Archive | March 2013

First day of Spring-Inconceivable

I don’t think yhat means what you think that means. The news keeps telling me its spring and I just don’t see it. The high today is forecast to be 24F. NOT EVEN ABOVE FREEZING!! That’s all I have to say about that. Ugh…

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Seed Germination Update #2-Tomato Time

Its finally here.  The day I plant my tomato seeds.  The long journey to summer tomato season has begun.  As such I needed to set up the large light fixture to accommodate the new flats.  The bulbs in this fixture seem to have much more red tinge to the light  I’ll get right to the pictures then.

DSCF2265[1]First off, the broccoli seedlings were starting to get all tangled amongst themselves.  So I had to thin them a bit and pot some of them into larger yogurt cups.  Now there is one entire flat of broccoli seedlings.  They seem to be doing well after transplant and if the weather would just cooperate I could get the beds ready for these guys.

DSCF2266[1]Here is my miscellaneous flat.  Its got the basil, catnip, ground cherry (which have now gotten their true leaves), violas and now have recently planted cells of big bluestem (a prairie grass) and bunny tails.

DSCF2267[1]The onions have started to slow their growth.  I think they would really like to get into some larger space.  I will oblige them as soon as the weather allows.

DSCF2264[1]And last but certainly not least, the tomato seeds are in their flat and should start to germinate in a week or so depending on the temperature I can keep them at.

Not much else is going on here.  I’m feel like I’m in limbo.  The snow is melted (well most of it), but its still to cold to get out and do anything except for the most basic cleanup work.  I hope that everyone else can get in their gardens this week and get something done cause I’ll just be inside here waiting and watching.  Good growing everybody.

Waste not, want not- DIY Seed Tape

I love to plant seeds, water, fertilize and I even don’t mind weeding that much.  But there is one garden task that I hate, thinning.  I hate to have to thin out my seedlings.  It feels like such a waste.  Why did I plant a whole row of these seeds only to pull up every other plant (sometimes more)?  The result, plants not having enough space.  Last year was the year I first really say the consequences of my thinning phobia.  My carrots were small and many had long tap roots, some of the lower leaves on lettuce plants ended up rotting because of lack air flow, and some of the radishes were too small to be useful.  One might ask, “Well why don’t you just plant fewer seeds?”  Have you ever planted carrot or lettuce seeds?  They are teeny tiny little things.  Trying to plant single lettuce seeds is like trying to count dimes with oven mitts on.  Solution time…

When I was younger my mother usually some of her vegetables as seed tape.  These long strips of paper were embedded with seeds at the appropriate intervals.  She would always buy her’s premade and simply plant the long stands in the ground.  So I decided that this was the perfect answer to my problem.  As with most thing I wanted to do it myself though.  Most seed tapes are only made by the bigger companies (Burpee, etc) and I wanted to use the heirloom veggie seeds I already had.  So after a bit of research I concocted my plan.

(Note:  I’ve seen a lot of different ways people do this, but this is how I did mine with the supplies I had on hand)

First I cut a bunch of newspaper into 1-2 inch strips. I also mixed 1/4 of flour and enough water to form a thin paste and grab your seeds.

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Then dab a small amount of the flour paste onto the newspaper strips at the regular intervals (a small paintbrush is perfect for this job).  For these carrot seeds I spaced them two inches.  Add two or three seeds per glue spot.DSCF2262[1]

Then simply label and allow to dry for a couple of hours to overnight.  DSCF2263[1]

Then plant the whole thing in the ground when you are ready.  The newspaper will dissolve away pretty quickly once buried.  I will also be doing this for my radishes, beets, and lettuce.  You don’t have to use newspaper either.  I seen people using toilet tissue and paper towels.  I’ve also seen people using the good old, white Elmer’s glue, but I liked the idea of the flour paste.  I will still have to do some thinning out but hopefully this will allow me to have well spaced vegetables this year.  Thanks for reading and good growing everybody.

 

First weekend of March- the month of bread

March is here and its in like a lion. Its hovered around freezing and we’ve got 3-4 inches of snow on the ground. Inside the baking kept the house pretty toasty all day. The English muffin bread I made last week was a hit so I made two more loaves of that today. I also made some basic sandwich bread for anything else.

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English Muffin Bread. One loaf to use this week and the other is bagged up to freeze for next week.

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Sandwich bread-before baking

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Sandwich Bread- golden brown and delicious

Some more of the seeds have started to sprout as well.  The ground cherry and catnip seedlings have sprouted.

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Ground Cherry seedlings

The ground cherry seedlings look just like tomatoes.  They are just much smaller.

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Little catnip seedlings

All the other plants are doing well and continue to get bigger.  I really wanted to plant the tomatoes this weekend, but I still need to wait at least another two weeks.

I hope this cold and snowy weather passes soon and it can really start feeling like spring around here.  Good growing everybody.

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