leaves on a screen, turning them frequently.  Dry until leaves and stems are crisp.  You can then store them “as is” on the dried stem or remove the leaves and place them in a jar.  Store dried herbs in a dark, dry location away from any heat source.  Airtight storage will preserve aroma and flavors the best.  If needed, an old sock can be placed over the jar to prevent light infiltration.

Freezing is another method of herb preservation.  Place the herbs on a baking sheet that has been lined with waxed paper then place it in the freezer.  Young stems with the leaves can be frozen as a unit and herbs such as chives will need to be snipped into ¼ inch pieces.  After they are frozen, place them into plastic freezer bags and use as needed.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Leave a comment

  • Aug 18

Begonia Propagation by Karen Weiland, Purdue Master Gardener

I have had many guests at my B&B who have shared some of their gardening success stories.  One of my favorites is the use of Dragon Wing Begonias in a window box.  I must tell you these flowers are fabulous!

Dragon wing plants fill in fast to create a lush container garden that will last up to the first frost.  These plants have dark green, glossy leaves and bloom profusely from early spring to frost.  They will reach a height of 18 to 24 inches and will thrive in sun, partial shade and light shade.

I will definitely be taking some cuttings of this plant to propagate and fill my containers next spring.  Propagation involves taking a portion of a plant and rooting it to grow into a new plant.  I will use the stem cutting method.

To do this, cut off a piece of stem, 4 to 6 inches long.  You will need to have at least 3 sets of leaves on your cutting.  Make a bottom cut just below a node (a node is where the leaf joins the stem).  Starting from the bottom of the cutting, cut off one half to two thirds of the leaves and cut large leaves in half.  Remove all flowers and flower buds.

Prepare a small pot of damp rooting mix, using a pencil to make a hole for the cutting.  Plants contain a hormone, auxin, that stimulates root formation.  Some plants will root readily because of the naturally occurring auxin without using a synthetic form of a rooting hormone.  I will use a synthetic rooting hormone just to improve my chances of success.  Dip the lower inch of the cutting in rooting hormone, then place the stem, 1 to 2 inches deep, in the prepared hole and fill the rooting mix around it.  Do not allow the leaves to touch the surface of the mix.  If they do, trim them back.  Place a clear, plastic bag over the pot making sure it does not touch the leaves.

Place the pot in a warm, bright spot, keeping it out of direct sunlight.  Water as necessary.  After two or three weeks, work your hand under the cutting and lift to see if roots have formed.  If roots are small or have not formed yet, place it back into the pot, tamp the mix around the stem and enclose it in the bag.  Check again in several weeks.

When you have roots, open the plastic bag a small amount each day to decrease the humidity.  Once it is growing well, pot it into a good quality potting mix.

As always, Happy Gardening!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636 2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Leave a comment

  • Aug 13

The Fall Garden by Karen Weiland, Purdue Master Gardener

Planting a garden in the fall will extend your gardening season so you can continue to harvest fresh produce after earlier crops are finished.  Harvesting fall produce can be extended even further by planting in cold frames and hotbeds.

Many spring planted, cool season crops can be planted again in the fall, such as lettuce, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, cabbage and onions.  Refer to the seed packet for the amount of the average days to harvest.  The average date for the first killing frost in our area is October 6 thru the 15.  Count backwards from the first frost date, using the number of days to maturity for the seed you are growing, to determine the last date you should plant.

When purchasing your spring garden seeds, keep in mind that many garden centers do not carry seedlings for a fall garden planting and you may not be able to find seed packets in the cultivars you want, in the stores when you need them.   Stock up on seeds in the spring as you may need to grow your own transplants for the fall.

Begin by pulling those plants that are finished producing and remove them from the garden.  Work the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.  If your spring garden was heavily fertilized, then you may not need to add any additional fertilizer.   If not, then thoroughly mix with the soil, 1 to 2 pounds of a balanced fertilizer, such as 12-12-12, applied per 100 square feet of garden bed.

As the air temperature will be higher when sowing a fall garden than in the spring, a light application of compost, vermiculite or potting soil over the seeded row can prevent a crust from forming over the seeds and will help keep the soil temperature more suitable for germination.  You can also sow the seeds a bit deeper to take advantage of the cooler soil.  If rainfall is not sufficient, apply 1 inch of water per week, in a single application, to keep the soil moist enough for germination.

Vegetables have differing frost tolerances.  Tender vegetables damaged by a light frost include beans, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and squash.  Vegetables that will tolerate a light frost are termed semi-hardy and include beets, carrots, lettuce, endive and cauliflower.   Hardy vegetables, or those that can tolerate a hard frost include broccoli, onion, peas, radish, spinach and turnip.

It is recommended to have available a variety of garden blankets, throw cloths and plastic gallon milk jugs to cover and protect plants if a frost should occur.  A few weeks of good growing weather can occur after a cold spell.

As always, Happy Gardening!!

More information about gardening and related subjects is available online at www.hort.purdue.edu/ext/garden_pubs The Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service can be reached at 499-6334 in LaGrange Co., 636-2111 in Noble Co., 925-2562 in DeKalb Co. and 668-1000 in Steuben Co.

Leave a comment

« Older posts Newer posts »
  • Subscribe by RSS

    Or, subscribe by email...