A FRIEND I BUY seed potatoes with and I were scratching our heads as we filled out the order form, blanking on the line where it said “preferred ship date.” How early do we want them to arrive, we asked ourselves as we do every year. Time for a review of that and other questions about when and how to plant, hill and harvest potatoes. (That’s a row in my raised beds here, seen in late spring one recent year.) [read more…]
My vegetable garden is one of my favorite spots. As a vegetarian for more than 30 years, I grow (and eat!) a lot of vegetables. Tips and techniques for how to grow vegetables organically, vegetable seed varieties I recommend (both heirloom and some hybrids), timing of spring and succession plantings and much more.
PLANTING PEAS—that first traditional first task of each new food-growing year—took on new significance this spring. I’d just finished watching a lecture on Gregor Mendel and his pea-breeding experiments in an online biology class I’m taking, when the snow finally melted and the soil warmed enough—well, almost enough— to have at it. The peas I like best, and how I plant them, all with a new reverence for the genetics built into a single Pisum sativum seed: [read more…]
MAYBE YOU’RE WONDERING this about now: Why do vegetable seedlings stretch and grow spindly sometimes, and how can you prevent it? That was how I began a note to Dr. Thomas Nils Erik Bjorkman, Associate Professor of Crop Physiology at Cornell, seeking an answer to a question I’m asked a lot. He’s a botanist whose research focuses on the effects of environmental stimuli on plant growth and development, particularly in vegetables. So I asked him what’s going on—are the leggy seedlings reaching for light, or is something else at work? (I couldn’t resist sharing the mung-bean time-lapse video, above…though probably not what you’re sowing at the moment.) [read more…]
DEAR GAYLA: I wanted to write immediately, because if anyone would understand this latest mad urge, it would be you. Oh help me, please, but I want a root cellar in the very worst way. [read more…]
MY 2013 SEED ORDER looks kind of crazy—heavy on the legumes, with a side order of salad, broccoli and a few flowers, and not much else. That’s because I have various leftover seeds to balance it all out, and also because I share and swap with a friend, so he’s got certain crops (such as tomatoes) covered for both of us. But to continue my annual tradition of full disclosure, here’s my order so far: [read more…]