Archive for the ‘seeds’ Category

Garrrrrlic! and autumn ramblings Friday, September 24th, 2010

Sorry folks – too much work and none of it in the garden as of late. But, BUT, The Hub got his first garlic bulbs in – I told him we still had some ordered bulbs on the way but he was determined to plant some by the light of the Harvest Moon. We saved one good bulb of cloves from this last meager harvest so that’s what he stuck in the garden. This is possibly based on some principles from the idea of biodynamic gardening. But that’s another post at another time.

The garlic we ordered came in today – both varieties are hardneck. My mother gave me, basically, one tip: follow the directions. This calls for high nitrogen fertilizer (think lawn feed) and bonemeal (phosphorus) to be added at planting time. A good amount of hummus and fluffy, compost rich soil doesn’t hurt. So I’ll need to pick some of that up tomorrow in hopes I, or The Hub, can finish this last bit of fall planting. The Hub also plans on taking down the garden this weekend but I’m skeptical, we’ll see. It’s time to get the last hopeful tomatoes off the vines and cook up or store what pumpkins are left and gather those last few seeds to seed the dreams of next spring

In preparation Thursday, September 16th, 2010

The dawn before fall is nearly as good as spring when it comes to gardening, for me at least. The first plants are drying in their beds. The grass has all but stopped growing. The temperature inside need only be regulated by the opening and closing of windows. We are passed the heavy maintenance stage of weeding and watering and wrangling. All the pumpkin vines have shriveled leaving our back steps a staggering of orange orbs with only a couple looking as though they are waiting for Cinderella’s fairy godmother out in the garden bed.

Soya Envy soybeans, dried on plant, collected for next year's crop

Next steps:

  • Continue gathering seeds – so far I have edamame, marigold, pepper, tomato and butternut squash
  • Covering the tomato plants for a few more nights before picking all and leaving them to ripen on newspaper in front of a sunny window
  • Pick the last peppers
  • Make a list of what did well and didn’t for next year
  • Canning tomatoes
  • Cooking and freezing the pumpkin for pies and baby food
  • Help my parents pick apples and pears, with bonus bagfuls to take home
  • Plant fall bulbs – my pick this year was crocus
  • Plant garlic – just waiting for the order to arrive
Gardening workshop, Aberdeen SD Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

The Prairie Partners’ Gardening with the Masters fall workshop will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 25 at Dacotah Prairie Museum, 21 S. Main St.
Within the day will be four individual workshops: starting seeds, growing garlic, hardy roses and raised bed/square foot gardening.
Cost: $5 and payable at the door. Treats and refreshments will be served.

Too-cute Cucurbits Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Or, “pumpkin” if you please.

Rouge Vif D'Etampes

These cuties are Rouge Vif D’Etampes. They’ll also been called cheesecake pumpkins or the Cinderella pumpkin given their fairytale look. Mine are just starting to orange up. A couple times a week I turn them ever so slightly, not only to get even color and shape, but to check that the sluggos or borers haven’t taken up residence on their underside. Yes, we had slugs last year that started in on our pumpkins. We could solve this by elevating the fruits onto a board, laying down some diatomacious earth, or gravel.

These are, once again, volunteers. This particular pumpkin is a french heirloom variety, grown for both looks and as an edible. I was watching PBS’ “The Victory Garden” and the resident chef on the show made a delectable looking succotash out of this same pumpkin (cubed and steamed), green beans and sweet corn – I can hardly wait! I’ll be sure to save one to make into baby food. Maybe you don’t think of pumpkins beyond pie or jack O lanterns, but they are very versatile: breads, sautees, roasted, mashed, etc. And, never EVER throw out those tasty seeds (which variety doesn’t seem to matter here)! I was just munching on some roasted ones from last year. I’ll also keep a few raw for seed-starting next year – or let the volunteers do their work.

Crunch, munch and collect Friday, June 18th, 2010

Cerelia's spring veggies garden

So far my daughter’s garden has been getting the most action – harvest wise that is. The second wave of spinach is hopping up, the lettuce are starting to form heads – I keep thinning as they grow. The rainbow swisschard are starting to reach up to the sun and most recently the peas are popping. The carrots are steadily growing and will have the longest existence in the bed except for the errant Trollius we planted in it last year, when it only held flowers. We’d forgotten about it but my daughter found it early in the spring, dug it up and replanted it in nearly the same spot. The happy golden-yellow flower makes me smile every time.

We’ve made salad, dressed sandwiches with the leaf lettuce and spinach, sauteed some swisschard with olive oil and salt and the latest was a tuna casserole amended with chard and peas, which really put a freshness and crunch to a usually mushy, but comforting classic.

Another thing I’m looking to do this year to keep expenses down is to harvest some of my own seed (pea/bean/etc.). I’ve clipped a few articles on it so I’ll have to dig those out soon. In most cases you let the seeds ripen and start to dry on the plant, then cut off the seed head and lay it on newspaper or paper towel to let them dry more thoroughly. Next loosen the seed or pop open the pea/bean and store in envelopes in a cool dry place or in your fridge.

I’m so glad for the regular rains still but I need to NEED TO get some weeding done. I broke down the other night and weeded one bed in the dark – I only lost one little swisschard plant and a whole lot of crab grass.

3 2 1 Acclimate! Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

My babied seedlings of tomatoes and peppers have had a rough go of making it to the garden. For weeks I did really well. Watering when slightly dry, timing their artificial grow lights, repotting when necessary. Then I try to set them outside to acclimate a little and boom! I let them dry out too much, then they get sunburned, the children water them too forcefully and the dog topples all of them over. Good grief! So now I’m attempting some resuscitation to see who will make it out of my 20-some little plants. That would’ve been too many for our garden plot but now I’m hoping I have a 1/2 dozen of pepper and tomato each to put out some time this week.

Seedlings you do at home need time to toughen up to the outdoor conditions: wind, sun, night and day temps, all are much more severe than the conditions in your home, garage and in some instances the greenhouse where you purchased them.

What I should have done to acclimate them:

  • Mimic the sun time they will have with my artificial lights a couple weeks out
  • Start setting them out in a shady spot during the day when the temp is 65 and above
  • Move them to a sunnier location where they will get just a couple hours of sun
  • Slowly increase their time in the sun an hour or two each day until they are staying in the sun for a full 8 hours
  • Plant them in the garden when the nights are only getting down to the high 50s or 60s (right now!)

Oh well, this is the most success I’ve had starting my own seedlings anyway so I’ll chalk this up to another lesson learned the hard way.

Round 3 seed planting – tomatoes Monday, March 29th, 2010

Now, approximately 7 weeks out from the last average frost date, I got my tomato seeds planted.

  • Sioux – touted: In 1947, Oscar H. Will & Co. stated, “It out-yielded all other varieties in South Dakota trials.” This one sounded perfect for our area, duh! It’s sounds like it is going to be a humble but universal tomato lending itself to anything from burgers to canning.
  • Royal Chico – We always like having a bunch of Roma-type tomatoes for quick spaghetti sauces, canning and fresh pico de gallo. This one is touted as being disease resistant and is also becoming rare so I’m glad to contribute to maintaining its use in the home garden.
  • Henderson’s Pink Ponderosa – sounds like it will be a great one for BLTs or a caprese salad (basil, tomato, fresh mozzarella with a little olive oil, salt and pepper). It came as a freebie with my order.

I planted 4 seeds of each in 3 TP roll pots. Then cut up some plastic clam-shell type packaging to make water-resistant labels using a permanent marker. I also labeled each packet with the date I planted them. Hopefully they will germinate a little quicker than the 2-weeks-or-more stubborn peppers.

Tomato seeds planted 3/28/2010

After getting these planted I assessed my peppers and replanted the ones that had little to no germination. Odessa market (a sweet pepper) had only sprouted one seedling after planting 3 pots of 3 seeds each. Then the Chinese 5 color peppers hadn’t had a single seed germinate so I replanted a couple pots of those as well. We’ll see. I have sprouts from the mini-red sweet peppers (notably did the best from a germination standpoint) and a couple each from Craig’s jalapeno and the lemon-yellow habanero. After the re-planting I added a 2nd-planting date on my seed packet.

Swapped Friday, March 19th, 2010

Today the kids and myself went to a lovely mama and fellow gardener’s home to do a seed swap. She has 3 kids so it worked out to be a well-needed playdate for us as well. Nothing like killing two birds.

It’s always fun to see what another person has decided to pick up and try or compare notes on what has and hasn’t worked well for them. I encouraged her towards trying some okra, she provided me with some sweet french melon, beets and a lettuce mix that I hadn’t picked up. We also shared our gloomy trials at the system of 3-sisters planting (corn, bean, squash). She expressed a fascination with permaculture — something I’ve never delved into but my interest is piqued, so that’s sure to be my first internet search after posting this.

Any gardener I know has collected a few seeds over the years so it’s a great idea to get a hold of fellow gardeners and swap some ones you’ve had success with or get ideas from another gardener’s experience.

It’s ALIVE! Friday, March 19th, 2010

My sweet peppers that were planted March 6, finally showed signs of germination exactly 2 weeks later. It took a while, but now I have a little hope. There are about 3 mini red bell pepper sprouts and a couple Odessa Market ones. I’ve watered them every day, just a little to keep the top 1/4 inch of soil damp enough to allow for germination. As these grow I will adjust to heavier waterings so the tender roots don’t dry out. I did space out my TP roll pots to allow for more air circulation as they had been nearly touching and stayed wet enough to produce nice fuzzy coats on the outside. After separating them the fuzz is starting to shed some. As these seedlings grow, I will adjust the light levels to stay approximately 2″ above the top leaves. Luckily I have two side-by-side growing lights on string that can be adjusted as need. My timing of 12 hrs. a day under lights seems to be working well enough.

Now I’ll have to wait and see about the hot peppers that were planted 8 days ago. I’ll hold my breath until it’s been two weeks before I try something different. The next veggies to plant I believe will be tomatoes.

** Pardon for the crappy photography, my work camera doesn’t come with macro, I’ll have to get my in-house photographer (The Hub) to help me out with some better photos.

Pick a peck of peppers Sunday, March 14th, 2010

My last post seemed utterly disjointed so I’ve decided to do a bit of a rewrite.

All peppers were planted inside 8-10 weeks before May 15 (our average last frost date). They get approximately 12 hrs. a day under grow lights. They were planted with little to no soil coverage as per the instructions on the packet.  I water them mostly from our water cooler when the top of the soil is nearly dry. Plants seem to do better with rain water, which I should start collecting, but I’m hoping the next best thing instead of tap is purified water.  I labeled each packet with the date they arrived from Bakers Creek and also with the date of the initial planting so I have a reference to look back on.

The peppers that were planted were:

  • Red Mini sweet bell peppers; planted 3-06-2010
  • Odessa Market sweet peppers (Odessa is a town by the black sea in Ukraine – apparently an area my distant relatives came from); planted 3-06-2010
  • Craig’s Grande Jalapeno; planted 3-11-2010
  • Chinese five color – “screaming hot little peppers in a rainbow of colors, can also be grown inside in containers; planted 3-11-2010
  • Lemon Yellow Habanero; planted 3-11-2010