First Fruits From The Garden!

May 15, 2010

May 15, 2010:

Hi All,
I know I have been nagging you for months now about starting your planting early. So is it worth doing? Here it is May, 15th, and most of you in the Northeast are just starting to think about planting, especially since the weather has been so cold and windy.
Well, while you are just dusting off the wheelbarrow and looking for the hoe, I enjoyed the first mess of
spinach and lettuce from my garden yesterday. If you are only planting now, you will have to wait until early July to enjoy the bounty.
My early peas are starting to flower, which means I will be picking peas in about 2 weeks, followed by my late peas, which will keep me supplies until July. Sugar Snaps will follow them until late Summer.
My carrots are a good 6″ tall, as are my beets. Even the warm weather crops have survived the cold & wind, and will produce super early crops, such as the tomatoes, eggplant, cukes, green beans, hot peppers, bell peppers, etc. Even my new blueberry bushes are in flower, and my new raspberry bushes are starting to show new growth.
I will be setting out my melons this week, right along side my peas. As the peas are finished, the melons will take over the trellis, producing a double crop from the same space. As the spinach and lettuce finish when the weather get hot, I will add some compost to the soil, and replant for a Fall crop.
Getting the maximum out of your garden takes planning, and the willingness to actually do what you plan.
The majority of my garden chores and planting are not done, and I can look forward to enjoying my rewards . . . which you are probally just getting started! This would be a good lesson to learn for next years, if you are the true, dirt under your fingernails type of gardener!

Ron Cusano
“The Garden Guy:


Blueberries! Good investment!

April 8, 2010

April 8, 2010:

My wife is a blueberry lover and has been after me to plant some blueberry bushes, which is something
I should have done years ago. Many mature blueberry bushes can grow 6-7 ft. tall and 4-5 ft. wide, producing gallons of large, fresh, sweet berries every year.

Since I am in a hurry for fruit, I spent a little extra money and ordered 2 – 3 year old bushes, and one 2 year old bush which arrived today. The 3-year old stoce should yiels a few pounds of berries each this year, and the 2-year old stock, perhaps several cups full. Each yest, the yield will increase markedly.

They arrived as bare root stock, wrapped in some peat bedding to retain moisture, and are already in bud. I have them soaking in a bucket of water over night, before planting tomorrow. Tomorrow I will pick up a bale of peat moss, because success with getting blueberry bushes off to a good start, is planting the roots directly into nothing by peat moss. Blueberries need a very acid soil to thrive, and the peat moss produces the ideal enviroment. If your soil type is naturally alkaline, an annual addition of some aluminum sulfate may be required for good results.

In addition to being a high yielding fruit, they also make an attractive foliage plant, and can be worked into the backyard landscape. Did I mention that my wife is also addicted to raspberries, so several 2-year old raspberry bushes will also be arriving shortly, making my yard very “berrylicious” this year! 🙂

*Note: Please take the time to visit my website, and log into the interactive message boards. I would like to develope a nice garening community there, and would value your input – questions, advise, suggestions, garden lore, etc.

The Garden Guy

Bad Spring Weather = Great Germination!

April 1, 2010

April 1, 2010:

The past 2 weeks were a time of terrible, record breaking rainfall and cold raw temps, so they is a big set-back in the Spring garden, right? WRONG! It is a “boom” and big advantage for many early season crops. Some, like peas, Sugar Snaps, spinnach, lettuce, and the cole crops – brocolli, cabbage, etc. THRIVE on these conditions! In fact, most of these germinate poorly in warm temps. I planted my peas, romaine, Sugar Snaps, leaf lettuce, carrots and beets before the last 4-day period of harsh weather.

My peas, spinach, Sugar Snaps, romaine and leaf lettuce have all germinated well and are growing. I expect the carrots and beets to follow suit within the week. And, early next week I will be transplanting my brocolli, and parsley seedlings, now hardening off in the cold frame, into their beds! The tomatoes, basil, ceyanne peppers, bell peppers, and eggplant will soon follow – under mini-greenhouses made from soda bottles.

The tradational garden wisdom is to not set out any of these until after the last frost date, which I believe is around mid-May! Nonesense!!!! Listening to the so-called “experts” will cost you 1 to 2 months of growing season! All of the early season crops can stand up well to a frost, and the more tender Summer varieties are well protected by the mini-greenhouses. And while they may not show too much top growth during this period, they are sending their roots deep into the soil which produces faster growing, mor hardy and better producing crops when the temps warm up. There are no “absolutes” in gardening, so think outside the box and confound the “experts” this year!

Ron Cusano
“The Garden Guy”

Spring Has Sprung!!

March 18, 2010

March 18. 2010:

What a day . . . What a week! Finally, temps in the upper 60’s, approaching the 70 degree mark, with not a rain cloud in the sky all week. On Monday, I got my peas seeded in the garden, and today was out there again!

I direct seeded my spinach, romaine, leaf lettuce, carrots and beets, all of which will germinate within a week or 10 days. All of these could have been seeded as early as 3 weeks ago, but the constant rain and previous snow cover did not cooporate!

I have a new cold frame coming on Saturday, that my son made for me out of scrap Corian, that will last forever. As soon as it’s in place, I will be moving my broccoli, parsley, basil and peppers into it. The broccoli will be planting into the garden, under mini-greenhouse made from soda bottles, the following week, after they harden off. I will keep the tomatoes and eggplant indoors for another week or so, as I start more plants, such as my melons, zucchini and cukes!
*** New Article on the website! Don’t forget your soil tests for Spring!

“The Garden Guy”

Gardening Season Starts Now!

March 16, 2010

March 16, 2010:

Hi All,
After a terrible Nor’easter this past weekend, the weather seems to have settled, and the rain has stopped. Time to give the garden some serious attention!!
I turned over the beds where I planned to plant peas and Sugar Snaps, and direct seeded them heavily. I also turned over two more beds where I plan to direct seed spinach, romain,leaf lettuce and carrots later this week. There is still a lot of undigested organic matter in the soil from Fall. After being a couch-potato all winter, I am not used to the physical stuff yet, so I stopped for the day. Don’t want to over do it the first day. I did spend a little time repairing the trellises that the Winds did some damage to.
I have brocolli seedlings started indoors, which I will set out later this week or next, under mini-greenhouses made from soda bottles. I also have tomatoes, eggplant, basil, parsley, Cayenne peppers and bell peppers started indoors, all doing well, except the Genovese parsley. The parsley germination was sparse, because it germinates best in cook temps. I plan to reseed it, and move it outside off the heat!
By starting the garden early, I will be harvesting and enjoying spinach, lettuce, romaine and peas while most other local gardeners are just getting started, and certainly long before they are harvesting anything. This is the way to cure that cabin fever!
PS – Don’t forget to visit my website and order your soil test before planting and amending your soil! NOW is the time!

The Garden Guy

It’s February . . . Cabin Fever!

February 20, 2010

Hi all,
I haven’t written her much for a while, because it was the holiday, the dead of Winter, and not much in the way of gardening was happening, except for ordering my seeds from the catalogs. I was picking from the garden as late as early December, so it has only been a little over 2 months, but it feels like much longer.
So here it is Feb. 20th, there is a good snow cover on the ground and more snow expected this week, and I am chaffing at the bit to get out there in the garden. I have “cabin fever”!!Like a kid playing in mud, I am happiest messing around in my fertile organic soil!
I started some vegetable seedlings indoors this past week – cayenne peppers, bell peppers, brocolli, parsley and basil. I spent some time making a planting schedule for indoor seed starting and direct seeding outdoors, not ony to share this information with all of you, but to keep myself on schedule as well.
I promise to be more diligent from here on out, and post on a regulay basis. Please visit my website at http://www/, get on our mailing list, and feel free to ask questions or share anything “garden” on our interactive message boards! PS – Don’t forget to order your soil test soon. Use the link on the website!

“The Garden Guy”

Gardening Starts NOW!!

December 29, 2009

Dec. 29, 2009:

Christmas is now over and New Years will pass in a few days! There are 45 mile per hour wind gusts outside producing a 5 degree wind chill. Perfect weather to start planning my garden!

The new seed catalogs have started arriving already. This provides the opportunity to consider what I want to plant, and compare the different varieties. One big mistake many gardeners make is growing vegetables that their family do not eat, or that don’t do well in their gardening area. I have to own up to doing that myseld occasionally, just because I want to try new things. The end result is crops you have no real use for, or crop failures and wasted garden space and time. I vow not to repeat this past mistake this coming season.

Pre-Season Soil Amendment: In mid-Winter? Absolutely! If you have a fireplace or wood stove, save the wood ashes. When you get a clear day when there is not too much snow cover or wind, spread them around your beds to add potassium and raise the pH. If you are a coffee drinker, keep a bucket or two in your garage and start collecting your spend coffee grinds. As soon as you get a thaw, turn them into the soil to add early nitrogen and organic matter for Spring crops. You will be amazed how much you can accumulate making even only 1 or 2 pots of coffee a day. Save your egg shells, dry them out and crumble them into the coffee grinds to add calcium and trace minerals. Save your vegetable peels and waste in another bucket, and add it to the soil, as temps allow. Wou will be surprised how much “fertilizer” you throw away!!

In just 7 or 8 weeks, I will be starting some seedlings indoors, and direct seeding lettuce, spinach and carrots as soon as the ground can be worked, in early March. Time to get things going right now!

The Garden Guy

First Hard Frost!

December 7, 2009

December 7, 2009:

We had the first real frost last night, and there was ice on the windshield of the cards. It pretty much killed my cyanne pepper plants, so i picked what was left of the peppers and got a good pint. Put them into a plastic bag to see if they will red up!

The brocolli and cabbage, which o planted way too late this year survived as expected. I have my first tiny heads on the bocolli and the cabbage are starting to herd, but it too late to expect a crop. Next season, I will be planting them a good month earlier. There is still some romaine out there that is holding well, and what remained from my last spinach cutting is growing a bit. They both survive frost well. Carrots and beets also holding very well. Nothing else growing, as you would expect just a few weeks before Christmas.

I’m looking forward to receiving my catalogs from johnny’s and Burpee’s . . . my favorite go-to seed companies.

The Garden Guy

What’s In My Soil?

November 24, 2009

November 24, 2009:

I havn’t posted here much in the last few weeks because, well, not too much has been happening garden wise. But, I did my annual soil test and got the results back. Here is what the lab showed . . .
Phosphorus – 220 ppm (between high and very high)
Potassium – 558 ppm (between high and very high)
Calcium – 4,776 ppm (between high and very high)
Mangnesium – 460 ppm (between high and very high)
Organic Matter – 7.6% (very high)
pH – 7.1 (perfect)

The bottom line is, my soil is absolutely perfect and deficient in NOTHING! It is all ready to plant come spring! There is no way of knowing the true condition your YOUR soil, without a soil test. Every serious gardener should get one done annually.

If you would like to get your soil tested, go to my website at, click on the SOIL TEST link on the right side of the page. Along with your test results, I will include my own personal recommendations on what you need to do to bring your soil up to good tilth and composition. Do yourself a favor, and do it now, to be ready for Spring planting!

Ron Cusano
“The Garden Guy”

End Of Season Crops!

October 31, 2009


Today is Holloween, and yesterday I picked a final batch of spinach that we had with dinner last night. It went great with the fresh stripped bass I caught last week. I still have some romaine growing: enough for a couple of nice salads. I also have some golden beets and good amount of carrots in the beds. I am planning on leaving the beets and carrots in the soil until I need them, because that is how they keep best. If a hard freeze is forcast, that will freeze the ground, I will either pull them, or cover them with a heavy leaf mulch for protection. I guess I have enough to last the next few months.

It’s time for me to do my soil test, along with a few other for some of my clients. IF YOU NEED A SOIL TEST, GO TO THE LINK ON MY WEBSITE ( ) on the right hand side of the homepage, and order yours there. Along with the lab report, I will include my own recommendation of how to make any necessary adjustments organically. Get your soil sample and do it now, before your soil freezes, so you will ready for early Spring planting!

While you are there, log-in to our interactive message boards and let’s talk about seed swapping, garden problems, or anything else you can think of!

Ron Cusano
“The Garden guy”