Onions Can Be Started From Seed—in Winter!

Even if you have snow on the ground, you can do some gardening: Plant seeds inside for cool weather vegetables, such as onions. Working with cool weather vegetables such as onions not only gives you something to do during winter, it gives you a head start on spring planting. As the name implies, cool weather vegetables can withstand cool temperatures—much cooler than tender vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, can tolerate. That allows your onion seedlings to be planted outside when the air and soil temperatures are just 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Tender plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, can’t be planted outside until the air temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night. Learn how to plant seeds inside in our previous article here. KINDS OF ONIONS We carry two different varieties of onion this year. ‘Siskiyou Sweet’ onion is very mild and sweet. You can eat the green tops as if they were scallions. The ‘New York Early’ onion stores well. It’s sweet, but with more bite than ‘Siskiyou Sweet’. See all the seeds we offer here.   TRANSPLANTING OUTSIDE A week before you plan to transplant your seedlings outside, start to harden off your seedlings. Put them outside for a short period to get them used to brighter light and cooler temperatures than you have inside your house. Each day, place them outside for a longer period so that when you transplant them, they aren’t shocked. Make sure conditions are suitable before you transplant seedlings outside. In …

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Maximize Your Output with ‘Hybrid Composting’

Most gardeners use one of two kinds of composting: cold composting or vermicomposting. But there’s no reason you can’t combine the two. What we call “hybrid composting” can increase the amount of compost you produce and speed up the process, too. Types of composting Vermicomposting uses worms to break down plant matter and food scraps quickly. You can get finished compost in just a few months.  Cold composting is usually done outside with a compost bin or compost pile. The system relies mainly on microorganisms to break down plant matter and food scraps. Cold composting can take six months to a year to produce usable compost.  In a hybrid composting system, you add worms to your cold composting bin. Advantages of using worms in compost bin More room to create compost. Vermicomposters are small, so you are limited in the amount of material you can compost. If you have large bags of autumn leaves that you want to compost, you’ll need to turn to cold composting in an outdoor bin. An outdoor compost bin will also provide more room for kitchen scraps such as carrot peels and coffee grounds. Note: Don’t use spinner composters with worms.  Speed up the process. Instead of relying on just microbes to break down the plant matter, the worms will be doing their part, too, by eating food scraps and yard waste. How to start hybrid composting Layer your materials in your compost bin. Put the freshest, least composted materials on the bottom. These materials …

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