Sunday, March 27, 2016

Red Bull Onions Are Up!

Just a quick seed update. The onions have finally sprouted, and also one tiny impatiens. Still waiting on tomatoes, sweet peas, peppers, and beans. I had to order more flats to plant the rest of my beans; they arrive tomorrow.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Planting potatoes and onions

We had four sunny days in a row, with highs reaching near 60. I planted my potatoes and onions on the last sunny day. My friend, Nicole, said to lay the potatoes out in the sun after cutting them to harden them off a bit before planting them. I have never done that before! I put the onion starts just barely into the soil. I remember seeing the way they practically sat on top of the soil in Nicole's garden last year. Hers got significantly bigger than mine, and we split the very same bunch of onion starts.

Meanwhile, John moved more loads of composted chicken manure from their pen to my tomato bed. I mixed in lime and peat moss and cow manure. I hope the PH of the soil will be OK. Soil that is too acidic causes blossom end rot in tomatoes. I will test the soil PH in May before I plant the tomato starts and adjust as needed. The bed is still a little low, so I may ad a few bags of potting soil.

I didn't quite get to planting squash and beans in the greenhouse this weekend. I spent much of the day putting mulch on the garden beds in the patio and I finished pruning the plum tree. Next weekend is supposed to be sunny again, so I will probably plant the remaining seeds Tuesday so they can have the burst of warmth to hopefully sprout.

I saved some pansy seeds and one has come up. Other than that, nothing new in the greenhouse.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Sunshine = Sprouts

In the last few days, the weather has been sunny and a bit warmer. It made it to 60 today. It was 80 degrees in my greenhouse yesterday afternoon, and 60 degrees this evening. Not bad. New sprouts include Mongolian Giant Sunflowers, leeks, lots of peas, cilantro, and a few marigolds,

John moved composted chicken manure from the chicken yard to my tomato bed. Tomorrow, I will mix in some peat moss, sand, and lime and till the bed. Meanwhile, I will also plant potatoes and onions, which finally arrived from Territorial Seeds. They have been on back order since early February.

All for now.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Seed sprout update

I spent the day tilling the garden beds. Remarkably, I only encountered a little bit of rain. The little tiller did well, and I managed to work out just when I need to "give it some air," as I like to think of it, when it needed it. Once it gets hot, it tends to die, but I got the hang of when to back off and keep it from dying.

The beds look beautiful: rich black soil so fluffy you really do want to just lay down in it. I finally understood why my dog might want to do that. I got the soaker hoses laid out and connected, clamps and all.

Meanwhile, in my greenhouse, some new seeds have sprouted: leeks and peas. It seemed to be a fairly consistent 60 degrees in there today with some sunshine. It was enough to cause a few seedlings to pop through the soil.

Tomorrow, I will return two raspberry plants to Flower World that appear to be dead. I am hoping for some sun breaks again to warm things up inside the greenhouse.

Nitty Gritty Gardener

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Pelleted Onion Seeds

I have never tried pelleted seeds before, but I decided to give it a go with red onion seeds. Last year, I bought Red Bull onion sets from Territorial Seeds, but this year, they were only available in seed form. I doubt I will have much success with getting onions to sprout soon enough and grow big enough to transplant them into the garden to become onion bulbs. I figure my chances were better if I didn't also have to thin the tiny seedlings, if and when they do come up. Small seeds, like onions and lettuce, are coated in clay that dissolves or pops open when they are watered. Because they are coated in clay, the are easier to see so you know you've only planted one seed in the hole. I'll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, nothing new has sprouted in the greenhouse. There are more seeds sprouting of the plants that were already up, though. The weather has still been cold and wet and will continue to be for another week. If the forecast holds, we'll have 60-65 degrees next Thursday through the weekend. That should get some seeds to sprout!

Come on sunshine!


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sprout Update

Despite the cool nights (40) and not-so-warm days (45-50), my greenhouse has a little warmth to it and some new seeds sprouted. Other kinds of lettuce, purple cabbage, and spinach have come up since yesterday.

I am hoping for some sunshine soon to warm the greenhouse better and sprout more seeds.

We got a giant metal sunflower at an antique store in Duvall.


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Planting Journal

Whether or not anyone reads my blog, it is most useful to me as a planting journal. Keeping a record of when you plant, temperatures, and how long it takes seedlings to sprout is a helpful strategy in a gardener's toolkit.

I did a good deal of planting in the greenhouse this weekend, trying to get caught up. As I was labeling, I noticed in my collection of past labels a handwritten list from last year of when I should plant lists of seeds. At the top, I had written, "Plant everything two weeks earlier." If only I had included that in my blog, I might have read it before it was too late. Thus, I planted most things later than last year, but I did manage to plant my tomatoes and peppers a week earlier. My purple light glows in the greenhouse once again!

One of the things I love most about this time of year is the potential each day holds. I love seeing all the signs that it's spring: the cherry blossoms, daffodils, and forsythia, not to mention the chirping frogs, bird songs that greet you first thing in the morning, and simply the wonderful smell of spring. (I think that smell may actually come from the cottonwood trees, which drop what looks to me like a flower sprig.) In that same spirit of spring awakening, I love to discover what seeds have sprouted.

And the winner of the first seedling to sprout in my greenhouse is...Brussels sprouts! And then my husband pointed out the tiny lettuce sprouts. By the end of the day yesterday, which was a sunny and warm 60 degrees, several other vegetables came up: broccoli, cabbage, and maybe a pea. I had hoped for more today, but it never got warmer than 60 degrees in the greenhouse, despite the intermittent sunshine.

Next weekend, I must get the garden beds ready, which means a weekend of tilling, laying out soaker hoses, and spreading rock dust. It's been a while since I have replenished the minerals in my garden soil with rock dust. John plans to try Marenakos for granite or basalt dust, since they cut both types of rock there. We already know we can get granite dust there, but I am hoping for basalt because it has a greater number of minerals in it, whereas granite has mostly potassium.

Once the beds are ready, I need to get whatever is finally coming from Territorial Seeds this week into the ground. I can see that something is on its way; I just don't know what. I am hoping for potatoes or onion sets. I also need to plant carrots, but I am afraid the seeds will rot. We are getting a lot of rain so I may wait until April.

Until next weekend....