February 28, 2014 - February Journal

2/7  Moved onions from light shelves to cooler plant window to slow growth.

2/9  Doing germination test on old lettuce seeds to check viability. Two out of six varieties tested were tossed due to poor germination.

2/10  Had second thoughts about 2" spacing on carrot seed mats, as germination is not always very good.  In the past, 1" spacing worked well and were thinned, if necessary, by pulling baby carrots. Made six Chantenay carrot seed mats, 60 seeds @ 1" spacing, 2" between rows (360 seeds) and added seeds to previously made Mokum and Sugar Snax mats to total 360 seeds of each variety (1080 total seeds)

2/11  Temperature rose to 48F and sunny.  Onion and lettuces went out to the front porch for a few hours of real sunlight.  Made two Crimson Giant radish seed mats, 30 seeds @ 2" spacing, added White Winter radish seeds to each mat (60 seeds total per mat, 120 total seeds)

2/12  Warm and sunny, all plants went outside for the afternoon.  Tomatoes were placed in large plastic storage container for wind protection.

2/13  Made two radish seed mats, hex spacing, 55 seeds per mat.  Used the last 29 White Winter seeds (pkt. held only 89 seeds) and 81 Crimson Giant.  Picked 1.2 ounces from lettuce grown indoors.  Warm and sunny, all plants went out for the day (tomatoes protected).

2/14  Warm and sunny all plants went out for the day (tomatoes protected).

2/15 Old parsley seed wasn't germinating well so I sowed multiple seeds in KFC pot and threw the remaining old seeds away.  Planted 8 cells (16 seeds) Little Gem Lettuce.  Experiment: Sowed 9 Homestead tomato seeds in 1 gallon milk jug-set it out in the garden to see if winter sowing works for me.

2/16  Put 80 Tyee spinach seeds in damp coffee filters to pre-sprout for planting later this week.  Weather was too windy for putting plants on the front porch, and too cold for the tomatoes.  Onions, lettuce and parsley went out to the patio for natural light, but no sunshine.

2/17  Gave onion seedlings a trim.

2/18  Made 72 soil blocks for spinach.  Planted 18 pre-sprouted seeds.  Moved the one container of wimpy Walla Walla onions in under lights.

2/19  Made three Danvers carrot seed mats, 60 seeds @ 1" spacing, 2" between rows (180 seeds). Planted 30 more pre-sprouted spinach seeds (48 so far). Testing viability of Little Gem.

2/20  Planted 12 more spinach seeds (60 sprouted so far),  Little Gem seeds beginning to sprout today, made 12 soil blocks for them and planted 4.

2/21  Planted 6 more spinach seeds (70 so far), and 8 Little Gem sprouts (12 total). Made 21 soil blocks and began pre-sprouting Anuenue (24), Sierra (24), Yug. Red (20) and Jericho (20) lettuce seeds. Sunny, tomato plants went out all day (protected).

2/22  Planted final 2 spinach seeds (72 total). Made 51 soil blocks for lettuce sprouts and 12 for Swiss chard.  Began pre-sprouting Winter Density lettuce and Swiss chard..

2/23  Planted pre-sprouted seeds of Anuenue (12), Sierra (12), Yug. Red (9) and Jericho (9).

2/25  Planted pre-sprouted seeds of Winter Density lettuce (9) and Swiss chard (12).

2/26  Mini Gold tomato blossoms opening. Happy Yummy pepper beginning to blossom quite profusely.

2/27  Planted 36 leeks and 6 celery in 6-pack cells.

February 24, 2014 - Harvest Monday

2.2 ounces of windowsill lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson.

Head on over to Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting.

February 22, 2014 - Seedling Saturday

 Six days after putting 80 spinach seeds into damp coffee filters to pre-sprout, all 72 soil blocks have been planted, and most are showing tiny seedlings.  Germination was an excellent 90% on these Tyee spinach seeds from Fedco.  I've left the remaining 8 seeds in the filter to see if it eventually hits 100%.

 Five of the six containers of onion seedlings are looking great.  The sixth is looking a bit wimpy, but I really think I'm going to have plenty of onions this year!

 I only wanted 2 or 3 parsley plants, but three late-comers popped up last week after I seeded another pot, thinking only one was going to germinate from this planting.

 Three days ago I put some Little Gem lettuce seeds into a damp coffee filter to test viability.  The very next day they began to sprout, and I now have a dozen soil blocks planted and already growing  (thank you for the seeds, Daphne).  Pre-sprouting worked so well with these lettuce seeds, I started coffee filters of four five more varieties today, and I'm busy making another 42 51 soil blocks for them.

I'll be picking some lettuce tomorrow  The tomato plants need to be repotted, but I went to three stores yesterday and none had large bags of potting mix yet.  No way am I spending $6 for a small bag, so hopefully they'll have big ones soon.

February 19, 2014 - Spinach

I never have enough spinach.  In the past five years, my largest harvest was a meager 7 1/4 pounds.  The other four years saw about 6 1/2 pounds harvested.  One problem has been leaf miners, which ruin the spinach leaves if they aren't protected.  I have found common netting from the fabric store does a decent job of keeping the miner flies out.  Yes, the same netting you find in tutus and wedding veils.  Another problem is that spinach seeds seem to be quite finicky about germinating.  That little problem can be solved with presprouting the seeds.  Just dampen a paper coffee filter, sprinkle on the seeds, fold in half and put them in a plastic bag in a warm place.  Check daily.  I've had seeds begin to sprout in as little as two days!  Anyway, this year I swear I'm going to have spinach....lots and lots of spinach.

I planted a small bed of spinach in the fall and it overwintered under plastic.   It looks like it might be putting on a bit of new growth, so I'll hopefully get some early spinach for my salads.  This bed, however, will have to be cleaned out in April so it can be prepared to hold tomatoes and bush beans.  So, for my main planting of spinach.....................

.........I began presprouting the seeds.  Eighty of them.

And I made 72 soil blocks/cylinders with my homemade block maker.

Then, since 18 seeds managed to sprout after only two days, I planted them in 18 of the blocks, added a humidity dome and set them in the warm laundry room to wait for their siblings to sprout and join them.  With luck, I'll end up with 72 nice spinach plants to set out in the garden in about a month.

Elsewhere in my pre-spring rush to get something....anything....growing:

The little lettuces are almost ready for a second harvesting of outer leaves, the onions have had another trim (except one container of sweet onions that isn't growing as well as the others.  ? I don't know why, as they have the same potting mix, seeds from the same packet, same everything.  After only one parsley germinated in the thickly seeded pot, I planted another pot of seeds.  Two days later, three more parsley plants popped up in the first pot.  Now I'm going to have more plants than I can use!  It's been warm enough all week to put these seedlings out for the day, but they have to be on the patio, protected from the strong winds we've been having again.

I've had to remove one of the plant window shelves to make room for the pepper and tomatoes.  The pepper is growing, getting a new flush of foliage and blossoms!  The tomato plants also have some clusters of small buds, and will soon have to be potted up into larger planters.  The adopted African violets are doing great!  The sucker plants I removed from one overgrown violet have taken root and developed new leaves.  

Hurry, Spring!

February 18, 2014 - Preliminary Garden Plans

I'm just doing a bit of daydreaming and planning the 2014 garden.  I'll likely change my mind a hundred times, but so far...............

The East Garden.  I'm not sure of the exact measurements, so the beds may end up being a bit shorter, or a bit narrower, but this is basically what will be planted there.  Oh, those are "Mokum" carrots, not "Moku", LOL!  Seems I missed an M in there!  Also, the lettuces won't be planted as close together as shown. There will probably be six plants of each variety, and I'll harvest the early outer leaves.

The Kennel Garden (you should be able to right click on the picture and open it in another tab to view it larger).  I might try planting melons or cucumbers in the compost barrel, now that the neighbor has thinned out her trees to allow more sunlight in this area.

North garden indeterminate tomato beds.  Bush cukes are iffy for this area, but the tomatoes will be grown in the bottomless buckets, so there just might be enough room.  Maybe.  If not, I'll add a bit more basil.

 West Fence garden compact indeterminate tomatoes.  These won't grow as tall as the others, so I'll snuggle three plants in behind the June bearing strawberries.  They will also be grown in the bottomless buckets so the strawberries can grow all around them.

These will be my main crop of determinate tomatoes, planted all along the side of the house and patio in what I fondly call "Tomato Alley".  As with the others, these will be grown in buckets so they don't flop all over the pathway down the side of the house.

I have a few more varieties of tomatoes that I might grow, or I might just pick out three or four of some extra plants to put along the side of the shed.  I always grow too many seedlings, so I know I'll have extras from which to choose.  Or maybe I'll grow a couple of cherry tomatoes there, such as Sun Gold and Black Cherry, since both are favorites.

I've chosen multi-colored morning glories for the back fence, and will try to fit in some snapdragons, cosmos, nasturtiums and zinnias. Of course there will also be marigolds.

Now I need to figure out where the remaining crops will be planted.....corn, squash, melons, broccoli and lots and lots of sweet peppers.

February 17, 2014 - Harvest Monday

The harvest was small, but it was tasty!

The first harvest of windowsill lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson.  It's doing quite well, so I'm wishing I had planted more!

Head on over to Daphne's Dandelions to see what others are harvesting.

February 14, 2014 - Happy Valentine's Day!


Please excuse all the baby bragging, I'll get back to gardening soon.

February 11, 2014 - Seedlings in the Snow and Baby in the House

It warmed up to 48F this afternoon, so the lettuce and onion seedlings got to go out to the front porch to enjoy a bit of natural daylight.  Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer, so hopefully they will be able to have an entire day outside.

Great-grandbaby Amaya came to visit.  Can you believe she's already four months old?  Such a sweet, precious happy baby.

February 9, 2014 - Snowy Sunday

It may not be gardening weather, but granddaughter Alicyn is making the best of our recent snowfall!

She'd better hurry and have her fun now...............

February 8, 2014 - More Snow on Seedling Saturday

Otto was not impressed with the latest snowfall.  He didn't even make it off of the patio before he said "to heck with it" and squatted!  Annie came out later, and although she didn't look very happy about all the white stuff, she at least made it out to the yard.  Mr. Granny had taken the leaf blower to yesterday's snow so the dogs would have a clear pathway to potty (that works great!), but we got another couple of inches last night.  More is expected tonight.  I have to wonder how the covered patio on the north side of the house, and the covered porch on the south side of the house both have an equal covering of snow.  Swirling winds?

 I moved the onion seedlings out from under the lights yesterday.  I think it was too warm for them, and they were growing rather fast.  It's about time to give them another "haircut".  The Happy Yummy sweet pepper doesn't seem to mind the cold window, it's getting a lot of new leaves.

 It's much cooler in the plant window, and the African violets will probably appreciate being moved forward a bit, away from the cold glass.

The lettuce is growing well, and the tomatoes are just about ready to move into larger containers.  Parsley has not yet germinated, but the seeds are so old they might not be viable any more.  I moved the two African violet plantlings (plantlets?) under the lights.  They should benefit from the warmth.

February 2, 2014 - Seahawks Rule!!!

Granddog Lola is a fan.  No doubt that's why they won  ;-)

February 2, 2014 - Here We Go Again!