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.

Weekend Project-How to Build an Upside Down Planter

Photo by Kathy Kimpel

Photo by Kathy Kimpel

You’ve seen the ads for the upside down tomato planter, aka the “Topsy Turvy”.  You have more than likely seen them available for purchase at your local garden center and at the discount stores.  But did you know that you can use the same principles of these popular planters and save a little money and quite easily make your own?

We thought that those of you who are looking for ways to expand your patio garden might love to know how you can make one of these upside down gardens.  Even if you are new to gardening, these are truly an easy project to make and you will quickly have your own upside down garden planted in less than 30 minutes of time and effort.  And believe us when we say less than 30 minutes.  That time includes the gathering of the materials you will need and choosing the right place to hang your new planter.  You may even have time to enjoy a glass of lemonade and admire your work in that time frame.

We are providing you with some links to some instructions on how to make one of these upside down gardens.  And of course, we will end with a video for those who are more visual and just want to see one made.  Let us know how your project turned out!

We liked the clear instructions we found in the article How to Make Your Own Upside Down Tomato Plant Holder.

How to Make an Upside Down Tomato Planter shows you how to utilize space effectively by planting a tomato in the bottom and flowers in the top of the planter.

Want to see a list of materials you will need?  How to Make an Upside Down Planter provides a nice one at the bottom of the 8=step instruction guide.

Don’t want to make one out of a 5 gallon bucket? Maybe you don’t have a bucket available that you can use. How about making one out of an empty 2 liter bottle?

And finally…for those of you who are visual, here is a video that is around 7 1/2 minutes in length that explains the process well: