Gardens, Plants

Starting Plants: Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden Transplants

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Some plants can be started indoors early in the season, before soil and air temperatures are warm enough to plant outdoors. From a seed-starting perspective, most of our common vegetable plants fall into one of three categories.

  • Don’t do well direct-seeded outdoors – these plants seem to do better if they are started in a controlled environment. The reasons may include poor germination rates or too short of a growing season. Plants that fall into this category include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, pumpkins, winter squash, onions, Brussels sprouts, gourds, and melons.
  • Do okay either started indoors or direct-seeded – these plants could be done either way. Some plants have a short enough growing season that even though they can be started indoors, the economics of doing it don’t justify the time and expense. Plants that fall into this category are peas, beans, corn, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, summer squash, spinach, Swiss chard…

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Gardens, Plants

Starting Your Seeds Indoors This Winter

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Expert answers to your herb-growing questions.

Q.  This year I want to grow some of my herb plants from seeds. What are the steps to starting seeds over the winter?

A.  Seed starting is like baking bread- you need the right mix of ingredients, the right temperature, and viable yeast. In the case of seed starting, the ingredient list includes a lightweight growing medium and containers for planting. Provide the right temperature with a warm greenhouse or sunny window; and seeds, of course, are the viable catalyst.

Use a commercial potting mix or seedling mix for the growing medium. Choose from egg cartons, yogurt cups, flats of six-cell packs or small pots when it comes to containers. {Note: Fiber- or peat-based pots should be soaked well before adding soil.} Like yeast, seeds have a limited life, be sure the seeds are fresh or packaged for the upcoming growing season for…

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Food, Health

Food as Medicine: Pear (Pyrus communis and P. pyrifolia, Rosaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

The genus Pyrus consists of 30 deciduous species and is closely related to the genus Malus, which includes apples (Malus spp.). Both genera are part of the economically important Rosaceae family.1,2 Similar to apples, Pyrus fruits are classified as pomes, where the seeds are contained in a central, compartmentalized core.3 The Pyrus genus is native to Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.Capable of living for more than 250 years, the pear tree is one of the longest-living fruit trees.1 Cultivated pears are derived from one or two wild pear species widely distributed in Europe and western Asia.2 Of the 5,000 varieties cultivated worldwide, the two species grown commercially are the European pear (P. communis) with its juicy, aromatic, bell-shaped fruit, and the Asian pear (P. pyrifolia) with its crisp and crunchy, apple-like shape and texture.1,2,

The…

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