Monday, April 08, 2013

Beginning of 2013 Season

On March 16th, 2013, the annual seed-planting ritual began, with 5 trays planted. 38 varieties of tomatoes, plus cabbages, capsicums, parsley, aubergine, and celery. It is always a big day for me, I look forward to the seeds every year, as a ritual of Earthly renewal.

I planted by the moon. On March 16th, it had just begun to wax from a new moon. The little seeds responded by promptly germinating and popping up out of the good soil. I planted up to 10 seeds per variety, because I'm giving away some plants to neighbors. I can also sell the extras in town. Last year I also tried astrological gardening, but it failed miserably. I made it too involved, worrying about the signs and stuff. Really, using just the moon fullness or lack thereof, is the best way to go. KISS - Keep it Simple, Stupid.

We have had a colder than normal Spring so far. The soil has just gotten up into the low 40's F in temperature, when it should be around the mid-fifties. It is also too wet to till it. Usually we till on or about April 15th. The onion plants from Dixondale Farms in Texas, are absolutely gorgeous this year. And they sit, waiting, in my refrigerator, set at 50 degrees F, along with all my seed potatoes. Gotta keep them all in stasis, dormant.

I can't warm them up and chit them yet. I can't predict yet, when I will till for planting, and chitting is 2 weeks prior to that, indoors. Chitting means to warm the tubers up, and allow the eyes to grow into little shoots, in sunshine to keep them stubby. I also have to cut some larger tubers up, and dust them with sulfur, and then let them dry for a day to prevent rot from setting in when planted. I usually do this in my living room of the house.  it makes a mess, and takes up lots of room, but I don't have any other suitable space.

I will take some pictures today, as I plant more seeds in the cellar. I have a big setup with a 1000 watt HPS grow light, on a rail, above a 8 foot long planting bench with heat mats for 8 flats at a time, and room for about 15 flats total on the bench. The plant light moves back and forth over the flats on the motorized rail. The cellar room temperature is about 62 degrees.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I am really looking forward to tomorrow, Monday, to get back home and begin the annual seed sowing rituals of Spring! The moon sign says it's time to start.

I go by the meteorological seasons, so Spring began on March 1st for me. America is alone in the world of 4 season countries in going by astronomical seasons beginning in mid-month. March April and May are all Spring months.

I need  to plant about 4 seeds of each variety of tomato, or 160 seeds. I want 4 seedlings to choose the best 2 from, and have some to share, and have some to sell. I have never tried to sell tomato plants before and it's not a big deal if I don't.

I'll take photos as I go.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day

Hello! Today is the 29th, Leap Day. To celebrate the day we are having horrible weather, really windy and cold, rainy and snowy combined. Some celebration...

I have been getting both blue jays and cardinals at my feeder, filled with finch food, sunflower seeds and shelled whole corn. Of course I get gold finches, sparrows of several kinds, and slate colored juncos. Occasionally I get a dove beneath the feeder, on the ground eating the scattered millet. I love birds, and so does Felix, my boycat. He likes to eat them, tho, not watch them.

I am going to visit my daughter and son a few hours from home on the 7th, and will get some plants potted up before I go, plus fill some of my seedling trays before I go, so they are ready to go the day I get home.

I am planting by moon sign and phase, and March 12th is the day I start planting seeds.

Last night I chose my tomato varieties for this year, 40 of them, a few are experimental, but most are dependable producers so I can get a huge harvest and make and can all the tomato soup I need for a few years. I need at least 100 pounds of tomatoes. I like an Amish recipe for the soup, even tho it has flour and butter in it, which is supposed to be a modern day canning no-no. I don't care, it tastes really good, and it kept just fine for us.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

My kitchen garden for herbs

Here is my herb garden, on the South side of the kitchen/house. The rosemary bush in the pot is really very large, that is a 5 gallon pot it's in. My garlic and herbs grow beautifully here.

My hydroponic units in Summer 2011

Here are pics of my hydroponics units on the west /back side of the house. Loren built me the platform with wood chips as the surface, and he and I set it all up.

Several kinds of basil can be seen on the right front double tray in the photo above. Behind it is a simple lettuce blend that I harvest leaves from. The double tray on the left has salad niche (Thompson & Morgan Seeds) in the front tray, and heirloom lettuce in the rear part. In the EuroBucket system on the far left, I have cutting celery growing in the right 4 buckets, and regular celery, Tango, growing in the left 4 buckets. I can also grow watercress very well in these units, but did not do so in the year this photo was taken. This is a West exposure and gets hot in August. Watercress would be happier on the North side of the house, in the deep shade.

 This is several kinds of basil growing, including some lettuce-leaved kinds for pesto, and blue basil in the right tray.
 You can see a volunteer lettuce plant underneath the tray on the right side, above. And another one on the left side, poking up.
Here is a close-up of the celery. You mostly are seeing the cutting variety here. The celery is growing in a mix of perlite and Hydroton clay balls. Each bucket has a waterline going to it, and drains back into the Panda reservoir via a drain line.
We had a fox make her den in back of the Morton Bldg in Spring 2010, and she had 4 kits back there in the tall grass. So cute! The cats were fascinated with them. The cats are bigger than the Mama fox.

Red and Yellow Dutch Shallots from my 2011 garden.