Thought I'd start an "official" spring veggie thread since some of us have moved from planning to starting. What's going on with your spring garden prep?
Today, I thinned these guys out and now I have one plant per cup. I also added some more dirt to the pots. I used seedling mix and added a handful of earthworm castings. All my transplants look great! This past Thursday I added a shot of seaweed and fish emulsion to the water and my seedlings shot up overnight. I had to raise the lights one notch today, too.
I also started more tomatoes (Rutgers), purple tomatillos, red bullnose peppers, orange king peppers, golden CA wonder peppers, Jalapeno M and TAM Jalapenos, and some borage to grow with my tomatoes.
Today, I ripped all the broccoli, cauliflowers, and some aphid-ridden Chinese cabbages. I left 4 small head cabbages in RB #2. RB #1 has beets and turnips that are limping along, and some ratty turnip greens. The greens will get ripped soon.
My onions from seeds that I transplanted last week are looking very good in the EBs. Filled the reservoirs with rainwater and MG water soluble, and they are throwing out new leaves.
The 4-week-old seedlings potted up to drinking water bottles and set outside for the next 3 weeks are holding their own. They'd better, cause there's a constant breeze on the patio!
Still have more seedlings to pot up this week, and need to set the Siberia and Black Cherries out. They are at least 18" tall and still in 4" pots! AAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH... One has set blooms already!
Need to get the drip irrigation up and running, and expand the tomato frame over RB #1, to hold up 10-15 tomato plants. The bell peppers are coming along nicely - slowly, but nicely.
Need to start my Eggplant plants, too.
How're ya'll preparing to refresh your growing beds? Houston Garden Centers had topsoil on sale for $.99/40lb. Bag. Since I never put any native soil in my raised beds, I bought bags to mix with MG Garden Soil. I plan to mix a 3:1 ratio, lightly break up the RB contents, and top with the fresh mix
Linda, as usual,sounding good!!! Just a few pics of this weeks ketchup..LOL... effort. Got the IHORT plug tray out and ran across a Jiffy "Triple" GH at Lowe's, 216 cells. 9 Bucks.. Didn't expect the Jiffy GH's so when I had already seeded the IHORT's I did an assortment. All the Baker Creek Okra seeds DIDN'T germinate except 2. I plan on getting rid of them or at least sowing them by the handful if I mess with them again.
Peppers haven't popped yet, but the cukes & squash are doing good. I've got 3.5" deep plastic pots, should I go ahead and transplant those cukes into those pots & salvage them. The root hairs are already out of the plug. I just hate to try to extract them out of the plug to save the plug. I've got plenty of seed to restart a bit later. On the other hand, with our expected weather this week, I could have them out during the day and in the house at night... I've already pulled the plugs that had the okra seeds in them to use them next round.
My next concern is getting the seedlings out of these Jiffy trays. Has anybody used these before. They look pretty flimsy and I expect they will probably crack upon unloading. That part of the equation didn't enter itself while looking at the price and being able to get them right away.
The last Jiffy 72 is full of tomato seeds that are already poking through...
Pic #4 is the Jiffy 16 tomato GH with Super Beefsteaks... Have another with San Marzano's & S.M. Redorta's.
Linda, Pic #5 is for you. Got these at Lowe's off the clearance rack, my hunting ground... These are basically purple Earthboxes... Got the 3 of them for $10... Another find... What's cool is they have a float that tells how much water is in the reservior.
I'm a couple of weeks from putting any seeds in the dirt year, but my irrigation project continues. I realized I exceeded my GPH (by a lot) with the garden extension, so I ordered valves so I can turn on and off each row of beds. That will be a little cumbersome compared to just turning on the water, but also more flexible. Other than that, the mainline tubing went in this weekend. I also ordered from tree pots to start the paw paw seeds I collected last summer.
It's not directly garden related, but we finally got enough non-rain days in the row that the crew came out and worked on my drainage problem. Looks good -- now I just need a good heavy rain to test it out. If it works, I can decide what to do with my hill out back. I know it's getting landscaped with edibles (about 1000 more square feet), but the big $$$ question is whether or not to put in a new retaining wall by the basement door.
Last night I re-potted each pepper and eggplant seedlings on a 4" pot.
They are always so slow to grow at the beginning .
I have also started some seeds of zucchini ... just for fun.
I am determinate to win my battle with the Squash Vine Borer this year ... so I will try to gro a few plant of zucchini indoor and transplant out when the plants are much older ... maybe with the huge stem the SVB will not attack ...
In the garden kohlrabi and carrots are almost ready to harvest.
Kale and Collards are harvested every other week.
Lettuce and Spinach are producing regularly ... and yesterday I threw more lettuce seeds in the area where I will plant Okra later in the season.
White radishes are at their best. I am harvesting maybe 20 every two days. My DH loves them very much ... I don't ...
Twice a year, when I change my plants, I refresh my vegetable beds adding compost. I don't do any tilling or turning. I just drop the compost on the top and smooth around. In this way the beds also look really nice.
I buy my compost at NHG here in Dallas, a source that I trust.
How're ya'll preparing to refresh your growing beds?
I just top my raised beds off with several inches of compost and a sprinkling of azomite. I use a Garden Weasel to incorporate. Since I have chickens & can compost through the winter, I usually wind up with about 2 cubic yards by the time spring rolls around. I also had 8 yards of topsoil delivered last year when I started my beds. I didn't quite use it all, so I have this hill of topsoil that I can use if I need it.
There's a place here called Nola Green Roots that makes soil and compost from the restaurants who want to have their food waste collected. They will even deliver soil and compost right to my door, so I've been building up the beds for past few weeks with that as I fight my weeds.
I've got some healthy-looking tomato seedlings moving from my aerogarden to some "cowpots" outside, then getting them in the right places is my next challenge. Today and tomorrow, it's supposed to top up at 77 degrees already!
I really want to do a zucchini for fried blossoms, but I don't know that I have enough room for it yet.
Another ??. I KNOW there are cutworms in my raised beds, and I'm concerned about dumping my refresher mix right on top of the beds. Won't I just bury the cutworms to live and surface another day? Should I first treat the beds with Bt or some other remediation, to try to kill off the cutworms and the pill bugs, before I top off the beds?
This is the end of my first season growing in raised beds. Heretofore, it has always been eBuckets. Never had cutworms in buckets, LOL!
I have a feeling that winter is over, give or take the THREE dips below 30° we'll have between now and mid-April. Oh, yeah, it's there, lurking, just waiting for one of us to miss the weather report so the Old Man can come and put his finger on the seedlings and turn them into Christmas tree ornaments!
I don't think you should try to separate the seedlings from the plugs. They were meant to be transplanted as a single unit. The plugs will degrade over time. Some of these veggies are quite finicky about having their roots disturbed, too.
And, yes, I love to hate you when you show me THREE Earthboxes for NINE dollars!!! Even knock-off EBs! LOL!
Good looking haul of veggies, as always. Question for you. What is the coding on your plant labels? I see the sowing date. Then after that, the first number is the dtms after transplanting out, the second number is the optimum size at which they should be picked, yes, and the third, (the "R"), stands for the Roots Organic that you planted them in? Nice coding system.
On my pepper plant labels:
on top the date that they were seeded
the 3 numbers on the bottom: days to harvest, size of the pepper, R= red pepper, Y= yellow pepper, B=black pepper
I only use Root Organics as a medium, so no need to label it.
>> My next concern is getting the seedlings out of these Jiffy trays. Has anybody used these before. They look pretty flimsy and I expect they will probably crack upon unloading.
I haven't used Jiffy trays, but I usually slice my propagation trays even thgouh they are quite sturdy. I like to be able to work with a smaller number of cells when I turn them upside down and start tapping or pushing on bottoms.
Sort of like "tearable inserts" or 6-packs.
I cut from each side with sturdy scissors or tin snips until that gets awkward. Thin scissor blades help, also little "teeth" to grip the plastic. It can be harder to cut in the center of the tray with scissors, so I use a thin serrated knife in the center. For this, the smaller and sharper the serrations are, the easier.
It can be easier to cut the slices before sowing. That also makes germination and labelling easier becuase now each slice can be all-one-kind of seed, and it all germinates at the same time. When one slice has germinated, you can take just that slice out from under the humidity dome, and leave the rest under it.
If a tray is 5x10 cells (10 rows of 5), I cut it in to 3 slices, each with 3 or 4 rows:
5 x 3
5 x 4
5 x 3
If a tray is 8 x 16, I usually cut it into 4 slices, each with 4 rows of 8.
When a slice has only two rows, it is too easy to tip over. I treid cuttin g on e 5x10 tray into FOUR slices (3-2-2-3), and it "worked" but I worried about the 2-row slices tipping over. (If you do that, just "block" the 2-row slices on either side with stable slices of 3 or 4 rows each, or 4" pots. Like bookends.)
>> I exceeded my GPH (by a lot) with the garden extension, so I ordered valves so I can turn on and off each row of beds.
I didn't like any of the plastic irrigation valves I tried: they were stiff and relatively exp0ensive. What I do now is to use Tees with with a Hose Thread fittings, and end each run of mainline with a Hose Thread fitting.
Then I attach a cheap metal Y with valves (sometimes a plastic Y with valves). This give me a LOT of flexibility, including the ability to change the mainline geometry even easier than "EZ-Loc" connectors would. And I can add a garden hose, or short length of garden hose, almost anywhere in my yard.
The first two photos show a 3/4 compression Tee with a Hose Thread. I added a brass Y. That Y currently has a garden hose plus a 1/2" mainline with an EZ-Loc Hose Thread end.
I didn't like any of the plastic irrigation valves I tried: they were stiff and relatively exp0ensive. What I do now is to use Tees with with a Hose Thread fittings, and end each run of mainline with a Hose Thread fitting.
That's a really good idea. I use those fittings on my rainwater system as well as the main water feed and they are very sturdy. Unless I really hate them when I see them, I think I'll stick with what I ordered for now since everything is already in place except inserting the valves, but I will keep it in mind when it's time to redo a section next time. Although, by then I hope to have a hose bibb out back near the garden instead of a huge long run with 1/2" irrigation hose.
I do think I'll add at least one hose attachment, though -- I typically use my rainwater for hand watering but you never know when a little extra water pressure will come in handy!
This give me a LOT of flexibility, including the ability to change the mainline geometry even easier than "EZ-Loc" connectors would.
Easy-Loc might as well be glued. I've only ever once managed to get one apart. It's greatly overrated, IMO, and I won't use it again. I only used it for the extension since I had enough spare parts to do it all once I added a few leftover compression fittings in.
Next time, I will definitely be investing in long-term PVC instead of this stuff. PVC is a lot easier to work with and a lot more sturdy.
>> Easy-Loc might as well be glued. I've only ever once managed to get one apart.
Bummer! My wrists (and fingers, and palms, and shoulders, and forearms) got sore setting up the "compression" fittings on 3/4 and 1/.2" mainline. You really have to PUSH to get those on. But they seem secure once they are on (if you cut the mainline SQUARE before pushing.
BTW - I tried using the compression fittings at 45 PSI and felt pretty nervous, but they never "blew" ... and soon enough I bought some 30 PSI and 20 PSI regulators. But one night I left the 45 PSI water on overnight, and several compression fittings were letting a fine spray out by morning. That seemed like bad news.
Every fitting I buy says that anything over 30 PSI voids the warranty. All I know is that 10/32 threaded 1/4" fittings do not hold 45 PSI - not on vinyl, and not on polyethylene! They pop in a few minutes. The thicker "Rigid Riser" seems to hold 45 PSI with 10/32 threads ... but I bet it is not warrantied.
I use hot water on all tube ends before I push in compression or barb fittings. It helps. But only heat the very END of the tube - like 1/2" or 3/4". When I heated the last 1" of 3/4 mainline, it buckled when I pushed.
When I push barbs into 1/4 tubing, first I dip the tube into hot water (my Mr. Coffee pot) and then expand the tip using a spike bayonet that I ground to a fine taper and then polished a little. That flares the tip for a few seconds and makes it easier to push the barb in. Hopefully, it shrinks back without weakening the plastic!
I've only just started to use the "cowpots" to transfer my seedlings into out of my aerogarden, but I've been slicing those down each of the sides before I do anything. I put them in some of the small containers I recycle, then filling them, and waiting to transplant from there.
Not exactly "rocket surgery" but it's been working for me! If an end of the cowpot falls off, I just turn it under. The kiddos get a kick out of the cowpots, and I got them on enough of a deal that I just don't fuss too much.
Besides, I have the feeling I've forgotten numerous seeds out in the garden beds, or the puppies and kiddos have spread them to and fro.
A bunch of mini bok choi just sprung out of the soil at the base of my lemon tree...
Ha ha, I have nothing like that kind of pressure to worry about! I wish!
That said, I've never had a leak with the Easy-Loc and I'm not particularly neat when I use them. They certainly work well... but I would consider them permanent and any changes require cutting them out of the line even they look like they'd be removable and reusable. They require slightly less force than the compression fittings but my hands still get plenty sore working with them. Having used both, I'd pick the Easy-Loc over compression fittings. The Easy-Loc does require the fatter 1/2" tubing; the smaller Rain-Bird tubing won't work. I'm using .600ID/.700ID.
I tried to use 1/8" barbs with the 1/4" tubing once and that was a mess. Leaks everywhere and tons of wasted messed up tubing. I eventually got it all set but fortunately it was only for one small patio garden. It was my first system and I got suckered one of those kits. Never again.
Hmm, I thought my Drip-Works EZ-Loc fittings went on much easier than the compression monsters. I may have used pliers to tighten the EZ-Loc s.
Also, I happened to buy compression fittings for 3/4" mainline and EZ-Loc for 1/2" mainline. Maybe 1/2" is easier than 3/4".
I have not yet tried to remove any EZ-Loc, but I worked out a method for removing the compression fittings.
- cut them off the hose, wasting as little mainline as you can.
- slip the thinnest sharpest knife you're willing to risk breaking in-between the fitting and the hose.
- twist the blade and tip it to cut the hose above the compression fitting "lip"
- grab half of the hose with pliers, near the cut
- twist hard while slicing or gouging at the remaining tube inside the fitting until you cut the rest of the way through or manage to pull the tubing out with the pliers.
The last step is the most likely time to cut off a finger: being careful is a good idea.
You may nick the sharp "lip" of the compression fitting, but that did not seem to decrease its "hold".
It is reassuring to see how deeply the "lip" presses into the polyethylene tubing.
I use hot water on all tube ends before I push in compression or barb fittings. It helps. But only heat the very END of the tube - like 1/2" or 3/4". When I heated the last 1" of 3/4 mainline, it buckled when I pushed.
I preciously used hot water to soften my 1/2" mainline tubing. Last year I switched to my blow dryer. But I was heating to much of the tubing. I may use a variation of your method & use my electric tea pot.
The first batch of seedlings I transplanted up to drinking water bottles have been outside on the patio for a week now, and are holding their own against the constant breeze.
I Need to bring them in tomorrow night (and the next two nights), as temps here are scheduled to drop below 48°, which is my cut-off point for leaving them outside.
The seedlings still inside under lights have taken off like a bullet, and are looking more and more like those in drthor's pictures. These are the ones I planted in 100% fresh Roots Organic Potting Soil. Took them awhile to kick in, but they finally sucked up the steroids, and are now growing like they are ON steroids. Totally beautiful!
Watering from the bottom...who can tell me about it? I know what it is and why I should do it, but how does it actually work? Should I put some kind of "wick" in the pot of the plants or will the dirt just absorb the water??
I pour in enough water to cover the bottom 1" of my 4" pots, then let them soak it up for about 10-15 minutes. Then, I suck out any excess water with a big turkey baster. I don't usually have much excess, cause I can just about tell now how much water they're gonna take in. I never leave the pots sitting in water overnight, either...Also, if you fill gallon milk jugs with water and let them sit for 24 hours, the plants seem to like it better than right out of the tap. Room temperature, maybe, so they're not "shocked" with too much cold?
PLEASE teach me to grow lettuce!!! I so desperately want Romaine lettuce, but, I never seem to get it planted at the right time, or, if I do, then the pillbugs just have a feast on the leaves...
I read somewhere that I could cover the plants with nylon netting, and that would keep the cabbage loopers moth from laying eggs on the leaves, and I have Sluggo Plus for the pillbugs. But, there's something I'm doing wrong. I still don't get lettuce.
P.S. I don't like soft lettuce...that's why I want to grow Romaine type lettuces...
Lettuce is so easy.
You just need to have the right germination temperature and lettuce grows best at air temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees (or even higher depending of the variety). If well established lettuce can take a low freeze. In fact my tender lettuce survived the snow we had at Christmas (under cover off course)
So check out your temperature for your zone.
For me in Dallas I can seed lettuce until Feb 15. It has enough time to grow before the really heat start.
Lettuce seeds need light to germinate, so you don't cover the seeds.
I just wet the soil and throw the seeds on top. I try to mist the seeds at least 3 times a day with a gentle mist of water until they germinate.
That's it !
I normally thin the lettuce plants while I am harvesting ... but I really don't worry very much !
Also, leaf type lettuce do much better in our hot climate. But when it will get hot, the lettuce will just start to bolt and the plant will taste bitter.
You should discover all kind of lettuce varieties. Romaine is what is widely served in the restaurant in America ... yuk !
I eat a bowl of all type of lettuce every day !
Thanks! I was wondering how that worked on the water. Now I wonder if the holes in the bottom of my cups would allow for much water to be absorbed. I used an ice pick and put 3-4 holes in each cup. Also, do you water daily? And can you believe, I have to raise my lights...AGAIN!
my leaf lettuce has been growing all winter- I may have boiled it and a few ants today, but it did taste fine...also got my onions in- not nearly enuff room for 1015's but some will grow as green onions, can't find a dtm for them tho-ANYBODY? have this? I wish romaine lettuce was served in the restaurants I go to- all we get is iceberg, and since the romaine froze this year its going to be hard to find...didnt take an after pic- I was busy drowning the area after I boiled it...Got to head back out on the road tomoro mornin, ths lettuce was planted as an experiment back in Sept if I remember right- or was it Oct. ?
Texas 1015Y (100 days) Hybrid - Short Day - Developed by Dr. Leonard Pike of Texas A&M University, it's name derives from the planting date in Texas (October 15). Flattened yellow bulbs with rounded shoulders. The sweetest of the sweet varieites, but doesn't store well (about a month). It is considered a Short Day onion, but as it takes longer for bulbs to develop, it can be used in Intermediate and Long Day areas.
This beautiful weather is exactly why my long-season seedlings have been outside hardening off since last week! I'll bring them in tonight and tomorrow night, because I've designated 48° as my cut-off point for leaving them outside. Then, right back out again for the beautiful weekend.
In seventeen more days, they will be in the ground!
Solace, I was just thinking the same thing! I sowed my peppers last night, but have to wait to do tomatoes. Our last average frost here is April 15- 10 weeks away, so I guess I need to wait at least 2 more weeks- how does that sound?
Linda, I think that bed is about 3' wide x 17' long, but don't quote me on it. Mark would like to tear this bed down and expand the garden, but he's not gotten around to doing that, so I keep planting stuff in it. LOL This was just the one bunch of sampler onions. We still have the Legends to plant, which we'll do tomorrow. Yesterday, Mark worked on pulling out the okra (dead) plants and weeds that were in the spot where the Legends are going. I think we're going to try to do the trench like Dixondale advises, but we'll see.
Nice! Have I tried to proselytize Asian Brassicas to you yet? Bok Choy, Tatsoi, Komatsuna, Tyfon, and Chinese cabbage?
Most of the seeds I'm eager to give away would grow under plastic in the winter, or in a short spring where you have early, too-hot summers. Even better in the fall. Say, 20-30 days for baby leaves, and 35-50 days to maturity. But they do like constant soil moisture.
1lisac wrote:Jeez it froze here the last 2 nites. This morning it was 23* in some of the lower spots when I was driving my son to school. It's was 29* at the house. That's cold!
You should try North Central Florida. It doesn't know if it wants to be temperate or tropical so it just bounces back and forth. I gave up on a winter garden this year. Kept waiting for cool weather so the broccoli and other cole crops and chard wouldn't bolt or go bitter. But we're still having midday highs in the 70's and 80's and lows in the 50's, except for tonight when the National Weather Service is predicting 27...I rolled in the dwarf avocado and the Kaffir lime, and brought in the little citrus and olives that are still in pots. The rest can fend for themselves. My back hurts.
I guess I'll still go ahead and plant the bulb onions, and hope for better luck this spring. Time to start the 'mater seeds, for sure - but glad I didn't believe we weren't going to get winter this year. Thank Heaven for the bunching green onions - they just keep growing and spreading no matter what else is going on.
Well, the seedlings came in for the night, but they're right back out this morning. Beautiful, 69° outside and SUNNY!
Gotta prep two beds and build tomato frames over them (Cricketsgarden's method). The frames are so neat, and I don't have to put trellises all over the yard!
Been working with mraider3 on starting vermicomposting in one of the RBs. Basically, you build a hot compost layer 2-4' down under the RB, then top the compost with the planting layer. The heat from the compost below warms the soil above in the planting layer, giving an early advantage to the early-planted heat lovers.
The compost layer is made of one foot of FRESH horse manure, chopped straw, veggie peels, coffee grinds, etc., and red wiggler worms. These should all produce heat during the breakdown...
I'd cover the bed with perforated plastic sheeting which would allow wind, rain, and sunlight through, and not fry the seedlings. Sheets, frost blankets, warm water milk jugs/small space heater will be standing at the ready for overnight freezes (we might only get between 5-10 nights dipping below 30° between mid-Feb and mid-April, and none more than 24-72 hours in a row. The daytime temps should average between 42-52°, and the sunlight will build up ambient heat in the hoop to also help warm the soil without frying the seedlings.
This method would be a blessing if it helped me keep my long-season tomato seedlings happy in the middle of winter!
I'm gonna try this with one bed, and post the progress. It certainly can't hurt anything!
P.S. Mraider3 also has a contingency for cooling down the hot layer if needed. Sink perforated PVC pipes down into the bed, one on either end. Fill with cold water as needed to cool down the underground hotpile...
Gymgirl wrote:Been working with mraider3 on starting vermicomposting in one of the RBs. Basically, you build a hot compost layer 2-4' down under the RB, then top the compost with the planting layer. The heat from the compost below warms the soil above in the planting layer, giving an early advantage to the early-planted heat lovers.
The compost layer is made of one foot of FRESH horse manure, chopped straw, veggie peels, coffee grinds, etc., and red wiggler worms.Linda
Everything I've read about vermicomposting using red worms says the compost can't be very deep because the worms will leave or die. They only do well in a few inches of compost. And forget heating if you want live worms. They really prefer their compost fully digested. They will still feed on "raw" organic matter, but it's recommended to add it to the surface and not stir it in because what the worms actually eat is the stuff that's already been worked on by the microorganisms.
I'm willing to be shown different. The info I have comes from people who raise worms professionally.
Gymgirl wrote:Mraider3's been vermicomposting worms over 50 years...
When E.F.Hutton speaks, I listen!
I wasn't responding to Mraider3, I was responding to your statement that you were using straw and fresh manure. That's pretty much a recipe for generating heat, and one of Mraider3's own recent posts in the vermicomposting group indicates she understands that worms don't do well in the hot stage of compost making.
Maybe her worms do well deeper than mine. I haven't seen her weigh in.
Today is the first time I start adding nitrogen to my onions. Since I'm going organic, it'll be blood meal. The blood meal is 12-0-0, and Dixondale recommends ammonium sulfate, 21-0-0, at 1/2 cup per 10'. So I guess I'll use a little less than 2 cups per 10'.
Linda, Do you also add additional fertilizer to the onions you have growing in earthboxes?
Here's some pics:
1. Onions in 4x8 bed
2. Onions in 2 Earthboxes
3. Manure producing ladies. Manure is all they're giving, cause they're not giving too many eggs.
4. Just something pretty that's blooming.
It was sunny today so I weeded a bunch. I got almost everything done. Next thing I know, I am seeing volunteer peas and lettuce and stuff and the 10 day forecast looks good including a warm rain Thursday... so I sowed a lot of seeds today. Nothing I can't replace.
I also got my paw paw seeds in tree pots. It's too cold yet, but I think it's better to have them come out of dormancy naturally than pulling them out of the fridge and sticking in 80F soil.
But boy do my knees hurt from getting up and down and crawling around so much. I don't think I'll be using the stand-up desk tomorrow!
I also worked outside in the garden today. I pulled out weeds, old plants, harvested more broccoli side shoots, and planted the last of my onions. My hands are sore from pulling weeds and my hips are sore as well. It's rough getting old.
In addition to my mater seedlings, I also have some tomatillo seedlings now as well as a couple of herbs, stevia and borage.
Finished the first major pot-up to the 3.5" deep pots, filling 3 trays. Can't wait for Tuesday to get the 3 new lights for the shelf. And the new seedling mats & trays, I feel another bunch of seeds being started this week...
Lisa, what kind of tomatillo's have you planted?? Showed Momma the Tomato Growers catalog and she picked the Pineapple Tomatillo & I decided on the Toma Verde Toma... Being this far south, in relation to Stephanie, direct sow or start inside?? Haven't researched yet, but would guess similar to tomato germination and set-out timeframes and temperatures.. With our HOPEFUL weather predictions, we might not be starting too early after all...
1lisac wrote:It might also have to do with the different ambient temps in Florida and the far north where Morgan lives.
The other problem with active compost - especially if it's buried under soil - is that ambient oxygen levels should quickly fall to a level that will not support most complex life forms... I would still like to see some actual facts to support the addition of red worms to a buried, actively working compost.
Linda, I got romaine transplants from HD in September of last year and they are bolting now. I got 2 6-paks and that was waaay too much. One six pak woud have given me all I needed. Im still using the lettuce as it is not bitter. It's a little tougher then earlier but other than that it's fine. It never headed completely, and I dont know if it was the variety or my conditions. Some of the plants got some bugs of some kind, looking similar to fungus gnats. Looks like they hatched there but they wash off easiy with water, I just harvested leaves from all the plants equally never taking the whole plant as we see in the grocery store.
Ive cut the old canes out of my asparagus bed and top dressed with compost. Ive taken down the lima bean vines, amended with compost and have planted tomatoes in the bed. Some peppers will go in there as well. My white stem bok choy is doing well and my gai lan too. Ive planted two tomatoes in the bed with them so by the time they finish, the tomatoes will be needing the space. Harvesting snow peas every other day and fall tomatoes never did quit. They are still producing tomatoes and blooming. These tomatoes were planted along my patio fence which gave them protection from the weather. For a while they just sat there but they are taking off now. I will cover them if temp goes down. Tomatoes are jaune flamme', yellow plum tomatoes, golf ball size. I think I lost some of my garlic plants. Need to investigate what happened. They were in same bed with half the Romaine lettuce. The rest of the Romaine is in the Asparagus bed and when gone will plant potatoes there. Have one bed resting under a cover of leaves. Will plant soybeans (edamame) there when weather is good and warm. My beds are all 4X4 by 12" high. I will grow cucumbers on the patio fence again this year and might try Malabar Spinach on the fence as well. Have a pot growing of mixed lettuces which is in the shade so it wont bolt so fast.
Ive cut the old canes out of my asparagus bed and top dressed with compost.
You're growing asparagus in Houston? I'm in New Orleans & have been wanting to grow asparagus for quite a while, but was so afraid because of the heat & humidity. But if you can grow them in Houston, I should be able to grow them here.
What variety are you growing & do you have any hints for southern asparagus?
Linda, next fall, Sept. plant Black Seeded Simpson and Lolla Rosa lettuces. BSS is a lovely green leaf lettuce and LR is a ruffle-y red tipped one. The BSS is a crunchier lettuce then the LR but I like the LR because it adds color to the salad. you can plant in ground or in pots. Pots are good because you can move to the shade when weather warms and extend season. Beet greens are good in a salad too and they are not soft greens. They also add color. I kept an old beet around for a couple years until it got about 4 inches across, just to make beet greens for my salads.
Jo, I have two kinds. Martha Washington and Jersey something or other. The Jersey ones are only two years old so cant harvest from them yet. I grow in a 4X4 raised bed. I dug down below the bed actually to plant them so they would have more soil covering them. Im new at it and I only have a few plants but the ones Ive eaten have been delicious. I got the plants at HD. They just give you a little bundle of roots. They should be in stores now. Cant harvest the first year. Wait until second year which will be actually 4 yr old plants. You can keep them going for 30 years.
I don't like Black Seeded Simpson, but Lolla Rosa is a good one. I've never had bad luck with any of the leafy lettuces I've grown.
For broccoli, I grew Calabrese this year. It was the first time we grew it, so it was more of an experiment. The hubby has enjoyed it. I'm not a big broc eater.
My husband has an asparagus patch. This is the 3rd year for it. Last year, he planted about 8 crowns and they all came up! We have it in a partly shaded area in our backyard. It gets a lot of sun, but shade when it gets very hot. While we're not nearly as humid as Houston or NOLA, it does get hot and humid here.
Kevin-regarding the tomatillos I've grown purple and green. I may be farther South then Stephanie but I'm in the same zone and I think sometimes I'm more 7b.
Ozark, in MO grew them one yr and they have volunteered ever since. I grow them like Ground Cherries and just toss some seeds but, like Okra, they love the heat. So I sow them in the dead of summer, after the less heat hardy stuff has died.
Too late and too hot for Spinach and Kale. They will bolt as soon as the heat will start.
Seed lettuce today and tomorrow (LEAF days). DO NOT COVER them with soil.
Just keep them nice and wet until they will germinate. Select "leaf" varieties. The lettuce that makes head is not really good here in the heat.
I transplanted out my peppers today and started some cucumber seeds indoors, harvested another head of broccoli, gave my purslanes a hair cut, put the cuttings to root. Pruned my red Knock Out rose and put the cuttings to root.
New Zealand spinach while not a true spinach is a more heat tolerant spinach. I start my kale and/or collards in the fall here and harvest during the winter into spring. It tastes much better after a frost, you might get some usable yield if you plant it now but the taste is going to be bitter as it warms up.
I pulled some seed cups from my roaster oven project on Sunday because they were developing fungus on them. I set them in a container out of the way on my kitchen counter so they could make their way to the compost pile. This morning as I was using the toaster, I noticed one of them sprouted! LOL Guess I'll leave them on the counter and see if I get any more sprouts. LOL LOL LOL
Are you interested in Italian Heirloom leaf broccoli? I had a stand over-winter and then go to seed in early spring, so the seed can't have cross-pollinated with anything. I have lots of seed from spring 2012.
It is really cold-hardy. Like, once the seedlings are established, it doesn't mind 25 F a bit. Mine was ice-covered for a while but stayed deep blue-green all winter.
O.P. 45-65 days Full Sun Annual
12" - 24" tall
16"- 24" spacing
deep blue-green leaves & tops: sweet, mild broccoli / kale flavor
Sure, I've got lots. I found your address in the address exchange. But don't hold you breath: these might be for a fall crop. I'm way behind on seeds going out.
Meanwhile, I'm very proud of my Asian greens collection. My "Have" lists are all messed up right now in support of the Hog Wild Piggy Swap just concluding, but if you see things you like, let me know either here or by Dmail. Some things I have lots of left, like certain Chinese cabbages (Michihil or Napa) or Bok Choy. Some mild salad greens like "Komatsuna" and "Tatsoi".
Thanks, Rich, but not better. Dr. says bad Sinus infection. Got a fist full of antibiotics to take for ten days.
Probably why I haven't wanted to engage in any activity that requires focus, or thinking..mixing up dirt...throwing seeds...moving planters around...don't have to focus or think...just do...
They really are Italian spinach seeds. I'm trying some Italian veggie varieties for the microclimate in my garden patch..the Corno D'Toro?? bells was one, and now the Gigante D'Inverno Organic Spinach from Ohio Heirloom Seeds.
Thanks for the broccoli offer, but Arcadias have a permanent home in my garden. And, Green Comets and Green Magic seem to like it here, too.
Hey Linda. Glad you got some antibiotics. I had a sinus infection back in Oct. I thought I could heal myself by boosting my immune system with extra stuff. It turned into an inner ear infection by Dec. Finally got it taken care of end of Dec. but still had middle ear inflamation after the infection was gone and went to steriods next. Seriously...my brain was drowning and I couldn't look at light or think to save my life. ALL to say...I will never try to heal myself again!!!!!!!! gimmie antibiotics~~!!!!
I am sowing seeds and transplanting Anything and Everything. So much to do, so little time. I will try to keep up with the thread. I normally make time for facebook during my break time but not very many gardeners on my list of friends.
I have managed to shovel up over 200 gallons of rabbit manure during the winter for the garden and at least 50 more to shovel this week , not counting the chicken stuff. 38 rabbits.
Linda, hope you're on the mend. You do more sick than I do well, by the way! :-)
I am trying to get in gear. Have the following seeds in little cups and sprouted:
Pepper, Thai, long green
Pepper, Red Marconi
Pepper, Tequila sunrise (all 3 peppers look like hot ones, but they are all sweets)
Cabbage, Early Jersey Wakefield
Cabbage, Kalibos (just planted today, not sprouted yet)
Eggplant, Fung something (long, look like lavender cucumbers)
Eggplant, Black Beauty
Basil, Emily (green)
Basil, Dark purple Opal
In beds, I have just sown:
Beans, Kentucky Wonder
Onions, Dixondales 3 short-day sampler
Oh! Also,My hubby created some computer graphic representations of my raised beds, (4 x 8s and 1 x 12s) and also my long line of cement blocks (32 blocks, 64 holes). He printed out the pages and stuck them on a board for me, and I'm having a lot of fun planning what is going to go where. When I mess up, I just print out a new page and stick it in the right spot on the board. I love it!
Thanks for the well wishes, guy! The 'biotics are kicking in slowly. This is a bit unusual, to have this sinus infection. I used to get them all the time. Then, they stopped after I started getting the flu shot about 4 years ago.
Missed my shot this year...duh...
Ya'll would just die if ya'll saw the poor 16" seedlings I have in the grow room...I do every time I look at them...Not that they're ugly or anything, quite the contrary. They're just big, overgrown BABIES, that need to be outside in the raised beds! But, I haven't even hardened them off yet!!!
And, I've got 4 Black Cherry and one Siberia that are AT LEAST 18" tall, and full of blooms, inside, under lights. Well, not so much under lights as sitting on the floor trying to catch the light from the shelf above, cause they're too tall to sit under the lights...
I usually don't get really sick, but I had a nasty sinus and ear infection this year. Fast moving and somewhat antibiotic resistant. When I say "fast moving" I went from mild ear pressure to making the doc wince in a few hours.
It wasn't the flu (they tested) but it had me down for the count for a few days. I keep hearing stories of bad sinus infections this year; I think there's definitely a difficult bug making the rounds, so if you get it, stay in bed and rest. A coworker went through 3 courses of antibiotics with his and was still sick. He didn't rest. (He lives in another city, so I can't blame my infection on him.)
GG, I used to get myself in that fix, but over the years I have made myself cut down some on what I sow, and I try not to jump the season so much as I once did. It's hard to have huge plants needing to be outside and the weather is not there !
I have a cold, it broke into fever chills ,body aches about 3 or 4 days after a lense replacement . Potted up a beefsteak type tomato plant today , I swear I could be dying and I would still want to garden ,, lol
I have decided that I am definitely Obsessed !!!!
This warm weather makes me want to plant out but I've lived in TX too long to trust it. I still have onions and potatoes to plant and seeds to start for plant out at the end of March beginning of April. Being so rural makes it harder for me to protect the plants when the weather changes. I'm trying to look at the calendar instead of the thermometer. Lol
I'm also starting tomatoes first. I'm starting my peppers and eggplant after as they do fine in the heat and I grew all of mine, last summer, in containers. They actually seemed to do better and most of them are still going strong, as the containers allow me to protect them from the cold.
Warmer than normal for Alabama too. Weather man said don't get excited. A cold front is coming next week.
The mice won't stop eating around the top edges of my carrots that are in 2ft high raised beds and they make nest down in the bed too.
I find the babies when amending the soil .
The new cat I got several months ago won't stop using the table top gardens and the raised beds. I saw that coming but now I have to do something about it.
I have a small Hoop greenhouse in the back yard but it only has a shade cloth over it. I think I will empty the soil out of the table top gardens and put them in that mildly shaded hoop frame. (16x24). I have 4 2ft x 8ft table top gardens , One 4x4 table top garden, and One 3x8 TTG. I use them for Leafy veggies and carrots most of the time. I put the big stuff down in the big garden.
And maybe, I can put a rabbit mesh wire fence around the raised beds to keep the cat out and the mice.
The cat has not been spayed yet and I keep her in the fenced yard so she doesn't get pregnant. But once I take care of that problem, she won't be confined to the fenced area where all the table top gardens are at.
Spinach...I always had a problem germinating spinach. I finally googled it. It germinates in cold weather. It does not like heat mats. One person has a 99% germination rate by soaking the seeds in warm water a couple of hours and then placing them in a wet paper towel and in a zip lock baggie in the veggie drawer of the refrigerator. They take the moist seeds out every morning and set it on the counter top and puts them back in the frig every night. They inspect for new sprouts daily and plants the new sprouts right away into soil packs or cups and still keeps the newly sprouted seeds in a cool dark place until they leaf out . I don't know what they do after that... they didn't finish their instructions.
Linda, I would plant it anyway. Just bury the stem deeper and pick off the tomatoes already on it. As warm as it has been, I doubt they need much hardening off. Some days it's been cooler in my house than outside.
Lisa, one of the Rutgers tomato seeds sprouted. I watered the other cups and they're still sitting on my kitchen counter. Experimenting to see if they germinate. That's all this has been this year...experimenting!
One of the Jalapeno M seeds labeled for 2010 sprouted overnight! Woohoo!
Exactly, Juhur & Lise - its already warmer out there than I'm ready for, and I'd thought a tomato seedling I put in the ground a month ago would be a throwaway, but now I'm convinced it'll be the best one before The Hot arrives.
Thank you, for being so kind and encouraging. I hope to get all the seedlings planted this weekend. The group inside with tomato babies hasn't even been hardened off yet, so, I pray they will adjust to the change outside. They seem to be pretty hardy.
Here's a pic of my mater babies. They're growing like weeds! Seems like I'm raising the lights daily. This weekend, I'll add more dirt to the cups and then maybe next week I'll pot them up in bigger/deeper cups.
What a doofus! Hit the wrong button. Pics in next post.
We ,me and a friend use to travel back and forth from Indiana to Texas during during fall and winter. Never did get use to that ,, that was hard on the body, ignored or not!!..
You could be in ice frozen snow and 14 hours later in dry 90 degree heat and sunshine ... it is not descriptive
I am hardening off all of my tomato plants during the day in the shade of my back porch.
I found those tall cardboard boxes to keep them safe from the winds ... they are great !!
I will gradually move them to the sun light.
My ideal planting date will be February 15th ... but the weather man keeps changing his mind about that date !!
I will keep watching the weather.
My cats Bronto (the white one) and Torchy (the brown one) are keeping an eye on the plants.
I am harvesting all my cauliflowers and radishes to free the area for the tomatoes.
Broccoli will stay in the garden until I transplant out the peppers (which will be early in April).
Broccoli are a very rewarding crop, compare to cauliflowers. In fact broccoli keep producing those delish side shoots.
I have new areas in which I seeded lettuce and they are growing great !
The collard and kale I started in August are still producing ... but very slow.
I used to harvest a large basket of kale one week and of collard the next week. in fact you can see in the pictures that the plants look like a stick with leaves on top.
I don't know how long they will produce ... because everything else it looks like bolting ... so I seeded some more lettuce in between ... weee
Onions are growing well.
Those are my DH pets area.
I "threw" seeds of clover and chicory a few months ago and i don't water them or even look at them ... and they are growing just fine.
When this pets will come out of hybernation in April, they will have a big buffet on those greens ...
Peppers and eggplants are growing really slow, but it is normal.
They germinated very slow and it takes a while for them to grow at the beginning. But after they will have 4 true leaves, they speed up !
I have also started zucchini. YES it is early ... but I am on a mission ... yes ... again ...
This year I will "be able" to grow zucchini.
I will keep them inside until the stem of the plant is so thick that the Squash Vine Borer will not be able to penetrate ... this is my plan.
Here is Bazinga and girlfriend. Bazinga is my tortoise and he is an "escape" master.
When I was gone for 2 weeks in the summer, he escaped and made a house in my lettuce bed !! He was hiding under the eggplant plants.
When I came home I just couldn't figure out why half of my lettuce bed was all eaten ... I though and invasion of some kind of pest!
Until on day I was reaching for an eggplant and I saw two red eyes staring at me ... BAZINGA !!
Yesterday I did harvest all the lettuce that was in the area dedicated to the tomatoes.
I put down a layer of coffee grounds (courtesy of Starbucks) and a layer of "Vital Earth" compost (locally made in DFW).
Today I plan to set up the perforated plastic cover on top of the PVC hoops (If there is not too much wind)
The tomatoes are on the back porch and they are growing and growing.
Beautiful green leaves and some of them are producing flowers already (but I am removing them)
I hope weather man will change his mind ... or my tomatoes plant will be for sure hardened for the next planting date of Feb. 25th.
While I was working outside I saw a squirrel ... running along the fence ... and it went inside the bird house.
I did notice that the hole of the bird house was "remodeled" by somebody ... now I know who did it !
I always have a squirrel in my back yard and it has never stolen my vegetables ... even the tomatoes.
So cute !!
I am going to name it: "Carmelita" and I hope she will not become my "bandit - a"