Member Since: 03/18/2010

recent comments

Re: QUESTION: Harvesting Onions

I would look closely at the varieties of onion that you are growing. In general, there are sweet onions and storage onions. Sweet onions, as their name implies, tend to have more flavor. Often these are the choice of gardeners because their names tend to be more recognizable. Sweet onions will generally store up to 4 months, but 4 months only under optimal conditions. Storage onions, as their name implies, are better suited for long term storage. For your 2011 plantings, I would seek storage varieties and see if you can make them last longer. You can also grow a mix of both - just be sure to eat the sweet onions first. Best wishes.

Re: QUESTION: Garlic sprouting early

Because I don't know your zone, this is a little difficult to answer. Generally, garlic is best planted at or even a bit after your first frost date. If you don't know your zone or first frost date, you can find it from a variety of sources online.

For purposes of this response, I am going to assume that you have planted at or around the first frost date. It is not uncommon for garlic to begin to sprout a little before the winter. Garlic is extremely hardy and can handle this cycle.

To help protect these young sprouts, and to provide some early spring compost, you should gently cover the sprouts with about 4-6" of organic matter. I like a combination of straw, leaves and even a little bit of lawn grass. Just be careful that is does not become too compacted (the straw tends to help prevent this).

In the spring, the shoots will continue to emerge through your "blanket" of organic matter. As the plants continue their growth, the organic matter will decay into a nice fertilizer for the garlic.

Re: QUESTION: Mysterious Shrinking Summer Squash

This sounds like a classic sign of a lack of pollination and it is common with squash. An un-pollinated female will grow a small fruit for a day or two. The fruit will then die off in order to protect future offspring.

I would encourage you to hand pollinate a few females and see if this fixes your problem. Early in the morning, pull off a few male flowers. Remove the petals that surround the center and its pollen. Gently brush the males onto the center of the female flower. You can raise your probability by repeating this with a few male flowers.

Good luck!

Re: QUESTION: Planting peas & tomatoes

A few comments on your peas. First, peas hate to be transplanted. They are one of the veggies who do not like their roots disturbed. That is probably a major contributor in why you had difficulty last year. You will get a better result by direct planting the seeds outside. And since you are in zone six, you can plant right now. Its not too late at all. Second, peas are "nitrogen fixers", meaning they can pull nitrogen from the air and help your soil by converting it into usable nutrients. However, in order to best perform their magic, they should be planted by preparing the seeds with a pea inoculant. You can find this in any good garden store, and it will help the peas grow better. Best wishes - I love peas.