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Everything you need to know… March 30, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things, How to tips.
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about starting seedlings you learned in kindergarten, or day care or girl scouts.  Really, I promise.  Think back.  The teacher had a paper cup for each kid.  You made a couple of holes in the bottom and filled them up with soil.  Then you read the story of Jack in the Bean Stalk and each kid got a bean seed which you poked down into the soil with your finger.  Some water was added and a piece of plastic wrap or baggie was put over the top of the cup.  In about a week all the kids had a bean sprout.

seedlings1Guess what???  It still works, and is a lot cheaper than buying seed starting kits at the local nursery. 

I started a bunch of pepper and tomato seeds this weekend.  I used paper cups (with holes in the bottom) filled with a seed starter soil mix.  I made one mini greenhouse out of an aluminium cake bottom pan with a plastic top.  Actually Saturday morning it had cinnamon rolls in it, which I finished off before planting the seeds.

In about six weeks I should have some good sized seedlings ready to go outside.

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Seed Planting Time March 4, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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seedlingsThis week I’ll start planting seeds.  The first round will be in seed starter packs in the house.  No matter how warm it’s been I’d be crazy to plant seed for tomatoes and peppers outside, even in the greenhouse.

I’ll use a mini greenhouse in the sun room to get the first seeds started.  The tomatoes will later be transplanted in the big greenhouse in backyard.  They did really good there last year.  The peppers will go into the regular vegetable garden.  They did not do good at all in the greenhouse and I don’t plan on making the mistake of putting them there again.

In about two or three weeks it will be time to plant the peas directly in garden.  Look for updates to follow, this is an exciting time of year for every gardener.

Put it on Paper February 23, 2009

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gardendesignWe plan on adding lots of new gardens this year.  The grand plan includes taking out most of the front lawn to add vegetables beds.

The seeds have all been ordered and I have a pretty good plan in my head.  But before any of the actual work begins I’ll put it on paper.

We’ll need hard scape materials to make the raised vegetable beds out front, but how much.  I’ll also need to plan pathways to walk on.  I’ll need to make sure that the beds aren’t to wide.  I don’t like to walk on the growing beds so they need to be small enough for me to reach from each side.

In the back the biggest thing to consider is the dogs.  The last thing I want to do is to put a new bed right in the middle of one of their running paths.  Since the grass is still dormant it will be easy enough to find their paths and work around them. 

Making a detailed garden plan is more than worth it.  It should insure that we get it done right the first time.

Catalog Order Day February 15, 2009

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veggiesThis morning was plant and seed catalog ordering day.  After spending sixweeks reviewing all the catalogs I’ve received I went with just one for the whole order, Gurney’s.  I’ve had good luck with Gurney’s in the past and I couldn’t beat their $25 early order discount.

We plan on really expanding the vegetable gardens this year so I ordered things I never have before.  I’m also adding lots of berry’s this year.  I had good luck with the raspberries that I planted last year and will be adding more of them along with blueberries and blackberries.

Since most of my flower beds are pretty well established I just ordered a few seed packs.

Everything should start arriving in a couple of weeks.  Shortly after that the real work will begin.

Crafts and Herbs February 12, 2009

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I’ve been working every night on the afghan.  I don’t know who I thought I was making the thing for.  It must have been the Jolly Green Giant.  It is so so long, it takes about an hour to stitch one row.  But with working on it every night it is getting wider.  I hope to finish before to long, not only because I’m looking forward to moving on to the next unfinished project, but because when it warms up it will be to hot to work with it.

The Chia herbs are doing great.  I’m still not sure what the sponage like peat mix is, but the baggies on top are making a difference.  Basically all they are doing is making a small green house for each plant.  It’s a great idea for starting any seeds and I may try it on some more in the next week or two.

Chia Herbs February 1, 2009

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So is growing Chia herbs cheating?  I don’t think so.

You are planting actual seeds, even if it’s on a kind a funny sponge like peat moss thing.  You do have to water them and it’s suggested you keep them covered with plastic.  Not a bad idea for germinating any new seeds.

As a rather accomplished gardener I have had lousy luck with herbs.  I’ve tried seed and plants from a variety of suppliers. 

So if the Chia herbs grow I don’t care if it’s cheating or not.

Go Native January 22, 2009

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barrow__garden_decoration_I look at amazement at all of the exotic plants pictured in the seed catalogs.  Beautiful things I have never seen before.  And it is so tempting to order some of them.

But, no matter how beautiful and exotic they are I’ll leave them off the final order list. 

Why, because when ordering seed and plants it’s best to go native and stick with something that will actually grow and thrive in your area. 

I’ll continue later posts with benefits of native and negatives of exotics.

Herbal Help January 19, 2009

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herbsI’ve had pretty good luck growing most vegetables and flowers.  I usually just sprinkle a few seeds or transplant a few seedlings and watch them grow.

Not so with herbs.  I’ve tried seeds and transplants inside and outside.  I’ve tried giving them almost no water and watering almost daily.  It doesn’t matter, they almost always die.

I’ve heard and read that herbs are basically weeds and easy to grow.  Supposedly they are so easy to grow if you’re not careful they will take over the entire yard.  I wish.

I’m not giving though.  For Christmas I got a Chia gourmet herb garden.  I’ll plant it sometime this week.  I’m also planning a special spot for a herb garden when we dig up the front lawn this year.

I’m counting on the law of averages, sooner or later some of these herbs have actually got to grow.

Seed Catalogs Keep Coming January 13, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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amazing_flowers_smallThe seed, plant and bulb catalogs just keep coming.  I look through every page of each one of them.

There really are some great deals and some really different plants.  I’d love to have one of everything.

But instead I’ll stick to what I need and can use.  Mostly this year I’ll be buying vegetable seed and berry bushes. 

I don’t really need anymore flowers, even if I would like to have more.    Over the last five years or so I have gotten a good base of bulbs, perennials and self seeders.  

I’ll be making my final picks in the next month or so and in the mean time I’ll take another look at all the catalogs.

And the planning begins November 28, 2008

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas.
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veggiesGood gardens don’t just happen, they take lots of planning.  It’s the planning that helps to keep all us gardeners from going stir crazy in the winter. 

This week I got my latest issue of Mother Earth News, my favorite magazine ever.  This issue is packed with garden planning.  There’s an article on seeds and seed planning that I plan on reading every word of.  There is also an article on growing potatoes that I have already read every word of.  Potatoes are one thing that we plan on adding to our garden next year.  I’ve never grown them before so I need all the advise I can get and I know the advise from Mother Earth News will be good.

Yeah, I’m looking forward to all my new garden plans and I have some big things in mind for next year.