Seed Starting Update

Here’s a quick update on some of my recent seed starting activities. The parsley I sowed early in February is up and ready to be potted up into individual containers. I find it does best when you transplant while it is still small, about the time the first true leaves have appeared.

parsley seedlings

parsley seedlings

The lettuce I started in a plug flat is ready to be thinned. Tough love is necessary to give them the room they need! I’ll let these grow for another couple of weeks before I start planting them out in the cold frames and greenhouse, weather permitting.

lettuce ready to be thinned

lettuce ready to be thinned

I already thinned the arugula and early kale I started a couple of weeks ago. These too will be ready to plant out sometime in March. The kale varieties I started for spring include the curly kales Prizm and Starbor plus White Russian and a new one called Purple Russian.

kale seedlings after thinning

kale seedlings after thinning

I also started some eggplant and pepper plants that are destined to go in containers. Those are up and also will need to be potted up in individual containers as soon as the true leaves are showing. The eggplants are Fairy Tale and Patio Baby, two AAS Winners that do great in containers and should give us an early taste of this heat-loving veggie.

Fairy Tale eggplant seedlings

Fairy Tale eggplant seedlings

Next on my to-do list is to start some Wave petunia seeds, a fiddly task even with pelleted seeds since they are tiny even then and the pelleting material will dissolve as soon as it hits the moist potting soil. It’s also time to start the spring broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi, which I will sow in 72 cell plug flats. I hope you have enjoyed today’s update and I’ll be back soon with more happenings!

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Harvest Monday February 18, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. My harvests last week looked a lot like other recent harvests. I made a small cutting of lettuce from the greenhouse, this time green Tango. This wound up on a taco salad we had for lunch one day.

Tango lettuce

Tango lettuce

And I harvested the rest of the sunflower shoots from the planting I made a couple of weeks ago. This batch yielded right at 4 ounces of shoots, enough to keep us supplied until the next batch is ready. The going rate locally is about $5 for a 1.5 ounce bag, which means I grew around $13 worth of sprouts using a small amount of seed. I’d grow them even if it wasn’t so cost-effective because my wife and I both enjoy the taste and use them on salads, sandwiches and other dishes.

sunflower shoots

sunflower shoots

I did bake a loaf of no-knead sourdough bread last week.  I proofed it in an oval brotform then baked it in my Breadtopia oblong clay baker. It had a crispy crust and great flavor, and much of it went into the freezer for later use. I try and have a variety of bread in the freezer for us to use, even though we don’t necessarily eat a lot of bread. When we do eat it though, it’s homemade since we haven’t bought any in almost 10 years now.

No-Knead Sourdough Bread

No-Knead Sourdough Bread

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Harvest Monday February 11, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I got another cutting of lettuce from the greenhouse planting last week. This included a green butterhead called Mirlo and a red leaf lettuce called Spritzer. Neither were full sized but they were plenty big enough for a salad. It is so nice to have even a small amount of fresh greens in the middle of winter and these were especially tasty. Both are doing quite well growing in shallow containers.

lettuce for salad

lettuce for salad

I also made the first cutting from the sunflower shoots I have sprouting under fluorescent lights. These are easy to grow, and only take about 7-10 days from sowing to cutting. I get the seeds from a natural foods store, and they cost about $3 for an 8 ounce package that makes several plantings of shoots. These are labeled for sprouting use, though any food grade raw seeds will work.

sunflower shoots

sunflower shoots

I put these on the salad I made from our lettuce.

salad

salad

On a wildlife note, we had a Pileated Woodpecker come and visit the suet feeder last week. This is the largest woodpecker we have around here, and they are occasional visitors to the woods around us and occasionally to the feeders. The photo is a little hazy since I shot it through the window, but you can see how big and brightly marked the bird is. The underside of the wings are half black and half white, and it makes quite a display when flying.

Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker

And I’ll close with a cat pic. It has taken Ally and Puddin several months to truly warm up to each other, but they have finally bonded. They took turns giving each other a bath Saturday before settling down together for a nap in the sunshine.

Ally and Puddin

Ally and Puddin

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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Let the Seed Starting Begin

Once again it’s time to start seeds for the garden. This time of year I start all of my seeds indoors using fluorescent lights setup in our basement. On February 3rd I started seeds for parsley, cilantro and chives. All those went into 3.5″ plastic pots, one pot for each variety, and have not yet come up. I will need to prick them out and pot them up into individual containers once they start showing their true leaves. Parsley has a reputation for not liking to be transplanted, but I find the small seedlings do quite well this way. Since parsley takes a long time to germinate, usually 2 to 3 weeks, I have covered those pots with plastic to help keep them moist.

starting parsley seeds

starting parsley seeds

Yesterday I started seeds for lettuce in a 128 cell plug flat. The lettuce will emerge in a few days, and in about three weeks the seedlings will be ready for planting out in the greenhouse and cold frame beds. For a potting mix, lately I have been using Pro-Mix All Purpose Mix or Pro-Mix Organic Seed Starting Mix. I prefer to use a seed starting mix without added fertilizer so I can add my own as needed, and Pro-Mix is usually available locally. Once the seedlings are a couple of weeks old I will use a weak fish and seaweed fertilizer like Neptune’s Harvest to give them a little food. I’m not trying to plug or endorse these products, but people often ask what I use.

plug flat with lettuce seed

plug flat with lettuce seed

About a week ago I started sunflower seeds for using as sprouts (aka shoots). They are ready to begin cutting, and the first batch will go on a salad we are having for lunch today. Next I will start seeds for greens like arugula and pac choi, tatsoi, mizuna and other mild mustard greens. Near the end of February I will start seeds for broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi. You can find my general timeline in my Seed Starting and Planting Schedule.

sunflower sprouts

sunflower sprouts

I hope you have enjoyed this update, and I’ll be back soon with more happenings!

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Harvest Monday February 4, 2019

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. First I want to thank Michelle (From Seed To Table) for hosting Harvest Monday last month. Getting a break was much appreciated! My harvests this time of year are meager but they are much appreciated too. With the first polar vortex of 2019 headed our way last week I made a cutting of lettuce from the greenhouse before it got frozen up again. This batch is a mix of Tango and Salanova Butter types. This lettuce has been frozen and thawed several times out there, and it is amazing how hardy it is, especially when protected.

lettuce in winter

lettuce in winter

I also made another cutting of the collard greens before the big freeze came. I’ve been laid up for a week now with a hacking, coughing cold bug and soup has been on the menu a lot. I made a Collard Green and Black Eyed Pea soup that was especially tasty to me. I added the chopped greens to the soup near the end and they were amazingly sweet and tender. I didn’t use all the collards in the soup and I plan on cooking the rest for a side dish. This is a mix of White Mountain, Yellow Cabbage and Jernigans Yellow Cabbage. These are all part of the Heirloom Collard Project, which aims to preserve many of these old-time collard varieties and make them available to gardeners. I plan  on growing all three of these again this year.

collard greens

collard greens

And I grabbed a handful of Darkibor kale leaves to go in a couple of dishes we cooked last week. I got these after the vortex moved on and it started to warm back up, and you’d never know they were out in near 0°F temperatures just a day earlier.

Darkibor kale

Darkibor kale

Once again we have bluebirds that are hanging around the feeders this winter. Last year they were eating suet, but this year they have mostly been eating sunflower seeds. That is amazing to see and a real joy as well.

male bluebird at the feeder

male bluebird at the feeder

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!


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