Tag Archives: seeds

It’s 2016! What’s growing?

15 Feb

Nothing’s growing just yet, but I have plans! Here are the seeds that arrived a few weeks ago. I plan to start these seeds in mid to late March. I’ll start enough to share with Erin, and I’ll offer other neighbors in case anyone else wants.

Photo Feb 15, 2 37 08 PM

  • Roma tomatoes will be for making tomato paste. It worked well with the left over cherries I had last year, so I’m hoping that using actual paste tomatoes will be better.
  • Sweet peas are adorable and crunchy and tasty. Should be able to eat the whole pod.
  • Mexican gherkins are the size of a large grape, have the coloring of a watermelon, and taste like a cross between a lemon and a crunchy cucumber. I’m exited to try them.
  • The flowers were sent along with the others, not sure what I’ll do with them. Butterflies would be great, but I don’t know how many of them I’ve seen up there in the past.

A roof update. The garden right now is in total disarray. The deck is temporarily gone, as we needed to have the roof itself redone. We had water leaking into units on the top floor earlier, but now it is repaired. The deck, however….chaos. We should wind up with a much nicer looking space with deck boards that don’t pop up in random places and hurt us. That would be super. Have no idea when it’ll be done. They say before the spring…the original plan was to finish by early November. Didn’t quite happen!

We had to move everything, EVERYTHING, away from the main area, and my neighbors and I were able to do that except for the tanks. After the massive January snow storm and subsequent rains, the tanks were too heavy to move anywhere, so they’re kind of tucked away in the least convenient place. Anyway, I had to toss my two compost buckets, which upset me greatly, and move all of the pots downstairs to a nook in one of the stairwells. I’m guessing most of the herbs in tera cotta pots will die. I’ll find out in another week or two when I work up the nerve to check on them. Also tossed the tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets. They were dead, and the buckets were cracked all over.

But, looking forward to this spring, I’m going to get a bunch of 10 gallon garbage cans from Restaurant Depot and use them for tomatoes, gherkins, and peas. Drill holes in the bottom, lava rock for drainage, two 6′ stakes for support per bucket. The tanks will be again for peppers, cucumbers, beets, and carrots. I’ll be rotating some of the plant placements in the tanks, too. I’ll start a new compost bin as well.

I’ll have to wait until this snow stops, though!

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Some chilly nights slow down planting

23 Apr

It’s been really cold here…like, really cold! We’ve had a few nights dip into the mid 30s over the last week or so. Also, there’s pollen everywhere. Lots of it. All over. Coating everything like a thick, giant yellow-green snot inducing powdery blanket. And I’ve had a cold for four days. Whoo hoo!

I went to the Purcellville farmer’s market last weekend before work and picked up these Image 26two little guys from Dave the tomato guy. (Hi!) I told him to follow me here. I got a chocolate cherry tomato plant and a cabernet grape. He said the chocolate cherries have a deep red purple color and an almost salty sweet flavor. I had never heard of them before, so of course I had to try them out. The cabernet grapes look like they’ll be a nice classic red grape. I had originally planned to plant them right away, but I’ve been keeping them on my windowsill for the last few days and they appear to be happy. I’d like to keep them until this weekend when it’ll be over 50 at night. They’re just babies!

My seeds have been slow to germinate, but they’re finally starting to grow. I know these guys are tiny, but they’re there. I took these photos yesterday, 4/22.

Today I saw three string beans starting to break the surface. No carrots just yet either, but it may be for a few reasons.

  • Seed tape and glue have to dissolve before the seed can germinate.
  • It’s been pretty chilly.
  • The seeds are a season or two old.

I’ve used old seeds before. (The packet usually says “Packed for 2013” or whatever year.) They are always fine, but sometimes take an extra few days to pop up.

Before this cold last week, we had a nice heavy rain. I used it as an opportunity to fill up my water buckets. I have yet to build a large scale self-filling rain barrel. I needed a new flexible bucket to use under the gutters and came up with used pre-washed salad containers. They’re great. I have one under each gutter and the buckets right next to them. Takes only a few minutes to fill them up, and then I fill the watering can for an extra 2.5 gallons. Again, I get sopping wet outside, but at least I’m not out there forever.

Other than that, everyone seems to be settling in nicely. I even had a bird watch me take these pictures as he bathed in a puddle on the roof.

Big planting on a frost-free weekend

15 Apr

Seeds and plants and replants…BLAMO!

I put my seed tape to work this weekend. Using Farmer Russell’s earlier guides, I made little furrows to plant the seed tape, probably about 3/4″ deep. I kind of mixed the tapes up a bit, so I will have a few of each kind of carrot scattered all over. Covered those puppies up, and voila! Also planted basil in the middle “V” shapes in the carrots. Purple string beans in the other tank.

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On Sunday my friend and I went to a garden center to get some plants. To protect her anonymity, I will call her “ShmErin” here. (Her actual name may or may not sound similar…I’ve always wondered if articles that say names have been changed actually do use real names, and say that just to throw you off.)

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We each purchased a $20 for $40 Groupon deal from  Garden World of Virginia and  found some nice stuff. Also the staff was very helpful. Remember…SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL ECONOMY! I was fascinated by the water fountain things, but so were a pair of adorable twin two year old boys.

Aside from several bags of organic potting soil, I picked up a packet of cucumber seeds and live plants.

  • Oregano (to replace my dead plant)
  • Parsley (to replace the other dead plant)
  • Cilantro (for my rabbit, not me. I think cilantro tastes like soap. Ew.)
  • Red bell pepper
  • Jalepeno pepper
  • Two orange marigold plants that I don’t know what to do with yet.

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We went home and got to work!

First, I put the peppers in one of the old tomato boxes with the parsley and cilantro. Easy. Looks good. Then, I took a chunk of chives for ShmErin’s growing herb garden. I originally planted these chives from seed in 2011, so I was very happy that they were still alive and doing well and that I could share them. Then I moved the chives and onions to the second former tomato box so they are alone. Farmer Russell just posted a few words about companion planting on his Tumblr…gotta be careful with alliums. Some plants don’t mind being near them, others will die. I decided to just keep them in a separate container. I’ll probably plant a few more rows of green onions this week, too.  The ones in there now were also planted in 2011 and have come back each year. Also, he cautioned not to plant the marigolds near the beans. The will act as a natural herbicide and then…no more beans. They’re great near tomatoes, though! I will probably put them near the tomatoes. Next, several of my potted herbs needed a bit of a, shall we say…pick me up? I removed the thyme and chocolate mint from their containers, loosened up the roots, which were absolutely packed, added some new potting soil to the bottom of the pots, replaced the plants and filled in around them with more soil.

Finally, a row of cucumber in the back of the second tank. They will be trained up some bamboo sticks I have, and then eventually they can hang over the fencing. At least that’s the plan now.

Then, ShmErin watered! A lot. We carried up a ton of water. Either a ton or about 40 pounds in total. Then we celebrated with cocktails on the roof. Then I came up later in the evening and watered everyone one more time. Then it rained early this morning. That was awesome.

I felt like Mother Nature had approved of my planting. Win.

OCD gardener plants seeds!

10 Apr

Time for planting!

Organized planing!

All in a row!

Here are Farmer Russell’s plans for each of my tanks. They have a decorative element to the design, too.

First tank is tomato, carrot, basil.

first tank design

Second tank is cucubrits beans, nasturtium.

second tank design

For the carrots, I made seed tape. Last year I just dropped seeds into a little trough I made with my finger. It worked well, but I had to thin them on a regular basis. Tape is great for little tiny seeds that are hard to see once they go into the soil, and they’re spaced well enough that you have to thin much less and therefore waste fewer seeds. I had used seed tape in the past, but I hadn’t thought of using it for the roof. Seed tape is also expensive, and you’re limited to the varieties available. Russell suggested I make my own tape. I used this as a quick how-to. The whole thing was very simple.

You’ll need:

  • Seeds
  • Toilet paper
  • Wax paper
  • School glue, or just thin regular white glue with some water.

Take an 18″ piece of toilet paper, fold it in half, then in half again so it’s about 4.5″ long, then in thirds lengthwise. Open the paper and separate the layers making 6 strips.

Lay out a piece of wax paper. Put drops of glue about 1″ apart on the paper, then drop one or two seeds on each drop (I did only one.)

Carefully fold the paper over on the seeds and gently press, encasing the seeds.

Let the strips dry and then carefully peel off of the wax paper. You can roll them up and store them in a baggie or container.

To use, just make a little trench at the depth specified on the seed packet and lay the strip in it. Cover and water. The glue and toilet paper will dissolve.

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