Cool Season Vegetable Gardening with Uncle Luke’s

What are Cool Season Vegetables?

If you are an avid gardener, you will be happy to know that you don’t have to wait for tomato season to get busy gardening. In an attempt to create seed heads or seed pods, certain vegetables move from leaf or vegetable production to reproduction when the weather gets warm, causing greens to get bitter, broccoli to flower and radishes to get that “woody” taste. These vegetables love the cooler weather of spring and fall. Depending on where you live these seasons can be from March through the end of May, and the last week of August through the end of November, respectively. If you are especially eager to get your spring crop planted following a long, cold winter, then using a cold frame can let you get started earlier and prolong your vegetable production in the fall.

Top Ten Cool Season Vegetables

  1. Radishes are always a good start to a spring garden. They can be planted as soon as your soil can be worked; loosen the soil to a depth of roughly 10”, and plant rows of radish seeds about ½” deep. Try several different varieties to see which ones do best in your area as well as suit your personal taste buds! Radishes mature in as little as 25-30 days, so you will see a return on your labor quickly. If you want a continuous supply of radishes through the end of May, plant a new row or two every two weeks, starting in March—don’t worry, a bit of frost won’t slow your radish plants down a bit.
  2. Lettuce can be planted either from seed or from transplants, and you can start planting in mid-March. As with radishes, loosen your soil to approximately 10”, and plant the lettuce seeds ½” deep. Once the seedlings are 2” tall, they can be spaced out so there is a minimum of 6” between each one, giving them plenty of room to produce a lettuce head. Most lettuce types can withstand frost, and can even freeze, as long as they don’t stay frozen for days at a time. If you cut the mature lettuce head off at ground level, the roots will usually grow new leaves.
  3. You will rarely see spinach transplants, so plant your spinach from seed, at a depth of ½” into fully-loosened soil. As with lettuce, frost and freezing are rarely a problem, and if you are a true spinach lover, plant a new crop every couple of weeks through April, and you will have lots of tasty, nutritious spinach.
  4. Beets, Parsnips and turnips are all root crops which must all be planted directly from seed. Although these vegetables are similar, beets and turnips are round, and can be anywhere from the size of a golf ball to baseball-size, while parsnips are more carrot-shaped. Plant ½” deep and ½” apart and cover with fine soil, then when they are about an inch tall, thin to a couple of inches apart. These root crops grow much slower than radishes, taking between 65-85 days to reach full maturity. Frost won’t bother these veggies, but they are slow to sprout, so don’t be alarmed if you haven’t seen your new plants peeking through the ground after a week—it can take two weeks, or even a bit longer.
  5. Peas come in two basic types—the edible-podded type such as sugar snap and the non-edible pods which you remove the peas from the pods, and just eat the peas. Peas like well-loosened soil, and should be planted about 1” deep and 2” apart; they will climb, so you will need some sort of support for them. Peas can handle a light frost, but not serious freezing. If you want to have plenty of fresh peas to eat, freeze and can, plant at least two times, two weeks apart.
  6. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage should be planted from transplants, especially if you live in the north, otherwise they will fail to mature quickly enough before summer’s warm weather arrives, and will bolt and flower, making them inedible. Raised beds are great for these cool-season veggies, and all three can handle frost and a certain amount of freezing. Make sure they are spaced at least 10-12 inches apart, giving them plenty of room.

Carrots are also a good cool-season crop, as are kale, kohlrabi, chard, onions sets and green onions. Onion sets can be planted early, then again with your warm-weather crops, so you will have a continuous supply.  Garlic also grows well when planted in early spring, or in the fall. Ideally, garlic will be planted in September and harvested in July with little care needed in between, but garlic can also be a spring cool-season crop. If you are itching to get out into your garden and begin your vegetable-growing, Uncle Luke’s is your one-stop local shop to find an incredibly wide variety of cool-season vegetables. We cater to our local customers, meaning our high-quality vegetable varieties have been time-proven for our local growing conditions.

What is Corn Gluten Meal?


Possibly one of the most important breakthroughs in organic lawn care was actually a result of an accident by Nick Christians, an Iowa State University researcher, and, even better, you can find it at Uncle Luke’s Feed Store. Christians was conducting another experiment on the effects of Pythium (a fungal organism) on creeping bent grass, which is commonly used on golf courses to maintain their lush green appearance. During this experiment, Christians realized that the plot which was covered in corn meal had a significantly reduced incidence of the bentgrass germination. Christians soon found that the active component in the corn meal was the gluten, which was the protein fraction, and realized there were natural chemicals in the corn gluten meal which inhibited root formation at the time of germination. Before being “discovered” as a weed suppressor, corn gluten meal—a powdery byproduct of the corn milling process—was used extensively as a supplement for feeding hogs.

The Safety Factor of Corn Gluten Meal

The best thing about using corn gluten meal for weed control is that it is entirely safe and natural. You don’t have to worry about your children or pets playing on your lawn following application because corn gluten meal is 100% organic. In fact, many parks use corn gluten meal on their lawns, as a method of avoiding the chemical herbicides which can have far-reaching effects on humans, animals, water supplies, and other “good” plants. Corn gluten meal is presently the only natural product specifically marketed for weed control, and, unlike chemicals, will not end up in water runoff and surface water, or move with soil erosion.

How Does Corn Gluten Meal Work?

Rather than killing the weeds, like chemical herbicides do, corn gluten meal works differently, preventing the establishment of the weed root systems. Most people who use corn gluten meal on their lawns are attempting to inhibit crabgrass, dandelion and clover, although it works just as well on many other weeds. The best side-benefit of using corn gluten meal is that it contains  9 percent slow release nitrogen, meaning it will also contribute to greener thicker turf—while inhibiting germinating weeds, it simultaneously stimulates the growth of already-established plants. Unless it is used at a very high rate (80 pounds/1000 square feet, or more) corn gluten meal will not inhibit the roots of mature plants or transplants. Your weeds will germinate and form a shoot—but no root. Following this germination, you will need to allow a short drying period because watering the lawn too much at this point could allow the weeds to recover and build roots. Corn gluten meal needs to be applied the first time from approximately April 1-20th, and again in June for maximum weed suppression.

Different Types of Corn Gluten Meal

Corn gluten meal typically comes in an unprocessed form which has a fine, powdery texture, and, although it can be broadcast by hand, it will probably work better in a hand seeder. Once broadcast, it will appear very much like a layer of pollen on your soil. This type of corn gluten meal must be applied directly onto the bare earth or around new plantings as it’s texture is not conducive to working its way down through grass or mulch. Granulated corn gluten meal can be applied with a spreader, or mixed with water into a paste for more localized weed suppression. Pelletized corn gluten meal can be broadcast by hand, and works well on lawns. Generally a 50 pound bag of corn gluten meal will thoroughly treat at least 2500 square ft. of lawn, fertilizing your turf and suppressing weeds with every application.

Purchase Your Corn Gluten Meal at Uncle Luke’s

Not only will you find the best corn gluten meal at Uncle Luke’s, you will also find a wide variety of organic and bulk gardening seeds. Uncle Luke’s is your local, friendly, honest feed store—we work hard to support our local farmers and our local economy, and strive to keep a small-town, down-home feel to our store. Come on in and get your corn gluten meal, and you will be amazed at how well this all-natural substance works on weed suppression.


Planting Garlic in the Fall for Next Year

Garlic is an excellent addition to a wide variety of foods, adding a unique flavor and punching up the taste to many bland dishes. With over 600 subvarities, growing garlic from home can be fun, supplying you with enough for the whole year ahead and then some. Although there are some challenges, taking the time to learn a few facts about planting garlic will help you create a successful harvest.


Choosing Your Garlic

There are two main categories of garlic- softneck and hardneck. While there are some similarities between the two types, there are distinct differences making it relatively easy to tell the two apart. Softneck garlic is commonly grown in warm climates and has large, distinctive cloves. Generally, this is the type of garlic you see in the supermarket.

Hardneck garlic is traditionally grown in colder climates and although it tends to produce fewer cloves, farmers claim that it has a more robust taste than softneck garlic. As a result, it is a favorite among Michigan garlic farmers.


Why Plant in the Fall?

In Michigan, if you intend to grow garlic, the best time to plant is in the fall for the following year. Why so far ahead? Simple. It takes a long time for garlic to grow good roots. Once the soil temperature reaches 60 degrees F, the roots of the garlic cloves will start to germinate, begin to take hold and anchor the plant. In Michigan, if the ground freezes before the roots have developed, the garlic plant will heave itself out of the ground. Applying mulch after the first freeze will help control heaving. So go ahead, plant in the fall, because generally, your garlic won’t be ready to harvest until mid to late summer.


Ideal Growing Conditions

Before planting, separate your garlic into cloves, making certain to keep the papery layer around the clove intact. Try to choose the larger cloves for planting and reserve the smaller ones for eating. When choosing a location, remember that garlic does best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade fairly well.


Your Soil should be loose and loamy with moderate to heavy organic matter with a pH somewhere between 6.0 and 7.0.  You want your soil moist, but not waterlogged. Loamy soil that combines equal parts of sand, silt and clay works best. Loamy soil keeps moisture in, but drains well to allow air to reach the roots. Remember, mulch may also be helpful for keeping soil moist and moderating temperatures. This is particularly important in Michigan where colder weather can result in winterkill. Straw, hay, chopped leaves, even plastic make suitable mulch. While there are a variety of things to make proper mulch, most Michigan farmers prefer straw because it’s inexpensive, easy to find and easy to remove. Visit Uncle Luke’s Feed Store to find the mulching material that will work best for you.


Proper spacing is also important for growing garlic successfully. However, there are a couple of different thoughts as far as planting is concerned. Everyone agrees that you plant your garlic clove with the pointed end facing up into the soil.  However, some farmers believe that placing bulbs close together will produce more garlic. Others argue that close positioning results in smaller cloves. Nevertheless, normal spacing is cloves around 5 inches apart with 20 inches or so between rows for larger bulbs. Additionally, try to plant 2 inches deep if you plan to mulch, and a little deeper (3 to 4 inches) if you don’t plan to mulch.


Growing fantastic garlic is easy with a few tips.  Planting in the fall for the following year gives your garlic time to grow sturdy, solid roots which keep it firmly anchored in the ground. The soil is cold in the winter, particularly in Michigan, making it even more important to choose the right mulch and planting materials. Find everything you need to grow the most amazing garlic at Uncle Luke’s Feed Store. Have fun and get planning that menu, you’ve got some garlic to try!

It’s Not too Late to Improve the Health of Your Lawn

If you’re like most folks, you’ve been pretty busy for the past few months running here and there- not stopping to rest. And now that the weather’s getting warmer, you’re thrilled to migrate outdoors, only to discover you may have missed your window for early spring lawn maintenance. With traditional fertilizing season passed, you’re thinking it’s too late to optimize. Think again. It’s not too late to improve the health of your lawn and here’s what you can do now to ensure vibrant grass mid-summer.

Pick Up the Rake

While most people think of raking as a fall activity, late spring is the perfect time to give your lawn a once over with a good thorough raking to assess where you need to concentrate your efforts. Raking exposes bare spots, uncovers thatch and gets rid of dead grass that’s just hanging around getting in the way. Besides, a good raking will clear up any matted areas where blades of grass have begun to stick together.

Deal with the Bare Spots

Whether caused by high traffic, neglect or Fido’s favorite spot, bare spots on an otherwise healthy lawn are damaging and just plain ugly. Correcting bare spots, also known as overseeding, is best pursued in the fall when new growth doesn’t have to compete with crabgrass. However, if your lawn is in tough shape and you’re anxious to correct it now, luckily, you still can.

Seed will help to fill in those bare areas, but use a slow release, nitrogen fertilizer and wait until later in the summer to use a quick release fertilizer. It’s important not to overfeed your grass which could introduce weeds or disease. Besides, if you did fertilize last fall, your lawn is still using it.

Get Proactive with Crabgrass

One of the easiest things you can do to keep your lawn healthy in the spring is to start with a quality pre-emergent herbicide. It’s a convenient way to get rid of that soon to come nuisance-crabgrass.  But here’s the dilemma. It’s difficult to overseed and control crabgrass at the same time. Why? Most herbicides harm the grass seeds making it counterproductive. Nevertheless, if you plan on overseeding now, look for herbicides that are friendly to grass seed. “Tupersan” is a decent product to try if you plan on overseeding in the spring.

Pull Those Weeds

The bright yellow dandelion isn’t necessarily a pleasant site to a healthy lawn so be sure to “nip it in the bud” before they produce seed.  Remember, keeping those weeds under control now will make your job a lot easier when you’re trying to mow and control growth at the same time.

Don’t get discouraged by spring maintenance. It’s never too late to improve the health of your lawn and with a few simple strategies, you can be right on track for gorgeous, vibrant grass come mid-summer. Remember, consistency ensures the best results and a quality product from Uncle Luke’s Feed Store keeps your lawn looking its best-spring, summer or fall. Visit us today to pick up the supplies you need for a healthy, vibrant lawn and get ready for a warm, sunshine filled summer.

To Prune or Not to Prune

Whether you’re an expert gardener or a weekend warrior looking to impress your friends with your green thumb, you may not be too sure when it comes to pruning. Basically, a good rule of thumb to follow is this- don’t prune unless you know what you’re doing. If you prune incorrectly, you can damage or kill your plants. On the other hand, if you’re skilled, you can control growth, enhance flower and fruit production, repair damage and ultimately create a masterpiece. So to prune or not to prune? The answer unavoidably is a resounding “maybe”.

What is Pruning?

By some standards, pruning is part skill and part art. If done properly, pruning can significantly enhance almost any landscape. Basically, pruning involves removing parts of a plant that are no longer effective. By getting rid of inefficient parts, you increase the likelihood that the remaining plant will thrive.

While plants do not have to be pruned to survive, a good trimming frees up energy which enhances the development of flowers, fruits and anything left on the plant. There are also other reasons to prune, including landscape design, growth restriction or simply to improve the quality of flowers, fruits or stems.

The Basics of Pruning

Before pruning, assess your plant and determine why you’re pruning in the first place. Going forward with a plan in mind will help you stay focused and ensure a better result. Start by removing all dead, damaged or diseased limbs. Cut back to a healthy lateral branch and move on. Stop frequently and step back to keep from over pruning and try to follow the natural growth pattern of the plant. Remember, always make certain to use a sharp, clean pruning tool to ensure cuts are clean and free of tears.

You should plan to prune in the spring or winter before significant new growth begins. This is the time when the least amount of damage can be done from improper pruning. However, there are exceptions to this rule and you should avoid pruning if you notice new growth. For shrubs that flower in the spring, wait until the flowers begin to fade, but don’t wait too long and plan to prune before the fall. If they bloom in the summer, prune in the dormant season.

Pruning can be an important part of plant maintenance. If done correctly, it can optimize plant health and result in vibrant, healthy flowers and fruits. So will you be pruning this season? Should you decide to give it a go, make certain to stop by Uncle Luke’s Feed Store for all the quality supplies you’ll need to make your pruning project a success. Remember, the best products make the best plants and at Uncle Luke’s, we’re here to help with everything you need to get the most out of your plants-  whether you decide to prune or not.

Putting Community First: Uncle Luke’s for the Freshest and Finest Around

As Michigan residents, we have a well-kept secret. For those of us lucky enough to shop Uncle Luke’s Feed Store, it’s easy to see why our vegetable plants, annuals and other goodies do so well. With a quality and freshness that’s unparalleled, locals have been happily visiting the family owned store since the early 1920’s. But there’s another reason to consider Uncle Luke’s many of us may not know.

As part of the community it serves so well, Uncle Luke’s supports local farmers’ right here in Michigan. In fact, they only buy locally grown plants from four independent farms right here in Oakland and Macomb counties. That means with every purchase you make at Uncle Luke’s, you’re not only getting the freshest and finest quality available, but you’re getting it while supporting Michigan companies. And with an uncertain economy, that’s something we can all smile about.

Local Equals Fresh

Locally grown is always the way to go. From vegetable or herb plants to bedding flats and annuals, when it comes to getting the freshest, highest quality available, nothing beats local. Uncle Luke’s understands folks are looking for quality as well as value, and they work hard to offer only the best of each. Buying from local farmers ensures not only a freshness that can’t be matched, but quality products at an affordable price. And whether you’re interested in heirloom tomato plants or sunflower seeds, our local farmers are the tops.

Supporting Michigan’s Finest

Times are tough for lots of folks these days. Particularly for our local businesses and the community we live and play, we want a h4, robust economy. By purchasing from Uncle Luke’s, you can feel good about doing your part to strengthen the local economy. These are our neighbors, our friends and our families- buying local means your dollars circulate right here where they belong. That’s giving a little back one purchase at a time. Uncle Luke’s is proud to give back to the community that has served it so well for generations and looks forward to many more years to come.

For annuals, vegetable or herb plants, seeds or anything else your green thumb needs, Uncle Luke’s Feed Store has you covered. With the freshest and finest grown right here locally, shopping Uncle Luke’s makes it easy to support the community we love- one seed at a time.

Mums in Michigan

The chrysanthemum, more commonly known as the mum, is a perfect flowering plant to add some color and pizazz to your fall landscape. Originally from China, the chrysanthemum flower was boiled to make “chrysanthemum tea”. According to Chinese folk medicine, the tea was quite the remedy for the flu. In the United States, the chrysanthemum serves a much different purpose, adding depth and beauty as a popular landscaping choice in the fall. Mums are well suited, given that they bloom late and have tremendous eye appeal.


Decorating with Mums

Mums are terrific for complementing a fall landscapes as they come in a variety of colors. From white, off-white, yellow, gold and bronze to red, lavender, burgundy, pink and purple, the mum is extremely decorative. They’re also quite versatile, meaning that they work great for both mass planting and in small decorative pots next to the front door.

When looking to add mums to your fall decor, choose colors that complement your landscape design. In other words, to add depth to an outdoor display, try mums in gold, yellow or off-white to highlight the orange and browns of pumpkins and hay. Another trick- try mass planting with a gradual color shade change or to get the most dramatic effect, use only two colors. Remember, mums also look great in small containers by the front door. They’re super simple choices for lining a window box or for the center of a pot with trailing foliage. Make certain to visit Uncle Luke’s Feed Store for all your gardening needs from small clay pots for your doorstep to fertilizer and soil for your garden.


Florist Mums Versus Hardy (Garden) Mums

Florist mums are large-flower plants with a variety of different bloom forms. They’re almost always grown in greenhouses and used as indoor plants. Try to plant a florist mum outside and you will quickly see that it will not survive the winter, regardless of much protection you offer it. On the other hand, garden mums produce an underground stolen and as a result, can survive the cold weather much better. In general, garden mums are much tougher than florist mums and in certain zones, are perennials.

In Michigan, if you’re considering planting mums, coordinate your plants with the weather. Remember, while most garden mums can withstand a light fall frost and will do fine this year, if you’re trying for perennials, it’s best to choose hardy cultivars to plant in the spring so they have a chance to establish roots before the really cold weather hits.



Mums are perfect fall plants because they add so much color to an otherwise drab looking landscape. However, before planting your mums, choose an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. This is critical because if your plant doesn’t get enough sunlight, it will grow fewer, smaller flowers.

As for the soil, well drained is best. In fact, you may want to consider raising your plants if your growing area is too wet. Plant about 1 inch deeper than the original nursery pot and be sure to spread the roots out carefully. Adequate water is important when you first plant your mums. Make certain to give them enough until they are fully established. After they take hold, reduce water to about an inch per week. Fertilizer is not necessary if you plan on planting your mums in the fall for annuals, however, if you plan on overwintering, fertilize once or twice a month until colder weather sets in.


Decorating with mums in the fall is an easy and inexpensive way to add color and pizazz to your home or business. Remember to choose complementary colors and don’t forget to visit Uncle Luke’s Feed Store where you can find everything you need to create the perfect fall landscape.

A Michigan Fall tradition – Corn Stalks, Straw Bales and Pie Pumpkins

There’s nothing quite like the fall to bring out the best of traditions. From hay rides to colorful mums, the changing season is filled with images that remind us of why we love autumn. As the weather starts to get a chill, the pumpkins come out, the corn stalks emerge and the eatin’ starts. Bake up those pies because we’re going to build an appetite this year with a terrific showing of apples, winter squash, pears,  potatoes and oh yes, the corn.


Uses for Straw Bales, Corn Stalks and More

Thinking about all the ways to use a few straw bales or corn stalks this year? Whether you’re looking to create the perfect mulch, an exciting maze for the kids or you simply want to try your hand at decorating, straw bales and corn stalks are perfect for everything.

A spectacular wreath made of the most colorful fall flowers is sure to invite the change of season right in your front door- the perfect base for this creation? A straw wreath of course. Try your hand at creating fall wreaths using straw and impress your friends and family with your creativity and talent. Remember, if you turn out some prized wreaths, you may be making another fall tradition- one you’ll probably enjoy doing for years. Of course, the kids can still have fun with the maze and the fall family photo couldn’t ask for a better backdrop so make sure you stock up.

Don’t forget about the corn stalks, because fall decorating wouldn’t be the same without the bright golden color and papery texture of the perfect corn stalk. In fact, cornstalks and gourds are an inexpensive fall tradition and a great way to add visual interest to your home. What to do with them?  Buy five or six leafy stalks and tie them with craft wire about six inches from the top and bottom. Tie them to a lamppost or the edges of a porch. For an extra special design, soak a few cornstalks in warm water and bend them gently into wreath shapes. Weave ribbon or colorful fabric into the stalks and hang ears of Indian corn from the center. In a matter of a few minutes, you’ve got yourself a pretty sophisticated looking corn stalk. Remember, you can always get creative with dolls, centerpieces and more.


Who Said Pumpkin Pie?

Perhaps the best fall tradition of all is the pumpkin pie, a symbol of harvest time for generations that brings new life to old favorites like nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. From the pumpkin patch to the kitchen, pumpkin pies are as much a fall tradition as football games and wings. Serve it up warm, serve it up cold, nothing says fall quite like a slice from home. Even if you plan on using your pumpkins as decorations, the mere sight of them makes our mouth water. So bring them on out and get choosin’!


Fall is a great time for family, memories and especially tradition. Make your season one to remember by including the festive, fall traditions of straw bales, corn stalks and pumpkin pie. Enjoy your creations and remember to visit Uncle Luke’s Feed Store where you can find all the things you need to make your fall traditions perfect every time.

Winter Garden Cover Crops – Grain Rye, Hairy Vetch, Clovers and Winter Peas in Michigan

Are you looking for an effective way to reduce your fertilizer costs? Have you considered using cover crops to protect your soil through the cold, idle winter months? Garden cover crops like grain, hairy vetch, clovers and winter peas are an effective way to protect your soil by managing nitrogen content, controlling for wind and water erosion and reducing weeds. Michigan cover crops offer superior protection and are super simple to use.


Choosing a Cover Crop

Most people in Michigan use cover crops to protect their soil through the winter months, which is why they plant in the fall. There are a variety of cover crop seeds to choose from, each offering slightly different benefits. Some inhibit weeds or recycle nutrients, some protect water quality and still others reduce disease. Nevertheless, there are three basic groups that most cover crops fall into- grains and grass, legumes and other broad leaved plants.


Clover, Grain Rye, Hairy Vetch and Winter Peas

In Michigan, the most popular cover crop is the red clover, a legume used quite frequently to increase soil organic matter and reduce soil erosion and surface water pollution. However, don’t forget that once red clover has served its need, it must be killed or it will become a weed. Another clover which is pretty new to the Michigan area is crimson clover. Crimson clover grows more quickly than red clover and has taller flower stems and larger seeds. It’s great because it offers faster growth during cool weather than more traditional red clover.

Cereal grains are another popular cover crop choice because they grow extremely fast, giving quick cover even when the weather is already cold. Rye, wheat, oats, barley, and triticale are all cereal grains. Grain rye is popular because it’s pretty vigorous, germinating and becoming established in cool weather. Winter wheat is also useful for late season plantings. In fact, if you plant before late September, you’re likely to get disease or premature death. Check out the selection of cereal grains cover crop seeds at Uncle Luke’s feed Store. Now is the perfect time to get them planted for the most effect.

Hairy vetch is another legume, pretty aggressive actually, considering that legumes generally are slow to grow in cool weather and do much better when paired with something else. Nevertheless, legumes are especially helpful for increasing the amount of soil nitrogen for the next crop. In addition, Austrian winter peas, sometimes called “black pea” and “field pea” are known for their good winter hardiness and can be grown alone or mixed with cereal grains to provide great cover.


Mixing Cover Crops

In many cases, mixing cover crops gives you the added advantage of getting the benefits from different types of cover crops easily. Typically, mixtures combine two species, but it’s possible to mix up to five. A common mixture is cereal rye and hairy vetch. Vetch germinates in the fall but grows slowly until spring. The rye makes the perfect structure for the vetch to grow. Basically, when you mix a cereal with a legume, you get the soil covering ability of the cereal and the nitrogen fixing ability of the legume.


Using cover crops is not a new idea. In fact, before fertilizer was invented, this was the only way to improve soil structure and productivity. Now, because of the environmentally safe angle, cover crops are the preferred method of many Michigan farmers. From grain rye to winter peas, remember to mix crop cover seeds for added benefits and shop Uncle Luke’s Feed Store for the best selection and prices.

Halloween Pumpkins at Uncle Luke’s

For many of us, the month of October welcomes a cool breeze and the sight and smell of Halloween pumpkins. Whether you create spooky jack-o-lanterns or serve up pumpkin pie and toasted seeds, Halloween pumpkins bring hours of family entertainment, add a creative touch to your fall décor and make for a tasty snack.


Bring on the Jack-o-lantern

Whether you’re five or fifty, there’s something magical about a flickering jack-o-lantern that makes your heart race a bit. No, it’s not just for the kids! It’s  Halloween and almost every door step has a spooky, glowing face peeking out through a carved pumpkin. While the jack-o-lantern traditionally captures images of creepy ghosts and goblins, in modern times, it’s hip to get creative with something else. In fact, pumpkin craft is becoming more sophisticated, with complex designs featuring political figures, sports stars even celebrities.

Nevertheless, as part of the Halloween tradition, carving the family pumpkin can provide hours of family fun and doesn’t cost much more than a few dollars. Remember, even if you’re not willing to carve the pumpkin, you can still have fun decorating a face with acrylic paints or markers. This is a great alternative for families with small children who are not interested in using tools. Even if you choose to keep the craft easy, plan your design ahead of time and get your materials together before you start. Visit Uncle Luke’s Feed Store to pick out the best pumpkins for your creation and add interest  by mixing  different sizes. Two small and one large or two medium and a small will add depth to your carvings when placed together.


Pumpkin Seeds Anyone?

There’s never any wasting with Halloween pumpkins because there’s always something to bake or toast. Pumpkin seeds make a great snack for the kids and are perfect when paired with chocolate chips, raisins and pretzels for a tasty Halloween trail mix. Besides, when you’re carving your pumpkins, you have to do something with all those seeds. Make it easy and separate the seeds from the pulp when it is still moist and easy to deal with. Pumpkin dries quickly. Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you carve your pumpkin before deciding to separate the seeds.

After separating, soak the seeds in very cold water. This step helps clean them and removes any of the pulp that is still remaining. It may be helpful to rub them between your hands to remove any tough strings. Dry your seeds in a strainer for about thirty minutes or if you’re in a rush, you can pat them dry with a paper towel. When they’re dry, you can season them in several different ways. A little salt on a cookie sheet is pretty simple. However, for a more festive taste, try seasoning with a pinch of ginger, some allspice and a dash of cinnamon. You may add butter, although it’s not necessary. Bake in a preheated 250 degree oven for 10 to 20 minutes and that’s it! It’s that easy. Plus, don’t forget that pumpkins make terrific pie, cookies, bread and anything else you’d like to add a little October zing to.


Have fun with your Halloween pumpkins. Remember, whether you decide to carve them into scary Jack-o-lanterns or bake a delicious pumpkin pie, you will always have some tasty seeds to snack on at the end of the day. Enjoy your holiday and don’t forget to visit Uncle Luke’s Feed store for the best selection in Halloween pumpkins.


6691 Livernois Rd.
Troy, Michigan 48098-1540
Business Hours
Mon-Fri 9:00 AM - 6:30 PM
Sat 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sun 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Winter Hours
January & February Only:
Mon-Fri 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM
Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sun 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Flushing Lawn & Garden Center

114 Terrace Street
Flushing, MI 48433-2159
Business Hours
(except holidays):
Mon-Thu 9:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Fri 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sat 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Sun Closed

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