So here I am trying something new this year....this is my process...
Seed starting has begun...
Those look a lot like "Qplugs" or "IHORT" plugs. I was looking at and thinking about those just yesterday, but I';m too cheap.
I adulterate commercial mixes with screened pine bark and use 72-cell insert trays with 6-packs, and plug trays with 50 or 128 cells. I recnetly found some DEEP 50 cell plug trays at Steubers Distributing.
Haven't started anything yet ... procrastinate ... procrastinate ...
I'm with you Rick! I only now put my Deno-chill seeds in the fridge and I haven't even set up my shelves and lighting yet. Maybe this weekend....
Waiting another month here in zone 3.
Petunias under lights then.
Tomatoes will be end of March.
I started early, but only perennials until at least the end of next month. I start Tomatoes St Patrick's Day, was told that years ago.
I tried a bunch of different petunias one year and I had no success. Other people do much better. They have so many new and pretty ones out now! I am probably way off my timing for starting these, but when the Spring Fever Bug bites, well just got to get my hands dirty!! :D
I'm such a sucker for trying new things...some work ...some don't...but I enjoy trying!
We all do what we get fun from.
I am trying some of the older petunia varieties this year.
We in the colder zones have to be more patient... A couple of years ago I started etunias too early and by the time they could go out they were so big there was no room any more for me in the house.
Carolyn, what older varieties are you doing? I have some p axillaris that I thought might be interesting.
The old California Giants and some called" wild petunia".
Some are labelled as "climbing petunia"?
Also trying a "color parade" mixture.
"superbissima" is an old California Giant type.
I started some tomatos, peppers, coleus, wax begonia and impatiens this weekend in a similiar setup (from Park Seed, not Burpee). They're under a dome, on top of a heat mat, and hopefully we'll see some sprouts by the end of the week. The flowers won't need much light so I can set them pretty much anywhere in the house until it's time for them to go outside in mid April. The veges will go under lights. I have some other veges to start as well but they can wait another month or so.
Lettuce has sprouted...I looked yesterday just before dark and there were no sprouts. Today around 2:00PM this is what I saw! Yeah! After these get bigger, I plan to go ahead and plant these outside. Since they need some cooler weather, out they'll go. I'll soon see if they do okay in our Northwest Florida climate here.
PamelaQ - I think Dill grows too fast to start indoors, plus it is tap-rooted so it outgrows its pot fast and is tricky to transplant. I direct sow dill - either way, plan on several plantings to get it to last through the season.
I have some seeds left, so I plan to direct sow those that just don't do well. I grew some dill a few years ago and I recall I did direct sow back then. I think my present trials now are more for my desire to just see something sprout and grow a little. It's also a great stress reliever!
West India Gherkin Cucumbers
I just ordered these to try Gherkin pickles this year...I've never pickled this type...has anyone here ever tried these?
This message was edited Feb 2, 2013 3:40 PM
I have made my mothers old-fashioned pickle recipe using alum and small pickling cucumbers (plan on picking daily). This makes a crisp pickle - but modern recipes don't use alum - I guess it isn't good for you if you mishandle it.
Would you mind sharing her recipe? I love to try old fashioned recipes...they are usually the best!!!
Warning - I am one of those people who can't leave a recipe alone - but here it is:
Recipe for Virginia Chunk Sweet Pickles (we use tiny cukes, ASAP after blooming, not chunks)
75 cucumbers 4-5 inches long or 2 gallons smaller ones (I saved them up in the crisper for a week)
Make brine 2 cups salt to one gallon water* (*use purified water if you have it available)
Pour over cukes boiling hot, and let stand one week. (this needs to be a non-reactive (non-metal) container - a lead-free ceramic crock with a lid that fits down inside and can be weighted is nice - but I cut the recipe in half and used my glass "sun tea" jar, prewarmed so it wouldn't crack) Remove scum daily. Drain and cut into chunks (we leave our pickles whole). For the next three mornings, make a boiling solution of one gallon water* and one Tablespoon powdered alum and pour over the drained pickles (I found alum on the spice rack at the grocery store). Pour off and make fresh each morning. On the fourth morning, drain & discard alum water. (RINSE CUKES THOROUGHLY - WASH THE CONTAINER - the alum finishes what the salt water started, and it makes them crisp - but you don't want to taste/eat it. Mom's cookbook is a 1981 edition of a 1958 book - my Ball cookbook is slightly older and my Kerr cookbook is only slightly newer, and they don't have any alum recipes at all.)
Make syrup (or what ever you are going to flavor them with if you don't want a sweet pickle): Heat 6 cups vinegar, 5 cups sugar, 1/3 cup pickling spice, and 1 Tablespoon Celery seed to boiling and pour over pickles. On the 5th morning (I assume this is the next day) drain this liquid off and add to it 2 cups more sugar. Heat again to boiling and pour over pickles. On the sixth morning, drain liquid, and add one cup sugar, heat. Pack the pickles in to sterilized Kerr jars (recipe was originally from Kerr) and fill with within 1/2 inch of the top with the boiling liquid. Put on cap, screw band firm tight, Process in boiling water bath 5 minutes (Make sure top of jar that touches seal is clean). End of recipe - to clarify, all this "sitting around in various liquids" is all done at ambient room temperature - you don't see that in cookbooks anymore. For the "5 minutes in a water bath" - Mom's cookbook says to add 1 minute for every 1000 ft over sea level, so 10 minutes total here - that is what Mom does. My newer canning book adds 2 minutes per 1000 ft, so 15 minutes or 3 times the original recipe. But Mom, 92, has never given anyone food poisoning yet.
PS- these pickles are both crisper and DARKER colored - like the mini sweets from Vlassic or Heinz at the store
This message was edited Feb 4, 2013 2:04 PM
Thanks...I want to make dill so I guess I would just add the dill instead of the sugar. I've never done this process before but had read a long time ago something like this. It will be different to try.......
If you aren't going to use the sugar, you could probably skip the several days of adding more sugar. That sounds like what you do when "candying" something. So, after rinsing off the alum, I would suggest you start with a dill recipe, preferably one that has the brine step that you have already done. You would just be adding the alum step in the middle (if you can find alum!):
"For the next three mornings, make a boiling solution of one gallon water* and one Tablespoon powdered alum and pour over the drained pickles (I found alum on the spice rack at the grocery store). Pour off and make fresh each morning. On the fourth morning, drain & discard alum water. (RINSE CUKES THOROUGHLY - WASH THE CONTAINER - the alum finishes what the salt water started, and it makes them crisp - but you don't want to taste/eat it. Mom's cookbook is a 1981 edition of a 1958 book - my Ball cookbook is slightly older and my Kerr cookbook is only slightly newer, and they don't have any alum recipes at all.)"
Be aware that many commercial pickles are now made without alum, because autopsies of Alzheimers patients found abnormal aluminum in their brains. Actually, I don't think any amount of aluminum in the brain is normal. I don't think aluminum has been identified as the primary cause of Alzheimers, but its odd appearance in the brains of those affected by the disease was enough to cause many food processing companies to discontinue the use of alum in their products.
Alum contains a lot of aluminum, and gets its name from aluminum. I personally don't eat any food that contains alum, and I know people who have discontinued cooking in aluminum cookware for the same reason. Incidentally, high acid fertilizers used to contain alum as an acidifier, and they have been re-formulated without alum.
I mentioned that the recipe was old and that canning cookbooks no longer have it. Aluminum has been looked at in conjunction with some other illnesses, too. But try to find an antiperspirant without aluminum! And it may not even be possible to find alum in the stores. However, this recipe did come from my 92 year old mother who still has her wits about her.
So, bottom line, use caution - and if their is a history of illnesses associated with aluminum in your family - don't use alum, or other sources of aluminum either, around food.
FYI - my mother doesn't drink beverages out of aluminum cans and rarely uses aluminum cookware.
Wow...that is a lot of information I wasn't aware of. Thanks for sharing everthing!
A REALLY good discussion!!!
This message was edited Feb 5, 2013 4:27 PM