Some Things Seem To Be Coming Along…..but

Some of the things that should be nearing harvesting are just now coming along but a tad late and in some cases not worth the effort. The broccoli is tall, about 18 to 24″ with huge leaves but no crowns to speak of. In all probablity I will end up clearing this area so that I can start a fall crop of something a bit more guarrateed, like beans. I’ve cut small tender leaves from the broccoli, the ones around the area where there should be a big crown, and found them very tasty. I’m having salmon tonight with a side of brussel sprouts. I may try to put. some of the leaves in with the broccoli along with the green onions that I picked today. Only 3 but they had bulbed up with very small stems thus making them hard to eat as green onions.

The yellow and red onions are bulbing, not like I would want them to but they can stay where they are until the tops drop over. Then I’ll pull them and if no rain is forecasted they can lie in the garden to harden off or dry out a bit. Then I’ll move them to the drying racks of which I plan on building two more starting this week.

The bell peppers are few but yet starting to grow. I found today that I need to stake them, the stems never got big enough to hold a big pepper so I will help them along. I’ll probably do the same thing for the banana peppers as well.

The tomatoes are just not doing anything. I have tomatoes on the plants but they are almost all the size of cherry tomatoes. Two of the plants are suppose to produce slicers or 6 to 8oz fruits. One is a tad smaller then a golf ball and the other is a tad larger. I actually have two or three plants that are suppose to be of that size but, the fruit is small. The Tiny Tims are a 6 x 18″ tomato plant which my plants do seem to be following that guide, however, the fruit is like the large marbles I use to play with as a kid. Some of the plants are loaded and some have one cluster and that’s it. Time will tell is all I can say now.

The Okra, it should be nearly 36″ high, mine is half that at best. I keep getting one, maybe two pods per plant which doesn’t make a meal or a snack. I grew them for a snack. I take the pods off hoping the plant will shoot up and then I could leave it alone to produce a lot of pods. The jury is still out on this one but I don’t really have my hope up, probably a lost cause for this year.

Cucumbers are vining real good, lots of flowers and some pickles starting. Interestingly enough is that the plants started indoors have stayed small and tight but the ones where I stood inside the garden fence, took a shovel and chopped away at the ground on the otherside and then just dropped some seeds in are actually doing the best. I’ve said this before, I doubt that I will start cukes indoors in the future, not worth the effort. Best luck fror me is starting them outdoors. I’ve always had to give them away until this year.

The potatoes appear to be doing fine. I think we’ve dodged the beetles but since I need to let the plants die back I won’t really know anything until fall is upon us. These are the red and white fingerlings which were just going bad in the pantry, they had softened up and most didnt have eyes sprouting so we will see how things turn out.

.

. .

.

How Time Flies; The Ups and Downs of Gardening.

Well, I must appologize for not putting anything up here for quite awhile. I have not had the luck with my garden this year like I have in the past and being older out to touch with tech when WordPress made changes I didn’t keep up. I think I have it under control now thanks to my daughter so if you will indulge me I’m going back to April to regenerate this years garden postings.

This past winter I pretty much decided to do a raised bed garden. By the time April had rolled around I found myself in need of making some decisions like what am I going to plant, how much am I going to plant of any particular veggie and the need to understand spacial needs of plants. You read on seed pack lables that some plants need to be 12″ or 18″ apart in their rows and the rows need to be 24″ wide. That really works where you don’t have hard boundries but if you are doing a raised bed of 4′ x 8′ then you have hard boundries. With the sample about you would get 3 rows wide and 8 plants per row or 24 total. What I had been reading was you can get more plants out of the raised bed because you can plant your plants closer together. An example is banana pepper should be 12″ to 18″ apart in a row but raised bed people will let two seeds come up and if there is an easy choice to make to clip the weaker one they will but if both look strong and healthy then they will let them grow. This blows the theory that they will compete for the nuturients in the ground which is true, however, you will also find that these people just might give the plants like this a little more fertilizer and or water to keep them healty.

I started out with a 12′ x 12′ or 144 sq. ft. fenced in garden, basically no borders. I made several design shapes but settled on a horseshoe shape. It measured 10′ across the long back (northside) then 8′ down both outsides (north to south) then back in towards each other (4′ equally towards the center) then both going back towards the north 5′ and ending up closing the finished horseshoe shape with a 2′ board. The board were 2″ x 8″. I saved cardboard to fill the bottom which keeps previous weeds out and promotes the propagation of worms. Also helps in moisture retention.

This is the garden at that point…no soil yet, this became an issue as well.

So, I went from an almost totally usable 144 sq ft to 70 sq ft. It sat like this for nearly 2-1/2 weeks. I was suppose to have our mower/landscaper pick up a load of compost soil and deliver it but we had just enough cold weather and then the heat turned on that mowing for him was number one or his first committment which I understood. I ended up getting an old neighbor to help me out. We made two trips, one for the soil mixture and one for the pine chips in the walking area. I didn’t want weeds or mud to be an issue.

This took place right around the normal last frost date for our area, May 15th, but I got really unseasonalby warm, we’ll call it hot. I paniced almost thinking I’m now behind schedule. I had already started to try to harden off the plants from the basement where they were in a very controlled enviroment.

Once these got somewhat hardened off it was time to plant. The soil felt great, easy to work in, was moist but didn’t stay saturated after a rain. I got to planting and found I definitely had more plants of some varieties then I had space for, or at least in the old way of thinking. This was taken around the end of May so they were in the ground about 2-1/2 weeks, pretty much the same size as when I planted them. One difference in this image is the trellis.

The original trellis was in a T-pee form with vinyl covered metal poles that I lashed together. I figured a side wind would knock them over (west to east) so I did a re-design as seen here in these four images

Works perfect and has held up in the winds of 20mph.

The garden, like I said, moved on very slowly. The leaves weren’t dark green there was minimum fruit being developed and no upward growth. I had small container, large container and the full garden, it all acted the same so I started looking for a common denominator…..ahah, the soil. I remembered that when i first moved here 3 years ago I took sand from a bricklayers pile and added it to my clay soil to try to help loosen it. In actuality it takes a long time to amend clay. That year I did have pretty good plants put out of 12 pepper plants I got zero peppers. Tomatoes did fairly well and the cukes too. One of my new neighbors brougt a PH meter and checked my soil, I was acidic. So, with this memory of the past I bought a meter and sure enough I was acidic……4.5 to 5. I should be 6 at the most and really closer to 6.5 to 7 fo r my plants. I also found I needed to add more fertilizer. I read up on the PH and bought some quick release lime. I almost doubled the amount recommended and added it faster then the recommendation. I also did a little more fertilzing then the recommended. It hasn’t been a cure all but it has helped tremendously. I have tomatoes starting to show, I’ve picked a little more than a dozen banana peppers and the bell peppers are producing. I have wax beans and green beans almost ready to pick and for some reason, even in these 90 degree days the lettuce is not bolting but it is producing good lettuce. The onions are starting to bulb out, red, yellow and white. I did’t want the white to bulb but that’s okay. This is today’s result of a lot of work and watching. Babying if you will of a garden.

I know this has been long and I’m sure I have missed stuff but at least it’s out there. As the real harvest time comes around or if something really developes from this garden I will surely try to be more timely the next time.

The question comes down to what have I have learned this year. Vegetable gardening is easy and pretty straight forward but after being very successful as a borderless gardener, having a 125′ x 35′ garden in the past and planting 4 rows at approximately 400’long of 4 varieties of sweet corn I thought I could do it but going raised bed was a learning curve. I’ll do well this year but just wait until next year.

We Keep Getting Closer to the Planting Date

We are nearing the planting date or the moving if the plants from indoors to outdoors.  Last frost date in this area is around May 15th.  This year is going to really be a toss up since we have already had several days in the 70’s and two that touched 80 degress for a bit.

The raised beds haven’t been filled yet but should be by hopefully mid-week.  The problem is getting the mix of ingrediants mixed.  Deb’s Mulch is where I get it from and she told me that if we get too much rain she can’t mix.  As you can see, the basket on top rotates and the fine holes would clog with too wet of mulch, soil, compost.

143CF4FE-FEF3-4111-BCC6-343C4B3666C7_4_5005_c

As to the plants, well they are definitely getting close.  Tomatoes and cucumbers could go out now.  Peppers and broccoli are very slow.  Of course I haven’t put any beans out as well as some other plants/seeds for the same reason…weather.  Bottom left picture needs a lot of growth in the upper left side.  Broccoli and peppers mainly.  The top right and and left show the cucumber that has flowered.  I will cut the flowers off and plant up into a larger pot otherwise the plant will try to feed the flower and stunt the growth of the plant overall.  The tomatoes, Baxter’s and Early Girl are doing real well.  I have Timy Tim’s for containers and they are true to their name….Tiny.  Full maturity is 6″ wide and 18″ tall but are heavy determinent producers.  I have a small row of green onions in the flower bed next to the garden are and for experimentation purposes I planted some fingerling red and white potatoes that had started to get soft and sprout.  I grew potatoes years ago with good luck but those were regular potatoes and stared with seed potatoes.  If this works I think I will put some in the raised bed area.

Until next time…..Spring is here and I am so glad.  I’ll include the raised bed in the next publication.

Moving Right Along

It’s been about two weeks now since my last posting on the garden seedlings.  This one won’t be long as they are in a slow grow mode.  I keep the air cool as I don’t want them to get to big too fast.  I really want them to have sturdy stems.  The tomatoes in general are doing well as are the cucumbers but the broccoli needs to really get stronger.  The pepers, sweet and bells, are slow but growing.  I don’t think I will get the numbers I wanted so I may have to get some plants to subsidize.  The Tiny Tim tomatoes are doing well but I can see why they are called Tiny Tims.  Very small plants.

I got my wood delivered and we cut and pre-drill the boards.  Did find I made a calculation mistake.  I thought I could put a 9′ board down for a side inside a 12′ long space.  I even shifted the opening on one end to only a foot from the end of the board to the fence.  I was going to make this the trellis end since it is on the north side.  The plan was to not need to walk in the area and to pick from outside the fence.  This would have left a 2′ space on the other end to the fence.  When I tried to walk in the area(s) I found it too difficult for comfort so now I need to cut a foot off two 9′ boards and a foot off two 6′ boards.  This way I will have 2′ on each end of the garden and should be able to both get by and work in the raised beds.  Sounds confusing but it really isn’t.  I’ll be assembling this either today or tomorrow.  We had rain so it could be too muddy yet to get in it.  Once it’s put together I will have the compost/soil mix delivered so it can settle in and get sun warmed.

Here are three pictures of the seedling.  I’m at a point that I believe I need to give them a one shot drink of a diluted fertilizer.  The cucumbers are the issue but then if they don’t grow I’ll just plant some seeds directly in the garden since they grow so easily.  Probably the easiest veggie I know to grow but I have no issues with tomatoes either.  I may try to grow my own hothouse tomatoes next winter…one plant, three grow lights and good heat, who knows what will happen until you try.

Moving Right Along….

It’s only been a few weeks since I started my seedlings for the garden and all in all I must say things are moving along at a good pace.  One always gets anxious after dropping in the first seed.  Then, when the first sprout pops up you want to keep the heat mats on and nurture the new growth to be the best plant possible.  This is not always a good thing to do.  Mother nature will bring these plants on all by herself at her pace and in time.  Yes, the heat mat is a good thing to start the germination process on certain plants but you have or can have a big spread of germination time where the mats will hurt the faster germinating plants.  An example would be tomatoes which can sprout within 3 to 4 days and broccoli which can take up to 14 days.  If you kept the mats on for the 14 days the tomatoes would shoot up and be very leggy.  Of courst you could plan your indoor layout to allow for the room to separate the fast sprouters from the slower ones but you need space to accomplish this as well as enough lights to get everything under the grow lights.  Rule of thumb, when you start your seeds you turn on the mats and the lights.  When the seeds pop up you turn off the mats and leave the lights on.  Even though the seeds have not necessarily sprouted the lights can penetrate the soil enough that the seeds know which way is up.

This update will be short as compared to the last one because there’s actually nothing all that new.  I will show some pictures that if studied or compared with past photos one would see the slight difference in sizes etc.

Bottom picture is showing a tomato that is 7″ tall from the table that is in a 3.5″ pot.  Middle row on the right are what’s called Tiny Tim tomatoes.  This is a very slow germinating and slow growing tomato that is definitely container material.  I will say that I’m not impressed with the fact that I have had to resew this variety.  It is either the supplier or maybe just me not understanding this variety.  Reads like a very determinant cherry tomato of which I’m not use to.  We will see how it does.  May try to save the seeds or do a start from one on the slice and plant theory after they mature.

I’ve meant to mention two garden sites I follow that have pretty good videos and info.  The first is Gary Pilarchik’s The Rusted Garden.  I found this one first and have watched and re-watched his videos.  The second is MIGardener out of Port Huron, MI.  They have a real good Facebook page where questions are answered almost as fast as they are presented.  Gardeners from all over the world go to this site.  In their case they also have a store in Michigan.  I haven’t used them but if you can’t find what you want locally then I would try them.  Personally I try to do local buying, this year has been tough but normal will be back in my very humble opinion.

So, until next week, keep things growing.  My challenge now is to get my new raised beds built and filled.

Week Three, Sowing the Indoors for the Outdoors

Well, here I am, week number three of sowing this years garden seeds for the 2021 growing season.  Unfortunately I’m one of those people that wishes the Spring time growing temperatures would hang around just a little longer and be a tad more predictive.  When I start my plants I try to figure out whether it is going to be one of those years that on April 30th you’re saying “where did spring go” or maybe it’s a thought of “when will it every quit raining and warm up.  In either of those casess your plants are either behind schedule or ahead for the weather conditions.

So far this year it is about right but we did have a warm spell last week that made some things pop up.  I extended fence on one end when it was in the low 80’s and found I had no problem walking in the garden.  I even dug  two holes outside of the newly fenced in area so I could move two plants that really bring on the bees.  I found the grouns perfectly workable but decide not to move anything yet, I was too tired to continue, you know, worn out from not doing anything all winter.  Before this I had gone through all my power equipment and summerized things that wouldn’t be ran until next winter and got things ready for this summer.  Really had a hard time getting the tiller to start but that issue won’t happen again.  What I did notice in my garden on the next day was that my chives were up about 3”.  It’s cooled off again but they are about 5″ long now, perfect for some cuttings for baked potatoes, salads etc.

Below you will see the progression of the plants as of yesterday.

This is the first planting of broccoli, I think it is actually two varieties.  I planted De Cicci and Waltham 29 but have really no idea as to what the difference is.  I figured I would try the two and what ever I liked or seemed to do the best I would stick with.  As you can see they got what is called leggy so I cut some scrap slivers of wood and made my own stakes then loosely tied string on them to keep them in place.  A week ago I added two more seeds to each pot and they appear to be coming up slower.  All I can attribute this to is too much water, heat mats helping with the germination and maybe the lights on too soon as plants tend to really reach for the lights.  Last year I had plants that got leggy I believe because I had the lights too far away.  At any rate, I’m hoping to see the second set of leave or the true leaves, then I know the hard part is in the past.

This is one of the three Okra plants I’ve started.  As you can see it has its second set of leaves.  I only started 3 Okra plants because I figure this will be enough for two of us.  I planted Okra years (40) ago directly in the garden where it did quit well.  I really like the little fuzzies on the leaves but these are not what you see on tomatoes, they are not roots so you can’t plant them deeper when transferring them to the garden.

Okra_01

This is the Baxter’s tomato.  It is of the determinant variety and is actually referred to as a container tomato.  I have my own questions because when I look it up the height varies in the description.  The size is something more like a larger cherry or Campari tomatoe, about a golf ball size.  I use them in salads, cutting them into quarters or smaller.  I also use them in asparagus and brussels sprouts in a skillet.  Nothing fancy but a little EVOO, the green veggie, a green onion slice into 1/4″ pieces, 1/8 to 1/4 tsp of minced garlic in the oil that you can buy and some of these tomatoes.  Spices of your choice.  I try to stay salt free so pepper, maybe a pinch of salt, a splash of balsamic vinegar and I use a salt free spice I get from Krogers.  I’ll bury these two to the leaves when I transplant and probably be able to take these leaves off.

Baxter's_tomato_01

This is the Campari tomato plant.  All I did was cut a 1/4″ wide slice out of the middle of a Campari tomato and put it in a Jiffy pot with about a 1/4″ of starter soil on top.  I watered it and the seeds germinated.  After that all you do is keep pruning out the smaller plants or weakest looking ones.  You can see see some very small plants that I will cut out.  I say cut out because I use a tiny set of scissors, I do not pull them out so that I do not disturb the roots.  Remember, these plants/seeds are pretty tight in a slice of tomato.  You can also see they are just starting to develope their second leaves.  This will make them easier to choose which to cut out.  Ready to prune on the left and pruned on the right.  They are getting their second leaves which will make it much easier in the future.

Spacemaster semi determinant cuke on the left and Burpee Hybrid II on the right.  The Burpee is considered a container or bush type of cuke.

These are my Tiny Tim tomatoes.  They are referred to as container / determinant tomatoes because of their size.  12″ wide by 18″ high.  I will plant more since determinant varieties produce up to a certain size then quit and the fruit just ripens.  If frost get them they are done.  They are new to me so I will try to plant them every two weeks or so.  Nice thing about container plants is that if you do set them out too soon you can easily bring them indoors to the garage or someplace safe.

Tiny_Tim_01

The two trays that are going to be part of the 78 square foot of raised bed garden for this year.  I have beens, carrots and three types of onions that need to be planted as the weather allows.

Trays_02

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Been a Week

So, as of last Sunday the 2021 garden season has officially opened for me as I strive to start the seeds of this years crops.  There are differences in the plants for this year as well as the method (s).

First will be the methods used this year.  Last year only one seed tray was used during most of the pre-season.  There was also only one light in use but this year I’ve added a second light, and with the generosity of Ferry Morse a third light was added.  I’ve also added the use of two heat mats and one more starting tray.  These trays are called 10 x 20.5’s which is there deminsions in inches.  Same goes for the mats but if you look into both of them you will find they also come in other sizes, bigger, smaller, square and rectangular as well as deeper.  You can get some that have different levels but I’m not real sure what the pupose would be for the extra expense.  None of them will handle plants long enough due to the fact that the plants would more than likely become root bound.

Last Sunday I started the seeds in the trays with moist starter soil on heat mats and the trays had domes put over them to hold the heat and moisture.  They were left on all day until Wednesday.  Some seeds germinated in just two to three days while others took more like 7 days.  Okra for example sprouted in 4 days but one seed did not.  I dug into the starter cell and found the seed but no root trying to emerge.  I did what any planter would do, I stuck another seed into the medium.  It’s not up yet but it’s only been two days.  The Sweet Banana and California Wonder Bell peppers hadn’t popped up yet as of yesterday but today I’m seeing some action.  I went ahead however and added more seeds to the sparceness of the sprouting.  Easier to remove then to keep waiting and not get the plants where they need to be for the spring transfer to the outdoors.  Cucumbers are by far the easiest thing to grow.  I feel you can just throw them on the ground, kick some dirt over them and make sure they get some water and they will grow.  I have two types, one is called Spacemaster but it does or can get out of control no matter what the literature says. The other is called Baxter’s.  It is only suppose to get 18w x 24w.  It’s a cherry type tomato that is advertised as a container plant as well.  New to me so we will see.  The only difficult plants that have made me anxious are the Sweet Banana and California Wonder Bell peppers, oh, and the Early Girl tomatoes.  I am hoping that within the next week I start seeing results or I could have a bad batch of seeds which only means I will restart them after buying another packet.  At less than $2.00, and in most cases they last past the posted date on the packet by sometimes years, it is worth the investment considering what a tomato costs in the grocery.

This is a good temp for the seeds.  I monitor it 24 hours a day.  If I see it drop into the 60’s for too long I turn the heat mats on for an hour or less.

thermometer_01

Two trays with various Jiffy pots.  The back tray is for a former neighbor, first 4 pots and a current neighbor, the next 8 pots.  The front tray is all mine except for second from left in front row.  That’s for my daughter.  That’s all she wanted.

tray_02

Below is the Campari tomato.  These can be bought at local grocery stores like Meijer’s and Krogers for sure.  All you do is cut approximately a quarter inch slice and plant it flat at about 1/4″ but no more than 3/8″ depth of starter soil.  As you can see it sprouts.  It’s in the bottom left hand corner of the image above as well.  At this point you want to use siccors and cut out some of the growth to thin it.  You keep doing this leaving only the best looking stem.  Had I thought of it I would have split the slice and planted on the otherside of the pot.  Another thing to do is to either plant up, that’s putting this pot into a larger Jiffy pot or ever so gently removing the plants to transfer root and all.  If by chance you take your time and get a real good looking singular plant then you put less soil in the pot in the beginning and as the tomato grows you add more soil around the stem.  What looks like hairs on the stems and branches later on on a tomato are acutually roots looking for something to grow in.  This is a whole other story to get into sometime in the future.  These were trimmed this morning

campari_01

Below is one of the Early Girl tomato.  I wish I could go to the store and buy one Early Girl tomato like I do with the Campari’s.  By the way the Campari’s come in a 1 lb plastic container.  A little larger than a cherry tomato, less than a golf ball.  Anyway this is one of the few Early Girls that have popped up fully, however, I am seeing the stems curled near the surface so some more will be up soon.  I think it’s my fault, they are to be planted at 1/4″ but when digging around it appeared they got a little deeper than what I wanted or the packet said.

early+girl_01

As you can see there appears to be what is called the second leaf or true leaf getting ready to open up on the cucumber in the image below.  The large leaf here will eventually drop off or in some cases just stick around.  This is no problem if they do, if it bothers you then you can knock it or cut it off after some more leaves show up.  This is the Burpee Hybrid II cucumber that is suppose to take up little space.  If it works out as a good producer and not a space hog as most cucumbers are then I will plant totally differently next year, spacing out the planting in succession for a longer season.  I’ve found that container or bush type of plants can tend to be more determinate or in otherwords stop producing more fruit like tomatoes do.  Indeterminantes will grow until the fall frost gets them and will die with lots of small tomatoes.

burpee_hybrid+II_01

Hopefully in about a week I’ll have another update and all the seedlings will be up.    

And The Planting For 2021 Has Started

On the last day of February 2021 I started my indoor plants.  There are many garadeners, established and beginners that mention using journals.  I didn’t realize that I was actually doing that last year as I put my plans and thoughts to paper.  I kept a legal pad and tried to keep up with a journal as to how things were going.  This worked a bit but if you’re like me you loose interest in keeping something that you figure you won’t remember where you put it or why you use it.  As it turned out at the end of the year I did remember it and decided to summarize the year.  I looked again recently as I was getting anxious to get started…happens on January 1st.  As it turns out I started my indoor plants on February 17, 2020 but I had a note about it in the summary.  I wrote that I felt like I started too soon by about two weeks.  With that finding I decided to tie my hands and not start until the first of March time frame.  February 28th……close enough.

As you will see in my photos there are large round Jiffy pots and smaller pots.  The larger ones are mainly for my daughter, a former neighbor that doesn’t have the time because he’s always working and then an immediate neigbhbor that says she can’t grow anything.  She and here husband do a fine job, it’s just trusting yourself to do it and to make that mistake so you can learn.  I have two 10 x 20 trays, one dedicated to family and friends and for me.

In the beggining…….

beggining_0087

You can see the names of the recepients of the Jiffy pots.  If you get lucky you can read what’s planted in the pots on the sticks.  The little stick laying across the cup on the right is my depth marker…1/4″, 1/2″ and 1″.  Only thing marked at this point is 1/4″

middle_0091

All done for this years seed starting adventure.  Front tray is loaded with my seeds.  I did put two tomatoes in the Jiffy round pots.  You can’t see it but the soil is not to the top becasue I wanted the roots to be deeper that normal and as the plant grows I will add more media.  The little hair looking folicals on tomato stems and branches are actually roots looking for food.  Last year when I was thinning / trimming my tomatoes I had two larger limbs to clear.  I cut them near the main stem and dug a hole and then buried the bulk of it and it grew and produced tomatoes.  It was stunted a bit because I didn’t maintain it that well, just wanted to see if it would work.  With that said you could take cuttings and start more behind what you have to lengthen the season for determinate varieties where they produce, grow to their height and quit.  Take a cutting about 3 weeks after you plant the main plant and you will have set more tomatoes for later in the season.  This really works great for long season gardeners.

finished_0112

Sorry about the above quality picture, I was too lazy to put a polarizer on my lens.

This is my first tomatoe of the season…..actually it’s to be planted.  It’s a Campari that I get at Krogers or Meijers in small plastic container.  You cut a 1/4″ slice, put it in the pot, cover it with starter mix and watch for it to germinate.  If you get a golf ball sized tomoto it would be better.  You have to thin the seedlings down so haveing a larger tomato will let you keep one or two extra in the starter pot to plant up after they get there second or true leaves.  Only thing you have to do is be careful handling the stems and the roots.  Loosen them the best you can before pulling them out.

tomato_0103

Stay tuned for the germination and I will post it as it happens.  Some plants will take longer than others.  Also, the changing the garden from in the ground to raised beds will be starting soon as the weather allows, pretty muddy in there right now.

 

Nearly Ready

The newly refurbished planting bench is nearly ready for the starting of this years garden crop.  Modifications included adding an extension to the table top to the right.  Under that I mounted a trash can holder where I can slide it in under the table or pull it out to put stuff in it.  I usually pull it out a bit so I can just sweep debris into it.

I remounted the light holder(s) because I added one more light.  Last year there was one light running down the middle but I found my lighting wasn’t equally strong out to the sides.  I inadvertently created leggy plants because I couldn’t get strong lighting out to the edges.  All this will be subject to adjustments as I see how it unfolds.

As for the electric, well, that too is in the experimental stage to a point.  The timer for the lights has a two prong receptacle built into the side of it but only one.  I added an extension cord with a ground prong so that isn’t going to work for me.  My former trade before becoming a supervisor for a manufacturing plant was electrician.  I’m very particular when it comes to electric devices.  At any rate I’ve temporarily made do with the extension cord and a handi box mounted to the end giving me the ability to plug both lights in at the same time and run off the timer properly.  Along with the lights I have also added two heat mats that go under the trays until the seeds germinate.  I will control these manually for now.

My current plan is to start some the seeds in the next two weeks, splitting them up because of their growing habits and requirments.

IMG_copy_0072

IMG_copy_0078

Today Outside My Window and Plans For This Years Garden

This has been a cold winter, 24 or 25 days below 32 and quite a bit of snow for this part of Ohio.  I’ve been anxious to get started on this years garden and with the weather all I can do is plan.  I’ll bet I’ve drawn out my plans 8 to 10 times and maybe more.  As you can see in the image below the garden will go from 144 square feet to 58 square feet and in theory it will hold just as much if not more food.  This is because it is more structured and you are forced to keep things in a neat and tidy place.

Scan

The squares are just what it is called, one square foot thus I end up with a 2′ border plus a 2′ spread in the middle.  This helps facilitate the getting the knees bent as well as getting up and down.  As you can see I’ve left some spaces for the ones I don’t know but wish I had room to plant items.

I ordered my seeds back in December after reading where people were having trouble getting garden items including tools etc.  I ordered a second grow light from Ferry Morse but after it was posted as being shipped and not receiving it for two and half weeks I gave them a call.  They were very appologetic about it and offered to send me another one free if I didn’t receive my order by the next day.  I told them I could wait.  Two days later I thought the grow light had arrived.  As it turned out it was the one they offered and the one I ordered didn’t show up until about 20 more day had gone by.

All the seeds I ordered came on time, however, I just received an offer from Burpee to buy more of the same.  They had my list of seeds and if you opened them individually you would see a note that they were “Temporarily Out Of Stock”.  I’ve got mine and I’m good for a few years as long as I keep them hi, dry and in a dark cool place like my basement in a sealed container.  I have Marigold seeds in a container that once held those pretzels with peanut butter in the center (the tall container) and another color in a Rubber Maid snap on lid container.

My work/planting bench is all ready to go with the lights hung, the heat mats in place and all the electric needed is ready as well.  The only thing I need to do is pre-mark the markers that go with the plants and in some cases to whom they go to.  Daughter gets two, former neighbor gets two as well but different choices for each and a neighbor gets 6 plants.  The least I can do to repay him for using his snowblower on my driveway and sidewalk.

So, until I plant and see some sprouting I bid you a good day.  Need to plan the layout for the drip watering system and the building of some trellis’.