Monday, March 31, 2008

Seed Starting 101

Have you ever wanted to start your own garden seeds, but the process is a tad intimidating?
In the next few postings we will walk you through the process.

By starting our own seeds we have even more control over what we grow, and more importantly where the seed originated and how it was gathered. We choose to grow from certified organic seeds.
The process begins by gathering and sterilizing your seeding trays. Trays may be used multiple times, but will need to be sanitized by washing in a tub of 10:1 bleach solution. Do not skip this step, it is messy, but worth it to begin the seedlings in a sterile environment.
Once the trays are dry fill them with a organic potting mix, a seed starting mix is preferred.

Check the seed packet for it will have invaluable information, such as how early to start indoors & days to germination. The last "official" frost date is May 20th in our zone.

We are starting Sweet Peppers, which have a germination of 10-21 days, at soil temps of 75-85 degrees. Yes, that is soil temp which means you have to warm the potting mix up to 75-85 degrees to ensure germination. The easiest way to do so is with a heating mat.

Pepper seed need only be planted 1/4" deep in the moist potting mix, once planted, place on heating mat or warmest spot in house, seeds do not need light to germinate. Immediately upon germination light will need to be provided.

If your seeding trays do not have a plastic domed cover, a thin plastic bag (dry cleaning bags) over the top of the tray will suffice. Covering the tray provides humidity which aids in keeping the potting mix moist. Keep the mix moist but not wet and if needed always bottom water.

to be continued.......

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Blue Skies and Birdsong

Signs of Spring are abundant today, beautiful blue skies and birdsong at dawn.
The sun actually feels warms today. It prompts me to think once again of spring plantings, and fresh asparagus.
The Robins have returned along with many of our other Summer Birds, I have spotted Robins, Redwing Blackbirds, Grackles, Killdeer, and we have had many customers in purchasing Wren Houses.
The Birdsong at dawn in the backyard is a pleasant and welcome way to wake up each morning, for spring you are ever so welcome this year!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Winter Aconites

This sight greeting me yesterday when I returned from work. These particular bulbs of winter aconties orginated from my partners family. His grandmother planted them 40 some years ago at the house his parents now live in. They cover the hillside, ravine and lawns at their house. It is a sight to behold, and one we look forward to, for it yells out, "Spring is Coming!".
Winter Aconites are inexpensive and easy to plant in the autumn. The reward is indescribable.

Winter aconites have been grown since the sixteenth century in English Gardens and extend the flowering season of perennials by adding a splashes of colour from January to March, often pushing through the snows of winter.Their name comes from the Greek “er” meaning spring and “anthos” meaning flower and hyemalis which means flowering in the spring.
Winter aconites have upturned yellow cup shaped flowers (¾ - 1 inch or 2 -2.5 cm across) that sit stalkless on a ruff of bright green leaves and they can flower for up to six weeks.From April onwards the leaves die down and the plant will be dormant and hidden until next winter. Cultivation
The knobbly tubers need to be planted 2” (5cm) deep.
3-4” (7.5 – 10cm) apart.
They do best in moist, fertile, well-drained soil.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Blooms in My Dining Room

Funny thing about people who Garden, they can not just let go of the growing season in the fall.
We have the tendency to bring many of our tropical blooming plants indoors. The plants do not necessarily care for this climate change. Many of our homes are heated with forced air, creating a dry warm condition. To adapt to this change in climate the tropicals usually drop all their foliage and look rather pitiful during the winter indoors. If you are really lucky, supplement the humidity levels, and place the plants in a southern facing window, look what can happen.

This hibiscus had 8 blooms this morning. And the bougainvillea (photo above) has been blooming for over a month. I will be able to place these plants outdoors in 6 to 8 weeks and they will continue to surprise me with their effortless beauty.

Monday, March 3, 2008

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There is a great variety to choose from, whether you are putting in a new perennial garden, amending your vegetable garden plot, or starting a composting bin.
We are all anxious for spring and this is the perfect time to pick up a few tips from top Gardeners for your Garden this year.