Posts Tagged Lettuce

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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Radishes, radishes, radishes!

I think my cherry belle radishes are ready to harvest. They’ve grown into little round bulbs a little bigger than a quarter. I really wanted to wait to harvest them when my tomatoes are ready to pick but that’s going to take awhile. I plan on giving them to my father-in-law who loves radishes. He can have this batch while I plant some more later.

I hope he won’t mind eating produce from my garden. I know some people are hesitant to eat from other people’s gardens but hey it’s food after all and at least people can trust a home-gardener’s produce since they probably don’t use a great deal of pesticides and harmful chemicals.

Have you ever met one who’d rather eat stuff from the grocery store than in their own garden? Well, now you know one. Yours truly was hesitant and weary of eating from her own garden in the beginning. Weird but true. I was just worried about the soil and what the previous owners buried in it (I had found odd accoutrements in my soil when I was adding soil). But, I realized that most farms use steer manure in their gardens and sell edibles at the grocery store, then why can’t I eat from my own, organic garden? I finally overcame this fear when one morning, I was out in my garden looking at my lettuce. I picked a piece off and dunked it in some water from a watering can and reluctantly ate it with a face that could scare you. Then, an epiphany came to me: it tasted just like lettuce! I was so excited, I picked a bunch of lettuce leaves, went inside and whipped up a bowl of salad with radishes and dressing. I ate it thinking: this came from my garden! I grew this all myself. Here’s a picture of my first harvest that I actually ate and enjoyed. I was so proud!

My first homegrown salad (click to enlarge)

 I also have some cherry belle radishes that I planted last November flowering. I’m going to allow them to flower so I can collect seeds from them in the summer. They’ve gone to a point of no return. They’re no longer any good but instead bitter and hard like a rock.

Radish flower (click to enlarge) 

My watermelon radishes are progressing. They’re slowly grudging along. I’m still fighting those darn snails but I think I’ve come up with a way to deter them: coffee! In Nature magazine, two researchers tested their belief that coffee will deter and kill snails and slugs. They suggest spraying your plants (except for lettuce since coffee may turn it yellow) and adding coffee grounds around the plants the slugs/snails like. There is something in coffee that upsets snails and slugs’ internal parts and they will avoid those plants that have caffeine on them. It doesn’t hurt to try and we have lots of coffee laying around. I’ll let you guys know how well it works or if it works at all.

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Lettuce Plants and More 04-09-08

Bibb Lettuce 98 days (click to enlarge)

Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce 98 days (click to enlarge)

Mmm…the Bibb lettuce is coming along really well. All it needs are some yummy cucumber slices and little red cherry tomatoes. I’m going to harvest these soon or else it’ll bolt. I have 4 to 5 Bibb lettuce ready to harvest and 3-4 heads of black seeded Simpson lettuce. I also have some little cherry belle radishes getting ready to harvest but I might just wait to let it grow a little longer to mellow out its peppery taste. This growing season, I’m going to try succession planting to ensure salad crops throughout the season. I have some more cucumber seedlings growing just in case the ones I planted in the ground. I also have some more Bibb lettuce seedlings growing inside on my windowsill. I forgot to sow more black seeded Simpson seeds though. I’ll start some tomorrow. Once I harvest the lettuce I planted a couple of months ago, I’ll put more lettuce seedlings in the ground. I’m surprised at how fast lettuce grows in a couple of months.

Lettuce Seedlings 21 days (click to enlarge)

Tomorrow, I’m going to plant some lime basil seeds and goji berries I got from a trade. My trade partner also surprised me with some royal burgundy bean seeds too. I’m super excited about this one since I’ve wanted to try a purple podded bean this season. I really hope they sprout. I also got some bean seeds from a friend from yougrowgirl. She gave me some trionfo violetta beans. I might wait to start bean seeds later in the season when the weather warms up considerably. I think I’ve been starting them too early and they need heat to germinate. My bean experiment isn’t over yet. I’m just postponing it. Any advice on bean seed starting? I’ve had the most terrible luck. Well, I guess that’s all for now. I’ll take more pictures of my garden tomorrow morning. Until then, happy gardening!

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Collecting Flower Seeds (Calendulas)

Five days ago, I planted some chicory, flax, and okra and there’s already sprouting occurring with the chicory. I got the chicory seeds from grocoseeds and I hope it really works. Chicory can be used as a coffee substitute. We’ll see how well this works!

I also have sprouts on my cilantro and calendulas. I grew calendulas last year and they were pretty yellow and orange flowers. I also collected seeds from these last year. The seeds were easy to collect since they look like half moons. If you’ve never collected flower seeds before, I suggest trying calendulas for your first time.

They flowers look like these:

What the seeds look like after they flower:

Mature seed pod. Takes around 3-4 weeks

Mature seeds. You know you have mature seeds when they fall off easily.

Tomorrow, I plan on planting more sweet peas and transplanting more lettuce seedlings. I’m also going by the post office to drop off my package to my March gardening partner. Happy gardening everyone!

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Garden Update 02-28-08

Pretty African Violet

I got this pretty AV awhile ago at Lowes. It was a pathetic little thing at Lowes. It was discounted to $1.00. All it needed was a little TLC. I placed it under my grow lights and it’s done really well as yal can see.

Today, I planted more peas to my garden. They were sugar snap peas. I hope to have lots this season. I love cooking with snap peas because there’s no shelling involved and you can eat the whole thing including the pod. It’s great in stir fry, orzo, and just raw. I hope they do well with no inoculant. I’ve never tried innoculants before but I wonder if it would give me a bigger crop. Anywho, I’ve always been satisfied with the crop I get. Maybe next year I’ll get some innoculant.

The coleus outside are doing well. No losses yet although, I did have to get rid of a cat that wondered into my garden. They are so annoying. I have gates up but they still manage to get in. I just wish they would leave my garden alone! Urgh. Darn cats. As I was doing some garden clean up, I noticed a tray of lettuce seedlings I had neglected. They had blown over a couple of weeks ago and were damaged by the storm. I had propped them up and forgot them. Some were doing surprisingly well. I transplanted about 4-5 lettuce seedlings in a part of my garden that gets part sun/part shade. I put one seedling in a pot to see how well it does in a container compared to the dirt. We’ll see.

There’s no sproutage on any of my Chinese Houses or Chinese Lanterns. I grew Chinese Lanterns last year and they didn’t take this long to sprout. It’s the weirdest thing. I wonder what’s going on! It might be that it needs warmer temperatures to sprout and since I have my fan on the seedlings, its probably making it cooler and harder for them to sprout. I’ll give the fan a rest in the next couple of days to give them a chance. We’ll see.

I noticed that my garlic was getting thicker at the soil line. I dug done a little and saw a new clove. I hope they’ll do well considering they were in containers. I planted them in November and they saw it takes 9 months for them to form bulbs so I have 5 months to go. Here’s hoping.

I have my first flower of 2008. It was an African daisy from my wedding. There were 4-5 blooms. I’m going to wait until they get bigger before I cut them and put them in a vase on my dining room table. I also saw that there’s some new growth on my hydrangea plant too. I thought I had killed this this winter. I’m so glad I didn’t. There were also some flower buds on my geranium. I can’t wait for it to bloom and try collecting seeds from this one. It flowers a magnificent pink.

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Garden Update 01-12-08

Seedlings (click on image for larger picture)

The seeds I planted earlier this week which include three types of lettuces (bibb, iceberg, black seeded simpson), bok choi, swiss chard, brussel sprouts (de cicco variety), radish with have all sprouted with the exception of the celery (tall variety).

Impatien Seedlings (click on image for larger picture)

My impatien seedlings are doing well and growing tall. In a couple of weeks, I’ll put them in a big pot so they can bloom for me. Impatiens are said to be great houseplants.

The other day when I was out running errands, I went to Lowes to get another storage bin and could not resist the temptation to go out to the garden center. I was surprised to what I saw there. It was wonderful, they had all their seed starting equipment (i.e. seed trays, soil, peat pellets, pots, and seeds) aligned neatly in the middle of the aisle. I then went outside to the actual garden area and there were so many blooming things which include primulas, geraniums, violas, cyclamens, and more. I happened across an aisle that had these shelves with all these distressed plants lined up and I could not resist taking a look. There was a sign on the shelf that said everything on the shelf was 75% off. I immediately got excited and found a Christmas cactus for a $1.00waiting to be picked up and given some tlc(the Lowes employees neglect these poor things). My new Christmas Cactus, which I call Fred, is sitting prettily on my desk at work under a fluorescent light that is on most of the day. I don’t know what color the blooms are but maybe I can get him to bloom by spring and see! I bought his sister Christmas Cactus a couple of months ago at Walmart for a couple of bucks and she’s a beauty. She blooms these glittery white flowers.

I then went to Walgreens to pick up some toiletry items and found in their ad that they were having a sale on their seeds 10 for $1.00 with coupon. These were the American Seed company variety which are cheap anyway but this was a deal I could not resist. The coupon limited a person to only 10 seeds. However, I have a contact at Walgreens who happens to be the manager and he allowed me to buy $5.00 worth of seeds. I have a variety of basil (sweet), sweet corn, California wonder bell peppers, daisies, sunflowers, zucchini, cucumber, morning glories, eggplant, squash, and more! If you’re too late for this sale, they typically sell their seeds for only $.20. I would personally wait until they come out with another coupon for 10 for $1.00 seed.

I then went to Walmart and they too had a selection of racks of seeds from the Walmart brand and Burpee. There are some on the burpee rack I’m interested in (specifically the supersweet 100s that I tried last year and it produced tons of tomatoes). There were some herbs I was eyeing too like (thyme, lime basil, and fennel). I’m just so excited to see all the garden things out so soon. I couldn’t wait til all the Christmas decor was moved out of the garden center and replaced with what is supposed to be there: gardening accoutrements. Walmart also had some 50% off sales on some of their houseplants. My husband pulled me away before I got a chance to pick one up but as I was being tugged away I saw that most of their pothos were on sale for $2.22, which originally went for $4.44. I might just have to take a little trip to Wally world in the near future! hehe. Well, that’s all for now. Check back next week for more gardening updates!

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Garden Update January 05-06, 2008

Seed Starting (Early Spring Vegetables)(click image for larger view)

Seating Chart for the Seeds (click image for larger view)

Yesterday, I planted three varieties of lettuce: bib, black seeded simpson, and another variety I can’t recall indoors. I think they’ll be ready to set out in a couple of weeks. I want to try lettuce for the early spring months. I’m going to try container planting in my self-watering containers. I bought three self-watering containers last year for my tomatoes and zucchini and since I won’t be able to plant those until the spring, I thought I could use them for lettuce and radishes. Another advantage of using containers is the ability to move the containers into and out of the sun.

On Saturday, I decided to start some cool weather vegetable seeds for early spring. I planted them in my new Planter’s Pride 72-cell starting trays. I plan on growing the following:

  • 8-Lettuce (Bibb)
  • 8-Lettuce (Iceberg)
  • 8-Lettuce (Black Seeded Simpson)
  • 12-Bok Choi
  • 8-Swiss Chard
  • 4-Brussel Sprouts (Catskill)
  • 16-Radish (Cherry Belle)
  • 6-Celery (Utah Tall)

I’ll be able to collect enough from this batch for daily salads in the spring and early spring. All I need is to buy store bought cucumbers and ranch dressing to finish off my salads!

The broccoli I started from seed on Monday sprouted on Wednesday. I was surprised at how fast they sprouted. My cabbage seeds sprouted yesterday and now they are with the broccoli seedlings nestled underneath my growlights. I’m still waiting on my parsley to sprout. I have them sitting on top of our fridge for warmth. From my past experience with parsley, it takes them awhile to germinate. Here’s hoping.

Yesterday, I cleaned up my grow shelves for the upcoming adventures of starting my veggie and flower seeds for the spring. I have 2 new seed starting trays I got from my local OSH for $5.00 which include a tray, 72 compartment tray, and a humidity dome. One is for veggies and the other is for flowers. In addition to that, I also have a ton of peat pellets I’m going to use for my summer veggies (tomatoes, eggplant, pepper, cucumbers, and squash).

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