Archive for Germinating

Gardening Books to Review

I just checked out a couple of gardening books from my local library. I will provide a in depth review of them in a week time.

In the mean time, I have added my cursory, first glance review below:

Homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs : a bountiful, healthful garden for lean time

by  Jim Wilson
(picture credit: http://www.amazon.com)

First-glance review: I love the pictures. I was salivating looking at the pictures. They look as if I could just grab them! The advice is easy to read and more aimed at a gardener just starting out…like me.

Square foot gardening : a new way to garden in less space with less  work
by Mel Bartholomew
(picture credit: http://www.shopping.yahoo.com)  

First-glance review: When I looked through it, Mel, the author is very knowledgeable in many different styles of gardening. He also provides how-to’s to better improve your garden. I really like the graphs especially the seed-starting graphs.

Grow great grub
by Gayla Trail 
(picture credit: http://www.growgreatgrub.com)

First-glance review: Gayla Trail, author of You Grow Girl has done it again. She has great projects and tips in this new book. It is for the every day gardening: beginning, intermediate and advance.

Happy gardening and stay tune for a full review!

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Repotting seedlings

In the past 3 years I have been vegetable gardening, I would plant all my seeds in seed trays with 72 divisions. And since I am not the greenest of gardeners, I normally did not get 100% germination on all my seeds so my seed trays always had bare spots sprinkled amongst the divisions. This always bothered me because I was a perfectionist and the fact that I could have had other seeds that would have germinated in those spots. I am sure other gardeners have also felt this frustration. So I promised myself that I would not do this the next year. However, my forgetfulness got to me and I continued with my habit of taking out my large seed trays and planting my seeds in them. Then I remembered my promise to myself the previous year. So, I pulled out some old trays I had laying around (a cheap way to get your hands on these is to save the trays you get from the frozen dinner meals. They’re perfect size to start seeds). I planted a lot of veggie seeds in these and once they developed their true leaves, I pricked them out and set them in my seed trays with divisions. That way I got a full tray of seedlings and no empty spots! I thought I would share my “aha” moment with yal.

Yesterday, I took some endive seedlings I had planted in a pot and moved them into their individual spot in a six-pack I had. Afterwards, I marvelled at how pretty and neat it looked with seedlings in every spot! I was very proud of myself. I also moved some bibb and buttercrunch lettuces into their own spot.

My tomato, pepper, and eggplant seedlings are doing well. Although they have been slow to germinate, I’ve been getting several pop up on me daily. To aide in germination, I decided to take the trays with me to work in my car. My car gets a lot of sun throughout the day and I thought it would be a perfect spot for my seeds to get some heat. So in the car they went yesterday along with my seed potatoes I have been chitting.

The potatoes already have little eyes on each one of them. They should be ready to pot up in the next couple of weeks. Since we haven’t gotten around to making raised beds, I have decided that I am going to plant almost everything in containers. I plan on planting the potato seeds I have in pots and moving them to their final place when we get everything set up. I hope this is okay for potatoes to do this. If not, I’ll know for next year.

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Seed Starting 2009

My new backyard

Our trees are going to be trimmed so more sunlight shines through!  The concrete block is going to get broken up and that’s where my veggie garden will reside! I can’t wait

I’m so excited to start seed starting this year. This year, we finally have our very own house and yard to garden in. I can not wait until we have the backyard finished so we can put in my veggie garden. I hope to have my plot done by next year so this year will mainly consist of gardening in the front yard and in various size pots.

Who says you can’t plant vegetables in the front yard? I plan on it! I have a couple of patches of dirt that are currently bare. Since the front of our house faces north and doesn’t get too much sun, I want to try some cool weather veggies like lettuce, radish, broccoli, cabbage, arrugula, bok choi, brussel sprouts, onions, and more.

I have already started the following flowers:

  • coleus
  • impatiens
  • bells of ireland
  • violas (Johnny jump ups…I believe)
  • 4 o clocks
  • sweet peas
  • hollyhock-pink and yellow varieties
  • shoofly
  • stocks
  • snapdragons (first ladie’s mix)
  • chinese lanterns

Here’s my list of veggies I’ve started from seed

  • Lettuce-bibb, romaine, lolla rossa, butterhead, black seeded simpson
  • arrugula
  • onion-pearl
  • swiss chard-rainbow mix
  • broccoli-calabrese
  • cabbage-savoy
  • cauliflower-snow white
  • bok choi
  • brussel sprouts-catskill
  • radish-early scarlett
  • radish-watermelon

Tomato seed starting:

  • supersweet 100s tomato
  • patio tomato
  • striped cavern tomato
  • san marzano tomato
  • jelly bean tomato
  • brandywine tomato
  • thessalonika tomato
  • marglobe tomato

Pepper seed starting:

  • fish peppers
  • kung pao peppers
  • nardello peppers
  • mini bell peppers
  • red ruffled peppers
  • sweet banana peppers
  • jalapeno peppers
  • California wonder peppers 

Eggplant seed starting:

  • little prince (Renee’s seeds)
  • rosa bianca eggplant (Renee’s seeds)
  • nadia eggplant (Renee’s seeds)

I have also started planting garlic cloves in pots too. I started planting seeds this Wednesday and to my surprise I already have some germination on my savoy cabbages and bibb lettuces! The weather in California is amazing. There is early morning fog and that burns off by 9:00 am and we get sun throughout the day. It warms up to around 60 degrees and cools to 35 degrees at night. However, the weather forecaster predicts some rain next week but for now we’re enjoying the weather!

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Fall Seed Sproutage 09-29-08

The arrugula and bibb lettuce have sprouted. It only took them 6 days with a west facing window. I’ve been turning the trays every morning so they don’t get spindly and long.

I also let my basil flower and go to seed. I germinated the thai basil seeds I collected the other day and they work magnificently. They took around 4 days to sprout. I guess the fresher the seeds, the faster the germination goes! Yippee.

Today, I plan on collecting more basil seeds from the plants (I have lemon, sweet basil, thai, and large leaf basil) and package them for next season or possibly trade them. Let me know if you’re interesting in a trade! Happy gardening everyone!

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More seed starting…04-25-08

Seedlings (click to enlarge)

I can’t believe we’re in the middle of spring already. During winter, I couldn’t wait for it to come and now it’s already here. I finally realized it was spring when I was walking around our campus with a couple of my coworkers as part of an “Active for Life” program. The weather was wonderfully nice: not too warm and with a slight breeze. Our campus is wonderful. It has the best scenery and landscape. My coworker showed me that the school has rosemary growing crazy at one of our buildings. I had to make sure it was rosemary and once I picked it up and smelled it, it was definitely rosemary. She said that if I ever need it to just take a handful. It would be doing the landscapers a favor. The rosemary bushes were growing like crazy all over the place and I could “prune” some for them. It was wonderful to see herbs being used in a great way.

Today, I planted several more seeds in my attempt at succession planting this spring. I started some more

  • watermelon radishes
  • cherry belle radishes
  • romaine/cos lettuce
  • fish pepper
  • Nardello sweet pepper
  • ornamental corn
  • snapdragons-apricot
  • watermelon sugar baby (pre-germinating in a bag)
  • spinach-giant noble (pre-germinating in a bag)

Tomorrow, I plan on planting out some more seedlings I have indoors: mainly beans and some stocks, zinnia, chicory, oriental and shirley poppies, and nasturtiums. Wish me luck and as always happy gardening!

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Growing Swiss Chard: the Colorful Spinach Substitute

Last year, I started growing swiss chard for the first time. I only grew several plants because I wasn’t for sure if I would like the taste or not. Anywhoo, it grew like crazy and I was able to make one dish with it. I cooked it like spinach, sauteeing it with some olive oil and garlic. After it wilted a little, I added some lemon juice and red pepper flakes. It was a great side dish. Swiss chard is such an easy plant to grow and the varieties are endless. They have a variety called rainbow swiss chard and the colors are amazing. They’re a perfect addition to any vegetable garden or a side plant in the front yard. They’re a vegetable that I can’t live without. What do you guys think about this one?

This year, I was determined to grow continuous crops of swiss chard. The first batch, I started in January. January 1st to be exact. They took a week to sprout and grew like mad. At first they were leggy and spinly but after a couple of weeks, they grew thick stems and strengthened up really well.

Swiss Chard Seedlings at 31 days 02-04-08

I moved them outside in the ground in an area that gets late morning sun, a couple of weeks before my last frost, around February 11th. They looked so puny and defenseless. To protect them from critters like the dreaded slugs and snails, I would cover them with plastic cups for the next two weeks at night and uncover them in the morning before work. It worked. The snails didn’t get too much of them and they grew very well.

Swiss Chard Transplanted 02-11-08

So they grew and they grew without too many problems. Not a pest to be found. I’m still crossing my fingers! Here they are a month and a half later, still growing steadily:

Swiss Chard 59 days 03-23-08

And grew they did. I’ll probably harvest these soon and make some yummy side dishes.

Swiss Chard 90 days 03-23-08

Here are some pics of the other swiss chard plants I have laying around the garden. I plan on planting them in a spot near my fence that gets regular morning sun. They really enjoy full sun but part sun wouldn’t hurt them much.

More Swiss Chard Seedlings 40 days

Swiss Chard Seedlings Transplanted 45 days

Well that’s all for now folks. Happy gardening everyone!

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Starting More Seedlings 03-04-08

Plants from our wedding. These are cyclamens (click on image for larger picture)
On the first of March, I was busily planting seeds. I planted a variety of basils that include lemon basil, Thai basil, sweet basil, and a large leaf variety. I started my cucumbers (straight 8) and squash (black zucchini, spaghetti, early prolific) together in small cups. I set this tray outside so they can germinate under the nice sun. I also started some oriental poppies and Shirley red poppies. Some poppies I planted earlier this week have already sprouted and doing very well. To end the first day of March, I started some nasturtiums (9 pellets) and 4 o clocks (6 pellets)

I started bulbs yesterday night (03-03). I started some tulips, grape hyacinths, narcissus ice-follies, and muscari bulbs.

Cabbage Early Golden Acres Seedling at 40 days (click on image for larger picture)

My seedlings are doing well except for a bout of aphids. I found some aphids on my African violet and they somehow migrated to my little seedlings. I cleaned them with alcohol and soap/water mixture. The soap and alcohol does something to the aphids. Maybe suffocates them. Anyways, it worked so I was happy. I plan on transplanting my tomato seedlings into bigger pots tomorrow or Thursday and set them out under the sun for a little bit or until it rains (which is estimated to be on Sunday into Monday). We hope not but we’ll see.
Today, I planted some watermelon radish, nasturtiums, great lakes lettuce, sunflowers, Pinocchio pepper, 4 o’ clocks, daisy bush and marigold seeds. I am interested in seeing the watermelon radish grow. I hope it does well!

Happy gardening everyone!

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