Ask the Gardener-June 21

I have some leftover seed from planting my garden.  Can I keep it and use it next year or do I need to just throw it away?

First of all, don’t throw that seed away, especially if you purchased it this year.  Seed can still be viable for a period of time as long as it is kept in the proper conditions.  You will want to store it airtight, in a cold and dark location for best results.  Here are some rough guidelines on vegetable seed viability:

  • One Year–onions, parsnips, and parsley
  • Two Years–leeks, sweet corn, peppers, and okra
  • Three Years–Chinese cabbage, broccoli, kohlrabi, celery, celeriac, spinach, beans, and peas
  • Four Years–cabbage, Brussels sprouts, beets, Swiss chard, cauliflower, eggplant, turnips, chicory, fennel, mustard, kale, rutabaga, pumpkin, tomatoes, sorrel, watermelon, and squash
  • Five Years–garden cress, cardoon, endive, muskmelon, collard greens, cucumber, and radishes
  • Six Years–lettuces

Hopefully that will get you started.  Be sure to come back and check out our Weekend Project this week.  We will be showing you how to make a simple seed saver that you can use to keep your leftover seeds organized and transportable.

Ask the Gardener-May 24

You have made a few references to zones for gardening.  How do I find my gardening zone?

Zones can be confusing as many times people interchange the Western Gardening zones with the USDA planting zones.  These two zoning methods are very different from one another.  Here at Successful Gardens, we are using the USDA planting zones as a reference guide.  To make it easy for you to find your own planting zone, we have created a special page on the website, Hardiness Zone Map.  Just look on the map for the location that you live and see which color is referenced for your area.  Then reference the color to the key and you will then know which hardiness zone you are living in.

Knowing and understanding which gardening zone you are in is important.  This helps you to know which plants might grow in your area and which ones will have difficulty.  After all, it makes sense that you can’t plant an orange tree outside year round if you live in an arctic tundra.  We hope this will help you save some money by only buying plants for your zone.

Ask the Gardener-May 17

Is there any special about planting a Rose of the Year?

Depending on which Rose of the Year you are looking for, will depend on what you are getting.  Most rose breeding/grower companies will name one of the introductions as their Rose of the Year.  However, if you were looking at one of the Rose of Year introductions from the UK then you would have one of the best of the best.  In North America you want to look for the distinction of an AARS (All American Rose Selection) winner.

AARS is a non-profit, industry-sponsored organization that has been testing roses for their qualities since 1938.  Roses, before they are named or introduced to the public, are tested for two years by rose judges in various public trial gardens throughout the United States. They are scored on 15 relevant characteristics, varying from growing habit of the plant, flower habit and color, to plants being disease resistant.

These scores or grades are collected and tabulated.  By having such a wide range of growing conditions will help in balancing regional characteristics. Once scores at gathered, the highest scoring roses receive the distinctive honor of being an AARS winner.  There is no set number of winners each year.  2010 had only one winner, Easy Does It, whereas 1948 had six winners.

Now this doesn’t mean that you need to ignore all of the other rose introductions, there are hundreds to enjoy. In fact that might be a lofty goal to have for your rose garden. As for my rose garden I am trying to establish a AARS birth garden: Planting all of the roses that received the AARS distinction from the years that members of my family were born.

Roses that you plant should have something that you find irresistible.  Some people are happy with one or two roses in their yards; others might want all the roses that they can possibly plant.

Which roses do you have planted in your garden?

Here  is the link for the All-American Rose Selection winners.

Here is the link for the Rose of the Year United Kingdom.