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  • Winter Vegetables vs. USDA Zone 8 - The Westside Gardener
    put a quadruple layer over the celery since I wasn t sure about that crop s hardiness Unfortunately the cold blew in hard from the east which is not the normal direction for strong winds in my garden The hoophouse which runs east west did not provide any real protection Much of the row cover blew off although it stayed in place over the celery So most plants ended up being exposed to a temperature of 20F 7C When the wind finally died down I put my hoophouse back together and re covered everything with the row cover fabric The celery still looks great This surprised me since I d heard from several sources that it was only half hardy Apparently the P17 fabric provided a good insulating layer Also unfazed by the cold were kohlrabi claytonia miner s lettuce overwintered onions and scallions carrots parsnips which were not protected by a row cover escarole radicchio spinach and garden cress There were no total casualties but a couple species were somewhat damaged It was no surprise that the lettuce showed some damage what pleased me was that it survived at all I knew it was hardy to the low 20s F apparently 20F 21F is the cutoff if it has no extra protection I was disappointed however that the minutina didn t hold up better It has been advertised as a very hardy salad green but it fared only about as well as the lettuce did where the row cover did not protect it the leaves were pretty heavily damaged by the cold You may notice that a couple of items are missing from this list Beets were an early casualty early August to be exact Some slugs came along and pruned them for me Normally I also grow corn

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/articles/1998/winter_veggies_usda_8.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Winter Is Upon Us - The Westside Gardener
    back too I hope I can get at least some of you to rethink this strategy If you are behind in your garden and must choose between various activities I think it s wise to push back or entirely forgo some of the summer crops in favor of starting the winter ones There are several reasons for this First many summer crops are fast growing and therefore more forgiving in regards to planting time Pole beans for instance can be planted as late as early July and will still yield respectable amounts by September In contrast most of the winter vegetables that we re concerned with during summer grow slowly and need all the allotted time to develop fully Second is the issue of quality Some home grown summer vegetables such as tomatoes are notably superior to what can be purchased Most however are more or less comparable Of course there s still the concern over pesticide residues but organic produce is now widely available By contrast winter vegetables out of your garden are remarkably superior in appearance taste and nutritional value A large percentage of what s available in the store during winter isn t even grown in this hemisphere All that time spent in transit means lower quality and nutrient content Side by side with quality is simple economics During summer local produce is abundant and cheap When you can buy Puyallup grown corn for 10 cents an ear it s hard to justify the summer garden on monetary considerations Contrast this to winter when lettuce can be 1 50 a head and leeks are 3 00 a pound Toss in some other expensive but easily grown items such as arugula and escarole and you re really saving money Finally there s the fun factor Perhaps it s

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/articles/1999/winter_is_upon_us.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Starting Seeds Indoors, Successfully: The Facts of Light - The Westside Gardener
    sunny south facing window These authors must live in southern climes where the spring sun is always bright Certainly in our corner of the world seedlings simply cannot get adequate light in a window sill Fortunately you don t need to spend a small fortune to remedy the situation An inexpensive shoplight fixture is ideal for this use Mount it directly over your growing area at a height where the bulbs will be within a few inches of the plants Since shoplights are supported on chains they are easy to raise up as the plants grow I like to have two of the two bulb shop fixtures over each 16x48 inch growing shelf There is a fair bit of debate regarding what types of bulbs to use All other things being equal try to get bulbs with the highest lumen output While plants only use certain parts of the visible light spectrum there seems to be very little difference between the common types of bulbs in terms of the overall spectrum they produce other than some narrow phosphor spikes that are used for different lighting effects Plant bulbs do make a difference but they cost more I used to achieve acceptable results just using old style 40W shoplight tubes Now in each fixture I combine a 40W plant aquarium tube with a 40W residential tube and feel the results are worth spending the extra money If you decide to mix and match tubes in a single fixture be sure the fixture is rated to handle the bulbs and do not combine different wattage bulbs It s also a good idea to purchase a timer While the length of your on and off cycles doesn t matter to most vegetables allowing the simulated daylength to change from day to day can

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/eclectic/propagation/starting_seeds_light.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Starting Seeds Indoors, Successfully: Some Like It Hot - The Westside Gardener
    don t always vent heat at the top I ve known some gardeners who place their seed containers by the wood stove if you try this be very careful not to overheat the pots With any of these locations you have to watch the seeds carefully When germination begins move them to a well lit location It is important to remember that some seeds actually prefer cooler temperatures This is especially true of certain flowers and perennials When germinating ornamental plants you might want to refer to the excellent Seed Germination Database put together by Tom Clothier and Asle Serigstad Seedlings Seedlings almost always have a lower heat requirement than seeds They will grow much better if left on the mat of course but this lush growth will fare very poorly when the plants are moved out into your garden even in summer Many gardeners raise their plants in warm settled conditions then harden them off for a few days before moving them to the garden Hardening off involves gradually exposing your plants to outside conditions first for a little while then gradually over a week or so lengthening their time outside New cells grown during this hardening off period will be tougher than the earlier growth but that softer growth is still there inside the plant In my opinion though it s better to raise the plants the whole time in as cool conditions as will not set them back One advantage to this is that all the growth is hard which means no hardening off is required It just makes sense to grow them in a similar climate to what they ll face outside after all even in July our average low temperature is only in the low to mid 50s Tougher cells also mean the plant is more resistant to diseases and pests While these plants grow slower at first and frankly don t look as lush and wonderful as warm grown plants they race out of the starting blocks as soon as they are set outdoors These stronger plants yield sooner than larger softer grown ones even if those are hardened off correctly To accomplish this I ve set up my growing area on our unheated back porch Using tomatoes for an example I start my seed around March 1 When they start germinating I pull them off the heat mat At this time of year the temperature in the back porch drops to around 50F at night sometimes lower and gets up to the low 60s during the day If we have a warm sunny spring day I put them outdoors but bring them in by early evening Under these conditions the plants grow slowly by late April they are still only about a foot tall But they are tough and I can put them out under my PVC hoophouse before May 1 most years even though they ll almost certainly be exposed to temperatures in the 30s a few times Growing this way I

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/eclectic/propagation/starting_seeds_heat.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Artichoke Seedling Photograph - The Westside Gardener
    Send questions or comments to e mail address display requires JavaScript sorry Artichoke All contents Travis Saling This page was last updated November 18 2013 Home Quick Looks FAQs Guides

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/guides/seedlings/artichoke.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Snap Bean ("Green Bean") Seedling Photograph - The Westside Gardener
    Send questions or comments to e mail address display requires JavaScript sorry Snap Bean Seedling All contents Travis Saling This page was last updated November 18 2013 Home Quick Looks

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/guides/seedlings/snap_bean.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Beet Seedling Photograph - The Westside Gardener
    Send questions or comments to e mail address display requires JavaScript sorry Beet All contents Travis Saling This page was last updated November 18 2013 Home Quick Looks FAQs Guides

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/guides/seedlings/beet.html (2016-04-27)
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  • Carrot Seedling Photograph - The Westside Gardener
    Send questions or comments to e mail address display requires JavaScript sorry Carrot All contents Travis Saling This page was last updated November 18 2013 Home Quick Looks FAQs Guides

    Original URL path: http://westsidegardener.com/guides/seedlings/carrot.html (2016-04-27)
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