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Veggie Gardening 201 Taking your Home Garden to New Heights Phil Hannay and Kathy Kubal Trumpeter Swan Farm, Buffalo, MN

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Presentation on theme: "Veggie Gardening 201 Taking your Home Garden to New Heights Phil Hannay and Kathy Kubal Trumpeter Swan Farm, Buffalo, MN"— Presentation transcript:

1 Veggie Gardening 201 Taking your Home Garden to New Heights Phil Hannay and Kathy Kubal Trumpeter Swan Farm, Buffalo, MN

2 Advantages for Minnesota Gardeners Decent Soils Ample Moisture Harsh Winter Reduces Pest Problems Sunny Weather Reduces Mold Problems Long Warm Summer Days Hasten Growth Excessive Heat is Rare

3 Disadvantages for Minnesota Gardeners Short Growing Season

4 Warm Germination In cold soil, peas take 3 weeks to germinate In 80 degree soil, peas take 5 days Use a warm table to germinate in trays After germination, move into full sun Later, place trays on ground for rooting Radish, onion sets, radish, snap peas

5 Warm Germination: Our Practice 6 foot folding table with plastic sheet cover and 2 foot overhang to catch heat Oil filled radiator for heat underneath table Germination bed thermostat controls radiator - set at 77 to 80 degrees Plastic sheet over trays to retain moisture and heat Foot square 4” high slotted trays hold 3” soil

6 Row Covers - Prevent Frost Helps block radiated heat loss Slows down convection cooling Watch out for Clear and Calm - especially in Spring when low humidity allows temperature to drop quickly after sunset. Find the place on your land that frosts first - monitor it I’ve seen frost when air temp was 42 degrees

7 Row Covers - Keep in Heat Plants don’t grow well below 50 degrees Chemical reaction speed doubles for every 18 degrees of increase So, with ample sun, plants grow twice as fast at 86 degrees compared to 68 degrees Woven fabric is best (prevents overheating), slitted plastic is okay as well Over 90 degrees, plants suffer

8 Row Covers: Our Practice Woven fabric like Agribon Anchor with rocks or sections of steel rebar Monitor weather service ( watch dew point and wind speed - use “Digital Weather Forecast” panel to see predicted values every 3 hours In Spring - watch for surprise frosts In Fall - try to evade the first frost

9 Mini-Hoophouse Cover 2 raised beds with an aisle in between - so 5-6’ wide, 5-6’ tall Wood frame with door on each end for ventilation Plastic on spring and fall, off in summer Option to replace cover with screen material during summer Small enough to use inexpensive materials

10 Mini-Hoophouse: Our Practice 1-1/4” PVC pipe hoops every 3’ inserted into 1-1/2” PVC pipe bases Chain link top rail purlins - 10’ or 21’ length Electrical tape for hoop/purlin joints - good UV resistance Dig out aisle to increase clearance, dirt goes into raised beds (12” aisle side board)

11 Mini-Hoophouse: Our Practice Wiggle-wire and Channel to secure and stretch plastic - easy to install and remove plastic - much better than lath and nails Ordinary 6-mil plastic will last a year or two before UV gets it - you can buy 6-mil greenhouse plastic is more durable and UV resistant that lasts 4 or more years

12 Mini-Raised Beds 2” wide raised beds made with two 8 foot 4” wide boards with 2” spacer boards Set on ground, fill with potting soil Set in transplants Warmer than underlying soil Easy to water (bed holds in the water like a pot)

13 Mini-Raised Beds: Our Practice We use cheap 1/4” thick 4” wide wainscot pine boards preserved with a sealer 2” wide cedar boards on ends completes rectangle and spaces correctly, plus 1 in middle Ideal for Jiffy-7 pellet based transplants Head Lettuce, Kale, Spinach, Broccoli Pull up beds and store after harvest

14 Grow Your Own Transplants Garden center plants sprayed with growth inhibitors to keep plants short, and flower inducers to flower early “Transplant Shock” is often just waiting for the chemicals to wear off and overcome root bind Gain a week or two over garden center offerings, plus have the varieties you want Even peas, corn and beans can be transplanted

15 Grow Your Own Transplants Avoid these Common Mistakes –Don’t start too early- just need first true leaf or two –Provide enough light - sunny window is not enough –Wrong pot size - tomatoes, squash like a deep pot, start with large pot, or re-pot as needed –Don’t plant too early - tomatoes, peppers, squash –Don’t put all your eggs in one basket - do two plantings –Harden, or plants will sunburn or get wind whipped

16 Transplants: Our Practice Jiffy-7 Pellets: head lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, squash, melons 2x2x6 plant bands - tomatoes, squash, melons, peppers 128 cell plug trays - corn, beans, peas

17 Transplants: Our Practice Germinate on heat table: 77-80 degrees As soon as they germinate, move to full sun (greenhouse or outside) Cool sensitive plants like tomatoes and peppers stay in greenhouse Harden greenhouse plants at least a week before transplanting - moving outside for increasing period of time each day

18 Transplants: Our Practice Post hole digger makes a nice deep hole Fill hole with water, let soak in A little 10-10-10 fertilizer in bottom of hole Add a little epsom salt (magnesium) for tomatoes and peppers Cover with some dirt, then add the transplant Make a foot wide circular rim around plant to help hold water in subsequent watering

19 Succession Planting Rule 1: Resist the urge to plant everything at once Rule 2: See Rule #1 Goal - plant no more than 1/4 of your garden each week: a little of everything Rip out and replace as productivity drops and plants start to decline

20 Succession Planting: Example Green Beans –One or two healthy plants can have enough beans for a meal –3 meals a week = 6 well cared for plants –after 2 weeks of producing, rip out and replace Planting Plan… –plant 8 green beans seeds each week –each week for 10 weeks (until July 31) –Think: not so many, easy to weed and coddle

21 Succession Planting: Example Summer Squash –Grows fast, produces a squash every day or two –Two zucchini and two straight neck plants is plenty –After 4 weeks plants decline, rip out and replace Planting Plan –Start transplants 3 weeks before planting date –Transplant 4 squash plants every 4 weeks –Once in late May, then early July and early August

22 Succession Planting: Our Practice Plant Every Week: Peas (Apr-May), Beans (May-July), Corn (May-June), Beets (Apr-June ), Turnips (Apr-Aug), Lettuce (Apr-Aug) Plant Every Two Weeks: Broccoli (Apr-July), Basil (May-July), Dill (May-July), Cucumbers (May-July) Plant Every Four Weeks: Summer Squash (transplant May 15, July 1, Aug 1)

23 Cold Weather Holding Many plants hold produce well in cool air Some hold well even thru freezes Root crops can be held by mulching Key is to grow enough produce in late summer and early fall to have multiple weeks of produce ready to hold when cool sets in

24 Cold Weather Holding: Our Practice Beans, Beets - for the last 3 weeks (plantings), plant twice as many as earlier weeks Zucchini - last planting, 4 times as much, skip straight neck squash (not as cold tolerant) Broccoli - last planting, twice as much Brussel Sprouts - we’ve eaten them in December - picked frozen Lettuce and Spinach in a small hoop house - good to 20 degrees

25 Increased Productivity: Raised Beds 2-3 feet wide, 1-2 foot aisles dig out dirt from aisles, add to beds straw in aisles to make it easy on your knees beds warm up and dry out quick in spring side boards can anchor row cover frames two week jump over flat ground dry out more quickly, so watering is important

26 Increased Productivity: Mulch Suppresses weeds Retains moisture Keeps produce cleaner Easy on the knees Wait until mid-June when soil warmed up and weed germination has slowed

27 Increased Productivity: Right Sizing Plant Less - room for more varieties - resist urge to plant every seed in that seed packet Space More - fewer plants means less thinning, more vigorous growth, more produce per plant Skip Low Producers - sweet corn takes a lot of space for a little produce; cauliflower, cabbage Skip Sprawlers - winter squash takes lots of room and ties it up ground all season long

28 Make Hay While The Sun Shines Start Earlier - Warm Germination, Row Covers, Mini-Hoophouse, Mini-Raised Beds, Start Your Own Transplants Increase Productivity - Succession Plant, Raised Beds, Mulch, Right Size Harvest Longer - Row Covers, Cool Weather Holding, Mulch Root Crops

29 Questions? Resources – slotted trays, plant bands –Menards - 8 foot 4” wide 1/4 inch wainscoting, pine, 5 to a pack; oil filled radiator –Fleet Farm - Jiffy-7 pellets and trays – - Agribon row covers – - wiggle wire, heat mat thermostat – - questions

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