Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sowing Schedule: for pot sown veggies & ornamentals

I started another spreadsheet, this time for seed sowing dates. All dates are based on my planting schedule last year, the only difference is dates were adjusted a bit to the proper lunar time. I will also be doing a schedule for direct sown veggies as that time approaches.

Friday, February 26, 2010

We have lift off!

After doing some lunar planting, that I post about below, I have a sprout already. It is a 'Bonsai' Pac Choi that was sown last night around 10pm. That's germination in just 18 hours, can't complain about that. Of course it is a brassica that germinate fast already though. I hope the peppers and celery fallow suit as they can take ages to germinate.

In other germination news I have some celeriac & scallons growing that I also planted by the lunar schedual:

Giant Celeriac, seed from Miss M.

Brilliant Celeriac, seed from Kathy.

Red Scallions, seed from Thomas.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lots of Lunar Planting Tonight

Tonight I took advantage of the last lunar date for sowing above ground crops for the next few weeks. I sowed almost a full flat of stuff and I am starting to wonder if I will run out of grow light space this year. I had to move the propagator on top of the fridge for this sowing because of lack of space under the light. I think I need some more lights... Here is a list of what was sown:

  • Red Celery - eight plants
  • Big Chile II Peppers - six plants
  • Ancho Pepper - two plants
  • Early Jalapeno - two plants
  • Elefantenrussel Pepper (yellow cyan) - two plants
  • Pustagold Pepper (sweet whitish pepper that turns red) - eight plants
  • Golden California Wonder Pepper (from Granny!) - two plants
  • Quadrato Rosso D'Asti Pepper (from Granny!) - two plants
  • Tatsoi - eight plants
  • Pac Choi - eight plants
  • Vates Kale - four plants
  • Tuscano Kale - four plants
  • 'Little Gem' Romaine - eight plants
In doing all this sowing I realized I am going to have a lot of peppers! To fit them all in some will be planted by the square foot in a raised bed, some will be grown in a hanging basket and others will be planted on top of upside down tomatoes. Last year I started some of my peppers really early and they grew much better then the later sown one. This year I decided to start all the peppers early.

The greens I started will hopefully start going out in the coldframe in a couple weeks. They should provide some early salad greens which I have been craving lately. The red celery is the same ones I grew this past fall. I am hoping they turn much redder when grown in stronger sun.

I have some Pasilla Pepper seed coming in the mail that I was not able to sow today. I will start them as soon as they arrive, it will provide a good comparison to lunar and non-lunar planting. The next thing coming up will be sowing all the Brassica's on March 15-16. The growing season is coming!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Some Snow Finally

Last Monday we received our first big snow storm of the winter. It certainly was a long time coming this year. To this point we have had snow but it has always been low amounts. After the storm we ended up with about 20cm (8in) and it was greatly needed as things were starting to get really dry. Sounds like more is on the way for Thursday and Friday, bring it on!

We of course headed out in the midst of the blizzard to take some picture, here are a few of them:




Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Taste of Spring

Could not have asked for a better Sunday, bright blue sky and a day time high of 5c (41f). Maybe not the warmest day but for February it is about as good as it gets. We were out and about taking pictures early morning, I then did a bit of winter gardening and even washed the truck outside with the hose. I was a little numb after wards...

I will touch on the photo's in my next post because today I am going to blog about what all my wonderful readers are here for, veggie gardening! Today I did an overall inspection of the garden and did a bit of watering. With are lack of snow this year, winters dryness has really done a number on some plants. Everything got a good drink especially the potted perennials I am trying to overwinter. Here goes some photos of the good and the bad in the winter garden:

The Cedar Poly Tunnel Crops:

This season extender has by far done the best this winter. Almost everything in it has survided the winter and are looking quite healthy. This year I will only be planting winter crops in this structure.

Napa Cabbage, looking really good but small. I am hopeful
they will do something before peas take their place mid April.

Mache, I underplanted these below the celery. They have
really put some good growth on lately and should provide
some salad greens soon.

Mizuna, I recently cut this to the ground and it has grown back.
An excellent winter crop that is quite mild tasting this time of year.

Sugarloaf Chicory, A bitter green that I have yet to try.
It was clearly started way to late but it is looking healthy.

Lastly the Red Celery. It has pretty much bit the dust
with all the cold snaps we have had. It did however last
well into Janurary so it was a great crop.

The Cold Frame Crops:

This season extender has not fared so well. With only an inch or two of snow cover the winter winds have been getting in and doing a lot of damage. In the future I will use the cold frame for fall crops and hardening of spring crops. It seems to work best in these situations.

Spinach, Freeze dried but it may make a recovery. I gave it some
water today so with the warmer temps and brighter sun it may just
produce a harvest in 30 days.

Mache, it has not fared as well in the cold frame. The
whole lot has been knocked down by the cold. I am not
holding out much hope for this crop.

The Cheapo Polytunnel Crops:

This season extender has fared quite well this winter. I used it to overwinter leeks, chard, potted perennials and the wee tatsoi. I will use it again next year but I am not sure what will be in it yet.

Leeks, They are hanging in there. Peppers will take their place
so they have until early June to do something.

The wee tatsoi has been putting on growth albeit very slowly.
The left photo was taken in November and the one on the right
was taken today. I suspect it will likely grow out of the wee stage
in the warmer days to come.

Chard, as you can see it looks pretty dead. I am not sure if it
will come back from the root this spring? Either way more will
be started soon.

I will end things off with a photo of some lady bugs that seemed to be all over the garden today. I think I must have seen at least 15 in a half hypothemic state. They need to crawl back under cover because a snow storm is coming Monday afternoon, possible our first big accumulation for this winter.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Amaryllis Planting

A couple days ago I potted up the two varieties of Amaryllis that I have grown for a few years. Looking back on my blog I am little late, Last year I had them potted by Jan 9th. One bulb has a bud coming but the rest are not showing much signs of life. Time will tell what kind of show they put on this year. Last year they bloomed really well which you can see at the following link.


This year the bulbs have produced lots of little pups. In the past new bulbs have taken one full growing season to bloom. With this amount there should be lots of blooms next year.


Here they are all potted up. I gave them a really good drink and will place them in a south facing window. At this point I will just let them do their thing and not water again until they are actively grown or if they go bone dry. To much water at this point will make the bulbs rot. I will keep y'all posted on their progress this year.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

2010 Crops

The time of year has come when reality sets in. When I do a spreadsheet of all the varieties I want to grow and start fretting about were I am going to plant them all. I really tried to pare down my list this year but I think I failed. At least I didn't go crazy with ordering this year, most of my seed was from last year, seed trades and some self saved.

Most multiples of each crop will be planted together instead of planting an area with one variety so that will squeeze things in. I will also be planting three hanging baskets, three upside down buckets, a half barrel and probably a pot or two. These are things a seed addict has to do! The only things I foresee being a problem finding room for are bush beans and tomatoes.

Below is all the crops I am planning on growing this spring & summer. I did it up on Google Doc, ain't it fancy? I sometimes wonder what google doesn't done, from search to blogger to phones, they even harvest personal information....

2010 Varieties List

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lunar Planting Comparison

Recently I have been looking into lunar planting and tried sowing by the moon for my second planting of onions. The first planting of onions was done before I read about planting by the moon so they offer a good comparison.

The onions above are both amish bottle onions and are grown from fresh seed. The pot on your right was planted Jan 22nd which unbeknownst to me was a not a good lunar time to plant. It is said seeds sown at this time tend to rot. The ones on the left were sown Feb 7th which was a good lunar time to plant roots crops during the new moon phase. I'd say the lunar planting worked well in this case.

With that said, these red torpedo onions that Daphne sent were seeded on Jan 22nd. They grew fine even though they were planted during a time seeds tend to rot.

Factoring in the variables I still think the onions planted by the proper lunar dates did grow much better then the ones planted willy nilly. This season I will be doing a planting chart so I can plan ahead and plant on the proper dates. I will be following the Online Farmers Almanac dates this season which are easy to decipher and they are free.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Home Grown Bean Sprouts

Homemade Bean Sprouter
Following Thomas's tutorial I started sprouting mung beans last week. I will do a quick post about how I went about it, if you are looking for more detail please check out his tutorial. Above is the supplies I used which were all on hand and free. First I used a large margarine container with a perforated lid. I then used a perforated yogurt container for the sprouting vessel. Lastly I used a lid cut to the inside diameter of the sprouting vessel and a ramekin to weight the sprouts down so they grow larger.

On day one I soak the mung bean seeds for 24hrs and then
placed them in the sprouting vessel.

With the soaked beans in place I then placed the disk and weight
on top of the seeds. The added weight causes the sprouts to grow
thicker by adding resistance. The lid then went on and I placed
the sprouter in a warm dark place. Well sprouting the sprouts
were rinsed twice a day.

Here they are on day 2, just starting to sprout.

On day three they had grown half way up the sprouting vessel.
At this point in place of the twice a day rinse I soaked them in
water for 15 minutes. This soaking adds bulk to the sprouts.

This was taken on day 6 which was the last day. The previous
day I took the weight off allowing them to fill the container.

With the sprouts done I placed them in a bowl of water. This was
done to separate out the green seed coats. Most fell to the bottom
and others I skimmed off the top.

With most of the skins gone they went in the sink to
remove the last of the seed coats and clean them.

With that done they were dried very well and placed in the fridge.

Sprouting turns out to be quite easy to do and fast as well. Within 6 days you can have enough sprouts for a couple meals. They also taste much better then sprouts from the store. At about the three day mark they taste just like sweet green beans, by the sixth day they take on a more starchy taste and the crunch is excellent. I see more sprouting in my future.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Seed Trades Part III

The last seed trades have came in over the last few days, at least I think it's the last of them. If you missed any parts you can find them here, Part I & Part II. It has been a fruitful year for seed trades and I have received many interesting things.

Miss M @ Dirt Happy sent an assortment of veggie & ornamental seed. Starting with the top photo there is giant celeriac, oregon sugar snow pea, toma verde tomatillo, purple tomatillo & purple sprouting broccoli. In the lower photo is pink chelone, blue baptisia, blue flax, max setaria, red leaf amaranth & perovskia.

Kathy @ Skippy's Vegetable Garden sent brilliant celeriac.

Yan @ Soggy Creek Seed Co. sent amarillo carrot, early jersey wakefield cabbage, bull's blood beet & purple plum radish which I just posted about below.

Today I also did a bit more root crop planting. Feb 11-12th is a good time to sow root crops by the moon. Timing was perfect to seed the two kinds of celeriac I just received above and I also seeded some red of florence scallions that Thomas sent.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Soggy Creek Seed Co. Review

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Yan at Soggy Creek Seed Co. They are starting up a new seed business and he offered me a sample of their seeds. Quoting their website, Soggy Creek Seed Co. sells heirloom seeds and other wonderful things from the gardens of Piebird. Piebird is their vegetarian bed & breakfast in Nipissing Village, Ontario, Canada. A look through their pages will present the reader with many lovely photos and lots of good information.

They have taken a rather fun approach to renaming the heirloom seed with stories to go along. Below is a copy of the front and back of the seeds I received. It is nice to see another take on the rather mundane pack of seed. Check 'Em Out:


Deer Deterrent Cabbage Seeds

Kissing Booth Beet Seeds

Crop Circle Radish Seeds

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter Harvest Monday

Today I wrapped up my bean sprouting venture. It took 6 days to get to this point and they taste great. More about them later this week.

Outside today I harvested the last of the green onions. Their leek like appearance comes from a combination of deep planting and having to peel the outer leaves due to cold damage. I also brought in the last of the 'Little Gem' romaine. Next winter I am planning to plant a lot more of this romaine, it is really hardy.

If you would like to see what everyone else is harvesting stop by Daphne's Dandelions for the full list.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Planting by the Moon

I tried out some moon planting tonight for the first time. My recently seeded onions had pretty lack luster germination so I needed to seed some more. After seeing the large wolf moon last January I decided to looking into planting by the moon.

With my limited reading so far I found out my planned planting date of Feb 1st would have been a poor idea as that is a barren time. Feb 6-7th is a better time to plant roots crops during the new moon phase. If you are looking to read up more on moon planting Granny just did an informative post and the Farmers Almanac also has good information.

Tonight I seeded a cell pack each of Utah Sweet Spanish onion and Amish Bottle onion. This time I planted 12 seeds per cell. I hope they germinate well so I can grow 4 plants per cell in order to have enough plant stock. If these do not germinate well I am going to have to plant sets again this year. Onions seem to be the one veggie that always cause me problems, from poor germination to weak growth to small bulbs.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Beautiful but Cold Day

Today was a very nice sunny February Day. We had a high pressure system push down from the north which gave use lots of blue sky's but also really cold temperatures. Here are a few photos I took today:

Male Mallard, Taken on the Grand River in Caledonia, ON

Male & Female Bufflehead, Taken on the Grand River in Caledonia, ON

Barn, Taken in Six Nations Reserve

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fourth Time's A Charm

I have been trying to grow a Brugmansia sanguinea seemingly for ever. My first attempt was probably 7 years ago from Thompson & Morgan seed. The seed grew great but it turn out to be the white Brugmansia candida. After complaining I received replacement seed which then also grew out to be the white version. I then lost interest. Last year I decided to try again and order some seed from ebay. Of the 5 seeds only one sprouted and it then abruptly damped off. Clearly I like punishment so I order seed again this year from druid_moons on ebay.

Again I receive 5 seeds but this time they have done really well. I ended up with three viable seeds and now have two healthy seedlings growing. The third one I accidentally cooked to death by placing it to close to the metal halide bulb. In the next few weeks it will be apparent if the seed is true. Brugmansia sanguinea have toothed fuzzy leaves so identifications will be pretty easy now that I know what to look for.

Above is a photo of the flower that I borrowed from google image. It is quite a striking plant. I hope this will be the year it grows true and I will be extactic if I end up with two healthy plants.