Garden Time Coming

Gardening and Household tips. Good food. The Lighter side...

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Cherry Kelly
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Garden Time Coming

Post by Cherry Kelly » 01-03-2012 12:16 PM

Catalogs have arrived already (actually in Dec) so am looking through these in prep for getting seeds here in time to get them growing in starter flats.

Canning last year was prolific though late year as weather was a bit strange. We shall see what this year brings.

However, it is time to start planning!! Enjoy those catalogs and your pre-planning!

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Post by Fan » 01-03-2012 01:13 PM

Do you start indoors? Under lights? I want to get an early start this year, but have nothing set up inside yet... we have a while to go before the ground thaws anyways :)

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Post by Diogenes » 01-03-2012 09:34 PM

I have a three foot wall up against the hillside with intermittent river rock (boulders) interspersed. I am noticing some of the rocks/boulders coming away from the concrete so there are gaps and will fill with planting mix this year and seeds. I love rock gardens so will try to create my own.

Does anyone grow Verbena Bonariensis? A beautiful purple heirloom Verbena - grows quite tall and the birds love the seeds. I plant it around one of the bird baths and watch the fun.

For the past two days I have spotted a Mourning Cloak butterfly and have not seen those before in my garden.
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Post by Cherry Kelly » 01-04-2012 02:50 PM

FAN - yes I start my seeds indoors in flats. I use two flats (like the ones you see in garden centers- (usually black plastic flat with plants growing). I cover the bottom flat with plastic garbage sack (often can cover two such flats with standard tall type bag). In the top flat, I put in seed starting soil (Miracle Grow) to about 3/4 full with soil. First I soak the soil and let it sit for a day or two, then I add my seeds. I do mark the little rows or if I am using old plastic planters (from purchases of starter flowers) mark rows of those with a tag so I know what types of seeds are in those areas. For example, I may start one flat with tomatoes, but will have two types of seeds started, or a flat with peppers where I may have four types. I have some little plastic markers that I re-use, but sometimes have used Popsicle type sticks and a marker pen to write types growing.

I place them on a shelf by a window area. Once seeds have two leaves I will start turning the planters around every few days to keep plants growing straight. Once they have four to six leaves I start adding more soil to fill the top flat.

I have been starting my tomatoes and peppers for several decades. I will sometimes purchase a few plants of either - from some of the local greenhouse areas. I will do this to see how some new type might grow and produce or if I only want maybe two to four plants - such as a cherry tomato or one called niagro (brown pepper mild type).

I usually purchase a few flowering plants - petunias as an example - for my hanging flower baskets. Some flowers are easier to purchase than to attempt growing from seed. I keep the small plastic containers and use them for starting other seeds the following year. Works well!

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Post by megman » 01-09-2012 10:56 PM

I'll be trying to start from seed this year myself.

My new apartment has windows on 3 sides and right outside one window I have access to the roof next door.

Perfect spot for a container garden.
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Post by Cherry Kelly » 01-10-2012 11:16 AM

Megman -- sounds good.

OK - to increase the value of sunshine coming in those windows and bit of help -- some seeds you might need to soak overnight b4 planting in your starter container. (peppers especially)

To increase sunshine - put a sheet of aluminum foil on side toward your room (where windows located) by your starter boxes. a 4-6" strip helps focus light on soil. Just make sure to not over-water, but check every two days to make sure soil hasn't totally dried. (Kinda why I use double seed starting so I can add water in the bottom to encourage root growth.)

keep us posted on how it does.

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Post by megman » 01-10-2012 01:43 PM

I have those starter kits with the clear dome. Are they any good?

Also have 2 grow bulbs (60W & 90W) and 2-4' fluorescent grow bulbs that I usually use during the winter months, but will try the foil trick.
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Post by Cherry Kelly » 01-10-2012 03:19 PM

megman - yes the ones with plastic clear tops work! Just thinking of those who don't have those. The aluminum helps concentrate sunshine on soil - especially when sitting by some of those windows. Lot of people do not have well sealed windows and in colder winter time those windows are "cool>cold" to the touch and prevents seeds from sprouting as quickly. Grow lights are great too. Especially when window space is limited.

I have also used old aquariums as starter boxes as I have lights for them and when the old 10 gal aquariums had cracked glass - made a good 'second use' for them. The lights were grow type as I often had plants growing in them when there were fish in the aquariums. (Can we say moving and young kids are a bit hard on aquariums?) I no longer have them as I gave them to a friend who lacked windows to start seeds.

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Post by Cherry Kelly » 01-21-2012 11:47 AM

Update on seed starting..

Seeds can take 2 weeks to sprout so when starting seeds for the 6-8 weeks prior to putting them outside, add the extra weeks for sprouting!

With hot peppers it can take even longer! Even if you soak the seeds overnight before putting them into soil - they can take up to a month (according to some sites).

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Post by voguy » 01-21-2012 12:01 PM

I'm planning of putting in bell peppers and cayenne peppers this year. If we ever get up to northern Michigan, I would attempt some potatoes and winter wheat.
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Post by megman » 01-22-2012 11:08 PM

voguy wrote: I'm planning of putting in bell peppers and cayenne peppers this year. If we ever get up to northern Michigan, I would attempt some potatoes and winter wheat.


Iceburg lettuce should do well this time of year......:coolhat:
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Post by Cherry Kelly » 01-23-2012 10:16 AM

megman - strange you mention that - iceberg lettuce. At the end of last season when the lettuce had bolted, I removed the last few from the garden - tossing them into my wheelbarrow to go to the compost pile. Evidently some seeds fell on the center driveway area. Had iceberg lettuce growing there ever since - through frost, freeze, rain and the small amount of snow.

So yes it grows even in winter. Usually I will put some in a cold frame, but had to replace the glass top and did not get that done (due to remodel project indoors). So found an old glass window and am setting up a new one (cold frame) to start some this next week.

PS: some onion sets I missed - or had not grown last yr - also growing right now, so have had a few (less than a dozen) green table onions.

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Post by Dale O Sea » 01-23-2012 07:35 PM

Two separate attempts at a tomato/pepper patch in our yard have failed due to walnut trees, mostly. To do this I'm going to have to either use raised beds then import some untainted soil, where I still risk the imported soil being 'walnutted' and grubby, or becoming so once in my garden by contacting leaves or other soils.. or I can use containers.

My shoestring budget further limits my options..But I'd really like some fresh 'maters this summer. I'll have to see what I can work out.

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Post by Fan » 01-23-2012 07:43 PM

Dale O Sea wrote: Two separate attempts at a tomato/pepper patch in our yard have failed due to walnut trees, mostly. To do this I'm going to have to either use raised beds then import some untainted soil, where I still risk the imported soil being 'walnutted' and grubby, or becoming so once in my garden by contacting leaves or other soils.. or I can use containers.

My shoestring budget further limits my options..But I'd really like some fresh 'maters this summer. I'll have to see what I can work out.


I have grown tomatoes in big pots for a few summers, works fine. It is good also since you can move them to get the best sun throughout the year.

What if you mulched them big time? That should keep off most things...

Can you explain why walnut would be bad in this situation? edit: hmm maybe I am misunderstanding the term, I read it as walnut tree problem somehow.

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Post by Dale O Sea » 01-23-2012 08:13 PM

Black walnut trees emit a toxin called juglone from the leaves, roots and nuts. It takes seconds to contaminate and years to get over it. Here's a link.

http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/hortcult/fr ... kwalnt.htm

Yes, containers sound the way to go. Do you buy soil or? And what size - is 6 gallon buckets about right? I need several.
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