We’re running a little late this year on selecting vegetable seeds and getting them ordered; but now that I’ve created our annual seed starting and planting schedule (see below), I can keep us on track. It helps me keep focused on buying seeds, starting transplants, getting supplies, and making sure the garden beds are prepared on time.
I start with my schedule from the previous year (see Making 2011′s Seed Starting & Planting Schedule), copy it to a new spreadsheet tab, consult my notes from last year’s garden, and then work up the new plan. I’ve included a downloadable template (2012 Seed Starting & [...]
Continue reading Making 2012′s Seed Starting & Planting Schedule (w/downloadable template)
Starting transplants in soil blocks is a new process for me, so this is a learning project. When seeding the first flat of mini-blocks (see the 3/4” blocks below), I found one nice thing is the depression in the top for a seed. With large seeds, it’s very easy to get a seed into each depression; however, small seeds are a challenge. Wetting the end of a toothpick and using it to pick up and deposit tiny seeds worked best for me (the seeds are in the white bowl below and the water and toothpick in the brown bowl) – I could [...]
Continue reading Seeding Soil Blocks
Soil blocks were first developed in Holland as a more efficient method for starting seedlings or transplants; and extensive research in European countries has shown transplants grown in them are superior to transplants grown in containers. I’m for anything that’s more efficient and gets better results, so we’re starting seedlings this year using soil blocks.
Soil blocks are made from a growing medium (seed starting soil mix) that has been compressed into a block by using a forming tool. When the blocks are formed, a slight depression is left in the top of each soil block; and one seed is typically placed [...]
Continue reading Soil Blocks for Starting Transplants
Previously, watermelon has not done particularly well in our garden – generally the growing season’s over before the watermelon are ripe. However, this year I used the old heirloom variety called Crimson Sweet, and we’ve been happily eating watermelon for several weeks.
Crimson Sweet is described as an AAS winner (1964) that’s crisp and sweet; has medium-red flesh and mild flavor; and is a very popular, old heirloom. The packet says the variety takes 85 days to mature. I started the seeds indoors; hardened the transplants off, and then planted them in the garden after all chance of frost was over.
They vines [...]
Continue reading Watermelon Success
This year I planned to grow only heirloom tomatoes (Brandywine, Green Zebra, and Eggyolk), but in a crazed moment (what if the heirlooms don’t produce this year?) I picked up some Early Girl transplants at the garden center. So, I have two orange tomatoes ripening in the garden right now, Brandywine and Early Girl.
The Early Girl tomatoes (picture on the right) look beautiful – deep orange, blemish-free, uniformly round, and you expect they’ll be delicious. The Brandywine tomatoes are not so pretty (the picture on the left). They’re deeply ribbed, often cracked, and randomly shaped. Folks that haven’t experienced heirloom tomatoes go straight for the Early Girls.
But beauty doesn’t create a great [...]
Continue reading A Tale of Two Tomatoes
Over the past few months, I’ve written several posts on growing healthy garden transplants, and I’ve combined them here (for convenience) into one “how-to” on growing seedlings indoors.
I’m always anxious to get a jump on the garden growing season, so I start most vegetable plants indoors instead of direct seeding in the garden; that way, I’ve got stocky transplants ready as soon as the last frost date has passed. Growing them indoors allows me to control temperature, light, and water while eliminating exposure to wind, diseases, insects, and pests. So each year, I consult my seed starting schedule (see Making a Seed Starting & Planting Schedule), and start [...]
Continue reading Growing Stocky Garden Seedlings