Growing Late Season Veggies Using Germination Blankets

Growing Late Season Veggies Using Germination Blankets

Part of Ep. 1806 The End of the Season is Just the Beginning

Travel to Middlebury Hills CSA Farm near Barneveld and learn about planting fall vegetables in warm weather using germination blankets.

Premiere date: Aug 25, 2010

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley Ryan:
We tend to think that once the hot weather is here it's time to stop planting veggies. Well, it's not necessarily true. I'm at Middlebury Hills Community Supported Farm near Hollandale and Barneveld and I'm with one of the co-owners, Chris Klaeser. And Chris, we're going to talk about some magic ways to continue planting even through the hot weather.

Chris Klaeser:
Okay.

Shelley Ryan:
But let's talk about your CSA first. You have about 250 households now?

Chris Klaeser:
That is the community that supports this farm. So a CSA supports a farmer that boxes up fresh produce for them throughout the year and brings it to a convenient pick-up location for them.

Shelley Ryan:
So you're busy growing veggies all the time.

Chris Klaeser:
You bet.

Shelley Ryan:
You also sell wonderful pesto at the Dane County Farmer's Market.

Chris Klaeser:
Thank you.

Shelley Ryan:
I've had it quite a few times. But we're going to talk veggies today and we're talking what to grow in August during the hot weather.

Chris Klaeser:
Right. And what we grow in August during the hot weather is the same thing that we grow for a quick harvest in the spring. So really the beginning is the same as the end for us. So we look towards things that are going to be in a nice, fresh, leafy salad, such as lettuce mix, arugula, radishes carrots, turnips, beets, things of that nature. Even cilantro.

Shelley Ryan:
So things that are going to pop up fast.

Chris Klaeser:
Right. But when I grow those in the spring, I think of those as quick growers and cool-season crops. In August, it's hot weather. So how do we deal with that?

Chris Klaeser:
Well, the hot weather's not going to last long.

Shelley Ryan:
We hope.

Chris Klaeser:
We hope. One of the advantages of planting in the spring is even moisture. So we cheat the dry conditions of August by using germination blankets.

Shelley Ryan:
What's a germination blanket?

Chris Klaeser:
I'll show you real quick. A germination blanket is a translucent cloth. It'll allow light, air, and water to pass through it. It's breathable and it offers a lot of protection for anything that you have planted under it.

Shelley Ryan:
Is this something I can actually go to a nursery and buy as a germination blanket?

Chris Klaeser:
Sure. There are products out there.

Shelley Ryan:
Now, you use something different just because you're using such large quantities.

Chris Klaeser:
We put down longer ones. And look for a landscape fabric that requires you to put mulch on top.

Shelley Ryan:
Something translucent.

Chris Klaeser:
The need for mulch is the key, because the mulch is there to block the light and inhibit growth. But we're here to promote growth.

Shelley Ryan:
So don't mulch it.

Chris Klaeser:
And it's not going to be down for long.

Shelley Ryan:
It's not plastic, we're not using plastic. We want water, sun, and moisture to go through this.

Chris Klaeser:
Right, this lightweight material is easy to roll up when it's done in seven days.

Shelley Ryan:
And what does this do? If you just told me water and sun is going through it how does this help, especially with our clay soils?

Chris Klaeser:
It helps by keeping that surface moist protecting it from the drying effects of direct sun and of the wind, especially. If you have soil that gets really crusty...

Shelley Ryan:
Like clay.

Chris Klaeser:
We have a really dark clay soil here, so those little seeds even when they're not covered by much soil, have to really fight hard to poke through. And even if they do make it that may cost a lot of time.

Shelley Ryan:
So this actually would help during the hot weather of August, but it actually would help also during the cold seasons, too, to protect the crops. Let's take a look. How is it working?

Chris Klaeser:
I think it's working well. This arugula has been in the ground for six days.

Shelley Ryan:
Wow, and look at how it's coming up already. And you actually at the other end have it planted without the germination blanket. The difference is fantastic.

Chris Klaeser:
The difference is that these things are ready to go. You can take your cover away let full sunlight get to them, and water them normally, and they'll just grow like mad for you.

Shelley Ryan:
Whereas the babies at the other end need a little help.

Chris Klaeser:
Right, they'll need more constant watering and attention. Maybe you have the time, I don't.

Shelley Ryan:
Right, you're growing for too many people. But the germination blanket is for a week. After that, it becomes a problem.

Chris Klaeser:
You don't want the germination blanket to cause any kind of solarization or heat gain under there. That will wilt the plants that are up.

Shelley Ryan:
They just start cooking.

Chris Klaeser:
The germination blanket is just to get it to pop through. You see seed leaves, take it away.

Shelley Ryan:
We have to admit, we're actually standing in the garden in October, looking at the plants that you did plant in August. So let's talk about some of the stuff that's growing up from your August planting.

Chris Klaeser:
Sure. We have beets. This is cilantro, and we definitely used a germination blanket on this. And we have some purple carrots over there. And here's a bunch that we pulled so that we could take a look at them.

Shelley Ryan:
Oh, gorgeous.

Chris Klaeser:
Those are ready to go.

Shelley Ryan:
Now, these were planted earlier in August. So in July and August, we're not done planting.

Chris Klaeser:
Right, and look at your seed packs. Look for the shorter days. There's a lot of orange carrots out there that don't need as many days as the Purple Haze.

Shelley Ryan:
So read the instructions, get some germination blankets. Great ideas, thank you, Chris.

Chris Klaeser:
You’re welcome.

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