For Garden Questions Call Sunday Morning 6AM - 10AM | Call: 1-855-660-4261 | Listen Live!  


Welcome to the Paul Parent Garden Club 2014 Newsletter

    Vegetable Garden School



         I can feel the grip of "Old Man Winter" loosening!!!


The last two Sundays thanks to the help from Johnny's Selected Seeds from Albion, Maine has brought us a sign of hope, the light at the end of the tunnel and the fact that spring is just 28 days away. We will once again be starting seeds on our window sill in the near future, see the information in the next two stories for details.

Johnny's Selected Seeds are unique as the company is owned by it workers, and employees, something you do not see very often today as most seed houses are owned by large corporations and the customer becomes number two. All the seeds sold from their catalog are not GMO Genetically Modified, they are Hybrids, and you get better quality plants that way working with Mother Nature not the body builder type of plant filled with who knows what in them.

Johnny's selected their present location in Albion, Maine because of the soil, the climate, the four seasons, and the weather. If it will grow in Maine it will grow in most states and they also grow seeds for southern states with that milder climate. No seed is sold to their customers unless it has been grown in their trial gardens for 2 to 3 years depending on the plant variety and if it will stand up to Maine unique growing conditions with positive results every year in the trial gardens.

 No two years are alike so keep notes and you will see how 3 years ago we had average snow fall, a nice spring, but wet and hot dry summer, and a big problem with tomato blight that affected most of our gardens, remember how the tomato plant just dried up and fell apart. Two years ago very little snow, an early spring and a great summer but summer came fast and the temperatures soared to the high 90's in June. Now Last year a normal winter, an average spring, and a cooler summer making it easier on the gardener and their plants. But what will Mother Nature bring us this year after the winter weather we have had with days and days of very cold weather and record snow fall all across the country, even in the pan handle of Florida and Georgia. Come on SPRING we are due for a good one after what Old Man Winter has given us. Remember just 28 days until spring arrives and we should greet it with Champaign in the garden.

Last Sunday we talked to Steve Belllevia who heads up the trial gardens at Johnny's Selected Seeds and he gave us great information on the trial gardens and how important they are for their customers. Steve loves green beans and has been looking across the country for a better bean for both bush and pole types. Many of the varieties found in the big box stores and supermarkets are good but many of them have been around for a long time. Steve wanted more production, better looking foliage and of course taste, and found it in.

For the pole bean his favorite is called Fortex and it produces a green bean that will mature 7 to 10 inches long. Steve went away for a week's vacation and came home to some over grown green beans but to his surprise they were still tender and sweet not stringy and filled with hard bean seeds like past years. The beans continued to produce for a good 4 to 5 weeks, and that is 2 weeks longer than the average pole bean. Steve plants 3 crops a year so he has fresh beans right up to frost. His favorite bush bean is called Easy Pick and it gets its name from the way you pick it, just twist the bean and it comes right of the plant without damaging the younger growing beans on the plant. Easy Pick will produce for 3 to 4 weeks so if you like fresh picked green beans plant 3 crops in May, June and July for fresh picked beans during July, August, and September.

I told Steve that I also loved fresh picked beans and the supermarkets have come a long way but the flavor is not the same as beans from the garden. To my surprise Steve told me that supermarket green beans are straighter than the green beans grown in the garden and they half to, because of shipping from the fields down south for us northerners who has a garden covered with snow at this time of the year. Because of hybridizing straight beans were developed so the beans got to you without a blemish on them. We lost some flavor and picked up a bit of fiber but through hybrids the task was accomplished to bring fresh green beans during the snowy day of winter to all of us in the north. No GMO just hybrids!!!

Now for Peppers Steve wants us to try a variety called Carmen and he tell of plants filled with 6 inch Peppers and ready earlier than the average bell pepper in your garden, even in Northern New England and New York State. I suggested planting with landscape fabric or black plastic and he agreed it will help to speed up early ripening. You can also use straw to cover the ground to hold in the heat from the day and control weed growth at the same time, never HAY as it is full of weed seeds and yes it is for horses not the garden.

Now if you have the BUG and want to plant something on your window sill right now, Steve suggested that you plant some salad greens in a window box and when spring arrives it will be ready for picking. All of the leaf types will do well from arugula to spinach when planted by seed and grown indoors. So order early and let's get planting. Call Johnny's Selected Seeds at 207 861 3900 or on line at and place your order today for your garden, that's right your garden. Ask for their free catalog as it is filled with great information about growing each vegetable and if the weather turns on you again run outside and show the snow that Johnny's catalog is here and I'M not scared of you any longer as spring is just 28 day away and counting.

Now tune in this Sunday at 8:00 am for the next bit of advice from their gardening experts. You can also listen in on my website if there is no radio station near you that carries the garden program. Go to thank you!!!




Click to print this article. 





Vegetable Weeks from seeding to transplant outdoors Average days for seed germination Planting depth of the seed in soil Average days to maturity Average yield per 25 ft. of row
Broccoli5-75-61/4"60-8025 lbs.
Brussels sprouts5-75-61/4"90-10020 lbs.
Cabbage5-75-61/4"60-9040 lbs.
Celery10-1210-141/8"100+40 lbs.
Cucumbers2-33-51"50-7025 lbs.
Eggplant6-86-81/4"80-9025 lbs.
Leeks8-104-61/4"125-12525 lbs.
Lettuce3-62-31/8"70-8015 lbs.
Onion6-84-61/4"90-12530 lbs.
Peppers6-88-101/4"60-9020 lbs.
Squash-summer2-34-51"50-6030 lbs.
Squash-winter2-34-51"75-10030 lbs.
Tomatoes6-106-81/4"70-9020 lbs.

These plants should be started indoors at the times recommended by this chart, before transplant. You will have to decide when the planting time is safe where you live. Example: on Cape Cod you can plant outside, tender plants like tomatoes on May 1 to 15. In Maine, where I live, it would be May 15 to 30 and in a Northern Vermont town like St. Johnsbury, it would be May 30 to June 15.

Before you plant directly into the garden you must "harden- off" the plants to acclimate them to the outside weather and temperatures. This is done by moving plants outside into a garage or tool shed for the daytime, where they are protected from the wind and rain, for 3 to 4 days. Leave the door open so plants can get sunshine on them, but are sheltered from weather. By suppertime bring them back indoors for the evening for the first 3 to 4 days.

After this period, leave plants outside if the weather permits during the day for an additional week and back in the building at night time with no heat. This two week hardening off period will help thicken the walls of the plant and make it easier for the plant to adjust when moved outside and planted in the garden.

When you start the seeds, be sure to use a sterilized potting mix designed for seed starting like Jiffy-Mix or Espoma Seed -Starter soil. This will eliminate possible fungus problems and prevent the seeds from rotting. When you transplant the seedlings into flats or individual pots, you can use a potting soil, but always use a seeding soil to start seeds in. Starting soils are very light so that seedlings can poke thru the soil easier and are well-drained to prevent damping-off of seedlings.

To help the seed germinate faster you can provide bottom heat with heating cables placed under the seed trays. Your local garden center will have these heating cables in various sizes, depending on how large on an area you are using. If you are just going to germinate a few seeds use a heating pad on LOW setting and wrap it in a bath towel to spread out the heat more evenly. Cover the towel with a plastic bag to prevent water spillage and damage to heating pad.

Your local garden center will also sell a seed germination tray with a clear cover, like a mini greenhouse, for under $10.00. The cover will help to hold moisture around the seed for better germination and prevent drying out of the soil. Keep the seed tray warm, around 70 degrees, until plants germinate, then cool 5 degrees if possible. Once plants sprout, you can use grow-lights if you do not have a south facing window to help plants grow without stretching for the light. Run the lights for 12 hours during the day and then off at night, so the plant can rest. Plant lights should be 6 to 12 inches from plant. Try it if you have not before--it is fun!

Click to print this article. 





Vegetable Average days for seed germinationAverage days to maturity and fruit Inches between seedlingsInches between rows Average yield per 25' of row
Bush beans6-1445-603-424-3030 lbs.
Pole beans6-1460-704-636-4840 lbs.
Beets7-1050-602-315-2440 lbs.
Corn6-1070-9012-1824-362 to 3 dozen
Collard greens4-1060-7010-1218-2412-15 heads
Leaf lettuce4-1040-502-315-1815 lbs.
Onion sets7-1480-12080-10015-2425 lbs.
Okra7-1460-7012-1524-3025 lbs.
Parsnips14-21120-1503-418-3025 lbs.
Peas7-1460-901-218-3610-20 lbs.
Potatoes7-14100-12012-1530-3625-30 lbs.
Radishes3-1030-401-212-1825 lbs.
Spinach7-1440-603-415-2410-20 lbs.
Sweet Potatoes7-14100-12012-1530-3625 lbs.
Swiss chard7-1450-603-415-2415-25 lbs.
Turnips5-1040-602-315-2425 lbs.

Placing seeds in the ground should be done when the ground has warmed up to temperatures of 60 degrees or above. Peas and spinach are the exception; they will germinate at 50 degrees. I place an old outside thermometer in the ground about 3 inches deep into the soil. When it's ready, I plant. If you use weed block over the soil, the soil will warm up much faster and it will keep weeds out all season long. Look for Evo-Organic weed block with a built in watering system for additional benefits. Go to for more information. I use it, and everything grows faster and better!

Your soil should be prepared before planting with compost, animal manure, or peat moss. If your soil is heavy, be sure to add liquid gypsum to break up the clay soil and add lime if your soil is acidic. Powered lime can be applied in the fall, but if you want a better garden and forgot to lime last fall, use Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal because it will change the acidity in just 7 to 10 days. Most vegetables want a pH between 6 and 7 reading for better growth and to help make the fertilizer you apply work better.

If the weather is wet and air temperatures cold, hold off and plant your seeds a week later. Wet soil will rot the seeds and germination will be erratic with many misses in the row. If the weather pattern persists, plant your seeds closer together and thin the rows later as they develop. Spacing is very important with root crops and thinning the rows will help them produce more vegetables and better quality.

When planting in rows, I always cut a shallow trench with my garden hoe to plant seed into. This helps to keep the rows straight; you can see where they are planted, making it easier to water before and after they germinate and become visible. Use the soil on each side of the row to cover the seed and be sure to mark the front and back of the row so you will know what you planted there.

I always add Soil-Moist and fertilizer to this trench before planting and mix well. Blend the soil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches, as soft soil will encourage quick root development. Potatoes need to be planted in a trench 6 inches deep and just as wide to help young tubers to develop in soft soil. Fill in the trench slowly as the shoots begin to grow until the ground is level.

Water the garden daily, and keep the soil moist during the seed germination period. Side dress plants growing in the trench with a granular fertilizer; apply on both sides of the planting row 3 weeks after foliage forms in the trench. Keep notes and enjoy the season.





Vegetable Planting Calendar
CropHow to plantDays to Harvest

between plants

Date to set outside
Beansseed50 to 602 to 4"Mid May to Sept.
Beetsseed50 to 602 to 3"Mid to late May
BroccoliPlants50 to 6018"Mid to late April
Plants80 to 10024"Mid to late April
CabbagePlants60 to 7024"Mid to late April
CantaloupesSeed70 to 8024 to 36"Mid to late May
CarrotsSeed65 to 901 to 3"Mid to late May
CauliflowerPlants55 to 6524"Mid to late April
CeleryPlants75 to 8512"Mid to late April
CollardsSeed70 to 8010"Mid to late May
CornSeed60 to 8012 to 18"Mid to late May
CucumbersSeed50 to 6024 to 36"Mid to late May
EggplantPlants75 to 9024"Mid to late May
LettuceSeed40 to 506 to 8"Mid to late April
OnionsPlants100 to 1204 to 6"Mid to late April
PeasSeeds60 to 903 to 4"Mid to late April
PeppersPlants80 to10024"Mid to late May
PotatoesTubers85 to 10036"Mid to late May
PumpkinsSeed90 to 12036"Mid to late May
RadishesSeed20 to 301 to 2"Mid to late April
SpinachSeed40 to 503 to 4"Mid to late April
Seed80 to 1236"Mid to late May
Seed40 to 5536"Mid to late May
Swiss ChardSeed55 to 604 to 6"Mid to late April
TomatoesPlants90 to 12036"Mid to late May
TurnipSeeds60 to 804 to 6"Mid to late May
WatermelonSeeds85 to 10036"Mid to late May
A general rule--if you want to start plants from seed and transplant to garden, start 30 to 45 days before you are to set them out. Vine crops are the exception--only 14 days ahead of time is required. The onion family will need 45 to 60 days before planting outside. Have Fun!!


Join The Paul Parent Garden Club for The Grand Tour Of France July 31 through August 12, 2014. With special 70th Anniversary tours of the Beaches of Normandy and Monet's Garden.







Filling: 2 cups of chopped and diced apples

1cup of dried cranberries

1cup of apple cider

1cup of water

1teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

cup of brown sugar, packed

Glaze: 1 large egg white

1tablespoon of water

2 to 3 tablespoons of granulated white sugar


1 box of pre made pie crust/ 2 pie crust per box

This will save you 2 hours of work and it will taste like home made.

Pre heat oven at 450 degrees

Mix apples, cranberries, water and apple cider in a small sauce pan. Bering to a boil over a medium-high heat then lowers the fire. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until fruit is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and brown sugar. Cool to room temperature.

On a lightly floured surface cut the two pie crust into 4 pieces each. Reshape pie crust wedges so they are round and about 6 inches in diameter. Now spoon about 3 to 4 tablespoons of filling in the middle of each pie crust, and moisten the edges with water. Fold the dough over the filling. Now press the edges together with a fork to seal. Place the individual pies on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray oil.

Glaze: Wisk the egg whites with a bit of water in a small bowl. With a pastry brush paint the egg white over the pastry shells and sprinkle the granulated sugar over them. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. When pies are cooked, remove from the cookie sheet and place on wire rack to cool. If you're serving hot, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream to hit the spot.






(207)590-4887 cell
(855)660-4261 Sunday Morning(6AM to 10AM)
Regular Phone Hours:
Mon-Sat  9AM to 6 PM
Sunday: 10AM to 6PM

Visit Bonide

Let Dr. Earth assist you with all of  your organic gardening needs!

Be Sure To Visit Dr. Earth


Private Property Consultation 
with Paul Parent:  Call  207-590-4887 

Paul Parent Garden Club | (207) 590-4887 |  | 

Copyright 2013 All Rights Reserved.