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Derek Freiman

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Having a Good Garden Succession Plan

Here are a few of the crops I grow in my own garden in the same space that you can incorporate into your 2013 gardening plan.  I've found that by pulling out one crop and then following it with another, you make great use of space and introduce different types of plants to the soil.  While I'm no official "master gardener", I know this system works because I've done it year after year.  And I don't worry so much about rotating crops from one year to the next cos with this plan you're rotating crops WITHIN each year.

That said, here are some great ideas for in-season crop succession!

Crop Succession Recommendations

1st Crop (plant date)                   2nd Crop (harvest 1st, plant date for 2nd)                    

Fava Beans ( March)   >>             Squash (plant in June)

Peas (March)               >>             Basil (June)

Potatoes (March)         >>             Onions/Carrots (June/July)

Corn (April)                >>              Spinach/Kale/Arugula (August/Sept)

Good luck and please contact me if you would like more recommendations for succession planting!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Getting Tomatoes Going!

This is a photo from last year which I hope will inspire you to get your tomato starts going.  If you need help, just get hold of me on twitter or facebook and I will be happy to answer any questions.  February is a great time to be starting out with your seedlings.

After about 2 months they should be 8-12" tall and here in the Northwest, we usually take them outside in late April.  When you transplant them into the ground, you will want to push down the roots and bury several inches of the stem (deeper than you usually would) as this helps make them stronger.  (Make sure to pull off any bottom leaves before you do this).

What you wind up with is plants that were 12" tall in pots wind up being around 6-8" high after you plant them deeply in the ground.  But this will help them withstand early lower temperatures, wind and encourages a good strong rooting system.  You'll notice that the tomatoes won't grow much in the first 30 days, but don't worry - they are adjusting to their new surroundings.  After 3-4 weeks, they will be right in step with mother nature and grow like crazy with the summer sun!

Don't forget to sign up for your 2013 garden consulting package.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mother Nature Knows The Way

I think sometimes we forget how well things can grow without any help or interference from us.  Last year, I watched these tomato plants grow right out of my composter all summer long without any help AT ALL from me.  I did not water them or weed them and I certainly did not plant them.  I just let them grow and grow.  Not only were they fine on their own but they also were the healthiest of all my tomato plants last year.  Where other tomato plants had gotten pests and some browning that tried to knock them down, these "compost tomatoes" grew strong and healthy all by themselves.

Try to keep this in mind when you tend to your own garden this spring, as sometimes it is good for us to get out of the way and not try to do too much.

Reminder:  2013 garden installation packages are available now!

derek freiman

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Burlap Sacks and Crows!

Burlap coffee bag sacks make great garden row covers.  In this picture, you can see how crows have actually peeled up the sack along the edge of the garden row in search of worms.  They do this constantly, all along all of my rows.  It's pretty annoying.  More crows this year than in years past.  Must be a feeding frenzy for them!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash get their name because they resemble acorns!  Of course, they are much larger than the kind that fall off trees.

These 2 acorn squash at right are about 7-8" in length.

Last night, I roasted my first acorn squash from last year's harvest and it was really good.

What I did was quarter the squash and remove all the seeds and stringy insides.  Then place the quarters in tin foil and place on a cookie sheet.  Add a little butter, salt and pepper and roast it on 450 for 20-30 minutes, or until the flesh is soft enough to scoop away from the skin.

I served the squash with salmon and some roasted potatoes (which I'd also grown and harvested last summer) and it was a fantastic dinner.  It's so nice to be eating from the garden in February!

Growing Acorn Squash

You start acorn squash in hills just like other squash and plant the seeds about a 1/2 inch deep.  The nice thing about the acorn squash plant is that it does not get as big as other squash plants.  You'll still need about a 2 foot square area to grow them, but the plant doesn't spread out and take up as much space as, say, a kapocha or hubbard squash plant does.  It doesn't "run".

You can expect to get anywhere from 5-8 acorn squash per plant.  They'll store for months on the kitchen counter, so you can use them at your leisure!


Saturday, February 2, 2013


These pumpkins were harvested last August and September and are still sitting on top of my cabinets in my kitchen today!  Soon, I'll be using them in recipes like pumpkin curry and I plan to make a smooth pumpkin butter spread with orange juice this year.

The great thing about pumpkins is that they last so long after you pick them.  Although at some point, usually within 6 months, you'll want to make sure you eat them because they can start to rot from the inside out and lose flavor.

Nothing is more fun, especially if you have small children, then dedicating part of your farm area to a pumpkin patch.  In early Fall, when the leaves have all fallen off the plants and they're beginning to turn brown, the site of many bright orange pumpkins is one to behold!

Growing Pumpkins

If you want to grow pumpkins, you'll need a good bit of space.

I just took this picture at left of the space I used to grow pumpkins last season.  I grew them in two long hills about 3 feet wide and 12 feet long.  I spaced 3-4 feet in between the 2 rows and I allowed for 2 feet in between plants on each row.

So, I had about a dozen plants (6 per hill row) and they produced 15 pumpkins of varying sizes.  When you go to buy seeds, make sure you get the pumpkin seeds that are for EATING, not the ones that are for show.

Saving seeds with pumpkins is easy, just scoop them out, wash them and dry them.  Then store them in an envelope in a cool, dark place until next year.  I usually plant all my squash and pumpkins in late April or early May, whenever the soil is warm enough to germinate the seeds.

Good luck and let me know if you have any questions!


PS - Don't forget to check out my consulting rates for 2013!