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Happy gardening everyone!


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Garden Update

Broccoli-De Cicco Seedling I transplanted (click on image for larger picture)

Today, I was busily transplanting some of my early spring veggie seedlings outside. The past couple of days, I’ve been slowly transitioning the seedlings outside slowly by giving them some time outside in the morning and bringing them inside at night. The time eventually becomes longer and longer each day until I feel comfortable that they’re ready to stay outside day and night. This prevents shock (i.e. too much heat and too much cold) to the tiny fragile seedlings. I typically acclimate them a week before I’m ready to plant. A tip to transplanting seedlings is to have a bucket of compost in tow when you’re ready. I dig a hole, throw some compost in the hole and plant my seedlings deeper in the soil line. The compost gives the seedlings some extra nutrients and the deeper hole allows water to settle in where I want it to go (i.e. directly to the roots) instead of evenly watering all the soil. Seedlings I planted include cabbage-early golden acres, broccoli-de cicco, radish-cherry belle, lettuce-bibb, iceberg, black-seeded simpson, brussel sprouts, and swiss chard.

Flower Seeds I planted the other day (click on image for larger picture)

I also planted some more flower seeds today. Here’s just a few that I planted:

  • Butterfly OrchidChinese Houses
  • Chinese Lanterns
  • Coleus
  • Echinacea
  • Hollyhock-burgandy
  • Hollyhock-majorette mix
  • Shoofly
  • Zinnia-giant
  • Zinnia-thumbellina
  • Morning glory-crimson rambler

Free Shelving Unit (click on image for larger picture)

Over the weekend, I also found a shelving unit that was being thrown away and I decided to take it and recycle it in my garden as a seedling/supply unit. It reminds me of something you find at Ikea. A very modern shelving unit. I would have used it in our apartment but the color of the shelves (a light brown) would not match our apartment style which is dark mahogany wood. I’m not sure why the owner decided to throw it away but once I saw it by the dumpster, I had to pull over and pick it up. My husband laughed that I pulled over to pick up something because I normally wouldn’t do it. Ahh…he doesn’t know my great frugal gardening sense.

Also, there I have some germinating on some of the herb seeds, more specifically the thyme, oregano, and catmint I planted on February 2nd. It only took them 7-8 days to germinate. I was super excited to see the thyme and oregano work since those were the two herbs I really wanted to try. I’m also planning on start some basil seeds as well. I have the typical sweet basil and thai basil but I’m also going to try some new basil seeds I got this year. I bought some lemon basil seeds from grocoseeds and also a variety of seeds from a trade. She gave me so many varieties of basil. Some varieties include: Magical Michael, Holy Basil, East Indian Basil, and Osmin Basil.

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Garden Update 02-01-08

2007 Supersweet Tomatoes (Click on picture for larger image)

For the first day of February, I decided to start my tomato seeds and pepper seeds. I still have to get my ladybug and red/gold currant tomatoes started tonight though. I didn’t have enough time this morning before work to start them.

The list of tomatoes and peppers I started are as follows:

  • Brandywine (x4)
  • Brown Berry (x2)
  • Fireball (x2)
  • Gardeners Delight (x4)
  • Marglobe (x4)
  • Patio (x4)
  • Roma (x4)
  • Supersweet (x6)
  • Black Cherry (x2)
  • Jelly Bean (x4)

For Peppers, I started:

  • Hungarian Yellow Wax (x5)
  • Kung Pao Peppers (x6)
  • Long Thin Cayenne (x4)

I started some bell peppers and jalapenos last week to give them a jump start.

I started them a week early because of the date mainly due to my compulsive gardening tracking. It’s easy to calculate days to harvest when you start the first day of a month. Starting them a week early doesn’t hurt them a bit. I typically start them in February and slowly set them outside by the middle of March (the last frost date in my region) and a week won’t hurt any. I hope! I can’t believe it’s that time of year to start tomatoes! I was giddy this morning when I woke up and started preparing to plant seeds. I can see the abundance of cherry tomatoes and grilled peppers already! As Rachel Ray would say, “Yumm-o!”

This year, I want to start saving seeds from my heirloom tomatoes and peppers. I have a book called, “Seed Saving and Sowing” by Carole Turner which describes exactly when to harvest different vegetables. For example, she says to collect seeds from eggplants after they ripe on the plant and the same is true with peppers. I can’t wait to start applying her principles to my own gardening.

I still have my eggplants to start tonight when I get home from work. I plan on growing two varieties of eggplant. The first is my favorite heirloom called Black Beauty. The other is a white eggplant called Cloud 9. I grew these white jewels 2 years ago and saved some of the seeds. I hope they germinate well.

Cloud 9 Eggplants (2006) (Click on picture for larger image)

I might start some of my herb seeds today too. I have quite a few herbs I want to try from seed which include thyme (broadleaf), oregano, rosemary, and chives. I hope I can get a lot of chives this year. I want to grow them in a pot and keep the pot growing all year long. Here’s hoping. My favorite herb, basil, will have to wait until the middle of February because it grows so fast that by the time it’s ready to move outside, there’ll still be frost temperatures.

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Groco Seeds Order

This is what I ordered from Grocoseeds The prices are very reasonable and you get so much for your buck.

  • flax, blue (perennial)
  • Chicory, blue beauty (pretty flowers and you can use the roots as a coffee substitute)
  • Chinese houses
  • Oregano
  • Shoo fly, nicandra
  • Poppy, oriental scarlet
  • Sunflower, maximilian
  • Sunflower, regular
  • Nicotiana
  • Chives
  • Maltese cross, lychnis chalcedonica

This week, I transplanted my coleus seedlings into individual containers. I got these little plastic containers from Wal-mart. I believe they are used for making “jello-shots” or rinsing with listerine. They came in a package of 50 for $1.50. That’s a pretty good deal to me! I put holes in them with a heated nail. It only took a couple of minutes to make drainage holes. I can’t wait to get my seeds in the mail. I hope they come this weekend. It would be a wonderful Christmas present. We’ll see…

Next week, I’ll start some broccoli and parsley seeds. I can’t believe I’m already starting seeds. I would probably go stir-crazy if I didn’t do something in the garden! I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!!!

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Plants on Sale!

I was out running errands today and I found some stellar garden steals. I got a Mexican Heather for a $1.00 at Lowes. I also found some coleus’ on sale at Walmart for only 2.00. The plants were huge, probably around 2 feet tall. I got a pretty chartreuse green one, a bright purple/green one, and a dark purple one. I’m going to set them out on my patio and collect cuttings from it to propagate and grow them in the spring. I suspect that Walmart is trying to clear all their summer annuals for more of the fall perennials and annuals. Lucky me!

I also found a large Christmas cactus with white flowers. There were three plants in the pot and I’m contemplating separating them into individual pots after they bloom. I’ll, of course, propagate these during the winter months for fun, but I’ll wait until after it blooms to do that. I also got an ornamental pepper plant on sale too. It was I think $1.40 and it had the cutest little yellow peppers on them. I might just let one of them mature to collect the seeds and see if I can start them under my lights.

I also got some coleus seeds at Lowes to see if I can start some this winter. I’ll use them as houseplants to brighten up our little place.

I got my seeds that I ordered from Groco Seeds. They are the best place to get seeds that are at a reasonable price. This time I ordered some celery seeds, lamb’s ear, lemon balm, coleus, and lemon basil. I’ve ordered from them before and the quantity you get for the price is great! They come in plastic bags so you can see how many seeds you have. Groco actually tells you how many seeds you’ll get and they definitely give you that number plus more! I can’t say enough nice things about them!

This morning, I was busy cleaning up my new garden. We moved into a one bedroom apartment with a decent size backyard when we got married but the only problem is: it is full of weeds! It has a ton of grass weeds all over the place. It was too much to hand pick the weeds so I tilled the ground and started throwing clumps of grass into the corner of the backyard. I’ll use that side as my compost pile. I want to plant some peas, beans and radishes before it gets too cold here. Those are frost-tolerant veggies so they’ll be fine with some cover. The last frost is expected to be in the middle of November but it’s been so warm I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come at the end of November or beginning of December.

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Plant Shopping Spree…Yippee!

These are the grape hyacinth bulbs I’m forcing. I’ve never tried forcing before so I thought I’d give it a try. Most of the websites I’ve looked at say it is pretty simple. I got the glass jars at a dollar store (2 for a dollar) and also the pebbles. I placed the pebbles in the bottom and poured tap water until it reached the top of the pebbles. I put the bulbs on top of the rocks and waited. This picture is at 6 days and it looks great. After it gets a little bigger, I’ll put them under my grow lights until they bloom. Wish me luck!

Anywho, to make-up for lost time, I went on a shopping spree and got some more houseplants! It all began with my wish to do two things: 1. Get more coleus to grow as a houseplant and 2. Get a plant for my living room. First, I went to Osh to find another houseplant that would complement and balance my spider plant that I have next to my tv. To no avail, there was none that fit the bill. I then went to Lowes and found that they were putting most of their houseplants on clearance to clear up room in the store for all the Christmas decorations. So, I picked up an African Violet with white flowers for only $1.00, some potting soil, compost, and two hanging baskets.

I then went to Target and I found some 6-packs of coleus so I bought two of those. I got the wizard mix pack. I potted several of them in a hanging basket and they look gorgeous! (click on the image for a larger pic)

I then went to Wal-mart and found a plant that was perfect for my living room: a dark green pepperoma, but as I was leaving the garden center, a big pot of vincas (aka periwinkle) caught my eye and it was on clearance for $4.00 so I, of course, bought it along with the pepperoma! All in all, I had a great day of plant shopping. The first is the pepperoma and the second is the vincas.

Pepperoma Plant


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Ivy and Boxwood Cutting Experiment

Since I have more time on my hands, I’ve been hopelessly devoted to cleaning up my garden and adding new plants to our apartment. This includes propagating some plants I’ve been wanting to try like ivy and boxwood. My apartment complex has the best landscaping. We have geraniums flourishing at every parking entrance, tulips and bearded irises sprinkled across the apartments, hydrangeas popping up everywhere, rose bushes, ivy, boxwoods, and even an Olive tree which is oddly placed over the garbage place. The gardeners don’t mind if we take cuttings from the plants since it kind of helps them out with trimming! I’ve actually gotten a lot of nursery pots and seedling trays from them too. After they plant the plants in the ground, they have no use for them so I asked them if I could have them and they are more than happy to give it to me! Plus they know who I am since I’m the only one with 9 feet tomatoes peaking over the fence and a very busy garden in the back.

The other day, I decided to try to root some boxwood and ivy cuttings. i think the boxwoods will take a bit longer since they were all semi-hardwood cuttings that I took. All the websites suggested that it would take 5-6 months for them to root. I’ll just wait and see. For the boxwoods, I basically dipped them in water and them in rooting hormone (I use “rootone”) and stuck them in some potting soil. I covered them with a plastic bag to retain constant moisture content for the cuttings and now I wait patiently!

For the ivy, I basically went out and cut some very long vines from the bushes we have in front of my apartment. The stems were fairly thick and some of them actually had started producing little roots so that’s always a good sign when you want to propagate something. I cut 4 inch pieces below the leaf nodes and stuck them in the soil. This time around, I decided to try two different methods: rooting in water and rooting in soil. The majority of the cuttings went into the potting soil and covered with plastic but I took a handful of them and put them in a jar of water. Some websites I’ve read say to change the water every 2 days. I’ll stick to that and see how long it takes. Here’s hoping we get a lot of ivy plants to give away!

On another note, I received a couple of garden catalogs the other day and I have been drooling over the different types of veggies and plants out there. I recently got two kalanchoes and an african violet from the 99 cent store the other day so hopefully the kalanchoes will bloom and last for awhile. I’ll try to propagate them but we’ll see. They were only 99 cents so it might be worth it to just go get some more.

The african violet I got needs some tlc but the flowers are these little bright pink flowers that I love. I’ll try and propagate a leaf from it to ensure I have more of those to come. I am absolutely in love with african violets. They are so easy to care for and they bloom for most of the year. I’ve propagated several leaves from my african violets and they are doing really well. To propagate some of your own, click on this link for directions.

I’ll keep my ivy and boxwood cutting experimented updated in the next couple of months. I’ll of course post pictures of the progress…Wish me luck.

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