helen99: Permaculture Information (Permaculture)
Collect your acorns and pack them in plastic bags full of moist sawdust or moist pine bark and put them in the bottom of the refrigerator. Do not allow them to freeze. Store them until late winter or early spring when you can then plant them outdoors.

Plant them in containers and get a year’s growth before moving them to their permanent destination.

If trees are being planted to attract the deer, the young seedlings need to be protected until the top of the tree is higher than the deer browse line. A five foot wire tomato cage works well.

Any care the young seedling can get for its first few growing seasons will enhance its growth and better its chances for success. Supplemental water during the growing season, mulching, and weed suppression around the trees will pay off in the long run.

Fertilizing is desirable but be careful. Use a slow release or organic material such as manure or compost. If you do choose to fertilize, always follow with a good watering.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Start seeds indoors about three weeks before the last expected frost. If your growing season is long and warm, sow seeds directly in the garden when the soil temperature has reached 60 degrees F.

Choose a site that gets full sun and has soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8. Pumpkins need light, very rich soil that drains well. Dig in large amounts of compost and well-cured manure to ensure the right combination.

Till your pumpkin patch deep and wide: Both roots and vines can spread as far as 15 feet in all directions.

Harden off the seedlings, whether store-bought or homegrown, and transfer them to the garden when all danger of frost has passed.

Plant them in hills, setting them at least as deep as they were in the pots. Spacing varies with the variety (check the seed packet), but in general allow at least 5 feet between plants in each direction.

Mulch with organic matter once plants are established to conserve moisture and deter weeds, and use cloches or floating row covers to protect young plants from chilly winds.

Make sure the plants get 1 to 2 inches of water a week, especially when they're blooming and setting fruit.

Feed plants with compost tea or seaweed extract every two to three weeks.

Pinch vines back to limit their growth once fruits appear.

Rotate pumpkins once in a while to keep them symmetrical, but take care to move them only a little at a time to avoid breaking the brittle vines.

Place boards under large pumpkins to keep them from rotting.

Harvest orange pumpkins after the vines have shriveled and died, but before the first hard freeze. Cut white varieties when their skins are still streaked with green (if they're allowed to ripen outdoors, their shells turn pale yellow).
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
1. Save some seeds. Whenever you eat an apple, save a couple of seeds.

2. Take your seeds and lay them out to dry for a few days until there is no moisture on the outside shell.

3. Once the seeds are dry, take them and put them in a damp papertowel and place this in the fridge. Once the seeds have been in the fridge for about a week, the seeds should have sprouted.

4. Put the seeds in a small cup of potting soil, and water them every day, or else the soil gets dried out and crumbly.

5. Wait for some growth. Once you have a small apple seedling, move it to a larger pot, and keep watering it daily. If you want all-natural apples, do not add fertilizer!

6. Transplant. Once your little sapling has gotten big enough that no one will step on it or think it is a weed, carefully transplant it without cutting off any roots. Then put it in a safe place where it looks nice and is convenient (in other words, no rotten apples in the neighbor's yard).

7. Let nature take care of it. Once it has gotten big enough, you can stop watering it. The rain will take care of that.

8. Enjoy your fruit, but bear in mind that if the apple was from a hybrid the fruit from the new tree might be a little different, or not even bear fruit at all.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)

  1. Find an open, sunny patch of well-drained loamy soil to locate the sunflower patch. Sunflowers will tolerate clay and sandy loam but will not flourish in wet soil. The Dakotas, Minnesota, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, Texas and California are the major producers of sunflowers. Growing seasons are short in the upper Midwestern states and crops in California and Texas can be double-planted easily. If you're in one of these areas, you're probably familiar with sunflower culture. In Kansas, even though it's the state flower, the sunflower has achieved weed status, so heat and dryness are no enemy to this strong grower.

  2. Use the familiar black and white seeds used for human snacks.

  3. Wait until the spring rains are finished if you're planting sunflowers in a low area--they rot easily. When the soil warms to 50 degrees, plant sunflowers at least nine inches apart in rows about a yard apart. Plant them an inch and a half to two inches deep, where the soil is damp, so they can germinate easily. Your sunflowers should begin growing in a week or two.

  4. Don't fuss. Your sunflowers grow best (and resist fungus, bugs and mildew best) when planted late and watered only in very dry conditions. Cultivate weekly to keep weed growth down until the plants get big enough to crowd out any weeds. Fertilize lightly with nitrogen-rich fertilizer. These big, rough-leaved giants can grow six to eight feet tall and their blooms (which are actually a system of flowers) can measure from eight inches to more than a foot and a half across, depending on variety. Plants will mature after about two months. Plants should stand until the seed-heads turn completely brown.

  5. Once the seed heads are completely dry, they'll be brown and brittle. They can be collected and broken up to release their seeds.

  6. Dry seeds in a cool, dry place for a few weeks, then and roast them in a very low oven with the door open (preferably on a cool October afternoon) until crisp. Salt before roasting or not.
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
Get a small pot of soil and plant the pit about 2 inches deep.

Keep it well watered but not soggy.

Wait. It will take quite a while for the seed to germinate; you may not see anything until next spring.

Once it does sprout, keep it in the pot until the roots start to fill it, then either repot in a bigger pot or plant it in the ground.

There are 2 things to be aware of in growing a cherry tree from a pit. One is that it will take years and years before it will be mature enough to flower and set cherries. The other thing is that after waiting all those years, it may or may not have cherries like the one the pit came from. The reason is that most cherries need a cross-pollinator, which means that the blossoms need to be visited by bees that were already in another variety of cherry blossoms. For example, a deep red Bing cherry may have been cross-pollinated by a yellow Ranier cherry, so the fruit that grows from the seed may have some characteristics of each of its "parents."
So growing a cherry tree from a seed can be a really interesting experiment if you have 5 or 10 years to wait!
helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)

  1. Buy grape seeds or collect your own from grapes purchased at your local grocery store. Grape seeds can be found at many plant nurseries and online, but the easiest method of obtaining grape seeds is to peel existing grapes and extract your own seeds.

  2. Plant the seeds in a small pot just under the top layer of soil. Place the pot inside a plastic bag. Alternatively, the seeds can be placed directly inside the bag, but this requires transferring them to a pot later.

  3. Refrigerate the grape seeds for 30 to 90 days. Grape seeds require a period of cold at temperatures below 40 degrees in order to end their dormancy. If you have a cold, dark area outdoors that is free of wind and rain, you can store your seeds outside during the winter. Do not allow your seeds to freeze.

  4. Remove the seeds from the refrigerator and allow them to warm inside your home. Keep the seeds inside the plastic bag used to store them in the refrigerator. Seeds should not be placed outdoors in direct sunlight, as too much heat and light will cause the seeds to die.

  5. Remove the seeds from the plastic bag once they begin to germinate, typically after 30 days of warmer temperatures. The seeds should be placed on a windowsill or in a sunny, dry location outdoors. The soil inside your pot should be kept moist, but be careful not to over water.

  6. Transplant your seedlings into separate pots once they have grown to be about 8 cm tall. Place the seedlings in a sheltered, shady area away from rain and wind for 10 to 14 days.

  7. Move your seedlings to a permanent location in direct sun. Plants should be spaced 96 inches apart.

April 2010



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