Summer Seeds, Winter Temps

Yesterday I planted 4 trays with a total of 244 cells. Lots of everything:

  • 8 tomato varieties
  • 6 pepper varieties
  • Eggplants
  • Pickles
  • Okra
  • Watermelon
  • Annual herbs
  • Various flowers

I soaked many of the seeds overnight, using a handy dandy styrofoam egg carton. It worked great, but you have to be very careful not to overfill or slosh the carton around otherwise everything could easily get mixed up.

I filled the cells a little more than halfway with regular potting soil and soaked them as best as I could, first by bottom watering overnight (fail) then by drizzling a gallon of water over them.

Next came the seed starting mix, which is difficult to wet in the little pots and shrinks substantially when you finally do get it wet. So I filled a plastic 3 quart container with the mix, watered it down, stirred it around, and repeated until the container was full. Each tray needed an entire container. I ran out of my new Jiffy professional organic mix and was happy to find my leftover Burpee organic mix. (But the Jiffy seemed a bit nicer to mess with…less stringy coconut crap).

Then came the seedy fun.

So it only took about 4 hours or so, but all the babies are tucked in ready to rock and roll!

I’ve got this shit all figured out!


I was running late this morning so I didn’t stick the babies out in the sun. And really, they don’t need any sun yet.

But it’s really very cool outside and in the basement. Doesn’t feel much like spring at all. So out of curiosity I stuck a digital meat thermometer in the soil. I got readings between 55 and 57 degrees. A quick google search let me know that ain’t going to cut it. (I don’t got this shit fugured out apparently.)

My 2017 germination issues make a lot of sense now.

Babies got moved upstairs for the night.


I scored 6 new varieties of heirloom seeds from Park today for $1 each with no shipping. Dreams of infinite seeds and plants from that $6 investment stoked the fire in my farmer’s heart and oiled the gears of my calculating mind. Then that huge oversight of required germination temperature reminded me that I’m still a very young student. But like some chick on this documentary I watched one time said, “If you grow for 30 years, it’s only 30 tries. Imagine trying to be an expert musician after 30 tries.” Or something like that.

Next year when I’m a farmer I’ll buy some heat mats.


I bought some heat mats from Amazon with same-day shipping.  🙂

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Fermented Hot Sauce

Lacto-fermentation is an old fashioned pickling process that is easy to do and adds probiotics to your diet.

I grew a nice batch of hot peppers last summer. Had a few plants each of cayenne and habanero. Had enough to use a bit fresh, freeze a bit, and then put the rest in a quart jar with a couple of garlic cloves and a 4% salt water brine. I weighted the peppers down with a small glass jar and left the whole thing on a shelf in my kitchen for 4 or 5 months. Today I put the peppers in the food processor with a little of the brine and voila!

It’s really good! And hot. Eddie and I ate some with tortilla chips and also killed nearly a half gallon of milk.

Going to have to grow more plants this year. This sauce is one to repeat.

I was just bragging about how much I like this sweater

2017’s Late Start Summer Garden

It took a lot of time and effort to expand from this:

2016 Summer Garden

To this:

And I had a few setbacks — mostly because I got overly excited and started things too early.  Also I had some sloppy technique in the seed starts and I had to do some replanting. 

I got discouraged a time or ten and worried that our labor efforts and money spent on fencing would be for naught. But as late as it is, compared to everyone else’s gardens in the area and compared to how big my few plants were this time last year, it’s coming along one little leaf at a time. I have lots of healthy babies and lots of room for them. The goal in expanding was to grow enough food to can and freeze some.

Tomato Town
Too Many Watermelons
Wendell and the Mystery Squash
Mystery Squash