In This Issue:
1. January in the Garden
2. Planning a Spring Garden
3. Product of the Month: Ultimate Garden Bag
4. Gardenerd Tip of the Month: Harvesting
1. JANUARY IN THE GARDEN
Winter in the garden is a wonderful time. It is filled with the promise of the spring to come, while it provides us with hearty greens for our dinner table. Chard, kale, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuces, beets are all staples of the winter garden. Here at Gardenerd, we’ve been sautéing greens with garlic, olive oil, tamari and a touch of toasted sesame oil for a plate-licking good side dish.
Planning for spring is underway as seed catalogs roll in and fall crops start to fade. Seed-starting indoors is just around the corner. Roses need pruning and the compost pile is yielding black gold. Victory Gardens are making a comeback now that the economy has made a downturn, but that’s good news for us! Whatever your gardening needs, we’re here to help with classes, consulting and Gardenerd Gear. Be sure to take some time to enjoy this winter season and the anticipation of spring.
2. PLANNING A SPRING GARDEN
January is one of the best times of the year for not only New Year’s Resolutions, but for renewal of your garden – at least on paper. Now is the perfect time to start plotting out your spring garden. Want to know what grows best in spring? Visit the Here Comes Spring 3-2-06 newsletter to see a quick list of veggies and flowers that you can make space for in your virtual garden.
Planning a garden can be daunting, but so very satisfying in the end. Knowing the best location for each crop comes with years of practice and trial and error. Over time, the satisfaction grows as we get the hang of our growing space and we know whether carrots like growing next to tomatoes or not. I remember how enthusiastic I was about my first garden. It was all I could do to keep from camping out at night to watch it grow.
If you need some help planning out that special space, the Spring Garden Planning Workshop is coming up soon. Our first class (this Saturday, January 30th) is sold out, but there is still room in the February 21st class. Click here to register. Space is limited, so secure your spot today.
3. PRODUCT OF THE MONTH: ULTIMATE GARDEN BAG
There are garden bags and then there are garden bags. Much like a fine set of pruners, you really want to invest in a bag that satisfies all your gardening storage needs. You want pockets. You want something that stays open when you’re working in the garden and you need to reach in and grab a ball of twine with dirt all over your hands. You want something that is locally made in America from hemp – a renewable resource that can save the world. You want low-impact dyes, and most of all, you want to look fabulous as you sweat. You want the Ultimate Garden Bag.
Link: Ultimate Garden Bag
4. GARDENERD TIP OF THE MONTH: HARVESTING
What’s the best way to harvest all of those great greens from the garden? So many Gardenerd students ask specifically about harvesting, so we thought we’d take a moment to highlight how to pick some of your favorite veggies:
Lettuces: Harvest the outside leaves as the plant grows. You’ll be able to eat from those plants for several months
Broccoli: Cut off the main head just above a leaf junction where you see a smaller bud forming. Those buds will grow into side shoots of more delicious broccoli.
Kale/Chard/Collards: Cut stems off near the base of the plant, like lettuces – harvest the outside leaves.
Root Vegetables: To know when carrots and parsnips are ready to pick, use your finger to dig down around the base of the foliage and expose the crown of the veggie. If the diameter of the carrot or parsnip is as thick as you’d like it to be, pick it. (Fair warning: something the diameter is not an indicator of whether the root has grown long enough, but it’s a great starting point).
Peas: Use pruners to clip peas off the vine, rather than pulling. They are delicate and can break off where new growth has started. Harvest when peas are smaller to ensure sweetness. (They rarely make it in from the garden in our household).
However you harvest your veggies, make sure you wash them well before using them. Plan your meals around what’s available in the garden and keep it simple – most home-grown veggies need nothing but salt and pepper to shine at the dinner table.
Stay tuned for more gardening tips and tidbits from the Gardenerd. Happy Winter Gardening!