Our how-to for using milk and water jugs to create your own planters to sow seeds in the snow. Yes, you can start sowing seeds now, even if you're snowed in, and be rewarded with hardy vegetables and flowers in the summer.
When I was young, hunting mushrooms was a family affair. We are Italian, so wild-food collection is in our genes. And I loved it: the treks through the cool woods, the moment the pattern of camouflaged mushrooms emerged and they suddenly appeared everywhere. It felt wondrous when a mushroom popped up where there wasn’t one the day before — a tendency of mushrooms that lends them an aura of mystery. But, scientifically, it’s all pretty straightforward. Mushrooms are the reproductive structures, the fruiting bodies, of fungi.
A Japanese astronaut, a Russian astronaut, and an American astronaut blasted into space today (no, not the beginning of a joke) and they are planning on growing plants...in space! Satoshi Furukawa (pictured) is going to grow cucumbers and his fellow astronaut, Sergei Volkov, will be growing tomatoes, to test the effect of growing plants in a gravity-free environment.
If you want to fill containers with edible plants, says Stone Barns's Jack Algiere, it's best to cluster the pots together so that they create cool pockets of air in the spaces between them. Water religiously, since soil in pots dries out faster than in the ground, and maximize yield by planting high-volume producers, like cherry tomatoes versus full-size varieties, and plants that can produce multiple crops, like chard, pattypan squash, and lettuces that can be harvested repeatedly. Most important, though, Algiere says, “plant what you like to eat.”
More than other greens, lettuce doesn't do so well with stress. It wants steady watering, but too much will rot young roots. It goes all Blanche DuBois in the heat, alternately wilting and making lustful last gasps as it bolts—turning bitter as it goes to seed.
Can you recommend some good sources for buying seeds and offer some tips for starting plants from seed?
—Julia Tomer, Pittsburgh
Photo by Jonathan Lovekin.