Yellow and Red

8 07 2013

Well, its July. Let’s kick it off with a haiku:

Summer heat arrives
in a growing garden of green
yellow and red pop.



2013 Seedlings

22 03 2013

Last year I blogged about the dilemma ‘to seed, or not to seed‘ when planning for a summer vegetable garden. While I didn’t plant from seed last year (because of travel) this year I am. I feel more strongly than ever about knowing where my food comes from.

This year I decided to try something from a post I’d recently seen on Pinterest. It suggested that paper towel and toilet paper tubes are perfect for starting seeds. And they are! They don’t cost anything, they can be planted directly in the ground, and using them avoids sending more material to the landfill.
The first step was saving our toilet paper and paper towel tubes for the last few months. Then when it was time to plant seeds I cut each of them down to ~2 inch segments and lined them up in glass baking dishes and filed them with dirt.

I began with the seeds that have the longest germination (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, etc) and cool season crops (celery, leeks, cauliflower, and the like).  The baking dish works great for watering: I add about a half an inch in the bottom of the dish and the little tubes take it up from the bottom. I cover the dish with another glass baking dish to create a greenhouse effect and place it in a south-facing window. Here’s how it looks:


Once the seedlings start getting too tall for their ‘greenhouse’ I pull them out and place them in a separate baking dish without a cover. I’ve filled in the vacancies with successive plantings including lavender, marigolds, and fennel. Believe it or not, I’ve actually run out of tubes! I planted the cucumber seeds in a leftover plastic plant pot from last year’s seedlings. Some of the tubes are starting to unravel though; I’m hoping they’ll hold together until I can put them in the ground. We’ll see!


To seed, or not to seed?

19 02 2012

It’s time to start thinking about what I want in my summer vegetable garden. I’m drawing up a map of my raised beds to chart out my vegetable garden: cool weather crops go where there’s easy access, warm weather crops are planted to take over the cool weather crops as the summer heats up, and taller crops go in the center of the raised beds.
I like to start many of my warm weather crops from seeds, and usually start them around St. Patrick’s Day so they are ready to go in the ground just after Mother’s Day. I’ve had great success with different varieties of tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, etc., even edamame, this way.* I’m an advocate for starting from seeds and think every gardener should try it; it’s gratifying, you can keep them totally organic, and it’s very economical. I am still using packages of seeds I bought three years ago! I prefer Botanical Interests seeds; every one I’ve tried has been healthy, bountiful, and beautiful.

However, this year I’ll be out of the country for two weeks in April, unable to tend to the seedlings, which has me reevaluating my strategy. I’ll still plant my cool weather crops as always, but may purchase warm weather seedlings from a local nursery this year. I have a couple of wonderful local nursery’s with a good selection of tomatoes, melons, and peppers; even heirloom varieties if I’m feeling frisky! Or I may start my warm weather seeds mid-April when I get home, I would expect a delayed harvest but it may still be worth starting from seeds.

* Take note new gardeners: there’s no need to start cool weather crops inside (like lettuce, spinach, carrots, radishes, beets) they do best when the seeds are planted right in the ground. The same goes for voracious warm weather crops like squashes.

%d bloggers like this: