End of March Seed Update

From just sprouting at the beginning of the month to cups by the end of the month. Things are trucking along!

Marigolds, calendula, and a few types of tomatoes are in their cups and growing in the greenhouse. I am still waiting on the pink cosmos, echinacea, peppers, and a few types of tomato to grow large enough to transplant. I threw out the yellow cosmos and the broccoli sprouts- they got too leggy and I didn’t want to fuss around with them. There are lots of things that do well for me, I don’t have time or space to spend on needy plants!

20140328-222012.jpg

20140328-222028.jpg

20140328-222041.jpg

20140328-222107.jpg

Use An Apple Tree to Know When to Plant

This information came from HomeTownSeeds.com.  At one point they sent me a box of seeds (a “survival pack,” or enough seeds to plant an acre) and these instructions were included.  I can’t find it on their website, and I can’t find any mention of this anywhere else!  It kind of makes sense, because when the conditions are right for an apple tree to get going, it would make sense that conditions are right for other seeds regardless of the date.  We are lucky enough to have a neighbor’s apple tree near our garden, I will keep an eye out this year to see how it behaves!

Hardy Group- Pea, Radish, Onion, Spinach, Cabbage.  Plant when soil is dry enough to work, or when apple buds swell, or about March 15-May 15.

Semi-Hardy Group- Swiss Chard, Beet, Carrot, Lettuce.  Plants a week or two after Hardy group, or when apple buds are in a tight cluster or about March 20-July 1.

Tender Group- Bean, sweet corn, cucumber, zucchini.  Plant on the average date of last spring frost, or when apple blossoms are open, or about May 5 to July 1.

Very Tender Group- Pepper, winter squash, tomato.  Plant about two weeks after tender group, or when there are little green apples on the tree or about May 20 to June 10.

First Week of March Seeds

Seeds are starting to sprout! So far we have cosmos, marigolds, broccoli, and cherry tomatoes. I am still waiting for the peppers, more calendula, and the larger tomatoes. After these sprout indoors I move them to the greenhouse. A month ago our nights were in the tens, but now that March is here we are in the 40’s at night and 50’s during the day. We are also having inordinate amounts of rain- the basement is currently flooding (measured in gallons, not inches thankfully) and there is a large pond formed just beyond our yard in the greenbelt. Our three- year-old was absolutely overjoyed to find out much of the backyard is under three inches of water and had fun leaping and jumping into puddles all afternoon while his dad filled sandbags to keep the water from flowing in under the doors.

20140305-225147.jpg

20140305-225157.jpg

20140305-225208.jpg

20140305-225216.jpg

20140305-225702.jpg

Saving Marigold and Calendula Seeds

Dried marigold flower heads20140227-200316.jpg

Peel off the outside, twist off the fuzz on top, and pinch them out.20140227-200324.jpg

20140227-200334.jpg

Calendula flower head- these were a little trickier, but I pulled the seeds off best I could, loaded them onto a plate, and gently blew the chaff away.  Not perfectly clean, but it will do.20140227-200342.jpg

At the end of the season last year I grabbed a few promising, dry, flower heads and stuck them in paper sacks.  They went on a shelf and were forgotten until yesterday.  I harvested the seeds out of my marigold and calendula flowers, and fingers crossed that they germinate!  The marigolds I am not too fussed about- they are large and tall Crackerjack mix.  They look nice in the garden and are easy to grow.  The calendula I am hoping for a larger patch this year- I ordered a sampler seed packet last year and only 2 or 3 plants came from it.  I have a LOT of seeds now, so here is hoping!

Vermicomposting in Winter

20140226-151158.jpg

20140226-151209.jpg

20140226-151221.jpg

20140226-151229.jpg

The bottom bin- some worms still hang out down here, but it is definitely ready to dump in the garden, worms and all.

I was happy to see that this set up did OK in the winter on my deck, because it made it so much easier to feed them! I had to empty rain out a few times from that bottom lid and it is probably wetter than the worms would prefer. I thought they had all died, but now that the weather is a bit warmer the population had exploded and we are back in business. I think they just burrowed deeper to get away from the cold.

Harvest in August

20130806-140623.jpg

Roma, cherry, and yellow pear tomatoes, a few figs, and a bowl’s worth of tomatillos. This is my first harvest of figs and tomatillos!

I need to test my garden soil, all but one raised bed is full of skimpy, stunted plants with small fruits. I would think it’s an issue with me, except the kids garden bed is lush and dark green with enormous plants. Same plants, water, fertilizer, and gardener!

20130806-141135.jpg

20130806-141151.jpg

First Tomatoes

Let this be my journal entry: first tomatoes of the year! I found 4 yellow pear tomatoes, 2 in the tomatillo bed, 2 in the garden wall tomato bed.

I will definitely be planting early again next year (May) and using water tepees again. I normally don’t get tomatoes in the ground till late June. Of course, this spring was unusually hot and dry. I’ve fertilized once (the leaves were turning yellow and the plants weren’t growing) and I’ve never fertilized before.