Posts Tagged ‘Growing season’

3 Essential Tips for Selecting Seeds for Your Garden

selecting seeds. how to choose seeds, seed terminology, It is a great time to start selecting seeds to grow in your garden this coming spring. There are a few things you should think about when choosing which seeds will do the very best in your garden.

  1. First, you should find out how many average growing days are usual for your area. This can be done by looking up what the average first and last frost dates are in your area. For my area in the Salt Lake Valley, UT the last frost date in the spring is around May 10 or an easy way to remember is around Mother’s Day. The first frost of the season in fall occurs usually the first or second week in October. So we have around 145 average growing days give or take a week or two. ┬áThis will make a difference especially for the warm veggies like tomatoes and squash. You want plenty of time to harvest from your garden. If you plant a vegetable that will start producing around the same time of the first frost in the fall that will really limit how much you will be able to harvest before the frost kills your plants. So when looking at seed catalogs or packets, there is a number that is for the days to maturity. Be sure to choose varieties that will work well with your growing season.
  2. Next to the plant name will have either OP or F1. OP means Open Pollinated. This means the offspring of these plants will be very similar to the parent plants. Heirloom varieties are considered open pollinated. You can save the seeds from these plants to plant in your garden the next year. F1 means there were 2 different but similar varieties bred together to get this variety. You wont want to save these seeds as they will be inferior to the parent plants.
  3. Remember to watch for specific qualities you want in the description. If it dose not tell you what you are looking for chances are they do not have that quality. For example a tomato that is good for sauce will say so. The description also usually tell you size, if it is disease resistant and any other special features it has.

Choosing the varieties and planning out your garden can make the cold months more bearable and even fun! (at least at my house.)

Happy Garden Planning!

Onions- a Winter Crop?

Onion flowering, onion seeds, onion gone to seed. can you plant onions in the fall? will onions survive the winter?

An onion gone to flower. Soon it will have a seed packet in place of the flower.

Have you ever left some of the small onions in your garden and have them come up strong the next year? When they do this, the second year they will go to seed and get a little ball at the tip of the onion stalk that contains the seeds. They can actually be quite pretty and fun to try in your garden. Onions can be a very easy crop to grow, but many times people will just get them started too late in the season to get a good crop to use with the other vegetables grown in the garden that year. Onions only need a few things:

  1. Space. If you plant them too close together, sure you might get mature onions, but they might be bite size. So if your aim is large onions, give plenty of space that they will not even touch when they are full grown. I like to stagger my rows so that they can take up a little bit of the in between space of the other onions.
  2. Time. Onions like a good growing season. If planted right they will be done right around the tomatoes in time to make salsa. If you plant them too late, you might be saving the onions for use over the winter and buying onions for the salsa. I like to plant enough onions for both. Try getting some onion seeds and planting them now- in the fall. The seeds will not germinate until spring, and once they do, they will most likely poke their green little leaves through the snow. It is such a fun thing to watch when you think nothing is alive in your garden to see the little onion seedlings growing.  By planting them this way, you will for sure get a good crop of onions in time for use with salsa. Just be sure not to plant the seeds too close together. They are very hard to thin out. You cant just trim the leave away- they will just grow new ones. You have to actually pull out the onion and you might destroy the other ones near by. So by careful seed sowing, you can more easily thin them out when the time comes.
  3. Water and Soil. This is a given, but having a nice loamy soil with lots of organic matter, the onions will be able to grow nice and big. They also need consistent watering, spreading a nice mulch around them will help to keep the soil moist. They have a shallow root system and if left to dry out, it might stunt their growth. I like to put a soaker line around them for watering. This way the water can seep into the ground rather than flood it and run off to a lower spot to soak in.

I think you will find it a fun and rewarding experience to grow onions of any kind in your garden. They store so nicely too that you just might not need to buy any more onions again!! Check out our garden planner, and start planning your garden for spring- NOW!

Happy Gardening!