Monday, March 25, 2013


I've got one parsley seedling finally up

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one pair of Zsa Za peppers

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Tea Hibiscus

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Then the Raveena eggplant and Snapper peppers

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Looks like none of the Brussels sprouts are coming up,  though the broccoli are already germinated.  I took the Brussels out of my garden plan because i just don't care.  I removed them so i could put the Minnesota Midget melons in their place.  I'll save the pots for cucumbers or something.

I'd like to get some tomatoes started today.  My Ancient sweet peppers were mailed out on Friday,  so i should see them in a couple more days.  I'll want to start them as soon as they come in the mail.  If they just happen to come today,  i'll definitely make time for tomatoes and them.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Last few days recap

Ok,  on Tuesday we got a fairly big snow storm.  About 8 inches here,  though some areas in Maine got as much as 15".  It was enough to cancel area schools. After last year's very mild and almost snowless winter, this one has been more normal.  I remember (because i blogged it) in 2011 we got snow on April first.

So,  now it is Spring!  ...and we're just waiting on the snow to melt completely and hoping for no more storms or at least plain rain.

Well,  yesterday was fun.  Hubby and i celebrated our 10 year Anniversary and our oldest daughter (she's 14 and yes hubby and i were not married before she was born -we had a very rocky start that God helped us through)  won third prize at her school's Science Fair. 
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She used three samples of water to grow grass. One was well water, then spring water and the third was water from Eastport.  Eastport water is horrible stuff,  full of chlorine and who knows what else.  It turned out that the grass did poorer with the Eastport water, as suspected.  She enjoyed doing her project and needed little help.  I was glad that it had something to do with planting. ;o)  We also had all the supplies so there was no hassle.

Today also marks 8 weeks until the last frost date.  This weekend i may start my tomatoes and other things.

Well its been a fun week,   but i'm so glad its Friday!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Seeds....just a couple more.

And i do mean just a couple...

My Zsa Zsa peppers have not come up,  but the others have.  Never did have luck with Zsa Zsa.  I think in three tries i got plants once. Even with a heat pad,  nothing is happening.  The other sweet peppers (Snapper) have been up for days now.  I found out about a sweet pepper called Ancient Sweet (possibly heirloom?  -depends on the info source) that  i'd like to try, so i ordered some.  They are supposed to be about 1.5 times sweeter than red bells.  So why not try them instead.  I imagine that even if they don't ripen all the way,  they will be quite sweet at the green stage as well.  If they are not hybrids,  i can save the seeds.  They weren't as cheap as i'm used to.

Also,  while going thoroughly over the Pinetree website,  i found a melon called Minnesota Midget. Its a tiny, sweet melon on 3 foot vines.  Its inspired me to try melons just one more time.  Its a 60 day melon,  so i may have a shot.

Hubby won't be too happy because i had to transfer a couple dollars to buy them,  i'm already well over my share of the paycheck this week. However,  it cost less than one take-out lunch...which i never have but he does. lol

Oh,  and i started some Goji seeds for my mom.  Four pots,  3-5 seeds each.  If seedlings fail and my plants survived their first winter,  my other option is cuttings.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Today's seed starting

My parents have our daughters for an overnight stay,  which means i can play with seeds in peace :o)

I planted:

Tea hibiscus
Red Russian kale
Green shiso
Red shiso
General broccoli
Waltham broccoli
Aunt Molly's ground cherries
Bubbles Brussels sprouts

My Raveena eggplants are all up.  No word from the sweet peppers and parsley.   The Raveena have almost 100% germination,  making me wish i had only planted one seed per pot.  I hate thinning.  It seems such a waste.  I'll never get over that.  lol

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tomato caging and pruning.

Now and then i whine about not getting how to prune indeterminate tomatoes no matter how much i read.  I hadn't found instructions that came with pictures or illustrations to go along with the text. I'm a visual learner,  so just reading won't get me where i need to be.  Also trellising.  I have tried a few makeshift ideas,  but last year was the worst.  I used standard cone cages that i thought i could stake upright,  but the cages snapped and the stakes still leaned over.  Then blight came and it didn't matter anymore.

However,  i did find some videos i need to save:

Pruning tomatoes

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pictures on a gray day

We had a good deal of rain last night.  I don't have my rain gauge hooked up yet,  so i have to guess just under an inch.  It was enough to melt away much of the snow.

I went out earlier on this gray day and snapped some ugly pictures.

I was annoyed to see that one of my beach plums got snapped in half:

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I'm sure it will grow back,   but it really has a bad break.  Maybe i'll need to stake them next fall and hopefully prevent this.

Female Seabuckthorn looks good
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As does the male

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One of the Carmine Jewel cherries
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I hope it and the other survived and really put on some growth this year.

Blueberries and lingonberries
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Closer look at one of the blueberries
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The garden looks so gross at this time of year
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Stanley prune plum and hydrangea
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Here's what is left of the snow in the yard
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The apple tree seems ok

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And the grapes
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The weather is supposed to be warm today,  but expected to get colder in the next few...   Possible snow on Saturday-  i hope it won't last too long.

I'm going to try and get the rest of the early seeds started either today or tomorrow.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Just some thoughts on the blogging experience

I began blogging in 2009 according to my records.  I recently made my 365th post as well...   that means i have posted about every third day for more than 3 years.  When i saw this image:

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i knew it was for me.  lol

Most all of my gardening activities and some of my household shenanigans are done with a thought of this blog.  Sometimes i discount the idea as too boring,  other times i don't care if it is and i still share it.  My long-winded ramblings and repetitive thoughts may be boring to some,  but i keep recording thoughts because at the very least,  i find them useful to look back upon.  If anyone else finds the entries useful, or helpful  i am happy,  if not its ok.  I don't expect anyone to be hanging on to my every word.  Tee hee.

I just simply find it fun to blog.  I adore reading the blogs i follow and though i don't always comment,  i read every update as soon as i can.  Blogging has been one of the most enjoyable hobbies i have picked up in a long time.  

I appreciate all my followers and especially love the comments,  i always try to reply.  I don't like the Capcha thing to avoid spammers,  so i don't make repliers have to deal with it.  I weed out the spam myself...and whooo- do i get a lot of it.  My "Carrot and Parsnip Seed Tape" entry seems to be the most popular to spammers for some reason.  Some bot always tries to get through,  i have no idea why.

Well,  thats all i just wanted to say how much fun i have blogging and thank you to all who follow my ramblings.  Your comments encourage me and i'm glad i'm not alone out here in cyberspace talking to thin air.  lol

Friday, March 8, 2013


I got some seeds started.  

I planted in pots:

3 Snapper sweet peppers
3 Zsa Zsa sweet peppers
a tray of Italian Flatleaf parsley

...and i thought i was going to plant 3 pots of Raveena eggplant and three Slim Jim eggplant until i realized i was completely out of Slim Jim seeds.  *doh*
In my defense,  eggplant seeds are so thin its hard to tell if a packet is empty until you shake it...
I planted
6 Raveena eggplant.

I had just enough seed to put 3 in each pot.

These seeds all like heat,  so i have them in one flat on top of my new heat mat.

If i finally have good luck with the eggplant and peppers this year i'll have to reorder them.  If not,  perhaps i will try  some new varieties.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Last of the seed orders.

The Cherokee Purple and Green Shiso seeds arrived today.  If i can continue reigning myself in,  this is all the seeds for the year.  The only thing left to arrive will be the Adirondack Blue potato starts that should come in the Spring.

The seeds from the eBay seller look good,  nice and clean seeds, little to no chaff, plenty of them too.

Its been too chaotic so far today to get those pots i set out filled,  so no starting seeds yet.  A few days delay won't hurt since i am on the cusp of the starting dates.

I hope to get it started and completed this weekend at least.

We also got the weather station figured out.  Hubby went out and got a second one from Mardens so we could both have receivers.  It ended up costing us about $9 for the two sets because we had a gift card.
The station shows wind speed, direction, humidity, barometric pressure, indoor and outdoor temps,   forecast icon and calculates windchill.
Its nice to have this information at a glance.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Getting ready to start and final Garden Plan

I finalized my garden plan on Grow Veg:

Garden 2013

Got it printed out and ready.  I tucked it into my 3-ring  folder where i keep all previous garden plans.

I was going to try starting some seeds last night while the kids were away but didn't end up doing it.  I'm not certain i'll get to it tonight either.  I did count all the pots i'll need and have them lined up in their flats.

(For my notes on flat capacity):

Jiffy 3 (3" peat pots)
One flat can hold 18 of these pots
Or 12 pots and one tray

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According to the Grow Veg planner's custom settings,  i can begin planting:

Brussels Sprouts
Ground Cherries

Since they have no entry for Leonotis or Tea Hibiscus,  i'm going to go along with my plan to start them, along with all the above, in the next few hours or days as time allows.

I'll label each peat pot with a grease pencil that should last until planting time.

Hope i'll have time soon!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Parsley, hibiscus and leonotis.

I think i can get away with starting flat-leaf parsley right about now.  They can take a long time to germinate and can be difficult. To be sure to get sizable plants it won't hurt to get going on them.  I have a heat mat this year and that will help in a big way.  My parsley seeds are a few years old,  but Richters sends a lot of seed.  There is probably about a tablespoon of seed still in that packet. I'll sow on the thick side and see what i get.

The tea hibiscus will need as much time as i can give them,  same for the leonotis .  Hopefully they won't get leggy on me.  They need warm soil to thrive like peppers do,  so i will plant them early and set them out later than most of the rest of the plants.

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According to eBay,  my green shiso and Cherokee purple tomato seeds are on their way.  They are coming from Ohio,  so it shouldn't be too long until they arrive.

Tonight my parents are taking the kids to their house to hang out. They usually do this on Thursdays.  I will have some time to plant the seeds and put everything together in peace.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Almost ready to go

It will be about another 2 weeks before i should start anything so one of my last prep projects was to get my seed shelves together. Hubby took me out to Home Depot and bought me two more shoplights and enough bulbs to load them up.  I also got a surge protector so i could plug all the lights into the power strip and then into my light timer.  We went to Paris Farmer's Union and got more soil.  Then we went to Marden's and he found me a nice wireless weather station to replace the old one that quit working after just about a year. We only paid $19.99 for it and its a $99 regular price.  It is giving us some trouble in setting it up,  but hubby will figure it out i'm sure. 

At all of those places,  i managed to leave the seed packets alone.  I glanced at a few,  but i did not touch.  Hubby even noticed that i behaved so well.  ;o)

Anyway,  this is what my revamped light setup looks like:

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I'm not sure how well the light chains will work,  where the shelves are wider than the lights the higher the chains are pulled,  the more the two greenhouses are pinched together.  My other light setup was not as wide so the chains hung straight down,  but i could only fit 2 flats per level.  If this setup works i'll be able to have 4 flats per level.  I also have an oscillating fan to use to make sure the seedlings make strong stems.

Two more weeks of waiting!

Friday, March 1, 2013

More seeds...*sigh*

Ok.  I really wanted to get a hold of myself this year.  I wasn't really naughty though....   i only bought two more types of seed.   Green shiso and Cherokee purple tomato.  I already have red shiso,  but i wanted to try the green.  I also had a disappointment with Cherokee purple last year...  i think it was last year.  I had one seed left and it sprouted,  but i killed it before it got its first set of true leaves.  That seed was from years ago,  when we were living in an apartment and i unsuccessfully tried patio gardening.  Something like 10 years ago.

That is all i bought,  honest!

I got them from a seller on eBay,  cheap shipping, etc.  The two seed packs were less than $5 with shipping.  Hopefully i will get to taste the elusive (to me) Cherokee purple tomato...

Preparation of grains and legumes (YouTube video)

Schizandra from seed part 2

The seeds have soaked for 5 days,  so now on to the next step: Cold stratifying.

After a couple of days most of the floating seeds began to sink.  All but one did this.

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The seeds were rinsed at least once a day for 5 days.

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The instructions on the back of the seed packet suggested using moist cotton,  so that is what i used:

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I spaced them just so none are touching and covered them with a piece of damp paper towel.
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Cover on and labeled, ready for a few weeks in the fridge.

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