By Lisa Ray, The Garden Advisor, And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden… Gen. 2:8, Snapdragon–A Spring Favorite
These tender perennials are usually grown as hardy or half-hardy annuals. The plants may be low and mound-forming or tall and spiky. The slender stems carry narrow, bright green leaves and are topped with spikes of tubular flowers that resemble puckered lips. The 1 ½ inch velvety flowers bloom through summer in nearly every color but true blue; some have two colors in one flower.
Height ranges from 1 foot for dwarf types to 2 feet for intermediate types and up to 4 feet for tall types. Spread ranges from 8-18 inches.
The best site is full sun to light shade (especially in hot summer areas); average, well-drained soil with added organic matter.
Buy transplants in spring, or start your own by planting seed indoors 6-8 weeks before your last frost date. Sow seed on the surface, press it in lightly, and put the pot in a plastic bag until seedlings appear; set out seedlings after the last frost date. Or sow them directly into prepared garden soil after the last frost date. Set or thin dwarf-type plants 8 inches apart, intermediates 10 inches part, and tall types 18 inches apart.
Water during dry spells to keep the soil evenly moist. Pinch or cut off spent flowers spikes, especially early in the season, to promote more flowers. If you leave a few spikes to set seed near the end of the season, plants may self-sow. Snapdragons can survive mild winters, especially with protective mulch. They overwinter as leafy clumps and will start blooming in late spring to early summer in the following year.
Snapdragons are prone to rust, a fungal disease that shows up a brownish spots on leaves. Some rust-resistant cultivars are available, but even these may show some symptoms. The best prevention is to grow snapdragons as annuals and pull the plants out of the garden in fall.
How deep to plant seeds?
- Plant large seeds, such as corn, in individual holes or row, and cover them with a ½ inch layer of soil.
- Sow medium-sized seeds, such as radish, in shallow rows, and cover them lightly with ¼ inch soil.
- Scatter fine seeds, such as mustard, as evenly as you can over the surface of the soil; do not cover, press them in lightly.
Get those summer seeds ordered or brought before they’re all gone! There’s a lot more gardeners these days. But right now, it’s still time to plant spring seeds, sets, tubers, and plants in the ground while it’s cool. Seeds: beets, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, mustard, radishes, and turnips. Sets and Tubers: green and bulb onions, and potatoes. Plants: cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, collards, lettuce, and spinach.
Old Time Garden Advice
An excellent practice is sowing radishes and beets, carrots, or parsnips in the same row. The radishes germinate first, break any possible surface crust, and ripening rapidly, may be harvested before the permanent crop needs the space. Fearing Burr-Garden Vegetables and How to Cultivate them, 1866
Valued for thousands of years because of its hardiness and storage life, cabbage can be grown almost anywhere.
Grow as a spring and fall crop in most areas, or as winter crop where temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Avoid plantings that will mature in hot, dry weather. Start spring crops in a cool place indoors 6-8 before last spring frost and set out 4 weeks before the last frost. Give seedlings plenty of light and withhold fertilizer to discourage spindly growth. Set plants 12-18 inches apart, depending on expected head size. In cool-summer areas, you can plant successive crops every month, ending with a storage-type cabbage about 2 months before fall frost. Summer plantings may fail in warmer climates. Heavy mulch will help retain moisture and keep the soil cool. Cabbage prefers rich soil; add compost or rotted manure before planting and apply fish emulsion or compost tea a month after planting.
Use row covers or BT to control cabbageworms. Aphids are a sign of heat or water stress; hose them off with a strong water spray. Rotate cabbage-family plantings to avoid soil borne diseases.
Matures 60-110 days, so harvest head when formed, but leave lower leaves, small cabbages will form on the stem, providing a second harvest.
Recipe – Coleslaw
6 cups shredded cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
2/3 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
raisins, dried cranberries, nuts, or/and diced apple (opt.)
Toss cabbage in a large bowl with the carrots (and opt.). In a bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the cabbage and carrots and toss to coat thoroughly. Refrigerate until serving time.