Archive | February 2012

Seed Germinating and Showing some True Leaves

So it’s like 40F outside and I’m stuck at home from work with some kind of viral crud that I think my wife gave me.  I woke up with a 100.5 fever and my whole body hurting.  So I figured I might as well throw a plant update instead of just lying on the couch.

So using the new light setup has worked much better for germinating the seeds than the garden window I used last year.  It would be nice to have a few heat mats to up the temp and I think I would get a higher germination efficiency, but I guess that’s what I’ll be asking for when my birthday rolls around.  So the most surprising result so far have been Speckled Roman tomatoes.  They’ve already got a little forest going on and a few are even showing true leaves.

The Brussels Sprouts have not germinated very much, I’ve only got 2 seedlings so far, but I don’t have a good picture of them and the look just like the broccoli seedlings.  Speaking of the Broccoli seedling, those have done pretty well.

The marigolds have not germinated well, but I think those took a while last year too.  I’ll have to be patient with them.  I do have one little seedling though.

The onion seedling have done pretty good, but there isn’t a picture of them yet as they’re not very interesting.  I”ll probably have to go buy some little onion sets later this spring to fill the bed with as many onion as I plan on having.

The White Wonder Cucumber seedling is doing really good and finally has a friend so there are two now.  the first one has a really cute little leaf coming out and it’ll probably be the first thing that’ will need transplanting in a few weeks.

I’ve got a few red milkweed seedlings, but no butterfly weed seedlings yet.  Hopefully those will get with the program here soon.

The Brandywine tomatoes have started to germinate in good numbers.  This is a older pic.  I’ve got 7 or 8 seedlings now so I’m going to hope that I’ll have enough to fill out the garden.

The Bell Pepper seedlings have really taken off.  Last year my peppers didn’t start growing early enough and so I got some small plants and almost harvested one fruit, but it frosted before it got big enough to harvest.  This year I hope to harvest enough to have a few dinners of stuffed peppers and some to put into spaghetti sauce.

Last but not least is the Giant Sequoia plant kit my brother got me for Christmas.  I’ve been working on it for a two months now and it just germinated last week and its showing some true leaves ( they look more like needles though).

Well its back to the couch, ibuprofen, and TV for me.  I just hope to be well enough to go back to work tomorrow.  Hope everyone fells well and good growing.


Indoor Seed Starting for 2012

I got my indoor seeds started for this season.  I probably started a week or two early, but I’m going to hope for and early warm up this spring.  I’m using two flats, each has eight trays with 9 wells in each tray.  So I have 3 trays of onions, 2 trays of Brandywine tomatoes, 3 trays of Roma Tomatoes, 2 trays of Bell peppers, 1 tray of Butterfly weed, 1 tray of red milkweed, 1 tray of marigolds, 1 tray of broccoli, 1 tray of Brussls Sprouts, and 1 tray of white wonder cucumber.  Hopefully in a few days I’ll have pics of some tiny seedlings to report on.

Moon phase Gardening

So I find that some people do some weird things in the garden.  One of the strangest systems of garden planning is the pervasive gardening according to the phases of the moon. This strategy is common enough to garner a place in the coveted farmer’s almanac.

What is it:

According to a number of websites, there are two reasons that moon gardening works.  The lesser of the two effects is the moonlight adding additional light beyond what the sun provides during daylight hours.  The second and more important is the gravitational effects from the moon.  The moon controls the tides and pulls large bodies of water towards it.  According to the moon phase gardening theory, the moon pulls water up in the soil and assists in getting water into the stems and leaves of growing plants.  Different phases are said to also have different gravitational effects making certain phases better to plant, fertilize or weed. The moon gravitational effects are constantly changing.  New moon occurs when the moon and sun are on the same side of the earth, causing a perceived increase in that direction.  Below are the descriptions of the proposed effects of the different moon phases.

Full moon:  Gravitational force is high, moonlight is waning.

Waning moon: both moonlight and gravitational effects are decreasing.  Best time for harvesting and transplanting

New Moon: Lunar gravity is high leading to high soil moisture and seed germination

Waxing moon: Moonlight is strong, but gravitational pull is less.  Planting is good at this time

Why it doesn’t work:

The effect of the moon on large bodies of water is visible to the naked eye.  Tides come in and out every day, but to think that those same forces have any significant effect on the water soaked in the soil is just plain silly.  Humans are something like 75% water, so shouldn’t the moon effect us just like the tides according to that logic.  So if I weigh myself on a full moon I’ll weigh less than at new moon.  There have been dozens of studies about effects of the moon (especially the full moon) on human behavior and they show no determinable effects.  Even the tides on the great lakes are never more than a few inches.  The moon gravitational effects do change, but a slight change in nothing is still nothing.  Then there is the apogee and perigee of the moon occurring every 7 1/2 orbits.  This means that sometimes apogee ( when the moon is closest) switches between full and new moon.

What might really be going on:

For thousands of years accurate calendars and information on dates was difficult to come by.  People eventually noticed that the moon has a regular cycle and that could be used to track time with.  The farmer that feels a warm snap early in the season may get excited for an early spring and plant, while the farmer going by the moon has a schedule and waits.  So when it gets cold again, moon phase gardening seems to win.  So in essence gardening in accordance with the moon can be replaced simply by getting a calendar and watching the weather channel.


2012 Hopes

My biggest gardening goal for this coming year is to harvest enough food that I can preserve something.  Last year I did get enough tomatoes to make a few big batches of spaghetti sauce, but those lasted about a month.  I didn’t even can them, I just saved them in ziploc bags in the freezer.  I’m going to be doubling the space allotted to tomatoes this year.  I’m hoping to grow both brandywine and speckled roma (both from seed if possible).  If I can get a bunch of peas and beans to freeze or can that is gravy on top of the tomato sauce plans.

I’m also experimenting with a few plants this year.  I’m most excited about trying to grow brussels sprouts.  I’m also trying spinach (pretty sure that it’ll work) and melons.  I also planted a couple of blueberry bushes last fall and will try strawberries again (didn’t do well last year).  My little secret project though is the Crocus Sativius corms that I planted last year.  Crocus Sativius is commonly know as the Saffron Crocus.  If I can harvest and dry even a couple of saffron strands and use them in cooking, I’ll call it a success.  They are starting to peek out of the ground already but shouldn’t flower until this fall.

First Post

I’ve tried blogging a couple of times before, but I ave yet to really hit on a style and topic I can stay totally interested in.  That’s kind of how I am.  I hope to write simi-regularly about the going ons in my garden, both outdoor and indoor.  I use the site Folia to log and track all the details of my garden, but I have other things to say so I’ll say them here.  My wife and I moved into our house in Nov. 2010 and I started gardening and landscaping that next spring.  I’ve always wanted a nice garden area.  I dug up two 8ftx4ft area for the vegetables last spring.  I got good harvests of tomatoes, carrots, a few onions.  In the fall (and bit more this spring) I’ve expanded that to one long section 4ftx32ft and a dog-leg of 4ftx16ft.  I also hope to get a nice flower garden out front of the house and set up a small strawberry bed in the back yard.


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