On this week’s episode, Greg and Travis talk about growing cut flowers in their vegetable garden. Growing cut flowers provides many benefits, but the primary benefit is to attract pollinators for crops that require insect pollination to produce fruit. These crops would include things like squash, cucumbers and melons. Their favorite types of cut flowers to grow are zinnias, sunflowers and Celosia, also known as cockscomb. They prefer the Benary’s Giant Mix variety of zinnias because they produce larger flowers and have a wide variety of colors present. Their favorite variety of sunflower is the Pro Cut variety, which is available in many different colors including red, orange and yellow. These have a smaller seed than a traditional sunflower and are the preferred variety for commercial producers. Greg mentions how they also make a great cover crop because they’ll shade the soil and reduce any weed growth. Lastly, they talk about growing Celosia. Their favorite variety of Celosia is the Chief Mix, which provides an array of different colors. Because cockscomb flowers can get quite large, these plants may need trellising or early harvesting to prevent stalks from bending or breaking.
On the Show & Tell segment this week, the guys talk about growing potatoes in the fall. This will be the first year that they’ve tried growing potatoes in the fall. Based on the information provided by Greg at Irish Eyes Garden Seeds, it should work. They are planning to plant the potatoes at the end of August for an October harvest. They will be ordering the seed potatoes now and keeping them cool in the fridge until planting time. Based on the limited availability of seed potatoes during this time of year, they will be planting the Yukon Gold variety only.
On the Q&A segment, they answer questions about planting corn in the fall and asian stink bugs. The guys grew fall corn last year at their demonstration garden for the Sunbelt Ag Expo and had great success. The insect pressure is heavier in late summer and fall, so more frequent applications of B.t. and Neem Oil are necessary. Also, providing adequate water via drip irrigation is a must. Greg mentions that they see many different variations of stink bugs and that they can be hard to control in the middle of summer. As a result, he tries to manage the populations with frequent spraying early in the year. This allows him to get the spring crops harvested before significant insect damage occurs.