Newsletter: August 2013 Gardening Tips

August 2013 Edition


“It astounds me still that I can succeed at gardening as though the growing of food and flowers should be so arcane that only an alchemist could carry it off. ‘Of course, I won’t be very good at gardening. My garden won’t look nice. It won’t produce well.’ Those ideas were firmly in place at the beginning, and it’s startling to find they’re not true.”

~ Janice Emily Bowers, A Full Life in a Small Place

In This Issue-

  • Quick and Easy Fermented Vegetables
  • Plant Your Spring Flowers Now
  • Where Does That Plant Come From?
  • Successful Fall Garden Vegetables
  • Harvesting Dill
  • Is This Your $25 Gift Certificate?
  • Your Gardening Questions Answered

Hello Subscriber!

Fresh Basil and MarigoldsWelcome to the August edition of our gardening tips! We hope that your garden is in full swing and a bountiful harvest has begun. We are knee-deep in several different kinds of basil, so look for some recipes and videos about what to do with your basil in the mid-month Newsletter.

We will be rolling out a new storefront very soon that is easier to use and has better features. It should be live by the end of the month.

There’s a lot of great info in this edition, so let’s dig in!

Quick and Easy Fermented Vegetables


Fermented Beets and CarrotsIt seems that many people think that fermentation is messy, difficult and takes a long time. Not true on any level! Try this quick recipe for yourself and let us know what you think!

We did these particular veggies because it was what we had on hand and fresh, and we wanted a delicious crunch to put on our sandwiches. Use what appeals to you, make it simple and give it a try!

This recipe is a post we shared on our Facebook page that has been a trendous hit. This is the type of conversation we have on Facebook that (usually) won’t make it into the Newsletter! Join us for more great info.

Fermenting veggies can be super easy! We just did this half gallon of fresh Chioggia beets and carrots after lunch. Here’s how:

  • Slice veggies thin (I used a mandolin)
  • 1/2 Tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 pods green cardamom
  • 1/2 Tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs sea salt or Real Salt

Add half of spices and salt then layer sliced veggies, add remaining spices and salt at top. Fill with water to cover veggies. Put in bowl to contain any overflow. Cover.

If using lid and ring, turn lid upside down and DON’T TIGHTEN, the fermentation will blow the lid off or blow the jar! Just lightly screw the ring on. Some folks will use a cheesecloth and the ring to keep everything out and avoid any overpressure.

Let sit on counter. You will see bubbling (fermenting) after a few hours. Leave alone for 3 days, then put into fridge. Enjoy a tasty treat on your sandwiches, or as a snack! It really is this easy – it took us 15 minutes including cleanup.


Plant Your Spring Flowers Now


Spring FlowersDid you know that fall is the best time to plant many wildflower and flower seeds for next spring? It’s true – if you want a beautiful patch of flowers for their scent, color or to attract pollinators, the best time to plant them is not next spring, but very soon – this fall.

Most wildflowers can (and should) be planted in the fall or early spring throughout many regions of the U.S. In the Southern and Western areas of the country the fall months of September through December are the most favorable time to plant wildflower seeds. In Northern and Northeastern regions seeds planted in the fall will remain dormant over the winter. Many varieties will quickly germinate in order to allow the seedling enough time to become established before going dormant for winter. Other varieties will just remain dormant within the soil until early spring. They will germinate and emerge in the spring when the conditions are favorable.

When you receive our annual Heirloom Seed Catalog in late December of each year, many of the flower varieties would benefit from being planted in the fall instead of the spring. This year we are encouraging you to take a look at our Flower Department now and place your flower seed orders before the spring to benefit from the natural cycles. If you need specific information about what flowers would work in best in your area, email us your questions. Otherwise, if you are new to flower gardening, one of our flower mixes is a great place to start.


Where Does That Plant Come From?


As a seed company we get a lot of plant related questions over the course of the year. Many of these questions are from customers looking for varieties that do not normally grow from seed. To help you understand more about the different type of plants and how they reproduce, we want to give you a quick botany lesson.

Corms, bulbs, rhizomes, tubers, and tuberous roots are the primary food storage organs for the plants which grow from them, as well as the reproductive parts which can be divided or separated.

For the full story, read Where Does That Plant Come From? Botany 101.



Successful Fall Garden Vegetables


An increasing number of you are starting a cool season, or fall and winter garden this year. This is fantastic news, as those who did last year are back for more, with larger plantings for this year, meaning more fresh food from your garden for longer through the year. There are still many of you who have questions about what to plant and when, or need some suggestions on what varieties to start with. We’ve compiled this list to help make it easy for you!

The two biggest factors in deciding what and when to plant is the time left in the growing season and the cooling of the soil temperature. Some varieties will really benefit from late summer and early fall planting, when soil temperatures are still warm and will jump start seed germination. To find the time left before your average first frost date, click the link. Now that you have an idea of how much time is left in your particular growing season, let’s look at some varieties that can be direct planted in warmer soil, some that will benefit from being sprouted then transplanted, and some that will really like a cooler soil a little later on.

  • Asian or Mustard Greens are always a success among fall vegetables, and are as easy to grow as lettuce. Sometimes used as edible cover crops. 21 days baby, or 45 days mature.
  • Arugula (Rocket) has a wonderfully mild flavor, becomes large and leafy and rarely bolts when grown in fall.
  • Endive grown in the fall garden has big, crisp hearts, and taste less bitter compared to spring-grown crops. 40 days baby or 60 days mature.
  • Beets germinate quickly in the warm soil of late summer or early fall. 35 days to greens, 50 days mature.
  • Broccoli stays sweeter, richer and produces longer in cooler weather. Choose from the traditional head type or the “shoots and leaves” for some variety. 40 days, may be cut again.
  • Cabbage should be both direct sown and transplanted after sprouting to extend the harvest. The transplants will mature first, leaving room for those started from seed a couple of weeks later. 60 days from transplanting.
  • Carrots need a moist seed bed to sprout, but will become extra sweet as the soil cools off. 70 days.
  • Cilantro will bolt in hotter weather, but will produce over a much longer time in the fall. Cut and come again.
  • Cucumbers will sweeten up as the weather cools off. Hot, dry weather and lean, poor nutrient soil makes them bitter. 60 days, frost sensitive.
  • Kale is incredibly cold tolerant, yet highly productive and easy to grow. Very nutritious and tasty on a cold fall or winter evening. 30 days baby, 60 days mature.
  • Lettuce really prefers a cool season and benefits from both direct seeding and transplanting to extend harvests. 60 days, or 30 days from transplanting.
  • Mache (Lamb’s Lettuce) is a miracle green that grows strongly through winter with minimal protection and fills your salad bowl first thing in spring. 40 days baby, 60 days mature.
  • Peas are very often overlooked, but are a cool season crop that does well in the fall garden. Use an early maturing variety. 50 – 70 days.
  • Radishes grow well in fall including the familiar salad radishes, huge Daikon and radish blends.
  • Scallions or green onions develop a richer flavor as cooler weather arrives. 65 days.
  • Snap Beans will be crunchier and sweeter as cooler weather arrives. 50 – 60 days, frost sensitive.
  • Spinach can be planted or harvested 3 times. Start seedlings indoors and transplant for an early fall crop, direct sow once soil temperature is below 70F and grow a third crop under a row cover or low hoop house until the coldest part of the winter. 30 days baby, 45 days mature.
  • Swiss chard is both heat and cold tolerant, but produces richer flavors once the first frosts set in. 30 days baby, 55 days mature.
  • Turnips will give you both tasty greens and crunchy roots that will store for several weeks. 40-50 days.

When thinking about starting or sprouting vegetables for the fall garden, don’t think of the spring starting of tomatoes or peppers. These are only grown until they are a couple of inches tall, then transplanted into the garden. You are just giving them a week or so head start inside, not the 6 – 8 weeks that is normal in the spring.

If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to call or email us, so we can help you be successful in your cool season garden!


Harvesting Dill


Homegrown dill is delicious, easy to grow and harvest. We’ll show you how! One thing to remember – you want to harvest almost mature dill seeds, not the green ones or the completely dry ones. The green ones won’t have the flavor you are looking for and the dry ones will have already dropped most of their seeds, giving you much less seed than you bargained for!

Our Harvesting Dill photo essay shows how easy it is, even with a puppy!


Is This Your $25 Gift Certificate?


Gift Certificate for reviewsHave you entered a review for your chance at a $25.00 gift certificate? We will be drawing one at the end of the month, so don’t miss out!

What we need are real, constructive reviews that can help other gardeners. Please enter your state, so that others can see how it did in your area. Your name is published if you enter it, but your email is not.

We need your email address so we can keep track of the number of reviews for the drawing. If you choose not to enter your email in the review, make sure to send us an email letting us know what items you’ve reviewed so you get credit for your entries.



Submitting a review is easy! Go to our Terroir Seeds Store and the item you want to review, then click on the item number, photo or name to get to the extended description. There you will see the review link, as shown above. It will say “View Reviews | Review this item” if there have been previous reviews, and “Be the first to review this item” if not. Then enter your review!


Your Gardening Questions Answered


Gardening QuestionsHere is another in our series of gardening questions that we get through the website or email that we feel should be shared with all of you. If you have a gardening question, please ask!

“I have some straight neck yellow summer squash that I really enjoy…EXCEPT that they draw squash bugs so badly. I have tried to keep from using sprays but use a propane hand tourch to burn the grown and baby bugs and very quickly burn the eggs. It kills a small area of the leaf but it doesn’t seem to be too detrimental. I have to do this daily or they will literally kill the plants.

Is there any kind of this squash that is resistant to the bugs?”

Squash bugs are the bane of western gardening! They will overwinter in leaf and wood chip piles and residue, re-emerging to attack the plants next year. We learned this the hard way, as our raised bed garden has wood chips for the walkways!

Squash bugs can travel up to a couple hundred feet, so distance can become an option – by planting a new bed at least 200 feet away from the main garden. Also, there is some sort of communication or signal that happens when the squash plant touches the ground. We have seen infestations of the squash bugs at the point of ground contact, then it spreads outward from there. A number of our customers have confirmed this, with several larger growers using a plastic ground cloth to “insulate” the squash from the ground, along with warming it up to allow an earlier planting time. What they’ve found is the ground cloth cut the number of squash bugs by 90%!

Something else to look at is our popular article Squash Bugs and Ways to Deal With Them and Home Garden Bug Solution for some non-chemical approaches to the little devils.

There doesn’t seem to be an open-pollinated squash that is resistant or at least not attractive to the squash bugs. I don’t know if there are any hybrid varieties that claim resistance, and I’d be very interested to see proof of those that did.


We believe in a world of healthy soil, seed, food and people. Everyone has a fundamental need for vibrant food and health, which are closely linked.

We work to achieve this by challenging and changing conventional gardening thinking, providing successful and unique methods and techniques while inspiring the power of choice and action for the individual.

Our customers are friends that we have not yet met, as you share our interest and passion for growing incredibly delicious foods, preserving heirloom seed traditions and biological diversity for the future through our own home gardens. Sharing this is possibly the most important work, as it helps all of us make a definite, positive impact in our lives and in those that we share.

Thanks for your time this edition, we hope you have enjoyed it! Please let us know your thoughts and suggestions, as we are always working to improve.


Stephen and Cindy Scott
Terroir Seeds | Underwood Gardens


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  1. […] Please remember to send your reviews in, as we are having the final drawing for a $25.00 gift certificate at the end of September. For details, see our August edition. […]

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