Growing Green

Advice From Grandma


One of the hardest things for me to do is to wait until I am supposed to before planting, as I have mentioned before.  I tend to want to get out there are do things too early.  In fact, my father’s aunt, Aunt Esther, was adamant about not planting before Memorial Day and her gardens were apparently amazing.

But my own Grandma, my wonderful Greek and Italian grandmother, is the one I mostly follow for planting advice.  She has been gardening for a long, long, time and introduced me to the passion when I was just little.  Now she teaches my sons and they have memories of digging potatoes out of Great Grandma’s garden like a treasure hunt.  They are fortunate to have many grandmas and it is hard to keep track of everybody so they call her the “Grandma with the loud laugh.” 🙂  I would suspect that is probably the Greek coming out.  What a way to be remembered, huh?

Well, regardless, the Grandma with the loud laugh is my gardening heroine.  This is the advice she gave me for our region (southern Idaho):

1.  Start planting when the lilacs come out.

2.  If you are very anxious to get started, as soon as you can work the soil you can plant frost tolerant plants like spinach, lettuce, onions, peas and beets – even if it is freezing outside (though you may want to protect them a bit with row covers or the like.  A little later you can plant carrots, parsnips and cauliflower.

3.  Plant the warm weather veggies in late April (if you use walls of water which are like mini greenhouses for your tomatoes and peppers) or in May (better for things like beans).

4.  When your lettuce bolts (which means it starts to flower/go to seed), cut off the bolt ASAP and keep picking the leaves to eat.

5.  Can alternate many types of plantings to get more yield.

6.  Prune in February and apply any dormant oil to fruit trees, ect.

7.  Start seedlings inside in late February.


That’s it folks.  Those are Grandma’s gardening tips and they have worked pretty well for me so far, with the exception of the indoor seedlings – but I am hoping to turn that around this year.  Thanks Grandma!

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