Monday, March 31, 2008

Seedlings



My good friend up in Michigan has been ever so nice to walk me thru the ins and outs of starting things from seed. We have tried and failed several times before and this time I really wanted to get it right. So, naturally, I went to an expert! It has been so great of her to help me thru this adventure and to be so patient in answering all my questions. And believe me, there have been quite a few.

We started our seeds Easter day. I had hoped to get an earlier jump on things, but I ended up with the super human flu bug and that didnt happen....so we had to wait. Needless to say, when I felt better we dove right in. I decided to go the peat pellet route to get them started and will transfer them to bigger peat pots when Angie tells me to(I mean, when they are big enuf!). I have never used a peat pellet before and I thought that they would expand much more then they did. But, what do I know, right? We went ahead and planted the seeds, watered them, and popped the lid on the tray. A couple days ago I noticed that they were beginning to sprout! Hooray! Once I noticed the growth I had Shawn hang up a light above the tray and we have been keeping the light on them from morning till we go to bed. And of course making sure that they are being kept moist.

I am going really light on planting this season since we are gonna be moving in a little bit. I wasnt sure how much time I would have to maintain a garden. Especially since we really dont have a spot marked out on the property for a garden. I know. I am nuts. Starting seeds right before a big move...yard hasnt been seeded itself at the new house, much less graded. We will have to add a ton of compost and black dirt to the yard before we can really do much of anything. I hope my little seedlings end up being pretty hardy. They have a few obstacles in their path to become fruitful plants. I decided to go with Amish paste tomatoes and Cherokee purple tomatoes. I have heard really great things about both of them. I also purchased some cucumber seeds, but all the advice I got on them was to wait to plant them in the ground directly. So that is what I will do!

Here in the midwest we have lotso fields. Flat fields. They once grew corn or soybeans. When you live in a newly constructed home in a subdivision they take all the good dirt and leave you with crap. Sorry, clay. It is a pain to work with and even harder to get things to grow well. You really have to amend the soil. Altho, I must say that the japanese beetles dont seem to be affected by it at all. They still terrorize us every year. Lacing all of my lovely flowering plants.

So, wish me luck on my adventure. If the plants do well, I am sure there will be more than enuf maters to go around!

30 comments:

Gnightgirl said...

It's looking like I'll be a "mere" Farmer's Market girl this year too, save a few potted tomato plants and some basil. Someday, baby!

frugalmom said...

gnightgirl: We ended up getting a CSA share thru one of the farmers at the market. That way I can still get fresh produce, but not feel obligated to go to the market every week. I love to go, but I know this season I am gonna be super busy getting my yard ready. So...nice compromise.

Jason said...

I hope your crops are bountiful. We live in a new subdivision as well. I know you'll be moving, but we've had very good luck with a raised bed filled in with topsoil.

Which CSA did you get in on? I keep telling myself I should do it, but forget about it until the market opens back up.

farm mom said...

YAY!!! Can't wait to hear how they're doing throughout the season. And thanks for all your kind words, you're too much! *blush*

frugalmom said...

jason: We had semi raised beds at our last home. The struggle was the rabbits. They loved all our fresh veggies. We went with the Moore farm for our CSA. We already get an egg share from them so hopefully this will work out nicely.

farm mom: Thank you for all the help. If it werent for you I would not even be brave enuf to try the seeds again. You have made it so much easier by all the tutorials. I will make sure to take pics along the way so you can see my progress!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

I just seeded my celery, basil, chives, and lavender last weekend and I'm about to start my tomatoes, lettuce and broccoli. I've got the exact same peat pot/plastic container-thing that you do. Am I really going to have to transplant my seedlings into another peat pot, though, before I can move them outside? I didn't (and wasn't planning for) that!

frugalmom said...

farmgirl_dk: Ummm...I am not the person to be asking seedling questions! I think they get transplanted to a bigger pot once they get larger....to be honest, I really dunno. Let's hope farm mom reads this comment and gives us the answer! I am not sure if it is something that you have to do...or just personal preference. Have you started seeds before?

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Well, honestly, up until now, I've been the city girl who does the container gardening...I get my pots and rectangular containers all ready and then run to the local store for my various veggie starts in 4" pots. This is my first time growing entirely from seed....

frugalmom said...

Farmgirl_dk: Yeah, that sounds about like me. I have tried before to do seeds and have always had trouble. I am trying again this time under the supervision of farm mom. Before, I always had trouble with the seedlings getting moldy..there is a much more official term for it, but I cant think of it right now. Basically, they werent getting enuf light and too much water. Ask me where I am going to put these plants in the ground? I have no idea. My yard is a huge mud pit right now. Huge! When do you usually plant things in the ground?

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Well, again, in the past, I would plant things in the ground whenever they started showing up in the local stores' garden centers. lol. This year, though, I'm being much more nerdy about the whole thing. I went to our local extension service (Oregon State Extension Svc) to see what grows well in which parts of Oregon. There's even a huge chart of when to start from seed indoors and then transplant outside. It's going to depend on my crops as to when they go outside. Well, actually, it's going to depend on when I get that 8' deer fence built around my garden. Seriously.

frugalmom said...

I only ask because the rule of thumb around here is top plant mothers day weekend. You are usually safe from frosts by then. I didnt know if you guys had a "safe"date or not. My husbands uncle has a huge deer problem where he is at. He just got a sprinkler that is motion activated that is supposed to spray them when they show up..hopefully deterring them from eating. He lives in a "neighborhood", so I think a fence that large is out of the question.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Ah yes, the last frost date. I looked that up, too. Our specific town wasn't mentioned, but the closest one south of us is, and it gives May 15th as the last frost date. When is Mother's Day this year...seems like 5/15 is right around there...
But despite the last frost date, I think there are 'cooler weather' crops that can be planted sooner. For example, this plannng dates and guidelines chart I have says that Asparagus and peas can be planted in Feb and March. Beets, broccoli, carrots, celery, chives, leeks and raddish, can be planted outdoors beginning in March. Hell, I don't know...I'm just reading what the dang chart says. :-)

frugalmom said...

Farmgirl_dk: Yeah, there are cool weather crops...like I guess you want potatoes and lettuces and broccoli and such in the ground as soon as you can work the soil because they favor the cool weather. We grew broccoli last year. It was really tasty. The thing I wondered tho is do you get only one head per plant? Because those plants get really huge. May 15 sounds pretty close to Mothers day...that leaves me a good amount of time still. Thats why I wonder if you have to transfer them to a bigger pot based on size....by that point they will be gettign pretty good sized, right?

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Well, so here's the thing...it's the early crops...the ones that I can supposedly start putting in the ground now, that I've started from seed. Mostly because I don't have a deer deterrent in place yet. But also, since it has been so dern cold, I wanted to start them indoors, too, just in case it was even colder here this year than this chart allows for...fundamentally, once my seedlings are established, I'm going to put these babies outside and see how they do. I really should have started some of my seedlings back in January (!!) in order to meet these March planting dates they're giving me. Sheesh...it's all so confusing!

frugalmom said...

Farmgirl_dk: It is all confusing. Very. There are so many dates and times to try and remember. I think your cold crops should be fine...next time I would for sure try to get them started sooner tho. do you have to harden off the cool crops?

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Oh, now, see? Look at you, Ms. Knowledgeable...harden off? Um, what's that? :-)

frugalmom said...

Danni: How rude of me? I think I could call you by your first name already! Ha! I am smart, arent I? Not really...I didnt know what it was either till Angie told me. From what I understand it is when you are getting ready to transplant them into the ground and you set them outside for a few days to get them acclimated to the temp outside. We really need to use a messenger. It would be much easier to converse that way.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

I have yahoo messenger and gmail messenger - do you have either of those? :-)

frugalmom said...

Danni: I have gmail as well, do you know a way to add each other without posting our addresses on here?

farm mom said...

frugalmom and Danni-you two are cracking me up!!! :) Okay, I have no experience whatsoever with your climate Danni, but your welcome to email me farm_mom74@yahoo.com anytime you'd like and I'll answer any questions I can to the best of my ability. The reason I transfer my seedlings into peat pots after they get their second set of leaves is because it's still too cold out for them (Mine get started at the beginning of March)and they're getting too big for the pellets (roots out the sides and bottoms) and they need food (aka soil) to continue to grow. I do this with a few of my cool weather crops, like cabbage, broccoli and head lettuces because in our climate we run the risk of them bolting in the heat if they don't get an early start. (And btw, one you cut off the main head of broccoli, new shoots start aslong the sides of the stalk and you get little broccoli heads throughout the season.) I also start some warm weather crops from seed, like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant because they need the longer season. I have started tomatoes by seed in my garden before, because a rabbit ate all my seedlings over night. I didn't get tomatoes until September, and the cool weather started to slow them down by Oct., and I had more greenies than red ones. Well, I don't know if I've answered everything or not, but as always, I'm here if you need me!! :)

frugalmom said...

farm mom: Yeah, we're funny alright! We have no idea what we are doing as far as this seed thing goes. We just take your lead and go off charts and numbers and dates! Its fun, tho. I love doing it. I have always managed to have a great produce garden, but after learning things from you I think it may have been more luck than actual knowing what I was doing!

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Actually farm mom, frugalmom and I just do this for comic relief. We love to entertain! We're actually master gardeners and are considering taking our humorous act on the road as an inspiration to other newbie gardeners. (whadaya think, frugalmom, d'ya think she bought it?)

frugalmom said...

danni: Of course she bought it. How could anyone not? I mean cmon, we have it all together.

farm mom said...

LOL!!! Well, it's working for me. Quite the comedic duo!! :) Seriously though, you'll be pros in no time at all. I'll be sending newbies your way next year!

Mim said...

I was so impressed, 24 comments. Then I read through and realized it's all a conversation between you and Danni! Too funny. I've got to get my seeds started. I got them in the mail while I was in Florida. I bought Dill, so the whole package smells like yummy pickles. LOL

frugalmom said...

mim: What are you trying to say...that I couldnt get 24 legitimate comments on my own???? Youre prolly right. I am cool, but not that cool.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

What, and the fact that we managed to maintain a very funny, quite productive, lengthy-yet- fascinating conversation all in the comments section wasn't an impressive feat in itself?!
What are we up to now, frugalmom, 27?! Woo hoo!! And we're still bringing 'em in! :-)

frugalmom said...

Danni: Right. What you said. I think everyone is failing to realize just how super cool that we are.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

And how sad that we have to keep repeating this fact. Some people just don't get it.

Ok, I'm out. I think we've about dug this one into the ground. (gardening pun intended - HA!) Whatcha gonna post about today? I'll be all over that one. :-D

Twinville said...

BWHAHAHA! You two are cracking me up with your gardening comedy act. You really should take it on the road to help those of us with the 'deer-in-the-headlight' look of fear when it comes to trying to figure out all the rules of growing real herbs and veggies.....yep, that's me!

I've never had a garden....just that clay soil from living in a subdivision, until now, but now we have rabbits and other vermin to contend with...and a shorter growing season up here above 7,000 feet. Apparently we can get our last frost in June!

I want to have my own garden, but I'm still stuck on trying to imagine Spring beginning in the Summer!
hehe

I will be following along on your growing journey and soaking up all of your shared knowledge and experience, though.

For one day....I WILL grow vegetables, too.