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applestar
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

I KNOW! My broccoli won't grow -- the unheated garage gets too cold. Still no more than seed leaves. :roll: Some of the early sprouters -- Pac choi I think, and cardinal chard with true leaves are wilty but hanging tough. Leeks are happy though. :D
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Jardin du Fort
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

I've come to the conclusion that the National Weather Service has no idea how to make a long range forecast. I look at the forecast map and it is all about statistics. I suppose that is as it should be. My question is what data they use to make their statistical analysis. I won't get into that here, but I think they are missing the boat on accurate data.

Anyhow, their prediction for MY location for 30 days is below normal temps. Go figure. My local 10 day forecast has nothing above freezing, with a few dips below zero. As Applestar said, another Polar Vortex!

My thinking is that in the next years, weather systems are going to become increasingly erratic and unpredictable. That is why I plan on including a hoop-house in the garden as soon as possible. It should provide a protection all year round for at least some of the worst Mother Nature has to throw at us....

I'm shopping for seeds. Burpee Organics and (hopefully) heirloom varieties are readily available at the local M store, so I'll be starting there. I need to get around to ordering the others a.s.a.p. They also carry the coconut coir pots, so I'll pick up a bunch of those too....

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rainbowgardener
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

On a different topic, my pots of home made soil have been sprouting some little grassy weeds, not tons and tons, but one here and one there, until over time I have probably pulled at least 20 of them. A few of them pulled out with the seed still attached and I looked at it and realized .... they are RICE !! :) Look just like this:

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https://www.ikisan.com/crop%20specific/e ... 0rice3.JPG

I thought the rice hulls were supposed to be just the outer coat, but apparently a few actual grains of rice get mixed in there.

So my new organic, sustainable potting mix is very lively! It sprouts some mushrooms and some rice seedlings. I kind of like it, that it is full of life. It isn't so many rice seedlings that it is a hassle to just pull them. Who knows, now that I know what they are, maybe I will put a few of those in a pot...
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applestar
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

maybe I will put a few of those in a pot...
I was going to say that! It would be fun even just to say you did. :D

You can grow rice in buckets, tubs or kiddie pools minimum 8-12" depth with 6-8 inches of loam in the bottom. 2-6 inches of water. Don't use anything that floats (good thing you are not using perlite :wink: ). Simply add feeder goldfish/minnows for mosquito control -- you won't need fish food they'll fend for themselves.

You can also try dry growing rice dry-land with occasional flooding.

Ideally, the rice seedlings should be planted out with the tomatoes (temp in the 50's).

P.S. Pulled rice sprouts could be allowed to dry out and used as mulch or simply mixed into the potting mix -- sprouted seeds would be pretty nutritious. With the hulls on, you won't be able to eat them yourself though....
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

OK so I screwed up already and managed to get the labels mixed up, so now I'm not sure which are my California wonder bell peppers and which are my Anaheim chili pepper plants. Any way to tell them apart as seedlings? Last year when I grew them, the chilis seemed to be distinctly slower growing and less leafy than the bells. This year, these were all planted the same time and so far with 2 pair of true leaves, I'm really not seeing any reliable difference.
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applestar
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Oh don't you hate it when that happens -- you draw a blank and realize you have no certainty that the label belongs with the plant (or the group of plants).

I remember Poblano pepper plants were much darker in color overall but I don't remember about Anaheims.

..could Anaheim leaves be larger or narrower?
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Yeah, if I'm remembering right from last year, the chili leaves were narrower. I think I am just going to have to be patient and wait for them to reveal themselves.... :?
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rainbowgardener
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

So I am at a complete standstill now until the weather breaks. I have 16 trays of seedlings under the lights, which means the space is FULL. Half of them are cold weather stuff that ordinarily would be out by now, at least on the deck hardening off. So I currently have no room to plant anything else or to uncrowd the stuff that is crowded in little cells.

It is snowing right now and will keep it up all night until tomorrow AM. Tomorrow night the low is in single digits again. After that it starts warming up, but it looks like Thurs until I could start taking things out again. ...

Means everything is going to be behind schedule and then April and May are predicted to be warmer than usual, so all the cold weather stuff will just bolt ... This is why NOT to be a farmer! It's amazing we ever get any crops at all.
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applestar
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Yeah the little ones keep sprouting but the big ones aren't/can't move along....

I was wondering if you ever considered putting up a cold frame on one (or more) of your raised beds. Maybe it's time to go recycle some windows (or put up hoops and plastic film). I mentioned wanting to do that last year and never got around to it -- I have it on my list of things to accomplish this year (again).
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rainbowgardener
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Yeah, sometimes I do cover a raised bed and sometimes I make my little enclosed shelf system and sometimes I just don't get it together.

It's mid- March and seed starting is in full swing. I planted one more tomato variety, New Hampshire Surecrop, because one of my customers asked for high acid tomatoes and NH is rated as one of the highest. Planted cardinal climber, have nasturtium seeds soaking. (These are more of the 1998 collection I was given, so I don't know - most of those I have tried have done nothing.)

But I currently have 8 trays of cold weather stuff back sitting in my office, because it will be snowing later today and super cold tonight... Broccoli, cabbage, spinach, celery, parsley, dill, cilantro, and some anise hyssop. Most of them are transplant size and can go in the ground as soon as weather and the ground cooperate.

Under lights there are now 14 trays of seeds/seedlings....
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rainbowgardener
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Oh sigh... I am trying and trying to get all my cold weather stuff (NINE trays of it now) hardened off. Once hardened it is pretty tough and frost tolerant. But it keeps having to come back in, which slows hardening down. Tues night it went down to 12 degrees and they came back in. Stayed in all day yesterday until now, partly because it was still cold and partly just because I was gone all day from early in the AM and didn't have time to get them out when it might have been warm enough (high yesterday just above freezing).

So the high today is supposed to be 30 degrees higher than the high yesterday (early spring drives me crazy!) and I should get them out. Except that I was looking at the weather forecast and we are supposed to have cloudy with 25 mile an hour winds all afternoon. High wind is really hard on seedlings, probably even more than cold. I suppose I can take them out and put them in some protected spot like under the bench.

Season clock is ticking on by and the time left until it suddenly is too hot for all this stuff is getting smaller.
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Jardin du Fort
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

rainbowgardener wrote:Oh sigh... Season clock is ticking on by and the time left until it suddenly is too hot for all this stuff is getting smaller.
This is one of the big reasons I am planning on putting up a polytunnel, as the Brit's say. This has been an exceptionally hard winter in all respects, and likely we will not see the likes of it for some time, but the last several years have seen all kinds of wierd weather and I don't really trust the "normal" weather pattern any more.

Keep the upward perspective! :D

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rainbowgardener
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Planted various squashes today (acorn, butternut, yellow crookneck). Probably a little too early, but oh well.

So that is the very last!! Nothing else gets planted indoors!

Tons of stuff that needs to get potted up. I am churning through potting soil as fast as I can mix it up!
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rainbowgardener
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Here's another look at what it is looking like. I meant to get a picture from farther back to show the whole scene, but I guess that didn't happen (or it didn't make it from the I-pad to here).

The whole area under my 16 running feet of lights is full! This is peak of seed starting season and lots of work to keep up with up-potting, etc.

16 trays of plants under the lights and a dozen more hardening outside and a bunch of stuff planted already and a little bit sold already!
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

On the downhill side now, potting everything up and moving it out as fast as I can. Both heat mats are unplugged now.


Memo to self: Don't let all the southerners on helpfulgardener talking about their tomatoes make you crazy! :) I planted tomato seed on 2/20 and that was still too early. Tomatoes got leggy and burned at the top from growing into the fluorescent light fixtures when there was no more room to raise them. Next year I could really wait until Mar 1. Wait... wait.... wait.... wait.... :)

Starting the peppers at the beginning of Feb was ok though. Just have to do better at keeping them labeled! :)
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applestar
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

:lol: ditto on when to start tomatoes!

...but this year, part of the problem has been the weather -- I think you would have had most of them outside hardened off and even planted by now, and I would be toting them out and in for just one more week. As it is, mine are hitting the lights with versions scorch marks on the leaves as well as some sunburn from when they were outside for the all too brief heat wave that was followed by the dip into mid-20's.

Trouble is, when they go outside, they seem to explode into growth and sometimes seems like they won't fit back under the lights they came out of just that morning. :roll:

I need to uppot most of the rest, then start hardening off -- couple more weeks before planting out, I think.
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skiingjeff
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Most of my cold weather stuff is hardened off now (broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi). Tomorrow I plan to get most of it planted into the garden along with some more snow peas. Of the 72 snow peas I planted about a week ago only 26 have sprouted :?

Yesterday I up potted about 58 various veggies and flowers. I have more to go but they can wait a while longer as they are mostly warm weather stuff and we are still getting nights in the mid to upper 20's for the next couple of days. :roll:

My salvia pretty much all have flowers as well as some of my cosmos but it is too cold to plant out yet because of the nights.

On a side note the hummingbird feeder is out and awaiting the arrival of the hummers soon :)

Can't wait for 40+ degree nights!

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applestar
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

I'm chancing sowing peas a little late (for me) too. They are pre-germinating right now using the jar method since my sprouters are being used to pre-germinate corn as well as squash and melon seeds (another experimental technique I haven't posted about yet :wink: )
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Everything is potted up, the first two sets of lights (4 tubes) are turned off, the tomatoes and peppers and basil are outside hardening off, and everything else is coming out as soon as I can make room.


Bringing things out is complicated by the fact that my partner decided that the deck (where things come out to) has to be refinished right NOW (sigh). So all of the deck furniture is on one half of the deck while the other is stained and dries and I can barely get to the plants.... :?

This coming Sun is the big church plant sale, so a ton of stuff will disappear and life will get easier! I managed to kill off all the marigolds ( :( they were so pretty, in bloom already) and some of the coleus, because they didn't get brought in, in the last cold snap. The seed starting operation this time of year is just so complicated, it is hard to stay on top of everything. 16 trays under lights (until the past few days), more than that out doors, 5 - 10 trays going in and out and which category what plants are in keeps changing all the time.... :shock:
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applestar
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Oh bummer about the marigolds and coleus :(

I can hardly keep up with just a select few things I'm taking out and in right now -- last night at 10PM, rushed outside to bring back the fig that is starting to form itty bitty fig flower buds and the experimental tomato seedlings in the bottles, looked around and decided to put a few of the plants (tea, inside wintered rosemary, etc) closer to the house -- all because of a frost advisory that I caught at the last minute.

This morning, it was 31°F and patchy frost on the lawn.

So I can't imagine the complicated work involved with plants that are meant to be sold.
Does the rest of the week look favorable? Good luck! :D
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Yup, sunny and warm all week, with no temps below mid 40's... we are there!
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

Down to two sets of lights on, half of what it was at the peak. Most of what is left is squashes, which I am not going to try to have hardened off in time for this Sun - it is probably a bit early to plant them any way. I will bring plants for sale again the following week. I have something like 300 plants to bring to the sale this Sun.
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

My target date for turning the lights off is beginning of May. So today is May 1 and I turned the last four light tubes off and took the last plants outside to harden. No more indoor seed starting operation.

I keep wishing for my old pharmacy heating pads to die, so I could get nicer plant heat mats and they keep not dying! Man those things are over-engineered! They are the ones that are sold for people's aching backs or whatever and they are the old ones with no timed cutoff. But who runs their heaing pads 24/7 for three months? These are like 15 years old now and have been run like that three months out of each of those years. I can't imagine why they are still running. Given what I paid for them, amortized, it comes to about $1 a year...
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applestar
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

They are probably the ones that are now manufactured in black vinyl and sold for around $60-$70 as horticultural soil heating mats....


Well done! :clap:
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Cola82
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Re: 2014 Seeds Started!

I run everything through my timer, even the fan, so they don't dry out over night.

But yeah, I wish I were in a position to turn out the lights for the year. But I'm still working on some lavender seedlings and a couple other things.

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