Wild Men on the North Fork

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Vegetable Variety Pages: | Beans - Carrot | Cauliflower - Corn |Cucumber - Peas
Peppers - Squash | Tomato - Watermelon
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This page: 2016 Planting Guide, When to Start Seed, When to Set Out
Wyogrow...where the tough get growing, by Fred Jacquot
I have been an active gardener in the Casper area now for over 30 years. Back when I first started no one could tell a beginner what kind of carrots or tomatoes grew best here. Because I have been taking notes all these years, you can find out what plants do best in Wyoming on the 'vegetable varieties' pages, whose links are above.
Along with my partners Mark McAtee and Paul Combe I have done a lot of experimenting and research. You can find the results of this activity on these many pages. Please click on the links and start viewing our work. I think you will find that there is a huge amount of information available here for you. Enjoy!

Below are a few links to some nice garden sites.

Fermented Tomato Conserve (Conserva Cruda Di Pomodoro)
Why Do You Soak Cucumbers Before Pickling?
Texas A&M Vegetables
Here is a link to Garden Guides!
Rocky Mountain Garden Forum
Garden Humor
About Composting
AustinRealEstate.com

Between Seasons 2017-2018

February 18, 2018

Now is the time to start planning the garden for the coming season. To help, I am republishing this discussion of the 3 factors for Gardening Success.

3 Factors for Gardening Success

#1...Selection

I have developed my one third rule for gardening in Wyoming. Basically, you will get 1/3 less from a garden in Wyoming than you will get from one in Iowa, perhaps even less. The fruit that you get will be 1/3 smaller, or the volume of production will be 1/3 less.

When I apply the 1/3 rule to climate I get results that are sobering. I calculate that here in Casper our growing season is 114 days. But those 114 days are not comperable to the same number of growing days in Iowa. Many of our nights dip well below 50 degrees farenheit. To get an equivalent I multiply 114 by 2 and get 228. Then I divide by three and I get 76. Thus, in Casper we have a growing season of 76 Iowa-days. That has serious implications when you are selecting varieties to plant in you garden. You will want to plant very short-season varieties.

Below are links to my vegetable variety pages. There are many tables. In the first column of these tables are four-letter links followed by numbers. The four letters are shorthand links to the sites of seed suppliers and the numbers are the days-to-maturity that each seed provider estimates for that variety. Thus, 'Burp65' is a link to the Burpee seed site and 65 would be the days-to-maturity that Burpee estimates for the particular variety in question. Use these links. I have done a lot of leg work for you.

Beans - Carrot

Cauliflower - Corn

Cucumber - Peas

Peppers - Squash

Tomato - Watermelon


3 Factors for Gardening Success

#2...Soils

Clay soils, in particular, will compact through the process of watering. So even if you never trod on tilled soil you can be compacting it every time you water. Always take the opportunity to mix some humus in as you till, and to mix it into the soil surrounding trees and bushes. Humus is available in the forms of peat moss, manure, and compost. Peat can be purchased by the bag, or by the bale. It comes to us mostly from Canada It is dug there from old lake beds, and contains the plant remains of hundreds, even thousands of years of lake-plant growth. Peat moss provides great humus that is slightly acidic. That acidity will neutralize some of the alkali in our soils.

Manures have different degrees of 'hotness', or concentrations of nitrogen. Sheep manure is the hottest available to Casper residents. To obtain some you may have to drive out into the countryside to ranches that feed herds of sheep over the winter. Never use fresh sheep manure. Use only aged sheep manure, and use it sparingly. Even aged sheep manure can burn plants if it is too concentrated.

Horse manure is 'hotter' than cow manure, and has fewer active seeds. Use manure that has aged in a pile for a least a year, as that composting tends to kill a lot of seeds in the manure.

Tiny grains of clay in freshly tilled soil are widely separated. During compaction there is less and less space between them. Because they are very thin they orient horizontally during compaction, forming a barrier that is virtually impossible for roots to penetrate.
Sandy soil also presents problems. Think humus and manure...or organics. Sandy soil is severly lacking in organics. Till some in every year until you get a more acceptable soil mix.
Please click on this link to go to the Soils page.

3 Factors for Gardening Success

#3...Climate Control

Birds do it, bees do it, farmers do it in a big way.

WINDBREAKS

CONTOUR PLOWING

IRRIGATION
Farmers all over the world modify the climate in which they grow crops. Among the methods they use are windbreaks, countour plowing and irrigation. They know, as we should know, that climate modification is necessary.
The Wind Kills
We once had an 80 mph wind gust the day after we set out our tomatoes. That stripped all the leaves off of the plants. That inspired us to begin using tubes to keep the wind off. All but one of the plants put on new leaves and survived. We found that there are multiple advantages to using thick-walled plastic tubing. It keeps the wind off the tender young plant that is going through root shock. If pushed down into the ground, it prevents cut worms from attacking.
Tubes provide thermal mass, and radiate heat back to the plant during the evening. They allow just enough wind to strike the plant to allow it to wiggle. This makes the stem stronger. When the plant does grow up out of the tube it is ready to handle the wind.
We use tubes for Tomato, Pepper, Cucumber, and Bean. The tender sprouts of the last two attract a lot of attention from the beetles. Tubes provide a barrier to the bugs. In the case of Cucumber, we tie a netting over the tube. When the plant grows large enough to touch the netting, it is also strong enough to withstand beetle attack, and we remove the netting.
Fences and wind barriers of all kinds are used in Wyoming gardens, and you should seriously consider using some in your garden.
Watering
We have found that tubes also help the watering process. When it is super hot outside, we like to water every other day. But tomatoes love water (they also love good drainage...go figure). When I water the Tomatoes and Peppers I simply fill the tubes full of water. The water seeps slowly into the soil for a deep watering, which is what I want. But beware. Do not do this early in the season. I killed some tomato plants one season by watering deeply this way too early. I would not water this way unless the plant is at least twice as high as when I set it out, and the temperatures are very warm.

The time to plan how you are going to water your garden is before you plant. Where exactly will the hose end up when you drag it through your beds? Will you need to drive stakes for hose control?

Please click on the links below to take you to other climate-related pages.

Climate/Conditions

Raised Beds

.........................

And here is a republishing of an article from last season that deals with soil temperatures and planting.

May 20, 2017

We had very cold temperatures with rain and snow mixed from May 16 through May 19. There was a lot of covering to do for early garden planters and for large retailers who sell flower and vegetable plants. THE LAST AVERAGE DAY OF FROST FOR CASPER, WYOMING IS MAY 25. You can do all the hoping and wishing you want, but you will not change that fact. I have not planted my warm season crops yet. I do have in Peas, Broccoli, Cabbage, and Lettuce. To help you in your gardening efforts I offer you the following chart. It gives the ranges for maximum germination of different vegetable seeds in degrees Farenheit. This information comes from Johnny's Selected Seeds Catalog, one catalog I find I must have each year. From this chart you should be able to determing which are 'cool' weather and which are 'warm' weather plants.

Main Season 2018

April 2, 2018

Before the growing season is upon us again I would like to take a little time and talk about two insects that many of my fellow gardeners battle each summer. I would like to make cases FOR these bugs.

About Wasps


A wasp takes a drink while floating on the water
of one of our birdbaths. The rocks are there
to help insects approach the water safely.

Twenty years ago, when my wife and I were first married, we rented a house on upper Odell Street. Across the back yard was a row of big old Lilac bushes. Unbeknownst to my wife a nest of wasps had placed their home in the bottom of one of the bushes. When she went to trim that bush the wasps rallied and tried to sting her. For the rest of that summer she could not go out the back door without the wasps gathering to attack her. Even during the next summer, the next generation of wasps knew her scent and she could not approach that bush. All the rest of the family had no problems with those wasps.

The average wasp can smell meat, or even an aphid, at least a mile away. Our current house has many plants that bear fruit including ancient grape vines, a cherry bush, two younger apple trees, and a chokecherry bush. Our yard HAS NO APHIDS, though we use no chemical bug sprays. What we do have is at least three colonies of wasps. We keep water available for them in bird baths in the yard. If we foget to fill the baths a wasp or two will genly fly right into us, bump into us, to remind us to fill the bird baths. They know who we are and that we are the humans who give them water.

About Honey Bees



A honey bee makes a 'bee line' for a blossom.
A honey bee gathering nectar.

The following comes from one book: The Song of Increase by Jacqueline Freeman.

A group of bees works with only one type of blossom per trip. This is what makes bees so efficient at pollination. "A single bee can visit over 500 plants in one foraging excursion and can make more than thirty foraging trips a day."

(My own observations seem to confirm these facts. To be busy as a bee is to be very busy indeed.)

So as a group of bees works with one plant family on one single trip those bees are gathering information from the plants and sharing what they are learning with those same plants.

Plants, particularly the ones we consider to be 'weeds', are adept at bringing certain minerals and nutrients from deeper in the soils to higher levels for use by other plants. Jacqueline Freeman describes how dandelions used to run rampant in her front yard. But a dozen years later there are quite a few less there and and lot more in her back yard. "A dozen years later we see they have brought enough calcium to the surface that the soil there no longer needs their care and the dandelions have diminished significantly."

"Across the land, many plants participate in accessing and moving minerals. The job of each weed is to determine what is missing from the soils in that area and then try its best to create balance....What role to bees play in this? More than you can imagine.

The flowers need to know where to move next, and the bees convey that information and more. Each speck of pollen is a collection of knowledge about the plant, where it came from and its connection to the mineral world around it. Bees perceive with their senses the unique chemical, nutrient and mineral stamp of each plant."

"In physics we read about the capacity of the observer to change the observed: witnessing and remembering are powerful little-understood, cosmic acts or forces. As the bees move from flower to flower, bringing their witnessing power to bear, a jolt of Life Force is injected into the plant each time they interact with it."

(Jacqueline Freeman makes a good point about the observer changing the observed. Certainly the bees are doing far more observing of blossoms than any other beings, and thus they are doing more changing to those plants than any other force of nature.)

As the bees gather nectar and pollen they sense what is literally the micro-history of the land. "They understand the intent, through pollen and nectar, to expand the movement of plants to their rightful places. Even in my beds where the plants are well contained, I notice differences in how the bees treat them and the effects of those visits. The most robust plants get more bee visits, and the increased visitations seem to make the healthy plants healthier."

April 27, 2018

Do not get into a big hurry to plant. The last average day of frost for Casper, Wyoming is May 25. Each year I do a 'snow on the daffodils' report just to illustrate that it is not really Spring until the daffodils have been snowed upon at least four times.

SNOW ON THE DAFFODILS
First Snow: March 19, 2018
Second Snow: March 26, 2018
Third Snow: March 27, 2018
Fourth Snow: March 29, 2018
Fifth Snow: April 3, 2018
Sixth Snow: April 6, 2018
Seventh Snow: April 10, 2018
Eighth Snow: April 17, 2018

May 24, 2018

Here is a picture of my Spirea bush just beginning to bloom. Generally in Casper, when the Spirea begin to bloom think about setting out Tomatoes. When Spirea is fully blooming, have your tomatoes all planted.

July 2, 2018

It is not too late to plant SOME things that are short season like carrots. So if you have some open spots, it is time to replant.

I received this kind note the other day:

Some would tell you that it is too early in the season to rate different tomato varieties for productivity. It is not. I did so yesterday with my own tomatoes. I examined each plant carefully and gave that plant one point for every blossom and three points for every little green fruit. The chart below shows how well the different varieties are performing.

GERMINATION PRODUCTIVITY SCORES
Tomato Name Number of Plants Blossoms Tomato Fruits Score (per average plant)
Sun Sugar(Cherry) 2 38 15 41.5
Tomande 3 42 19 33
Goliath Bush 2 27 11 30
Applause 8 129 19 23.25
Atlas Hybrid 2 32 3 20.5
Big Mama 2 20 6 19
Buffalo Steak 2 25 1 14
Bush Steak 3 29 4 13.66
BHN 871 2 13 4 12.5
Black Krim 3 18 6 12
Goliath Prime 2 12 2 9
Balls Beefsteak 2 16 0 8
Better Bush 2 10 0 5

My wife Judy and I are farming out at Barry Franck's farm just past the airport. The soil is marginal. Its origin is the shale rock that lies perhaps ten feet down. The soil is a very light colored Clay with high levels of alkalie in it. Even so, it will grow some great crops like brassicas, cucumber, corn, potato, squash, pumpkin, musk melon, and watermelon. Today I, Judy, Barry, and Barry's wife Terry rolled out drip system lines to water both Judy's and my plantings. Yesterday, I did a survey of my vegetables out there. Here are the scores from that effort.

GERMINATION SCORES FOR BARRY'S FARM
Plant Name Germination Score
Walla Walla Onion Plants 10
Yellow Onion Plants 10
Red October Squash 5.66
Rouge Vif d' Entempes Pumpkin 5.5
Halona Musk Melon 5.0
Spaghetti Squash 2.09
Dixie Queen Watermelon 2.0
Lakota Squash 1.5
Heart of Gold Squash 1.4
Tasty Sherbert Musk Melon 0.714
Sweet Fashion Watermelon 0.5
Spirit Hybrid Pumpkin 0.5
Autumn Gold Pumpkin 0
Cream of the Crop Squash 0
Yellow Onion Sets 0

August 7, 2018

Here are pictures from yesterday's pickings at the garden.

August 14, 2018

Here are productivity ratings for my tomatoes this season so far.

TYPE
NUMBER OF PLANTS
TOTAL SCORE
AVERAGE
PRODUCTIVITY
Sun Sugar
2
10
5
Buffalo Steak
2
7
3.5
Bush Beefsteak
3
10
3.33
Applause
8
25
3.13
Big Mama
1
3
3
Atlas
2
6
3
Goliath Prime
2
6
3
Black Krim
3
8
2.66
Tomande
3
8
2.66
871 (Yellow)
3
8
2.66
Balls Beefsteak
2
5
2.5
Goliath Bush
2
5
2.5
Better Bush
3
7
2.33

September 5, 2018

I ripped out 3 beds of beans three weeks ago and the yellows and romas two days ago. So the only beans we have going now are an experimental planting of Contender Beans planted in mid July. They have been blooming like crazy and it will be a foot race to the frost. Normally we get a cool period around September 3 and a killer frost around September 23.

The beans will tell you when it is time to let them go and pull them, likewise the radish. The cucumbers are the next to give it up and turn their leaves yellow. They are not very productive after this happens. Lettuce bolts, pull it. Peppers will hang in there until the frost. Many tomatoes quit being productive. Watch them closely for disease. If they get 'buggy' leaves pull the tomato plant. I have already pulled four. Carrots are the last thing you should have growing in the garden. They are much sweeter after several frosts.

This season was medium-hot and wet, with lots of timely rain. This has been probably the best Tomato year I have ever experienced with lots of productive Cucumbers too. The rains encouraged the lettuce to over-grow. Here is a general review of the gardens.

GENERAL REVIEW OF THE SEASON

Winter Squash -

Did fine in our plots where we only grew Red October and Cream of the Crop. The main planting was at Barry's Farm. He suffered a water problem in mid season, so we did not get any production.

Inderterminate Tomatoes:

1. Sun Sugar - 2 plants, productivity rating of 5
2. Buffalo Steak - 2 plants, productivity rating of 3.5
5. Big Mama - 1 plant, productivity rating of 3
6. Atlas Hybrid - 2 plants, productivity rating of 3
7. Goliath Prime - 2 plants, productivity rating of 3
8. Black Krim - 3 plants, productivity rating of 2.66
9. Tomande - 3 plants, productivity rating of 2.66
11. Balls Beefsteak - 2 plants, productivity rating of 2.5

Derterminate Tomatoes:

3. Bush Beefsteak - 3 plants, productivity rating of 3.33
4. Applause - 8 plants, productivity rating of 3.13
10. BHN 871 (Yellow) - 2 plants, productivity rating of 3
12. Goliath Bush - 2 plants, productivity rating of 2.5
13. Better Bush - 3 plants, productivity rating of 2.33

Peas:

Super Sugar Snap and Sugar Pod - both planted way too late. Need to go in the ground in April.

Zucchini Squash:

Yellow and Green - Both were very productive. We enjoy the yellow more.

Cucumber:

Sugar Crunch and GherKing - both super productive. I am not sure I got the right seed for the Sugar Crunch - but the seed I got was good anyway.

Pepper:

Poblano, Big Bertha, and Carmen. All three very productive. Love those Poblanos.

Chard:

Moved this to the garden at home and it did well.

Carrot:

Did fine with the Danvers - our favorite - and the best cooking carrot you can grow.

Broccoli:

And experimental variety from Johnny's (Blue Wind). Not as good and good old Packman.

Beets:

Did not plant any this year.

Onion:

None planted in the plots, and failures at home and at Barry's.

Cabbage:

Experimental from Johnny's (Alcosa) and a good variety for small beds.

Raddish:

Planted three varieties (Shunkyo, China Rose, French Breakfast). We found that we enjoyed the French Breakfast the most.

Lettuce:

Planted three varieties. We found that we enjoyed the Iceberg planted as 'leaf' the most.

Beans:

Contender is our main bean and it was very productive. We need to expand the yellow bean and roma bean (both bush) a bit next year. We tried an experimental late planting of Contender from which we do not yet know if we are going to get beans.

Regular readers know that I keep a degree-day chart each year. I have chosen the base temperature of 50 degrees (F.) because I don't think plants do much growing below that temperature.

Degree days are the cumulative average temperatures above the set base (50 in this case). I always begin counting degree days on May 25, Casper's last average day of frost. If on May 25 the average temperature was 62 degrees, that would be 12 degrees above 50 and the cumulative total would be 12. If on May 26 the average temperature was 64 degrees, that is 14 degrees above 50 . I add that 14 to the 12 I already have, and the degree days for May 26 would be 26. Adding the degrees above the base together is what makes degree-days cumulative.

Here is the 2018 degree-day chart.

MAY 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 JUNE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
HIGH 83 83 64 77 83 88 77 70 64 78 82 73 72 80 86 93 82 90 89
LOW 42 50 42 48 46 43 49 45 48 47 49 42 39 37 47 46 56 52 49
AVER. 2018 62.5 66.5 53 62.5 64 65.5 63 57.5 56 62.5 65.5 57.5 55.5 58.5 66.5 69.5 68.5 71 69
DD (50) 14 29.5 42.5 50 56 68.5 84 91.5 97 105.5 122 141.5 160 181 200
JUNE 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
HIGH 93 86 79 83 93 96 88 77 61 68 71 71 84 76 80 66 85
LOW 47 45 39 36 35 49 49 46 51 49 46 43 46 49 49 49 46
AVER. 2018 70 65.5 59 59.5 64 72.5 68.5 61.5 56 58.5 58.5 57 65 62.5 64.5 57.5 65.5
DD (50) 220 235.5 244.5 354 268 290.5 309 320.5 326.5 335 343.5 350.5 365.5 378 392.5 400 415.5
JUNE 26 27 28 29 30 JULY 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
HIGH 93 93 97 86 63 84 91 87 82 90 98 100 98 98 100 90
LOW 51 51 51 52 44 40 52 55 45 59 51 57 65 60 57 60
AVER. 2018 72 72 73.5 69 53.5 62 71.5 71 63.5 74.5 74.5 78.5 81.5 79 78.5 75
DD (50) 437.5 459.5 483 502 505.5 517.5 538 559 572.5 597 621.5 650 681.5 710.5 739 764
JULY 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
HIGH 85 92 95 86 90 90 89 93 97 97 79 88 94 82 82 85
LOW 59 56 54 59 58 56 54 50 52 56 61 52 53 54 51 50
AVER. 2018 72 74 74.5 72.5 74 71.5 71.5 74.5 76.5 70 70 73.5 68 66.5 67.5 66
DD (50) 786 810 834.5 857 881 904 925.5 947 971.5 998 1018 1038 1061.5 1079.5 1095 1112.5
JULY 28 29 30 31 AUG 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
HIGH 84 78 80 90 88 95 92 89 82 83 88 90 93 92
LOW 48 49 45 43 50 57 51 47 49 47 45 48 49 50
AVER. 2018 66 63.5 62.5 66.5 69 76 71.5 68 65.5 65 66.5 69 71 71
DD (50) 1128.5 1142 1154.5 1171 1190 1216 1237.5 1255.5 1271 1286 1302.5 1321.5 1342.5 1363.5
AUGUST 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
HIGH 98 100 90 82 88 90 93 77 67 77 67 84 80 89
LOW 49 50 55 56 54 48 51 52 53 46 48 48 48 49
AVER. 2018 73.5 75 72.5 68.5 71 69 72 64.5 60 61.5 57.5 66 64 69
DD (50) 1387 1412 1434.5 1453 1474 1493 1515 1529.5 1539.5 1551 1568.5 1584.5 1598.5 1617.5
AUGUST 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 SEP

1

2 3 4 5 6
HIGH 91 87 77 71 84 89 87 86 83 88 76 81 85
LOW 56 45 51 42 37 50 48 42 39 44 50 51 44
AVER. 2018 73.5 66 64 56.5 60.5 69.5 67.5 64 61 66 63 66 64.5
DD (50) 1641 1657 1671 1677.5 1688 1707.5 1725 1739 1750 1766 1779 1795 1809.5
SEPTEMBER 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
HIGH 86 84 84 88 84 90 87 87 91 89 88 87 71
LOW 39 42 50 42 50 40 40 38 38 56 49 42 44
AVER. 2018 62.5 63 67 65 67 65 63.5 62.5 64.5 72.5 68.5 64.5 57.5
DD (50) 1822 1835 1852 1867 1884 1899 1912.5 1925 1939.5 1961 1989.5 2004 2011.5

- - This year's Degree Days compared to past years - -

Degree Days Through June 30
Through July 15
Through July 31
Through August 15
Through August 31
Through Sept. 19
This
Period
Running
Total
This
Period
Running
Total
This
Period
Running
Total
This
Period
Running
Total
This
Period
Running
Total
This
Period
Season
Total
2018
505.5
505.5
351.5
857
314
1171
303
1474
251
1725
286.5
2011.5
2017
350.5
350.5
403.5
754
373
1127
234.5
1361.5
302.5
1664
252
1916
2016
523.5
523.5
272
795.5
387
1182.5
308
1490.5
209
1699.5
182.5
1882
2015
529
529
282.5
811.5
286
1097.5
311.5
1409
254.5
1663.5
279
1942.5
2014
390
390
299
689
380
1069
312.5
1381.5
243.5
1625
167
1792
2013
524.5
524.5
339
863.5
317
1180.5
426.5
1607
381.5
1988.5
315.5
2304
2012
558
558
362
920
416
1336
314.5
1650.5
317
1967.5
243
2210.5
2011
322.5
322.5
325.5
648
385.5
1033.5
305
1338.5
367
1705.5
195
1900.5
2010
364
364
228
592
264
856
394.5
1250.5
322
1572.5
175
1747.5
2009
327
327
258.5
585.5
256
841.5
267
1108.5
216
1324.5
254.5
1579
2008
292.5
292.5
281
573.5
387
960.5
289
1249.5
282.5
1532
96
1628
2007
431.5
431.5
348.5
780
400.5
1180.5
344.5
1525
278.5
1803.5
277.5
2081
2006
567.5
567.5
332.5
900
426.5
1326.5
308.5
1635
294.5
1929.5
131.5
2061
2005
333.5
333.5
297
630.5
360
990.5
256.5
1247
240
1487
242.5
1729.5
2004
314
314
270
584
269
853
275.5
1128.5
197.5
1326
246
1572
2003
401.5
401.5
307.5
709
399
1108
388
1496
317.5
1813.5
146.5
1960
2002
528
528
360
888
364
1252
278
1530
262
1792
248
2040

Between Seasons 2018-19

December 4, 2018

3 Factors for Gardening Success

#1...Selection

Dear Kristine:

By now you happily situated in your new home in Minnesota, far away from Wyoming. I will, of course, miss you a lot.

But you will have more time and opportunity to do some gardening this coming season. This note is to help you get started. Now is the time of year to start thinking about what kind of, and how much gardening you will want to be doing come August. It is your call.

Of the three main factors in gardening success I believe that Selection is the most important (over climate and soil). This is simply because selecting the very best varieties for your location will make up for many deficiencies in climate and soil.

By now I have already received three seed catalogs and many more are yet to come. I will be reading all of them carefully because they contain a ton of information, both positive and negative. The seed (and plant) catalog business is an old one in the United States. The oldest company that I know about is Stark Brothers in SouthEast Missouri. It was founded by old General Stark from the Revolutionary War. It is still a family business and many consider Stark to be THE experts in fruit trees and bushes. They developed the Delicious Apples, fruit trees with many more nodes than normal (giving heavy yeilds), and a revolutionary potting method for trees that spurs roots to grow extra vigorously once the tree is planted. It is such an old company that it can quite rightly claim to have been the chief backer of Luther Burbank (and the inheritor of his work and methods).

As an old hand gardener (with over 40 years devoted to the craft) I pick up on things in catalogs that a newby might miss. For instance, A seed catalog might boast of a pepper that grows to be over 4 inches big. That is probably true. The catalogs do not usually lie. But what the catalog did not say was that the pepper has thick walls. I, for one, prefer that there be some pepper in my pepper, not just a thin will with skin on it. When a catalog describes a variety as 'vigorous' that is fine, but what I want to read is the word PRODUCTIVE in the description. And there are mysteries in catalogs. One mystery I, and old gardening partner Mark McAtee, have been pursuing is the Tomato: Black Krim. Most catalogs list this variety (an heirloom from Russia) as being an 80 day plant (infering that in 80 days after set out you start getting fruit). But a few list this variety as 69 days. That is a big difference. After much consideration, I have recently concluded that both numbers are correct...and that is based upon the conclusion that there are two sub-varieties of Black Krim and that the catalogs are selling the variety they have in their possession.

I have developed my one third rule for gardening in Wyoming (and this could apply to some degree to Minnesota). Basically, you will get 1/3 less from a garden in Wyoming than you will get from one in Iowa, perhaps even less. The fruit that you get will be 1/3 smaller, or the volume of production will be 1/3 less.

When I apply the 1/3 rule to climate I get results that are sobering. I calculate that here in Casper our growing season is 114 days. But those 114 days are not comperable to the same number of growing days in Iowa. Many of our nights dip well below 50 degrees farenheit. To get an equivalent I multiply 114 by 2 and get 228. Then I divide by three and I get 76. Thus, in Casper we have a growing season of 76 Iowa-days. That has serious implications when you are selecting varieties to plant in you garden. You will want to plant very short-season varieties.

Below are links to my vegetable variety pages. There are many tables. In the first column of these tables are four-letter links followed by numbers. The four letters are shorthand links to the sites of seed suppliers and the numbers are the days-to-maturity that each seed provider estimates for that variety. Thus, 'Burp65' is a link to the Burpee seed site and 65 would be the days-to-maturity that Burpee estimates for the particular variety in question. Use these links. I have done a lot of leg work for you.

Beans - Carrot

Cauliflower - Corn

Cucumber - Peas

Peppers - Squash

Tomato - Watermelon

Here is a list of my Productivity Ratings for Tomatoes from the 2018 Season. Those varieties marked with an asterick (*) are old favorites of mine.

Inderterminate Tomatoes:

1. Sun Sugar* - 2 plants, productivity rating of 5
2. Buffalo Steak - 2 plants, productivity rating of 3.5
5. Big Mama - 1 plant, productivity rating of 3
6. Atlas Hybrid - 2 plants, productivity rating of 3
7. Goliath Prime - 2 plants, productivity rating of 3
8. Black Krim* - 3 plants, productivity rating of 2.66
9. Tomande* - 3 plants, productivity rating of 2.66

Derterminate Tomatoes:

3. Bush Beefsteak - 3 plants, productivity rating of 3.33
4. Applause* - 8 plants, productivity rating of 3.13
10. BHN 871 (Yellow) - 2 plants, productivity rating of 3

Here too are other favorites from our garden:

Peas: Super Sugar Snap and Sugar Pod
Zucchini Squash: Any yellow variety over any green
Winter Squash/Pumpkin: Red October, Vegetable Spaghetti, Table Ace Acorn, Heart of Gold, Rouge Vif D'Etampes (Cinderella)
Cucumber: GherKing (pickling) and Sugar Crunch (from Burpee)
Pepper: Poblano, King Arthur, and Carmen.
Carrot: Danvers - our favorite - and the best cooking carrot you can grow.
Broccoli: Packman
Onion: Walla Walla (plants 50-75 per bundle
Cabbage: Alcosa (small cabbage from Johnnys's)
Lettuce: We like an Iceberg planted as a leaf lettuce
Beans: Contender (very productive), Roma II

Germination Temperatures

Vegetable

Maximum Germination

Cool to Warm

Maximum Germination

Beans

77
86
95

Potato

Usually planted on the Second or Third Week of April around Casper

Beets

77
86
95

Lettuce

68

Broccoli*

68
77
86

Spinach

71

Brussels Sprouts*

77
86
95

Kohlrabi

74

Cabbage*

77
86
95

Broccoli

77

Carrot

68
77
86

Carrot

77

Cauliflower*

77
86
95

Peas

81

Corn

77
86
95

Onion

82

Cucumber

77
86
95

Radish

84

Egg Plant

81
90
99

Beans

86

Kohlrabi

65
74
83

Beets

86

Lettuce

59
68
77

Brussels Sprouts

86

Melon

81
90
99

Cauliflower

86

Onion*

73
82
91

Corn

86

Peas

72
81
90

Cucumber

86

Pepper*

77
86
95

Pepper

86

Potato

Seed Potatoes are very small potatoes, or parts of potatoes that have not been treated in any way. They are usually planted on the Second or Third Week of April around Casper

Pumpkin

Please see Squash Below

Pumpkin

Please see Squash Below

Squash, Summer and Winter

86

Radish

75
84
93

Swiss Chard

86

Spinach

62
71
80

Tomato

86

Squash, Summer and Winter

77
86
95

Cabbage

88

Swiss Chard

77
86
95

Egg Plant

90

Tomato*

77
86
95

Melon

90

Watermelon

82
91
100

Watermelon

91
*Note: These vegetables are usually not directly seeded (or sown), but are usually raised in green houses and set out as plants in the Spring. In the case of Onions, sets (bulbs) or very small plants are usually set out. If you buy a bundle of onion plants (60 to 75 plants) DO NOT SOAK THE PLANTS before setting out.

2018 Moon Phases

Feb 15
Feb 23
Mar 1
Mar 0
Mar 17
Mar 24
Mar 31
Apr 8
Apr 15
Apr 22
Apr 29
May 7
May 15
May 21
May 29
Jun 6
Jun 13
Jun 20
Jun 27
Jul 6
Jul 13
Jul 20
Jul 27
Aug 4
Aug 11
Aug 18
Aug 26
Sep 2
Sep 9
Sep 16
Sep 24
Oct 2

2017 Planting Guide

Click Here For 2009 Tomato Taste Test

= Rated for Taste
= Rated for Production

Plant Height New Variety Area
2017
Area
2018
Germination
Farenheit
Set out/Sow
72" to 96" Winter Squash - Red October Area
18 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
72" to 96" Winter Squash - Cream Of The Crop Acorn Area
0.0 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
72" to 96" Total Counts for Winter Squash Area
36 sq ft
Area
18 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
60" Ind. Tomato - Black Krim** Area
2 plants
Area
3 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
60" Ind. Tomato - Tomande** Area
2 plants
Area
3 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
60" Ind. Tomato - Ball's Beefsteak* Area
2 plants
Area
2 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
60" Ind. Tomato - Big Mama** Area
0 plants
Area
2 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
60" Ind. Tomato - Sun Sugar** Area
0 plants
Area
2 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
60" NEW! Ind. Tomato - Atlas Hybrid Area
0 plants
Area
2 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
60" NEW! Ind. Tomato - Goliath Prime Beef Area
0 plants
Area
2 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
60" NEW! Ind. Tomato - Buffalosteak Area
0 plants
Area
2 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
60" Total Counts for Ind. Tomato Area
14 plants
Area
18 plants
59 to 86 Sow May 25
28" Peas - Super Sugar Snap Area
10.5 sq ft
Area
13.5 sq ft
39 to 62 Sow May 1
28" Peas - Sugar Pod Area
10.5 sq ft
Area
13.5 sq ft
39 to 62 Sow May 1
28" Total Counts for Peas Area
21 sq ft
Area
27 sq ft
39 to 62 Sow May 1
28" Zucchini - Yellow Area
6 sq ft
Area
6 sq ft
39 to 62 Sow May 25
28" Zucchini - Green Area
3 sq ft
Area
3 sq ft
39 to 62 Sow May 25
28" Total Counts for Zucchini Area
9 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
39 to 62 Sow May 25
28" Sugar Crunch Cucumber Area
9 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
39 to 62 Sow May 25
26" NEW! GherKing Cucumber Area
0 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
63 to 86 Sow May 25
26" Total Counts for Cucumber Area
18 sq ft
Area
18 sq ft
63 to 86 Sow May 25
24" Herbs Area
9 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
???? May 25
24" Sweet Pepper - Sweet Area
18 sq ft
Area
6 sq ft
68 to 86 Set out May 25
24" Sweet Pepper - Hot Area
24 sq ft
Area
0 sq ft
68 to 86 Set out May 25
24" Total Counts for Peppers Area
42 sq ft
Area
6 sq ft
68 to 86 Set out May 25
24" Chard Area
9 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
68 to 86 Sow May 18
24" Carrot - Danver Area
4.5 sq ft
Area
4.5 sq ft
68 to 86 Sow May 18
24" Carrot - Sweetness Area
4.5 sq ft
Area
4.5 sq ft
68 to 86 Sow May 18
24" Total Counts for Carrots Area
9 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
68 to 86 Sow May 18
24" Det. Tomato - Applause** Area
8 Plants
Area
8 Plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
18" NEW! Det. Tomato - Better Bush Hyb.* Area
2 plants
Area
3 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
18" NEW! Det. Tomato - Bush Steak Hyb.* Area
2 plants
Area
3 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
18" NEW! Det. Tomato - BHN 871 (orange) Area
0 plants
Area
2 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
18" NEW! Det. Tomato - Goliath Bush Hyb. Area
0 plants
Area
2 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
18" Total Counts for Det. Tomatoes Area
16 plants
Area
18 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
18" Total Counts for ALL TOMATOES Area
32 plants
Area
36 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
18" Broccoli Area
9 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
48 to 77 Set out May 18
17" Beets Area
4 sq ft
Area
4 sq ft
41 to 86 Sow May 18
12" Onion Area
9 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
46 to 77 Sets on May 1
Plants on May11
9" Cabbage Area
18 sq ft
Area
6 sq ft
57 to 89 Set out May 18
9" Radish Area
6 sq ft
Area
6 sq ft
51 to 84 Sow May 11
6" to 12" Lettuce Area
6 sq ft
Area
6 sq ft
42 to 68 Sow May 1
6" to 12" Bush Bean - Contender Area
15 sq ft
Area
8 sq ft
50 to 77 Sow May 18 or 25
6" to 12" Bush Bean - Roma II Area
6 sq ft
Area
6 sq ft
50 to 77 Sow May 18 or 25
18" NEW! Bush Bean - Strike Area
0 plants
Area
6 plants
59 to 86 Set out May 25
6" to 12" Totals for Bush Beans Area
36 sq ft
Area
36 sq ft
50 to 77 Sow May 18 or 25
To be grown at Barry Franck's:
72" to 96" Melon/Musk Melon - Tasty Sherbert Area
17.66 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
72" to 96" Winter Squash/Pumpkin - Cream of the Crop Area
17.66 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
72" to 96" Winter Squash/Pumpkin - Rouge Vif D'Entempes Area
17.66 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
72" to 96" Winter Squash - Red October Area
17.66 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
72" to 96" Winter Squash - Spaghetti Squash Area
17.66 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
72" to 96" Winter Squash - Heart of Gold Area
10.33 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25
72" to 96" Onion Area
10.33 sq ft
Area
9 sq ft
59 to 86 Sow May 25

* Grown in 2017 Season, will grow again in 2018

** Grown many times in the past, Wonderful Tomatoes and Productive

Click here to email Fred Jacquot