Posts Tagged seeds

Here we are…

Sparkler radish planted October 5-6th.

Ok. I finally took some pictures, but then had to load the new PS Elements 8.0 before I could bring them to you. Lame, I know. And that took a few more days because then my mouse was out of commission. So, finally we are back in business. Thankfully. It has been so beautiful outside that I am just loving it. Unfortunately, so are the birds. And despite the fact that they have plenty of bird seed, they are thinking that my lettuce and newly sprouted lettuces are wonderful and eating them down to the ground. At first, I thought I had some kind of worm, but then discovered the birds. Some baling wire to make some little hoops to fit over the lettuce and seedlings & a trip to the local hardware store to buy some bird netting to fit over those hoops has solved the eating problem, but not the bird issue. They are seriously everywhere. My dog is going crazy chasing them. And somehow, every morning I go out there, they are getting into the chicken coop. I just came in from there, and there were seriously 10 sparrows and a dove. The dove is still in there. It wouldn’t come out. So, I say, whatever, to it!

I planted some celery this year, and don’t know if it will make it, but it has sprouted and they are seriously the smallest little leaves I think I have ever seen. The brussel sprouts have sprouted and the peas are starting to climb. YAY! I have a couple more new little basil plants that if anyone wants, they are  free to come pick up, since I have 3 already and really don’t need anymore. Although, I did discover that my chickens love basil. I have been giving them the extras. And I started with 9 strawberry plants and am already up to 12.

Overall view of garden

Celery seedlings

I am excited to see the scarlet runner bean growing just like a bean! And by that I mean, it is a fast growing plant, so much that I can probably measure it’s growth every day! I am excited to see it in a few weeks. I do have a laurel bay that I really need to get into a pot, as it is sitting in it’s plastic nursery pot in the garden. I am pruning it into a topiary and it is pretty so far. The leaves look awesome as wreaths so that will be kind of nice to have as well as the culinary uses.

Ok. Gotta go. I have tickets to “New Moon”.

TTYL

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Seed Starting Time

Believe it or not, fall is just around the corner (I say that sort of tongue-in-cheek as we are definately in the throes of the summer heatwave). At least, I am dreaming it is. And with the fall, I will be starting some new tomato plants. Some people just cut theirs back and keep them, as they really aren’t annuals, although we treat them as if they were. But I always seem to do better with new plants, so that is what I am doing. I definately still have lots of new green fruit on the ones I have, so I won’t be pulling them out any time soon. However, I am thinking I would like these new plants to be plenty big by September, so I am starting seeds now. I am starting seeds instead of buying plants at the nursery, because I have decided that I really do prefer the flavor of heirloom tomatoes. It is so hard to describe the difference, but take my word for it, they are so much better. And because it is hard to find heirloom tomato plants, although it can be done, I am starting mine from seed. I have purchased some of my seed from local stores and some I have ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds at this link: http://rareseeds.com/ And I recently came across this wonderful pdf file at http://www.maryjanesfarm.org/farmgirl-connection/. If you haven’t seen Mary Jane’s Farm magazine, it is definately one to check out. Love it! And they have an awesome forum. You do have to become a “farmgirl” but since I consider myself one that is living in the city, that was easy! The pdf file link is: http://www.feldoncentral.com/garden/CaseysHeirloomTomatoesofAirdrie.pdf. It is full of really great pics of heirloom tomatoes. Love it too!

Listing of tomato plants started today in peat pots inside:

German Red Strawberry

Rutgers

Brandywine

Green Zebra

Sweetie

Big Beef

Sioux

Looking forward to watching them sprout!

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Let’s talk tomatoes!

Oodles of Tomatoes!

Oodles of Tomatoes!

It has been such a long time since my last post, but I have been so busy in the garden and canning, with everything else, that there hasn’t been a lot of time left for blogging! I have canned a total of 28 quarts of tomatoes so far. My family swears they hate tomatoes, and I have to constantly remind them that they LOVE salsa and spaghetti sauce and homemade soup, all of which require tomatoes. They sure have been wonderful to eat as a salad on their own and on a sandwich. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water…

June in the garden in Arizona is HOT, but today was a wonderfully overcast day and only in the 90’s. YAY! So, I did a little cleaning up and found a HUGE armenian cucumber! It was so huge I had to cut it in half to get it out from under the topiary I had them growing on. Of course, since it was about 6 inches in diameter, it was just big and pretty much hollow. So, I gave it to the chickens and they have been pecking at it all day!

Apricots are coming off like crazy right now. My in-laws have one tree that is covered. I received a bag of apricots from my sister-in-law and turned them into jam. That will be pretty tasty mixed with some honey and soy sauce and put over some pork to slow cook. Maybe I will cook that on Sunday for dinner.

Clean up in the garden today:

-pulled out the spent zucchini plants

-cleaned all the leaves out from under the eggplant

-fertilized the bell pepper plants (they needed it terribly)

-replanted cucumber (for pickles), melon & pumpkin

-harvested bush bean seeds for next year

-picked all the tomatoes off that were ripe

-harvested all the onions & few carrots that were left

-gave everything a good soak

-turned the compost pile

I can hardly wait for my new planters to arrive next week so I can put some zinnia seeds in them. It doesn’t feel like summer to me without zinnias.

I am on the hunt for some comfrey seeds because my daughter wants to grow some for her horse.  I’ve never grown it before, but if she is interested in it, we will try it…The things we do for our kids.

Until next time, happy growing.

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It’s been a while…

So it’s been a while since I last posted. So much has been happening in the garden. Everything is growing and getting larger and starting to set fruit. It’s so funny, because every day I check the eggplant for new fruit, and have seen a few but yesterday, oh my gosh, found these ginormous eggplants that I didn’t even realize were there. That’s what I love about the garden. There is always something new happening. So, guess what we are having for dinner tonite? That’s right. Eggplant.

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Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Notice the double eggplant on the left. It probably had a double bloom that was fertilized.

Anyway, there are tons of tomatoes which is good, because soon it will be getting hot. I have been so happy with these tomatoes this year. I have several varieties, and it will be interesting to see which does the best. I just recently read an article about tomatoes and it did say that if you water them too much, they become tasteless. So, I guess there is a happy medium to watering…not too much, not too little, but just right.

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The snap peas are just setting blossoms, which is just in time. The bunching onions are some that a friend of mine gave me out of her garden last year. They have done so amazing, I can’t even believe it. I just chop some off the top and use them in salsa, kind of like chives, and let them keep growing. However, some of them are starting to flower and need to be used up, even though we have been eating salsa about twice a week and are starting to small like garlic. You know you’ve had too much, when several of your kids reek like garlic when they come to kiss you goodnight, or good bye to go to school. Not good, but delicious!

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The peas are growing like crazy!

The peas are growing like crazy!

And just for fun, I love this little guy. I have him set at from front door, but I think now that Easter is over, I am going to move him into the garden for a while!

The mantra of every gardener!

The mantra of every gardener!

The baby chickens are now 6 weeks old, and it is starting to stay warmer at night, so I thought I would introduce them to the other hens. Unfortunately, it has become very apparent that 2 of them are roosters, so only one will be staying, but I feel so bad for her and don’t want that little hen to be alone with the bigger hens, that I have decided to leave the roosters with her until they get a little bigger. Or, at least until they start crowing, in which case, they will be out of here. But they seem to be doing ok.

The new babies with the hens.

The new babies with the hens.

On a side note, the chicken in the middle, went to chicken heaven yesterday. She had been eating all my eggs and was starting to pull feathers off one of the other chickens. It was a sad day yesterday. Very sad.

I have noticed some little birdies at the bird feeder that are very pretty. I don’t know what they are, but they have red all over their head and chest. Check them out!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The birdies have found the bird house!

The potatoes are doing amazing.

The potatoes are doing amazing.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Zucchini are starting to flower.

Just a side note. It looks like finally the black eyed susan vine might be finally starting to germinate and sprout. I think it has been about 2 weeks since I planted those seeds. I’m not entirely sure that that is what it is, so we shall see. According to the literature I have read, they only last for 3 years, and they you have to replant.

I so love this time of year.

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The Garden Is Growing

This morning I noticed how much the tomatoes have grown. There are small to medium tomatoes everywhere and they look the best they have ever looked! I’m always on the lookout for horn worms. Haven’t seen any so far. Thank heaven! Last week I did a foliar spray of fish emulsion on everything. I have noticed a little difference. I think everything definately needs it again. One of my pepper plants is nitrogen depleted. I need to do something about that today. Despite that, one of the plants has 2 peppers on it, which is wonderful. I found 2 small grasshoppers today, and relocated them to heaven, since a couple of years ago I didn’t do that and learned the hard way that they LOVE cucumbers. I lost all the plants. So, needless to say, that is not going to happen again.

I did have to replant okra today as only about 50 percent of the seeds ended up germinating. I don’t have real good luck with okra. I need to do some research into that. The seeds look so much like sweet pea seeds and maybe they would do better if I would soak them overnite.

Other seeds that were planted today were: lettuce, sunflower, nasturtium, pumpkin, lemon balm, black-eyed susan vine and carrot. This was done in an effort to stagger the maturity rate of the plants, or in other words, so I can have plants continuing to mature and not all at the same time. What is the word for that? My brain just can’t remember it this am.

Loving the SFG method, though. I do have a few squares empty for some more of something in a few weeks.

Yesterday, my hubby and I made a day trip to Sedona, AZ to pick up some wonderful tiles from Sid Dickens, which has absolutely nothing to do with gardening. However, the store where we were purchasing these at, had some other wonderful items, which were gardening things. The store is called, Hummingbird House, and is located in what used to be the very first market store in Sedona. They have restored it and carry gardening items as well as other home decor things as well. I happened to pick up a wonderful green iron tripod garden trellis with a cute little bird on the top. I love it!

I also picked up a beautiful little mexican redbud in a 5 gallon size at the Ace Hardware on the edge of Sedona. I’ve been looking for one of these for several years now and excited to get it into the ground.

Sounds like I have my work cut out for me in the garden for the next week or so, especially since I noticed the weeds are enjoying the weather as much as the everything else in the garden.

A new addition to the entrance of the garden.

A new addition to the entrance of the garden.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Pepper plant

Pepper plant

The iron tripod trellis from Hummingbird House.

The iron tripod trellis from Hummingbird House.

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SFG layout

Overal view of left side of garden

Overal view of left side of garden

Overall view of right side of garden
Overall view of right side of garden
Smart Pot
Smart Pot
Zucchini
Zucchini

Planning a semi-permanent garden style and layout is definately a big decision. I think that more than anything, it’s important to read as much as you can about a certain style and gather as many opinions from different people as you can, as well as attend some gardening classes if they are available. And even then, the only way to learn how to garden is to get out and garden!

For such a long time I would buy books, magazines and just dream about gardening and what I would do if I had a garden. And then one day I realized that if what I really wanted was a garden, I was the only one who was going to do it! It just really hit me that sitting around dreaming and thinking about it wasn’t going to get it done. I needed to get up and do it. Now, our back yard has been through a few phases in the short 4 years that we have lived here. I have been a fan of Mel Bartholomew’s book, “All New Square Foot Gardening”, after purchasing his previous edition off of a sale rack at the local book store. I have pored over those pages at night and carted it around in my car to read when I had spare time. So, I knew that I wanted to try it. So, I carted home some cement blocks from Home Depot and made a 4 foot by 4 foot square and filled it with soil and started a garden. It didn’t look very pretty. And I discovered that black widows loved to get up in the brick. This freaked me out and freaked my kids out. So, we moved the garden to the back corner of the yard.

My husband took all spring and into the summer 2 years ago to put the fencing in. That was a definate chore. But, necessary, considering that we have a crazy dog who likes to run through everything. And, it does look nice. But the general layout was done by me, with cedar boards screwed together as directed in Mel Bartholomew’s book. I did one bed at a time, because it was hard work. And I filled them with garden soil, one bed at a time, for the same reason. So, now I have 4 long beds measuring 4 ft by 12 ft. and 2 beds measuring 3 ft. by 12 ft. I don’t find the thinner beds easier to work with. They are both very easy to garden and plant and turn the soil over in. I have loved this style. I rarely get weeds in them, for whatever reason, I am not sure. I do get weeds in the pathways, which are now covered in small pea gravel. I do have to water every day, though. But the soil is so wonderful to work with, I can handle that. And I really have no tilling to speak of. My opinion of the square foot garden is all positive and if I had to choose all over again, heaven forbid, I would do the same thing.

I am trying a new thing this year. I purchased a “smart pot” from www.gardeners.com and put some russet seed potatoes in it. It is a pot that is a permeable fabric. It definately waters well. We will see how it does. I am kicking around the idea of purchasing another one to put some red potatoes in it.
In the picture above of the overall view of the left side of the garden, you can see that some of the broccoli has gone to seed. What happened was that in the fall, I planted some cabbage and broccoli in that bed. I then proceeded to schedule our family up so much with holiday activities that I was pretty worn out and just couldn’t muster up any energy to garden. I don’t think I watered that garden more than a handful of times. So, it was extremely nice of the weather to cooperate with me and give us all that rain. But when I went out to check out how the garden was looking a couple of months ago, I found the broccoli all gone to seed and covered in bees. And because I really need those bees, I have kind of left it that way for them. They really don’t bother me at all when I am watering. They are just busy little bees…
As you can see, the zucchini have gotten so much bigger since the previously posted picture. Seeds are the way to go! So easy, so much cheaper, and if they don’t sprout, put another seed in! No big deal!!!

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Zucchini has sprouted

The zucchini are all sprouted but 1. Pretty good odds for seeds!
The zucchini are all sprouted but 1. Pretty good odds for seeds!

I am still waiting for these to sprout:

winter squash
watermelon
melon
pumpkin
nasturtium
sunflower
black-eyed pea
Everything else is doing great! I may have to replant the aremenian cucumber because that crazy dog, Gracie, went traipsing through the newly planted bed and so far only 2 plants have sprouted out of 16.  Maybe I’ll poke some seeds in the ground in the am.

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