Tips from a Northern Gardener
by Sue Robishaw
Revised and updated, this pithy eBook is packed with more than 240 tips and ideas for gardeners of all ages and experience. Though it is focused particularly for the short season grower it is full of ideas for everyone no matter where you garden. See excerpt below.
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"Frost Dancing" is a friendly straight forward garden booklet free of fluff and
fuss, full to its short but sturdy brim with more than 240 tips from Sue's many
years of organic gardening. For gardeners of all abilities, with a sustainable
philosophy that is easy and natural. No matter where your garden is located,
you'll find help here.
Excerpts from the book:
Late Winter -- Early Spring
Sort seed packets into small paper bags by type (tomatoes and peppers, coles, beans, peas, greens, etc.) for ease when planting time comes. Store in a large tin or plastic lidded bucket in a cool or cold area.
Compost makes good potting soil. Mix some sharp sand in with your compost if it is heavy.
Flats can be made of any type of scrap lumber which hasn't been painted, stained, or treated. Smaller flats for the first transplanting of seedlings, and for larger plantings of seeds such as onions, can be 12" x 16" x 3".
If frost hits your garden unexpectedly get out early before the sun hits the garden and water the plants. This can save some otherwise doomed plants.
Use a knife to cut between seedlings in flats a week before transplanting. This separates the roots and allows them to recover before they are moved.
When the lilac and cherry leaves are out and the Trout Lilies are blooming it is time to plant grains, peas, early and seed spinach, radishes, and direct seeded cole crops.
Swiss Chard is a very handy, and hardy, green -- it doesn't wilt in the heat of summer, can be used in salads or as a cooked green, and it produces a lot of leaves for drying for use in winter soups, stews, and casseroles.
In cold years continue to stack cold frames around selected tender plants as they grow.
If you started your squash plants inside and transplanted them into the garden pick off the first blossom -- transplanted squash will sometimes set just this one fruit if you don't remove it.
Strips torn from old cotton sheets make good tomato ties which will be kind to the tender plants stems and can be used many times over.
Plant garlic when the frosts arrive, individual cloves from the best bulbs, about 3" apart, with a good mulch.
Make note of how many good blankets need to be left inside for the family's use so you don't end up taking them all to cover the garden.
Use long handles pruners to chop up tough stemmed plants such as broccoli and corn as the fruit is harvested. This will help hasten the decomposition process (builds great muscles too!)
Dig and store finished compost for use as potting soil next spring (garbage cans make good containers). Store in an area easily accessible from your potting area.
Junk mail envelopes, sealed and one end cut off, make good seed packets for home grown
seed. And home grown seed makes nice gifts -- most are great for winter sprout salads too.
For more good ideas and information see "Homesteading Adventures" .
For more articles on Gardening go to the GARDEN page.
And go to the HOMESTEAD page for many articles on homestead life topics.