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Backyard Renaissance with Caleb Warnock

Gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Natural Yeast, Writing — all the things I’m passionate about! Copyright 2013 Caleb Warnock. This blog content and images are not in the public domain and may not be used anywhere without the express written permission of the author.

Caleb’s Edible Weedkiller

Best Seeds For Planting In Jan/Feb in Any Climate

4 comments:

what’s your recommendation for the clear part of the cold frame for 10 degrees colder than where you are- Northern Utah? Is there anything I can get locally? I’m so excited I want to get started on it now!

I’m about to order seeds to plant in my cold frame. Would you give some hints for starting them since your book isn’t out yet (I have pre-ordered from Amazon)?

(Came here because of the link given by Radio Ecoshock.)
Cold frames never reliably unfroze the soil for me – perhaps you get a lot more sunshine in the winter than we do here in Northern Germany, even if your temperatures drop lower. (We’re 1 degree north of Calgary, Canada and have notoriously cloudly winters.)

I have had more luck sowing greens like Mizuna or Rucola (grows very fast and can stand at least short freezes without problem) quite late (October) into long balcony planters (the kind you hang off the railing), and then carry those inside in the deep-freezing nights. Later, when the soil really starts freezing solid so water-access becomes a problem, the planters go into the unheated greenhouse, where I manage to maintain temperatures around the freezing point during most winters. The salads don’t really grow enough to harvest more than once over the course of the winter in our dim light, but the already established plants get a huge head start in the spring compared to new sowings. The Mizuna tripled its size in the same time as the snow drops bloomed, and the Rucola (which I couldn’t use up early enough) is starting to form blossoms right now. Even some experimental fall-sown basic cutting-leaf salad (“Salad Bowl”) survived the winter in the greenhouse, but now that it’s got enough light to actually continue growing, it’s also getting aphids. I didn’t know that was even possible in March.

About half of the Rucola that I planted outside in massive, wardrobe-sized raised bed (covered with a protective fleece, but the soil was still frozen solid for some 2 months straight) survived as well, though it’s taking a lot longer to get its spring growth spurt. The supposedly so frost-hardy winter endives (“Green Escariol”) in the same bed also partly survived, but only their hearts.
I’ve also found that the heart/root of swiss chard (“Lucullus”) will survive the winter, if it gets a thick blanket of dry leaves. (Though only in ground plantings in a bed that gets a lot of afternoon light; the plants in the less warmth-retaining raised bed mostly died.) Then they form new leaves as soon as the soil thawes and the sun is strong enough.
(For comparison to your local climate, our minimum air temperature this winter was -13.5°C / 7.7°F, with general nighttime temperatures dropping below -10°C / 14°F only occasionally, but with little to no insulating snow cover. Daytime temperatures often went above freezing, though not enough to thaw the soil until late February.)

I didn’t grow it this year, because the plant doesn’t taste particularly interesting nor grows nearly as big as other salads, but corn salad / lamb’s lettuce is easy to grow if sown in the fall, and it’s amazingly frost-hardy. Not only does it survive in soil that’s frozen solid for months (even in pots!) and with no protection from freezing air, but I’ve had plants that were literally encased in ice from rainwater accumulating on frozen pots, and they were perfectly fine once they thawed out again weeks later.

Also, if you can manage to thaw out your soil enough to sow Mizuna in January, then you probably could start with the most hardy, fast-growing radishes just as early. (We have a variety called “Saxa” that germinates at 8°C / 46°F and can take the occasional night freeze. I usually start sowing it in mid March, outside without any protection, but the package says it can be sown in February under glass. I bet you could sow it even earlier in areas that have more sunlight hours during winter than we do. For me, it takes 8-10 weeks to harvest if sown in February/March, and 6 weeks if sown in April/May, since the plants just get that much more energy when the sun stands higher in the sky. So it doesn’t make much sense for me to start earlier.) Radishes are the easiest thing to grow that I can think of, especially for kids. Just make sure it’s a sunny spot, fertilize the soil a little (otherwise they take 2-4 weeks longer), sow, and leave. Even the slugs leave them in peace.

Backyard Renaissance with Caleb Warnock Gardening, Self-Sufficiency, Natural Yeast, Writing — all the things I’m passionate about! Copyright 2013 Caleb Warnock. This blog content and images

Mormon Hippie

The Law of Abundance — Part 3 — Insecticides

In this episode of “Forgotten Skills Radio”, Caleb Warnock and Janiel Miller talk about natural, non-toxic insecticides.

Learn how to:

  • Make your own non-toxic insecticide
  • Work with Mother Nature rather than against her.
  • Have a chemical-free garden that thrives.

Copyright © 2015 by Energy Media Works LLC

Get your own heirloom seeds at Seed Renaissance.

Listen to Caleb’s previous episodes on the Mormon Hippie home page.

Mormon Hippie is a member of the Mormon Media Network.

Forgotten Skills Radio theme music written and performed by Craig Miner.

Image credits:

Hen in a garden by: wikimedia commons, Nigel Wedge

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Endangered Seeds & Organic Weed Killer

Every year varieties of apples, beans and other foods disappear and are gone forever.

In this episode of “Forgotten Skills Radio” Caleb Warnock talks about endangered seeds and how they are being saved.

He also shares information about his organic and edible, that’s right, EDIBLE weed killer. (Audio 29:16)

  • Read more about Caleb’s Organic Weed Killer.
  • For more information on endangered seeds, visit Seed Renaissance.

Copyright © 2015 by Energy Media Works LLC

Listen to Caleb’s previous episodes on the Mormon Hippie home page.

Mormon Hippie is part of the Mormon Media Network.

Forgotten Skills Radio theme music written and performed by Craig Miner.

Mormon Hippie The Law of Abundance — Part 3 — Insecticides In this episode of “Forgotten Skills Radio” , Caleb Warnock and Janiel Miller talk about natural, non-toxic insecticides. Learn