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…]
How to grow garden plants from seeds, including vegetable seeds and herbs and annual flowers and vines. Browse the archive below for tips on topics like growing the perfect tomato, what grow lights and other seed-starting gear to use, when to sow peas or spinach or a second crop of beans, and even if you can grow Clematis from those fluffy seedheads it produces.
HAS A JUICY, PLENTIFUL HARVEST of melons eluded you—perhaps because your growing season feels too short up North, or because powdery mildew attacked your plants in high summer, a challenge even in Southern, longer-season areas? How to grow melons: tips for success, in print and on my latest podcast, too, with Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds. [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…]
NEXT WEEKEND I’M HOSTING a really seedy event, where expert guests will teach us about heirlooms, and seed starting and saving, and then—hooray!—we’ll all shop madly together from two great sellers. That last bit—seed shopping together—got me thinking about my friend Tod (that’s our combined mess of catalogs on his dining table, above) and also about a little passage in my recent book, “The Backyard Parables.” I thought I’d share the excerpt here, with an invite to get in on the togetherness March 23. [read more…]
I WROTE AN OPINION PIECE for Sunday’s “New York Times,” about how my ethical questions in garden-seed shopping aren’t about Monsanto, or about hybrids-versus-heirlooms–the stuff I read about elsewhere–but about how and where the seed I buy was raised. [read more…]