Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Kids March 2016

 James in the tree across the street.
 Maggie and Sarah posing by the kitties laying on the bed together.
 Aw, Sparkles the Mama Kitty has her head on Chai kitty. So sweet. You can kind of see Mama's belly sticking out a bit. She is due the middle of next month
 Maggie and Sarah riding their horses wearing mama and Steve's hats.
I love this picture of Maggie Mae. :D

Plant Updates and What My Transplants Look Like

 Seeds have sprouted.  Here are some statice (Maggie's flowers) and tomatoes on the left.
 Little bitty Rudbeckia seedlings (Goldilocks variety, one of my faves).
More tomato seedlings
 Resina Calendula seedlings for the salve I make.
Here is what the transplants look like before I take them apart and put them in their own pot. I seed them together in one pot in seedless potting soil. I gently pull them apart.
 This is what the asparagus roots look like. :)
 And after they are planted in individual pots.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Garden Journaling

 Journaling is very important when gardening, especially if you stay in the same place more than one year. A regular cheap spiral bound notebook will do just fine (the first one I had was tobacco paper spiral that was quite pricey, go as pricey or as cheap as you want). Write down when you started seeds, when they germinated and when you planted them out in the garden.  Later, write down when they started producing, how much, etc.  This is all important so you can look back and see when you did what and what you could change to make it better for next year.  All good things. :) Writing down the varieties of plants too, so you know what you need to order seedwise for next year.
Maggie also has her own spiral bound notebook for her flowers so she can keep track of how much she spent on seeds, when she started seeds, etc. This way she can pay me back for the seeds I bought for her to start out and she can plan for next year, how much money she needs to save to buy seeds for next years flowers if she wants to sell flowers again. She also has a list of flower seeds in a catalog she wants to buy and try out next year.  All good things, especially when your 4 and have the possibility of making money for yourself and things you want to buy. :)

Starting Seeds

Oh, the excitement is mounting.  This will be the first year in a long time that I can go from starting seeds all the way to harvest and starting garlic in one place.  Aw, yeah.  This is truly my passion and I'm so looking forward to this year. I think the whole family is looking forward to it. Starting seeds, building treehouses to keep the littles busy while I (we) tend the garden, Maggie starting her flower business (Mags will be selling bouquets this year to start making her own money, Sarah might be too and helping sell duck eggs), putting soil on the garden, direct seeding and transplanting seedlings. Exciting!!

I will go into a little more detail next time on how I start seeds, but this is the gist of it. I intensively sow as many seeds as I want transplants in a small pot in soiless soil (two pots if I need a lot of seedlings). I use soiless soil so that I can easily pull apart plants and the seedlings don't have die off like they would with soil that could be carrying bacteria in it. I go by what the package says on the depth of planting, maybe a little less, I gently press the seeds into the soil and put as much soil on top for the depth. I then put them in a seed starting tray on top of my grow mat and cover them in plastic (clear or opaque is fine). The metal part that keeps the seed starting tray directly off the mat does not fit on these shelves so I used dowels to keep them above it. I also add shop lights (on a timer for 12 hours) just for the germination phase.
Here is what my seed starting tray first looks like after I put the seeds in the pots. All covered and cozy and making its own humidity.  I use a spray bottle to water and dampen any soil that is drying out (very important for starting seeds).  I also started some milkweed seeds Steve had and they need to be sprayed every day since they need to be sown on the surface and can dry out fairly quickly.
This tray includes snapdragon and statice seeds for Maggie's flowers, tomato seeds (roma, isis candy, and marglobe), milkweed, rudbeckia (goldilocks variety, my fave), and calendula (resina and zeolights). Resina calendula is really good for using in herbal salves, cream, lip balm, etc. In a couple weeks we will start basil and several others seeds that only need 4-6 weeks inside.
Little asparagus guys, so cute.
Onion transplants. I was overwhelmed with these so I decided I'd rather just direct seed onions like I have in the past compared to transplanting, too much work for just onions.  So, just one tray for these.  It will become easier with transplants in the future once we have a greenhouse in place because once it gets warm enough we'd be able to put them all out in a greenhouse within a few weeks to a month and use a hose to water and handle them outside.
Asparagus seedlings ready to transplant. Aren't they cute? I had never seen asparagus seeds so I was curious to try them (hey, for $1.50, experiment away, right?). They started as little spears and now they are ferning. Aw. And now that we have asparagus we won't need to do this again for 20-30 years, aw, yeah. We should get about 50 plants with all the transplants total. Totally awesome.