Home Garden Archives

Seed, Fruit Trees, and Plant Catalogs

Posted on June 29, 2016 by Leave a comment

Around the end of the year and certainly in the month of January, seed catalogs start arriving in the mail if you are on the mailing list. We have received these catalogs for many years. It is a great source of entertainment for us to read through these catalogs and watch as new and improved varieties appear and other less popular varieties disappear from these catalogs. Seed catalogs are a great source of information about when to plant, how deep to plant, harvest date, and many other tidbits of information that help you successfully grow the seeds. Catalog seeds many times have more seeds in the packet, for the same or a lower price, compared to retail store packets. One misleading designation on many of these catalogs is that the seed is non GMO. This is a non issue with probably 99% of the catalog listings. GMO crops are mostly limited to major agricultural crops like corn, soybeans, cotton, alfalfa and a few other crops which would be unlikely to be grown in a home garden. We are not aware of any GMO sweet corn commercially available through a seed catalog. vrs iphone 7 case You can basically ignore the GMO issue in these catalogs. Additionally, there is no evidence to support that GMO crops are harmful to humans. checkered iphone 6 plus case We are supporters of GMO crops!! GMO crops are necessary to feed the total world population!

R.H. Shumway's

R.H. Shumway’s

R.H Shumway’s Catalog Fulfillment Center 334 W. iphone 8 plus case textured Stroud Street Ste. 1 Randolph, WI 53956-1274 800-342-9461 www.rhshumway.com Each different seed catalog company seems to specialize in some aspect of seed sales. iphone 8 plus pig case Some these companies not only offer seeds for commercial vegetable producers as well as home gardeners. Some specialize only in home garden seeds. In the commercial catalogs, not all the seeds are offered in packet sizes for home gardeners.
Stokes Seeds

Stokes Seeds

Stokes Seeds PO Box 548 Buffalo, NY 14240-0548 800-396-9238 www.stokeseeds.com Harris Seeds has a great catalog for both commercial producers and home gardeners.
Harris Seeds

Harris Seeds

Harris Seeds 355 Paul Road P.O. Box 24966 Rochester, NY 14624-0966 800-544-7938 www.harrisseeds.com The Totally Tomatoes seed catalog focuses mainly on tomatoes and peppers.
Totally Tomatoes & Seeds n Such

Totally Tomatoes

Totally Tomatoes 334 West Stroud Street Randolph, WI 53956 800-345-5977 www.totallytomato.com Seeds n Such is a small catalog that offers a variety of seeds with an affordable combined offer packet price and a good number of seeds per packet.
Seeds n Such

Seeds n Such

Seeds n Such PO Box 1 Graniteville, SC 29829 803-663-1501 www.seedsnsuch.com One of the benefits of buying through the mail or ordering on line from a seed catalog is that there are sometimes more than one packet size. You also have a great deal more variety choices. Sometimes there are early order discounts or quantity discounts.
Vermont Been Seed Company

Vermont Been Seed Company

Vermont Bean Seed Company 334 W. Stroud St. Randolph, WI 53956 800-349-1071 www.vermontbean.com Some seed catalogs do a very good job of explaining how to grow each crop category. These tips can make a big difference specially if you are a beginning gardener, although long time gardeners can learn too. This is very true if you are going to plant something you have not grown before. Additionally, seed catalogs usually have a section dedicated to products and gadgets that may help you grow better or accomplish tasks more efficiently.
Territorial Seed Company

Territorial Seed Company

Territorial Seed Company P.O. iphone 8 minnie mouse case Box 158 Cottage Grove, OR 97424-0061 800-626-0866 www.territorialseed.com This is the first year that we have received a seed catalog specializing in organic seeds. slim iphone x case Although we feel that the benefits of organic gardening are greatly exaggerated, it is good to have seed a company attempting to meet the demands of this growing market. Seeds of Change PO Box 152 Spicer, MN 56288 888-762-7333 www.seedsofchange.com
Seeds of Change - organic seeds

Seeds of Change – organic seeds

Most gardeners that purchase seeds also have an interest in planting small fruit and fruit tree transplants. Stark Nursery acquired many of the varieties that were previously sold by Miller Nursery in Canandaigua, NY. lighting phone case iphone 7 Miller Nursery ceased operations about two years ago. We have been a big fan of Miller Nursery as well as Stark Nursery.
Stark Bro's for Fruit Trees

Stark Bro’s for Fruit Trees

Stark Bro’s Nurseries & Orchards Co. (Apples, Peaches, Apricots, Pears, Grapes) PO Box 1800 Louisiana, MO 63353 800-325-4180 www.starkbros.com Another of our favorite nurseries in Nourse Farms. In our opinion, Nourse is the preferred supplier on the east coast for strawberry, raspberry, and other small fruit and vegetable varieties including rhubarb, horse radish, and asparagus.
Nourse for small fruit plants

Nourse for small fruit plants

Nourse (small fruits, asparagus, rhubarb, horse radish) 41 River Road South Deerfield, MA 01373 413-665-2658 www.noursefarms.com
Indian Berry & Plant Co.

Indian Berry & Plant Co.

Indiana Berry & Plant Company (Strawberry, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Grapes) 2811 Michigan Road Plymouth, IN 46563 800-295-2226 www.indianaberry.com Park Seed Co. 3507 Cokesbury Road Hodges, SC 29653 800-845-3369 www.parkseed.com
Park Seed

Park Seed

Burpee W. Atlee Burpee & Co. 300 Park Avenue Warminster, PA 18974 800-888-1447 www.burpee.com Ball Horticultural Company 622 Town Road West Chicago, IL 60185-2698 800-879-2255 www.ballseed.com/webtrack Adaptive Seeds 25079 Brush Creek Road Sweet Home, OR 97386 541-367-1105 www.adaptiveseeds.com Botanical Interests 660 Compton Street Broomfield, CO 80020 877-821-4340 www.botanicalinterests.com Burgess Seed & Plant Co. 1804 E. Hamilton Road Bloomington, IL 61704-9609 309-662-7761 www.eburgess.com ChilePlants.com (seasonal) (plants not seed) (best selection of eggplant varieties) Cross Country Nursery PO Box 170 199 Kingwood Lockdown Road Rosemont, NJ 08556 908-996-4646 www.chileplants.com Companion Plants (herbs, dyes, culinary, medicinal) 7247 N Coolville Ridge Road Athens, OH 45701 740-592-4643 www.companionplants.com Dixondale Farms (onion plants)(Yello Granex “Vidalia” onions) PO Box 129 Carrizo Springs, TX 78834 877-367-1015 www.dixondalefarms.com Grandpa’s Orchard LLC (fruit trees) PO Box 773 Coloma, MI 49038 877-800-0077 www.grandpasorchard.com Irish Eyes Garden Seeds (potatoes) 5045 Robinson Canyon Road Ellensburg, WA 98926 509-933-7150 www.irisheyesgardenseeds.com
Johnny's Selected Seeds

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Johnny’s Selected Seeds 955 Benton Ave. Winslow, Maine 04901 877-564-6697 www.johnnyseeds.com J.W. Jung Seed Co 335 S.

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Soil Temperature – Soil Thermometer

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Leave a comment

Soil Thermometer One of the first things I learned as an agronomist, was the importance of soil temperature. Almost every seed has a specific temperature range where it will germinate best. If the soil temperature is colder or warmer than that temperature range, the seed may not germinate at all. iphone 6 plus cases black This applies to both desirable plant seed and weed seed. iphone 8 plus cases for girls A soil thermometer can be purchased most easily online. There are now a large variety of options to choose from, but the inexpensive simple “dial and probe” soil thermometer is still as good any any. They are durable and can be left in the soil for months. Just be sure to put it where it won’t get stepped on! Two examples of weed seeds that are sensitive to soil temperature in a lawn and landscape environment are common crabgrass and poa annua. Crabgrass germinates when spring soil temperatures rise to 55 degrees or above in the top 1-2 inches of soil. Poa annua germinates in late summer when soil temperatures fall to 70 degrees or below in the top 1-2 inches of soil. rechargable case iphone 7 This is very important if you are applying lawn a herbicide which needs to be applied prior to the germination of these 2 weeds. The soil temperature needs to be closely monitored to make the decision when to apply. The same is true for vegetable or flower gardens. beach phone case iphone 6 It is important to read your seed packet or seed catalog information to glean the soil temperature range for the germination of the seed you wish to plant. An example of this is the difference between tomato seed germination and eggplant germination. Tomatoes need 60-70 degrees, and Eggplants need 75 to 80 degrees. charger phone case iphone 8 Fertilizers are broken down in the soil by soil microorganisms. Soil microorganisms and fungus organisms are more active at higher temperatures as long as moisture is present. Certain microorganisms thrive in different temperature ranges; some at 40-50 degrees, some at 50-60 degrees, some at 70-80 degrees, etc. In order for the fertilizer to be broken down, the microorganisms need to be active to convert the nutrients into forms usable by the plants. personalised iphone 8 case Did you ever notice mushrooms suddenly appearing in the fall all at once. This is an indication that the temperature and moisture conditions were just right to make them grow. The take home message is that for a small investment in a soil thermometer, you can increase your ability to manage your soil related actives where knowing the soil temperature will make a difference.

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Choosing a Sprayer for Your Small Farm Needs

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Leave a comment

On our small farm we needed a sprayer for multiple uses, including several acres of food plots, an acre of orchard and the capability to correctly spray herbicides, fungicides and insecticides in field and orchard conditions. You will not find this type of sprayer at your local supplier and may have to special order such a sprayer. These sprayers will also cost about five times more than an inexpensive herbicide sprayer. This additional cost can be justified if the versatility is required for your operation. full cover case iphone 8 camo

Hardi BNL 50 Estate Sprayer

Hardi BNL 50 Estate Sprayer

If you are only spraying herbicides or other products that do not need high pressure and high water volume per acre, an inexpensive boom type sprayer is all you need. Some systemic insecticides or fungicides could also be applied with this type of sprayer. Today a lot of food plot sprayers are mounted on the the back of ATVs and UTVs for this purpose. However, if you need to apply contact fungicides, insecticides, miticides or other products that need to be applied with high water volume and high pressure to obtain thorough coverage, you will need a more sophisticated sprayer to achieve this goal. For spraying a small orchard it will require high water volume and high pressure to get up into the trees and achieve complete coverage of all the leaves, fruit and branches. This requires either an air-blast sprayer or a high pressure gun sprayer. The air-blast sprayer is the most efficient choice, but requires purchasing a completely separate piece of expensive equipment. A high pressure gun sprayer can be added to a boom sprayer as an accessory for a small orchard. With a gun sprayer your mobility is limited by the length of the hose that is attached to the sprayer. iphone 7 phone cases griffin For spraying small fruit crops like strawberries, or low height vegetable crops like broccoli, pumpkins, potatoes, etc., a high water volume, high pressure sprayer is required in order for the spray material to penetrate the leaf canopy and undersides of the leaves of these crops. Products such as fungicides, insecticides, miticides require high water volume and high pressure. Herbicide products do not require high pressure or high water volume. You will need to understand the capability of the available pumps that can be mounted on your sprayer and choose the proper pump to supply the water and spray pressure you will require.
Adjust your boom height so the spray pattern achieves good coverage

Adjust your boom height so the spray pattern achieves good coverage

If simply spraying pre-plant, pre-emergence, or post applied herbicides or other products that require low pressure and low water volume a basic boom sprayer is all you need. iphone 8 plus apple case red These sprayers are available normally from local suppliers and are relatively inexpensive. They usually come with flat fan nozzles for applying herbicides.
Adjust your pressure to meet the needs of your situation

Adjust your pressure to meet the needs of your situation

Maintenance for sprayers is relatively simple. Keep the sprayer inside, if possible. Storing the sprayer inside helps reduce exposure to moisture and sunlight. Sunlight will fade the paint and will contribute to the gradual degradation of the hoses. Moisture encourages rust. Keep any mechanisms that require lubrication greased or oiled at least annually. When overwintering in climates with freezing temperatures, the water in the sprayer pumps and lines should be replaced with an antifreeze mixture as required by the manufacturer. There are a variety of nozzles that are available for sprayers, depending on what you need to spray. iphone 6 wolves case For herbicides, the flat fan nozzles that come with the sprayer are probably all you will need. If you are applying other products, hollow cone nozzles or other types of nozzles may be required. Accessories are also available such as a diaphragm check valve for drip free shut off, which shuts the nozzle off at below 10 PSI (pounds per square inch). This feature stops the nozzle from dripping once it is shut off.
Choose nozzles that fit your needs

Choose nozzles that fit your needs

Most boom sprayers have folding booms and this is a great feature for storing the sprayer. The outside booms fold up and criss-cross on the back of the sprayer. bmw iphone 6 plus case
Features: Orchard Spray Gun, High Pressure & Folding Booms

Features: Orchard Spray Gun, High Pressure & Folding Booms

When you add additional equipment like a sprayer, disc, or bush hog to the back of a sprayer it adds weight to the back which must be counter balanced on the front. We have added weights to the front bumper of our tractor. Other options are to add a fluid inside the front tractor tires or add weights to the front tractor wheels. If you choose to add fluid to the tractor tires, a qualified tractor tire dealer can do this.
Adding weight to the front of the tractor

Adding weight to the front of the tractor

Always read agricultural chemical labels, tractor owners manuals and equipment manuals prior to attaching and using an agricultural sprayer.

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Ramps

Posted on June 28, 2016 by Leave a comment

Separated from the soil and ready to clean

Separated from the soil and ready to clean

Ramps (also called wild leeks) (Allium tricoccum) are a forest plant which grows in “patches” in the eastern United States. iphone 6 cases rose gold marble Our ramps grow in the mainly deciduous forest of western NY state. The ramps are in the onion family and taste similar to cultivated onions and garlic. We are fortunate to have them growing on our property, however we only harvest a few every couple years. iphone 8 guess case They are really a novelty, in our opinion, for culinary use. iphone 7 gel case personalised This year we incorporated them into venison cheeseburgers and they were quite good. Some gourmet celebrity chefs could probably convince you they were the best tasting thing since Kale, but it is basically just a wild onion, and tastes like an onion.
Ramps growing in the Spring in the western NY forest

Ramps growing in the Spring in the western NY forest

We do enjoy seeing them grow in our forest, and we are glad they are a continuing part of our environment. They flower and go to seed shortly after they pop up in the spring. Then they go dormant, die back, and disappear from the forest floor until the following Spring, when they reappear. We believe mother nature has timed their life cycle this way because they come up before the leaves are on the trees, take advantage of the sunlight, and then go dormant after the trees are in full foliage. The spring is usually a damp time of year and the summer can be dry so the ramps survive this way by being dormant when the soil is dry and the other forest trees suck up all the available moisture. Energy and moisture is saved in the onion like bulb. iphone 7 rose gold case marble
When first dug, the roots are intertwined with the soil

When first dug, the roots are intertwined with the soil

The ramps reproduce from seeds. The plant flowers in the early summer by sending up a leafless flower stalk. After the foliage has gone dormant, the plant flowers and seeds develop, falling near the mother plant later in the summer. Not every plant will flower. The seeds germinate when conditions are right in late summer or early fall. Not all the seeds will germinate and live. This year we were lucky and the soil was quite dry when we dug our ramps. The soil crumbled away from the roots easily after we dug one shovel full. We separated the soil so it would stay in the woods. spigen iphone 7 plus cases red We tried to cut the roots off, but it seemed easier to just “snap” them off. A single ramp plant can be many years old and develop a root “stub” which is relatively easy to snap off.
Hauling the Ramps back to the kitchen

Hauling the Ramps back to the kitchen

Since the ramps are quite a way out in the woods we took our tractor and wagon to go harvest the ramps. avengers iphone 6 case Now we are ready to take them back to the house and the kitchen where we will prepare them to eat.
Ramps ready for your favorite recipe or fresh chopped in a sandwich or salad

Ramps ready for your favorite recipe or fresh chopped in a sandwich or salad

If you should happen to go out to the forest to harvest some ramps, please remember this is a wild plant treasure that does not reproduce easily. It is important not to harvest more than 30% of the “patch”. That way you will always leave more than you take. Not every year is a good growing year for the ramps so it is important that you leave enough so the patch can continue to grow. If you want to make the effort to go back to the patch in late summer to harvest seeds and plant them, you may be able to start another patch in another spot in the forest. iphone 8 black silicone case In some locations the ramps are being over harvested and are in danger of being eliminated from their home range.

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Simple Germination Test

Posted on June 26, 2016 by Leave a comment

The simple seed germination test provides you with the information to decide whether to plant the seed you have or buy new seed. When you buy new seed to plant in the current year, the seed packet or bag of seed, will tell you the year that the seed was packed for and the germination percentage. Seed companies are required to furnish this information. Seed for sale is normally harvested the previous year and will normally have the highest germination percentage. Standard seed germination rates for vegetable crops range from 40% to 80%. However, the germination rate can be much higher. I am holding a new packet of turnip seed with a germination percentage of 96%. stone roses iphone 7 case If the seed is not planted in the year it was packed for, it will normally lose viability or percent germination. Seed is a living thing and usually only needs water, and room temperature to germinate. The longer the time between seed packaging and seed planting the lower the seed germination percentage will be. ranvoo iphone 8 plus case If the seed is stored in cool temperatures and moderate humidity, more of the seed viability will be preserved. Some seeds deteriorate faster than others. Just because the seed is a couple years old, it is not necessarily ready to throw in the trash. There is a simple germination test that you can do to test the current germination percentage. iphone 6 purple glitter case

How many of these corn seeds will germinate?

How many of these corn seeds will germinate?

Take about 20 seeds and place them in a moist paper towel (not wet) and fold the paper towel so all that seeds are contained within the moist paper towel. Separate the seeds so they are not all bunched together, because you will want to count them in about 5 days. iphone 6 plus case marvel Then place the paper towel in a quart ziplock bag and seal the bag. Place the bag near a window where it can get some light, but not direct sunlight, where it will maintain room temperature of 70 degrees more or less. iphone 8 case pocahontas After 5 to 7 days you will gently open the paper towel to observe how many seeds have germinated and how many have not.
Wrap the seed in a moist paper towel and place it in a ziplock bag

Wrap the seed in a moist paper towel and place it in a ziplock bag

To calculate the germination percentage divide the number of seed germinated by the total number of sees evaluated. In this case we have 11 corn seeds germinated out of 20 total seeds (11/20 = .55 or 55%). If normal germination was 80%, we need to plant about 31% more seed in order to achieve a complete stand (80-55)/80=31. iphone 6 plus leather case torro Most of the time the seeding rate is printed on the seed packet or tag. The seeding rate includes the space between the rows and the space between the seeds in the row.
The simple germination test

The simple germination test

If the results of a germination test shows the germination percentage much lower than normal, the seed may also lack seedling vigor. In other words the seed may germinate but be unable to push the growing point up through the soil in difficult conditions.

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Boysenberries – Bringing a planting back to life

Posted on June 26, 2016 by Leave a comment

Boysenberries are a bramble berry that originated as a cross between a European raspberry (Rubus idaeus) and a common blackberry (Rubus fructicosus) an American Dewberry (Rubus aboriginum) and a Loganberry Rubus X loganobaccus). Rudolph Boysen gets credit for the boysenberry, but the heritage of the berry may have also been influenced by John Lubben (lubbenberry), and Luther Burbank. The boysenberry was somewhat lost to history, but was found and brought back to prominence by Walter Knott of Knott’s Berry Farm fame and George M. Darrow of USDA plant breeding fame. case for iphone 7 leather The Knott’s made a business out of making boysenberry pies and preserves. The boysenberry has now lost most of it’s prominence again to bramble berries that are more economical to produce. To us, the boysenberry has the appearance of both the raspberry and the blackberry. The color, flavor and drupelets are more similar to a raspberry, but the berry has a “core” like a blackberry. A raspberry core is hollow. We picked just a handful of berries last year. In late March, we rented our community garden plot in southern California, we inherited a planting of boysenberries. The boysenberries had been planted a year or two previously, a simple trellis installed and then left unattended. iphone 8 plus skateboard case The planting had lacked for water and fertility and was overrun by bermudagrass.

We inherited a poorly maintained Boysenberry planting

We inherited a poorly maintained Boysenberry planting

The first thing we did was to apply a 30 day supply of Miracle-Gro fertilizer, and a 90 day supply of Osmocote fertilizer to the base of the plants. Next we installed two drip irrigation lines about 10 inches apart at the base of the plants. claires iphone 6 case Then we installed black landscape fabric for weed control and covered it with about 4 inches of “weed” mulch. pug phone case iphone 7 The weed mulch was from weeds we gathered as we cleared the rest of the garden plot.
Smothering the bermudagrass with "weed" straw

Smothering the bermudagrass with “weed” straw

After a few weeks of regular watering and renewed soil fertility, the plants responded with the appearance of vigorous new cane growth.
The extra water and fertilizer is starting to pay off

The extra water and fertilizer is starting to pay off

As the new growth became very vigorous we started to train the long canes to achieve a desired height and trained other canes over the top of the trellis to keep them off the ground.
Training the trailing vines

Training the trailing vines

As we approached the end of August, we stopped fertilizing to inhibit new growth and let the plants “harden” a little going into winter. The amount of established canes will be sufficient for full berry production next spring for the cane training system we used.
Late August - ready to go into winter!

Late August – ready to go into winter!

Sometime in November or December we cut the base of the canes, which had overflowed on the ground at the base of the trellis. We cut the canes about a foot above the ground. By doing this, it will improve air flow and disease prevention. nice iphone 7 plus case It is possible that we did not cut the bottom cane growth high enough and we will need to observe what happens when the fruit matures for positive or negative results.
Winter trimming and drip fertilizing system

Winter trimming and drip fertilizing system

In late December, January and February, we made an application of liquid Miracle-Gro fertilizer through the drip irrigation system to encourage rooting during this cool, moist period. iphone 8 plus plain case Our whole garden is connected to this drip fertilization method. We like this method of fertilizer application, although we cannot use it all the time, because not all our garden plants need to be fertilized at the same time. personalised silicone iphone 8 plus case
Spring green-up!

Spring green-up!

As soon as temperatures began to rise late in February and early March, the dormant plants began to grow again and started to form flower buds. The plants looked very vigorous.
Blossoms opening!

Blossoms opening!

The volume and health of the boysenberry plants indicate that we will have an ample crop of berries.
Honeybees pollinating the blossoms!

Honeybees pollinating the blossoms!

We are fortunate to have a good population of honeybees in the area to help pollinate our blooms. We do not know where they come from in our urban setting, but we are glad they are visiting our garden.

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Planting Garlic using Bulbils (Bulblets)

Posted on June 24, 2016 by Leave a comment

We are not garlic experts by any means, but we wanted to share our current experience. A neighbor gardener gave me a dried mature scape (the remnants of the garlic flower). lumee phone case iphone 7 plus The mature scape on this variety is like a little cluster of about 75, one quarter inch long miniature garlic cloves. Scape normally only develop on hardneck varieties of garlic, however occasionally an individual softneck plant will grow one. These can be planted to be increased into a future garlic crop. I just takes a year or three longer. phone cases iphone 6 teen wolf From what we could research these little garlics are called either Bulbils or Bulblets. We are going to refer to them as bulbils. ferrari iphone 6 case We are going to plant about a third of these bulbils in a potting soil six pack, 4 to a cell, for future transplanting. We will also plant the other 2/3 directly into garden soil.

Garlic Bulbils (or bulblets)

Garlic Bulbils (or bulblets)

Each bulbil has a rooting end which was attached to the scape and a shoot end which is the very pointed opposite end. When you plant these it probably doesn’t matter which way they are oriented since they are so small but we tried to orient them shoot end up and root end down. Why not save the plant a little energy and point it in the right direction. Who wants to do summersaults buried in the dark ground.
Bulbils (Bulblets) oriented like a large garlic bulb

Bulbils (Bulblets) oriented like a large garlic bulb

We like to use a pair of tweezers for planting seeds and now bulbils in the potting soil. Basically we use the pointed end to make a small depression in which to place the bulbil a little less than a half inch deep. This depth would vary by garlic variety as bulbil size varies by variety.
Bulbils (Bulblets) planted and ready to water

Bulbils (Bulblets) planted and ready to water

Watering:: You may have noticed the single hole in the bottle top lid our first photo. We attempted to make a dribbler watering bottle with this lid. It did not work because it did not have a vent hole to let the air enter. So we re-enginered the bottle top lid to have a large pouring hole and a smaller air vent hole. unicorn iphone 8 case This worked extremely well for watering the potting soil in the six packs. We also added bottom water for the water to absorb through holes in the bottom the six-packs.
Two holes in the bottle cap for more controlled watering - the small hole lets in air!

Two holes in the bottle cap for more controlled watering – the small hole lets in air!

The bulbil should grow in the first season into a small garlic bulb which may be 1/4″ to one inch in diameter, that is not divided into cloves. eco phone case iphone 7 The second year you may grow full size bulbs but it may mature in to a cluster of small cloves. iphone 6 plus leather case black Those cloves can be planted and hopefully mature into full size bulbs in the third year. The bulbs and cloves need to be replanted each year in the proper spacing for the size of the bulb or clove. This is a great way to share your garlic with a neighbor gardener or increase your own crop size. 3d iphone 6 case Across varieties the whole process can take from 2 to 5 years.

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Growing Seedlings for Spring Planting

Posted on June 24, 2016 by Leave a comment

We wanted to grow a few seedings. Some varieties that are hard to find, as transplants, at garden centers. We decided to purchase a Jiffy® seed starter kit and add our own potting soil to the six-packs. We chose this system for several reasons: 1) It has trays that will separate into six-packs; 2) It has a tray to hold the six-packs; 3) The tray will also hold any watering overflow; 4) It had a clear plastic cover. 5) The Jiffy kit was also reasonably priced and individuals parts could be purchased separately later.

Jiffy® Seed Starter

Jiffy® Seed Starter

We liked the idea of the clear plastic top, however this top rests very close to the top of the seedlings and has no ventilation holes. If the clear cover is left for very long in direct sunlight, the plants may overheat and be killed. This not only happen to us, but also with a neighbor gardener who tried the same set-up. We will discuss our solution below in the post.
Separating the seed trays

Separating the seed trays

It is important that the potting soil for seedlings has several attributes. The soil needs to be made of fine particles that will hold water around the seed. The soil needs to be sterile so that it will not have weed seeds, fungus organisms, or other organisms. Fertilizer needs to be contained in the potting soil or needs to be added to the soil, so that the plants have nutrients until the time of transplanting.
Picking a potting soil

Picking a potting soil

The potting soil needs to be added to the individual cells and packed enough to eliminate any air spaces in the potting soil. This will help ensure uniform water holding capacity and root penetration. The potting soil should then be leveled a little below the rim of the cells so that the water can soak in when watering without running off.
Filling the trays with potting soil

Filling the trays with potting soil

The next step is to plant the seeds at the depth required as described on the seed package. iphone leather case 8 plus If you have a lot of seed you may decide to plant one or two extra seeds in each cell to ensure all the cells will have at least one seedling. If more than one seed germinates, the extra seedlings can be removed, leaving the healthiest seedling. If you are limited on seed, just plant one seed per cell. Sometimes it is a good idea to save some seeds in case you have to re-plant due to unforeseen circumstances. Once the seeds are planted be sure to add enough water so that all the potting soil is saturated with water. Add the water a little at a time to prevent overwatering.
The seeds have been planted and watering begins

The seeds have been planted and watering begins

Now that the seeds have been planted it is important to meet the germination temperature requirements for each seed type. This information is usually published on the seed package or can be looked up online. iphone 6 name case Most seeds will germinate at a soil temperature between 65 degrees and 80 degrees. Some seeds will germinate at cooler or warmer temperatures. In order to keep the soil surface moist, a barrier of some type will help to do this. iphone battery case 6 This can be in the form of a plastic cover or possibly a light colored, coarse weave fabric cover. It is important to have ventilation to prevent overheating especially if using natural sunlight. iphone 6 case silicone protective If you intend to grow a lot of seedings a heating pad designed for seedlings can be purchased through an online gardening supplier. The heating pad can be set for the exact temperature that your seed needs for germination. For indoor growing, special growing lights can purchased and installed over the seedling trays.
Mini greenhouse made from an upside down storage tub

Mini greenhouse made from an upside down storage tub

We seem to have had the most success using an upside down clear plastic storage container with ventilation holes drilled in the bottom of the tub which becomes the top of the mini greenhouse. This top covers the entire planting tray. The holes can be drilled with larger or smaller holes depending on the outside temperature. We have about eight 1/4 inch holes drilled in our tub. For a tub that is in direct sunlight all day, we increased the hole size to 1/2 inch diameter. The height of the tub allows the heat to rise above the seedlings and venting the hot air out through the top. The tub still holds most of the moisture under the tub keeping the humidity high near the seedlings. The high humidity helps with germination and prevents the potting soil from drying out too quickly. We have found that this type of cover is heavy enough to resist light winds and can be further secured by placing a weight on top such as a small brick or stone. We have cool nights here and sunny days, so we have been putting the seedlings outside during the day and bringing them in the house at night. The house temperature is at least 70 degrees. The outside sunlight has been raising the temperature under the tub higher than 70 degrees for most of the daylight hours.
Add ventilation holes

Add ventilation holes

Seeds will take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to germinate. This information should be printed on the seed packet or can be looked up online. In our case, the tomato seedlings are up and growing after a week, but we are still waiting on the eggplant seedlings which will take at least another week to germinate. iphone 7 plus wireless charge case
The seedlings starting to germinate

The seedlings starting to germinate

Update – 3/26/16: After trying several configurations of small or mini greenhouses, we like the Coke® bottle mini-greenhouses, with 2 inch peat pots the best. It is easiest to control the environment, one on one, with each seedling. The 2 inch peat pots are easy to remove for transplanting without damaging the transplants.
We liked the Coke® bottle mini greenhouses best

We liked the Coke® bottle mini greenhouses best

We did need to fertilize the seedlings several times. The amount of nutrients in the potting soil was not sufficient to supply the necessary fertility until the seedling was ready for transplanting. The seedlings do require a lot of daily maintenance, including watering, managing sunlight availably, daytime and nighttime temperatures and wind. The seedlings also need to be thinned, most often, to one plant per unit.

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Making Homemade Lemonade

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Leave a comment

Our recipe makes one quart of lemonade. iphone 6 plus phone cases silicone Lemon trees in southern California are pretty common. Many people have them in their yards and sometimes they are located in public areas and are available for picking. vegan iphone 7 case If someone has a lemon tree on their property, there may be hundreds of lemons that all ripen over several months between late fall and early summer. jordan iphone x case One lemon tree can produce way more lemons than any family can handle and consequently they are given away to friends, neighbors and charitable organizations. In our case we picked a bunch of lemons from my son’s tree. leather iphone 8 case In order to make the lemonade, first we needed to have some type of juicer to extract the juice from the lemon. iphone 7 phone cases silicone glitter We went on Ebay and purchased a classic glass juicer for about $16.00, including shipping. heart phone case iphone 6 It has a big reservoir for holding the juice and a great spout for pouring. iphone 6 ring light case

Making lemonade

Making lemonade

Ingredients 1) Two medium lemons 2) About 1/3 Cup of sugar 3) Water to fill the quart jar
Squeezing the lemons with a classic juicer

Squeezing the lemons with a classic juicer

Putting it all together 1) Cut the lemons in half and juice the lemons 2) Separate out any seeds that the lemon may have 3) Pour the lemon juice in a quart container 4) Add 1/3 cup of sugar to start.

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Rutabagas – cooking two ways

Posted on June 23, 2016 by Leave a comment

There are at least two main ways to prepare rutabagas for recipes; roasting and boiling. tropical iphone 8 case When we harvest at the garden, we cut off the tops and roots and then wash the bulb. lips iphone 7 plus case We add the tops and roots to our composting effort. water proof case iphone 7 In the kitchen, we use a peeler to remove the outside layer and get down to the “meat” of the bulb. silicone phone cases iphone 7 plus Rutabagas can be roasted alone or with a combination of other root vegetables like, carrots, and parsnips. jack wills iphone 7 plus case Boiled rutabagas can be served mashed with butter or included in soups and stews and boiled as the soup cooks.

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