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.┬á ­čÖé

Spring Planting by the Moon

Thanks for letting me use your image, whoever you are!

The moon is barely a waxing crescent. It was new just two days ago. I recently learned that waxing is for above ground crops, waning for below. Crescents are for leaves and gibbous are for fruits. So I guess I maybe should have waited a week or so for the snow peas but oh well. Also, plant when the moon is in an earth or water sign, never fire or air. The moon will be in Pisces until noon tomorrow when it moves into Aries.

Last year my dad told me to plant by the moon (using the Farmer’s Almanac website). I told him that I didn’t have time for that nonsense, but ended up with a lot of germination trouble. (Sorry, Dad.) With a little planning it really isn’t hard, so I’ve decided to try and plant by the moon this year.

January 20th I started my leafy greens and today, with the help of Tilly (the tiller) and Gordon who spent 2 hours with Tilly earlier this week, the babies went into the ground.

So it doesn’t look like much now, but it’s very well spaced and I think the plants will be huge and lovely soon enough.

I transplanted collards, broccoli, kale, chard, lettuce, mizuna, and arugula. Also planted seeds of green onions and snow peas.

Collards
Salad Bowl Lettuce
Mizuna
Arugula
Snow Peas

Silas helped me for a little while and gleefully proclaimed, “This is just like 2016 when we spent a lot of time in the garden together!” Five minutes later he started whining that he wanted to do something fun and ditched me to go into the house. (Yes he describes his memories by year and yes it’s weird.)

We did it, Tilly!

Tomorrow morning Gordon and I are installing his lovely addition to the chicken coop.

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Silas picked the first daffodil for me

Today in the Garden

This morning brought the best harvest so far. A couple of big pink brandywines, two zucchinis, a few small peppers and several golden sunbursts.

Still covered with a bit of dirt and dew

This was our first zucchini and although I initially intended on simmering it with the tomatoes and peppers to go along with our chicken parm this evening, Gordon requested zucchini bread. I couldn’t refuse, since zucchini bread was the reason I grew it at all. Each of my boys made a special request in the garden, and the zucchini was his. ┬áThe bread turned out pretty yummy!

This morning also brought news of another lost tomato plant. ┬áSame death as my djeena’s golden girl. Droopy with a rotted stem. I blamed the wobbliness of my supports along with too much moisture. Well, the moisture is right. We’ve gotten a lot of rain. But after doing some reading, I think it’s southern blight.

And I have no idea what this potato-leafed beauty was, since he never produced a tomato. The tallest, most beautiful plant with lots of flowers and no fruit. I began interfering with pollination, but nothing seemed to take.

I wonder if I used djeena’s bamboo stake in this plant’s bag. I really hope so. If not, there is at least one more casualty coming, because I used it somewhere…..

I put him in the burn barrel and am attempting (feebly?) to use solar heat to kill the fungus so I can safely add the soil back to the compost.

And speaking of compost, I have a nice hot pile in process right now. It’s bigger than it looks. (Hehe)

But when opening the pile to rotate and add to it, I unearthed about infinity of these little maggoty dudes. My lighting was too low to get a good shot of the madness. So all I have is a picture of a couple in my gloved hand. What the fuck are they? Are they vermicomposting or are they infesting? Next mystery to solve, I guess.