Saturday Gardening Thread: Demon Seed Edition [Y-not, WeirdDave, & KT]

**BUMPED BECAUSE I'M AN IDIOT WHO KEEPS FORGETTING WHEN DAVE IN TEXAS PUTS UP THE ELBOW THREAD.**

In honor of last night's Halloween holiday, today's Gardening Thread is brought to you by The Demon Seed:

Bwahahahahaha!

Seeds come in all shapes and sizes. The world's largest seed, the Coco de Mer, weighs in at a whopping 66 lbs. Meanwhile, amongst the world's smallest seeds are those of a particular orchid that weigh one 35 millionths of an ounce. Mustard seeds are boulders by comparison!

This webpage, called The Seed Site, maintains a large catalog of seed images and all sorts of other seed-related information from thousands of plant species. That's some dedication right there!

In honor of chemjeff, here's some seed art:

HelloKittySeed.jpg

And here's yet another type of seed art of a more impressive kind:

CherryPitFace.jpg

Now that Halloween is over, perhaps you're trying to figure out what to do with those pumpkin seeds and other pumpkin mutilation left-overs.

While this blogger takes pumpkin seed snacks a bit more seriously, recommending a particular variety of pumpkin for harvesting those tasty seeds.

And now, heeeere's WeirdDave:

Ooooh-kay... apparently WeirdDave is not quite over Halloween yet. I'm sure a week of heavy sedation will have him as right as rain.

In the meantime, here's KT to tell us about how to get GOOD SEEDS, CHEAP:

If you're like me, the gardens in your winter dreams are better than the gardens you actually grow. For me, many of those dreams are inspired by seed catalogs, often with large, enticing photos of veggies and flowers.

But it's not the dead of winter quite yet. If you're thinking about holiday gifts for your relatives, you want to start with the cheap seeds, right? The really dreamy catalogs can come later.

Below are three catalogs I like for different reasons, some of them more sentimental than rational. They all feature cheap seeds that will grow.

Pinetree Garden Seeds

This catalog is my favorite for gifts to gardeners just learning to plant from seed. It is also wonderful for those ready to grow a really great variety instead of the first seed packet they see at the grocery store. I buy a lot of seeds from Pinetree for myself, too. Too many seeds. I'm KT and I'm an addict. But as vices go, buying seeds is cheaper than going to Vegas for the weekend, especially if I concentrate on the cheap catalogs first. It sort of makes me a prepper, too - mostly accidentally.

Profile: Pinetree started as a home-based business in Maine in 1979, with the idea of providing seed packets to home gardeners with a reasonable number of seeds for lower prices. They have grown because they do a lot of things right. Their catalog provides useful information like the disease-resistance profiles of hybrid tomatoes, which onions are short day types and cultural tips.

In addition to vegetable seeds, they sell seeds of herbs, tobacco, flowers, grains and cover crops, micro-greens and pathogen-tested seeds for sprouts. They offer a large assortment of gardening supplies and mushroom plugs or kits. They sell spring bulbs, tubers and plants - both edible and ornamental. Shipping of live plants may be on the late side for the southern tier of states. Check before ordering.

Notable items: Summer Dance Cucumbers, Giant Italian Parsley (Prezzemolo Gigante d'Italia) and floating row cover by the foot. They sell 24 kinds of basil plus a basil mix. Green Tiger is a cute little zucchini suitable for large containers. For winter, there are books, spices and teas, soap making and body care supplies and gifts.

Crosman's Seeds

Profile: Crosman's is even cheaper than Pinetree, all packets 99 cents each. Their catalog is actually just a seed list, but there is online information at their "seed rack". Seed packets (retro, with outdated prices) provide planting information.

This company seems stuck in time at around 1979, apparently the year they exited the big-time wholesale seed packet business. They still do custom-ordered seed packets. The current management seems sort of . . . . . relaxed about moving into the internet age. Order by mail. Call if you have questions.

You probably know someone who would appreciate this kind of simplicity. You could send Uncle Bill a gift order. He should receive a seed listing and, with any luck, an order form by mail next year.

The company had a little website difficulty this year, and their order form is not available online (!). Heh. Your Uncle Bill can be pretty confident that they're not into data mining. Minimum order is 3 dollars. Don't forget to include shipping.

My favorites: Delphinium Bellamosum, Marigold Dainty Marietta, Larkspur, Phlox Grandiflora Tall Mixed (annual) and California Poppy Mission Bells.

Vegetables: Romanette green bean is my top reason for ordering from this company. It is halfway between a Blue Lake and Romano type and has some heat tolerance. Most of their veggies are old standards, tried and true. Not all are suitable in difficult climates.

Artistic Gardens / Le Jardin du Gourmet

Profile: Slightly pretentious name. This company has an unusual marketing plan that says "family-owned" to me. It is associated with a flower shop. It emphasizes herbs and French veggies. It currently offers very small seed packets for 40 cents and larger ones for $1.05.

They also sell Shallots, Rocambole, Garlic, Egyptian Walking Onions and such at a higher price. And Shitake mushroom logs. They mail out fresh Sweet Cicely seeds and stratified Ginseng seed in the fall, for improved germination.

Their website is a work in progress. I think the owner's daughter works on the website when she is on break from college or something. The paper catalog isn't much more than a seed list. But it is cheap. You may have to look up some information on the seeds you find interesting.

The tiny seed packets are great for container gardening and for small harvests of veggies from seeds that lose their viability quickly, like parsnips and onions. Hint: if an onion lists 165 days to harvest, it's a short day type.

You could pass out 40 cent "Sugar & Pie" pumpkin or "Little Marvel" pea seed packets at Thanksgiving dinner as a reminder that our ancestors were often very, very thankful for food to get through winter plus seed to plant in spring. You could tuck a tiny packet of parsnip or lettuce seeds into your Christmas cards to selected recipients.

Notes: You can get 9 kinds of basil for $3.60 plus postage, or get them mixed for 40 cents. You can get stinging nettle, to eat (cooked) or to host some Red Admiral butterfly caterpillars. But be careful. Stinging nettle is invasive, and they don't call it "stinging" accidentally. There are some other invasive herbs offered, too. Peppermint does not come true from seed. Whatever they sell as peppermint is something else.

Veggies: Skip the Sucrin de Tours melons unless you're breeding melons with cold-tolerant seeds. The old-fashioned Violet Cauliflower turns green when cooked and has a mild broccoli flavor, unlike the new Graffiti types. Its easier to grown than white cauliflower.

Beans: Most people will want to get the large $1.05 packets. They sell French-style filet beans (Maxibel is nice, with some heat tolerance) and Coco Rose de Prague a good dual-purpose fall bean here - as a green bean until the weather turns cold, when it can be used as a shelly.

Don't have a country mansion with a huge jardin potager? Well, work with what you have.

Do you have a favorite source for cheap seeds?

Y-not: Thanks KT!

To wrap things up, here's a documentary about plant "behavior"

Darn. Now we're going to have to take those "Keep off the grass!" signs a lot more seriously!


What's happening in your gardens this week?


Posted by: Open Blogger at 02:00 PM




Comments

(Jump to bottom of page)

1

It's more like yard work than garden work for me now.

Raking up leaves.
Moving in patio furniture and grill.
Covering the A/C unit.
I applied more sand for my pavers.
I filled in some asphalt cracks with that awesome tar stuff.
Put away my lawnmower, only to have to drag it out one more time.
Checked my deck for any nails that might be poking up to prepare for shoveling snow.
Covered up my natural gas outlet, etc.

Using my patio heater a lot now.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 12:52 PM (IXrOn)

2
Roasted pine nuts are pretty good.

Posted by: Guy Mohawk at November 01, 2014 12:52 PM (1nB6R)

3

I still have a few roses blooming. Some reds and some yellows. I feel for them on the chilly nights.

I haven't harvested my herbs yet, because I ordered another small freezer and will receive it Tuesday. I'll probably have to cover them tonight tho.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 12:54 PM (IXrOn)

4

I was sad to see a hummingbird looking my feeder, after I took it in (and covered my bird bath this past week too).

I hate winter.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 12:55 PM (IXrOn)

5 What's really depressing is that this might just be my best garden thread ever.

Posted by: Weirddave at November 01, 2014 12:56 PM (9422s)

6 What's really depressing is that this might just be my best garden thread ever.
Posted by: Weirddave at November 01, 2014 12:56 PM (9422s)



Thread winner!

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 12:59 PM (IXrOn)

7 Great info re seed catalogs. Thanks.

Posted a pic on Twitter of lettuce that grew in the pathway. The stuff I planted in the actual beds is doing well. But it's getting down into the 30s already so we may eat it sooner rather than later.

Wondering if I should even bother getting more flowers for the front. They get lots of sun, so it would have to get really really cold to kill them off, but that seems quite possible this year.

Posted by: Mama AJ at November 01, 2014 12:59 PM (0xTsz)

8 Hey weirddave. What happened with the "trespassing" thing?

Posted by: EC at November 01, 2014 01:00 PM (doBIb)

9 >>What's really depressing is that this might just be my best garden thread ever.

LOL, don't be silly!

Posted by: Y-not is totes not gay for Doris Day at November 01, 2014 01:04 PM (9BRsg)

10 Advice please ...


... I've got a 20' x 40' raised garden. Tried planting a cover crop - but it didn't take off over the winter (Louisville, KY). Thinking about just turning it over and covering in cheap mulch.


What do you think ?

Posted by: ScoggDog at November 01, 2014 01:07 PM (9m68G)

11 I usually pick out the seeds before I pack a bowl. If I miss one, it can explode like popcorn, and showers me with burning embers.

Posted by: Chris M at November 01, 2014 01:12 PM (6RZos)

12 I've got a 20' x 40' raised garden. Tried planting a cover crop - but it
didn't take off over the winter (Louisville, KY). Thinking about just
turning it over and covering in cheap mulch.
---

My raised beds have a mix of garden soil, vermiculite, and peat. They wind up settling over time, so in the spring I add some more soil mix. Because I don't mulch my raised beds (weeds haven't been a problem), I was planning on covering them with dead leaves for the winter. I'm hoping that will help some things over-winter and I figure it'll be easier to get rid of the leaves in the spring and/or incorporate them into the soil.

Posted by: Y-not is totes not gay for Doris Day at November 01, 2014 01:14 PM (9BRsg)

13 Got most of the weeds cleared out of my garden, just before the big snowstorm hit and (I assume) the ground froze. Yay me.

Today's project is waiting for the wood guy to show up and drop off half the wood I ordered - I ordered it two weeks ago and he has postponed delivery twice and now can only provide half of what I ordered today with the promise of another half-cord sometime next week. Aggravating, but I don't want to go somewhere else as everyone else is going to be as backed-up as this guy apparently is.

Posted by: Grey Fox at November 01, 2014 01:30 PM (tjnH/)

14 We may get snow tomorrow, so I really need to cut back some more branches that have a lot of leaves on them... otherwise, they may snap if it's a heavy, wet snow. Blah.

Posted by: Y-not is totes not gay for Doris Day at November 01, 2014 01:31 PM (9BRsg)

15 But, Guy Mohawk, did you ever eat a pine tree?
http://tinyurl.com/2bky5



Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 01:33 PM (qahv/)

16 Sorry about cutting some of your stuff, KT. I wasn't sure how we were going to do for length. forgive me! :-)

Posted by: Y-not is totes not gay for Doris Day at November 01, 2014 01:36 PM (9BRsg)

17 My Mexican lime tree is producing well, so I've been using them to make myself margaritas. This has led me to a new awakening in cocktails, which is kind of trendy anyway. I bought a bunch of little mint plants yesterday for containers, so I can make mojitos. Then I ordered some bar tools and an electric citrus juicer from Amazon, through Ace's portal.

This all nicely dovetails with the AoSHQ Lifestyle TM, and now I'm wondering if Valu-rite makes tequila.

Posted by: stace at November 01, 2014 01:39 PM (ImzkZ)

18 I also planted cyclamen and violas in the pots and beds at the front of the house for winter color. The nurseries are crammed full of eye poppiing cyclamen right now.

Posted by: stace at November 01, 2014 01:43 PM (ImzkZ)

19 I miss my citrus trees from SoCal. And my jasmine and gardenias.

But that's about all I miss!!!!

Posted by: Y-not on the phone at November 01, 2014 01:43 PM (9BRsg)

20 It's their Mexican subsidiary, Valu-rito.

Posted by: Mama AJ at November 01, 2014 01:44 PM (0xTsz)

21 Mama AJ, I'd say go for the flowers if you can find a bunch on sale. I loaded up on Thursday, since we've got at least 2 more weeks of 50/30s forecasted.

We got down to 26 last night and it didn't even phase my annuals... I still have petunias, 2 kinds of verbena, even some lantana going string, to say nothing of dozens of rose buds, lots of dianthus, daylilies and mums blooming and several dozen pansies. (And that's not including what I bought Thursday and haven't planted yet)

I buy a lot of perennials on sale this time of year ( in Arkansas). At a buck or two a pot, it's worth taking a chance, given the forecast this year, especially.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 01:57 PM (G5aNk)

22 Roasted pumpkin seeds rock. Best part of fall.

Posted by: --- at November 01, 2014 01:57 PM (MMC8r)

23 >>>What's really depressing is that this might just be my best garden thread ever.<<<

Don't let your loved ones garden while intoxicated.

Posted by: Fritz at November 01, 2014 01:59 PM (yqtFn)

24

Oh nice.

A Bump-A-Thon.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 02:01 PM (IXrOn)

25 Roasted pumpkin seeds rock. Best part of fall.

Mrs928 sprays them with butterflavored PAM simulant, roasts and salts them.

Posted by: toby928(C) at November 01, 2014 02:02 PM (rwI+c)

26 We had our first real rain in months here last night and this morning. Yay! The Southwest monsoons that flooded the "Southwest" this year missed us, except for winds and clouds. But they say the rain won't help the California drought.

Compare to the Dust Bowl drought, though. Such a wide swath of the country was affected in the latter:
http://tinyurl.com/khgfjzh

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 02:04 PM (qahv/)

27 Yeah. I thought elbows went up with the first game on Sat. My mistake.

Posted by: Y-not on the phone at November 01, 2014 02:06 PM (9BRsg)

28 Thanks Y-Not ... I appreciate the response.

Posted by: ScoggDog at November 01, 2014 02:10 PM (9m68G)

29 Got the last mowing of the year done yesterday. Still pulling a few carrots but that will end soon. Also, drying the last of the herbs. The weather has turned overcast, cold and windy which makes me think of next season's garden. Started to peruse the old seed catalogs in preparation for the new ones and researching certain plants. I'm looking for an easy way to expand the garden. Looks like 5 gallon buckets may be my new best friend. This is a pleasant, leisurely process that Mrs. JTB and I will discuss through the holidays until it's time to place the seed orders.

We get most of our seeds from Jung but I really enjoy the Schumway catalog with its vintage drawings of produce and flowers.

Posted by: JTB at November 01, 2014 02:11 PM (FvdPb)

30 No problem with cutting the images, Y-not. Though I think the old Crosman Seed one was pretty cool.

A fair number of historic seed houses in the USA started in Upstate New York. Don't know if the snow influenced the rather florid artistic styles in their catalogs and advertising.

http://tinyurl.com/lrv45r7



Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 02:11 PM (qahv/)

31 ScoggDog, if you're not protecting crops underneath those leaves, you can modify Y-not's plan a little:

Try sprinkling the leaves with a little nitrogen fertilizer. The will break down to enrich the soil with organic matter. Sprinkle on a little more nitrogen a few weeks before you want to plant and dig or till the leaves under. Where you want to plant your earliest crop (or warm-weather crops) cover with black plastic after cultivation.

Or, read up on the Lasagna no-till garden method.

Where do you walk in such a big raised bed?

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 02:17 PM (qahv/)

32 >>I still have petunias, 2 kinds of verbena, even some lantana going string, to say nothing of dozens of rose buds, lots of dianthus, daylilies and mums blooming and several dozen pansies.

Wow!

Posted by: Mama AJ at November 01, 2014 02:19 PM (0xTsz)

33

Seed jewelry.

https://www.etsy.com/ca/search?q=seeds

I love the Dandelion Seed Glass Orb Terrarium Necklace from these guys:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ViperCoraraDesigns


Seems like the Dandelion seed is a big hit for many artists.

But, Google "seed jewelry" in general. There's a lot of beautiful stuff out there.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 02:24 PM (IXrOn)

34 A double stompening posing as a bump!

Glad I got out last night when it was crispy delicious. I just came back from a delightfully cold and bleak nature walk, and it was like being in an Edward Gorey illustration.

How did "pansy" become a synonym for weakling? Those little suckers are hardy.

Posted by: All Hail Eris at November 01, 2014 02:26 PM (QBm1P)

35 That's great, Mama AJ. We don't have many flowers, but the ones we do have look better after the rain than after watering with a watering can.

Didn't see what the garden looked like UNDER the rain. It was Halloween night.

I used to play this piece. Not this well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXssC-jXS78

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 02:28 PM (qahv/)

36
11 I usually pick out the seeds before I pack a bowl. If I miss one, it can explode like popcorn, and showers me with burning embers.

The trick is to grow them without seeds. My buddy had an excellent harvest this year of seedless plants, though he did pollinate a few branches for next year's crop.

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 01, 2014 02:32 PM (RcpcZ)

37 Raised beds-
If you can, catch grass and leaves during a mowing.
In the middle of the bed make a layer cake...
Foot or so of grass/leaves
Inch or two of bed dirt (just throw it on with a shovel)
Handful or two of garden fertilizer.

Just keep layering that up. When as large as workable, water it down good.
If you can, stir it up and water it a few times over the winter.
Rake it out evenly over the bed and till in in the spring.
Plant and watch it grow.

Posted by: teej says go K-State at November 01, 2014 02:33 PM (UXVki)

38 The wife brought home some chicken poop to fertilize the garden for next year.

Posted by: Ronster at November 01, 2014 02:36 PM (G/NXs)

39 JTB,
R.H. Shumway belongs to Jung now. Once the largest catalog in the world, they say. I like the vintage illustrations, too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R._H._Shumway

I remember when the Jung catalog carried an open-pollinated very early white sweet corn, reflecting its orientation to gardeners in the North. There were a few bumps in the road for Shumway after Jung bought it.

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 02:41 PM (qahv/)

40 Wow!
Posted by: Mama AJ at November 01, 2014 02:19 PM (0xTsz)


It doesn't look as nice as it sounds, because I don't do a Fall cleanup in flower beds, so it's all blooming amid a lot of dead and dried stuff, but I am tickled to have flowers blooming!

I do have plenty of containers with violas on our porch... they all have jonquils or tulips buried in them, too.

Thinking about cyclamens, like stace mentioned; Home Depot has some gorgeous bright ones....

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 02:42 PM (qYuXr)

41
38 The wife brought home some chicken poop to fertilize the garden for next year.

Posted by: Ronster at November 01, 2014 02:36 PM (G/NXs)


Chicken poop is some strong shit so apply it in the fall or use it sparingly in the spring/summer. You might want to use it as a side dressing on established plants because it can burn seedlings. It's great fertilizer but be careful with it and good luck!

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 01, 2014 02:44 PM (RcpcZ)

42 Where do you walk in such a big raised bed?


Between the rows, of course


Thanks for the advice. We're just trying to preserve the soil, and make it better. We've been composting and such. I'm not opposed to adding a little fertilizer.


Thanks again.


Posted by: ScoggDog at November 01, 2014 02:45 PM (9m68G)

43 Corgis Ho!

Posted by: Mr. Dave at November 01, 2014 02:47 PM (tUBqu)

44 Some people put chicken poop on their strawberries but I prefer whipped cream.

Posted by: Mr. Dave at November 01, 2014 02:48 PM (tUBqu)

45 I really, really really want to get more into growing seeds, mainly for getting specific varieties of perennials and annuals, but I am not sure I have the patience for the tricky part between the time they sprout, til they get several sets of leaves. Seems like I remember losing so many to over watering or underwatering, etc.

I prefer stuff I can just broadcast over open ground, like species petunias and zinnias, sweet peas, etc.

We have a fun place about 2 hours north of us, near the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum, that does heirloom seeds:

http://www.rareseeds.com/get-to-know-baker-creek/our-village/


Great day trip for me; it's a lovely way to spend the day.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 02:49 PM (qYuXr)

46
And for those making mulch, remember that you need green material (like fresh lawn clippings) along with the dead, brown vegetation. The green provides the necessary nitrogen. A 10:1 ratio is good. A high nitrogen fertilizer can be substituted for the green plant matter if you don't have any, but don't overdo it.

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 01, 2014 02:50 PM (RcpcZ)

47 I just came back from a delightfully cold and bleak nature walk, and it was like being in an Edward Gorey illustration.
Posted by: All Hail Eris at November 01, 2014 02:26 PM (QBm1P)


We just came back from a crisp walk too, a bit ago. Brought my umbrella, just in case. Just felt a mist at one point.

My husband says "look at this idiot." And, here comes a jogger with a dog on his leash. He was in a tank top, shorts, socks and hiking shoes.

It's in the high 30's right now. lol

I had a turtleneck, a fleece vest, a heavy Irish raincoat (flannel lined), gloves, and a neck hood on.

halloween decorations blowin' in the wind

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 02:51 PM (IXrOn)

48 Wood ashes are also great to add to your beds, scogg. (Not charcoal, just good old fireplace or fire-pit ashes)

Also, and I may have pimped this before, something called Yum Yum Mix from High Country Gardens. It's insanely good fertilizer, as is their mix of trace minerals.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 02:53 PM (qYuXr)

49

I really ought to winterize my lawn this year. Every year I do, it looks amazing in the spring. I ran out of the stuff, and have been too lazy to pick some more up.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 02:53 PM (IXrOn)

50 'ette, check Amazon or Walmart.com.... they'll bring it right to ya!

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 02:59 PM (qYuXr)

51

Can't get enough of gardening, and have to endure hard winter months.

Green Thumb Feature Films

The following feature films or TV series prominently feature gardening, gardens, and/or gardeners.


http://clpgh.org/books/filmlists/gardeners.html

I always thought Rosemary and Thyme was a sweet show. Old but I watched it on Netflix. For the gardens.

Another extensive list:

http://www.skokielibrary.info/s_audiovisual/av_lists/av_ls_Movies/gardening.asp

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 02:59 PM (IXrOn)

52 I never thought about looking for gardening movies, but I sure wish HGTV would bring back A Gardener's Diary and The Gardener's Journal. Even if they didn't do new episodes, the repeats would be great to see again.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 03:02 PM (qYuXr)

53 Tammy,
High Country Gardens is a great source for drought-tolerant (deer tolerant, etc.) plants.

Many flowers are trickier to start from seed than veggies. Does Baker Creek sell flower seeds? Never noticed.

Miracle Gro Moisture Control potting mix is my friend when it comes to avoiding over or underwatering. Though I still use a seed-starting mix for starting veggies indoors.


Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 03:03 PM (qahv/)

54 'ette, check Amazon or Walmart.com.... they'll bring it right to ya!
Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 02:59 PM (qYuXr)


True that.

But, I do have to go pick up another small freezer this week (instead of paying shipping charges), so I will pick some up then. And, some bungee cords, which for some reason, I always run out of.

I had bought a small freezer for meat, mainly (Costco runs), but have been freezing my herbs, tomatoes, etc from my garden, and now buying produce that has a short window (like rhubarb, or even okra), my homemade stock, pizza sauce, squeezed juices, ... so I need one just for veggies, herbs and homemade stuff.

My parents always dry their herbs. I have very good luck, and prefer mine freshly frozen. It works great.

Posted by: artisanal 'ette at November 01, 2014 03:04 PM (IXrOn)

55 I just saved some seeds from a butternut squash ... laid them out on newspaper. Lettuce seeds are much cheaper by the quarter pound. Planting them where tomato plants will go works well in spring, and they can be thinned out as tomatoes start to comes up later.

This winter I plan to use my 18,000 lumen grow light for the first time, for seedlings and grape cuttings, and so I don't get SAD. Maybe a little mist over new plants in the living room will keep the humidity up enough for them and me. Squirting them 12 times a day might get old, but I could put a cool mist humidifier on a timer, directed at them.

The four year old sweet corn seed I planted this spring came up just fine. Aldi's used to carry old seed packs for ten cents each, and they came up just fine for me. Seems like a good way to save money, especially since I have more zeal for planting than for weeding and maintaining. Start clean, plant and Preen (after they're up a few inches for seeds) ... they get little attention after that.

Posted by: Illini Bill at November 01, 2014 03:04 PM (O+hNE)

56
ScoggDog:

You have to be careful using leaves or they will form an almost impenetrable mat by Spring. Grind them up if you can. Otherwise, make sure to mix some soil or peat moss with them so they don't mat. A high nitrogen fertilizer will help them break down.

And here's a trick for those using peat moss:

Ever try to moisten dry peat moss with a hose? It doesn't work too well as the moss seems to naturally repel water. Put a small amount of a detergent containing a surfactant in a hose end sprayer and the moss will magically absorb the water. You only need a teaspoon or so. It also works on dry soil or any other dried soil amendments that don't want to moisten.

We added a bale of peat moss and a some compost to our beds for about five years in a row and by the end the soil was like chocolate cake. If you're in it for the long run it's an excellent way to build a great garden soil.

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 01, 2014 03:06 PM (RcpcZ)

57 High Country Gardens is a great source for drought-tolerant (deer tolerant, etc.) plants.


Heh, they know me by name! I have two boxes full of plants from them in the garage, awaiting planting. They have such great customer service. Leigh is a doll.

One more small box coming from Bluestone Perennials.

And another huge box from Van Engelen. (Did I mention I have a serious bulb addiction?)

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 03:12 PM (qYuXr)

58 illini Bill, you sound like my gardening soul mate! I think bargain bin seed packets are a fun gamble.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 03:15 PM (qYuXr)

59
This winter I plan to use my 18,000 lumen grow light for the first time, for seedlings and grape cuttings, and so I don't get SAD.
...
Posted by: Illini Bill at November 01, 2014 03:04 PM (O+hNE)


Can you provide a link to or description of what kind of lights you're using? Having lost my old garden, I've been thinking about using lights for months. I've investigated LEDs, but they're extremely expensive and not yet a proven product. I think the alternatives are mercury vapor and metal halide. What do you use?

As for using old seeds -- they're a great way to save money. Even with a 50% germination rate at 10 cents/pack you can grow lots for a few dimes. When it comes to using seeds from your own garden, if you were growing hybrids your seeds won't "breed true" -- that is, grow just like their parents. But that's often okay because you can end up with a pleasant and unique new variety. The best tomatoes I ever had came from the grounds of an abandoned manse where the neighborhood had dumped their yard waste for years. Over the years the volunteers bred themselves into super tasty tomatoes a bit larger than golf balls. I've never seen any tomato variety for sale even close to them. I wish so badly that I had saved some of the seeds instead of just eating tons of those tomatoes!

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 01, 2014 03:26 PM (RcpcZ)

60 20 It's their Mexican subsidiary, Valu-rito.
Posted by: Mama AJ at November 01, 2014 01:44 PM (0xTsz)

Thanks! I'll look for that on my next booze run, which at the rate I'm going will happen soon. Last weekend we went to Port Aransas with some old friends and everyone had to bring a classic cocktail. i didn't feel detoxed until Wednesday.

Posted by: stace at November 01, 2014 03:32 PM (ImzkZ)

61 Put down feed oats as green cover for the garden. They are sprouting like mad.
I also got heirloom garlic from a friend and I will plant it in the plot In front of the South facing back porch for a screen next summer.
I dug potatoes. I am going to just plant them as a decorative plant from now on. I get good foliage and puny wire-worm eaten tubers.

Posted by: Kindltot at November 01, 2014 03:41 PM (t//F+)

62 Thanks to all for mentioning the various catalogs and websites. I love starting seeds in winter. It's a sign of miracles to come in spring. and restores my faith in life when weather and politics drains the soul. Makes me wish we had a bigger garden.

Posted by: JTB at November 01, 2014 03:49 PM (FvdPb)

63 Hey Ed ... all I know is it turned on fine and seemed bright, I haven't grown anything under them ... supposed to be about 240 Watts. The halides are better for commercial production probably, but with these one can place them closer to the plants.

Search amazon for
T5 commercial tube fixture Star Hydro

Mine was $121 .. has four 4' bulbs.


Posted by: Illini Bill at November 01, 2014 03:55 PM (O+hNE)

64 Ah, Demon Seed, set in my home town of Thousand Oaks. Those exterior shots of the building containing Proteus IV? The old city hall before it was abandoned due to irremediable ADA requirements.

Posted by: Epobirs at November 01, 2014 04:06 PM (IdCqF)

65 They aren't cheap, but my family gets a lot of our seeds through the territorial web site and catalog. The seeds have consistently been high quality, with high germination rates.

Posted by: Advo at November 01, 2014 04:06 PM (7hUS8)

66 They aren't cheap, but my family gets a lot of our seeds through the territorial web site and catalog. The seeds have consistently been high quality, with high germination rates.

Posted by: Advo at November 01, 2014 04:06 PM (7hUS8)

67
Thank you Illini Bill.

Posted by: Ed Anger at November 01, 2014 04:27 PM (RcpcZ)

68 Cover crop? Mulch? In Kentucky? Just bury them a little deeper next time, no g-man will be the wiser.

Posted by: Ol' Kaintuck at November 01, 2014 04:27 PM (/GgDU)

69 Maybe we could start a garden addict support group, Tammy. I don't generally buy from High Country for myself, since I'm not in, you know, high country. But I send some gifts from them.

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 04:54 PM (qahv/)

70 cmon man I never said i liked hello kitty

but thx for the mention nonetheless

Posted by: chemjeff at November 01, 2014 05:00 PM (9GG/0)

71 Illini Bill, I gave out about a quarter pound of lettuce seeds this spring when I did a Baby Leaf display. Most people have NO IDEA how may lettuce seeds are in a quarter pound. The cheaper prices per seed with larger amounts of seed are one of the temptations of catalogs for market growers. If I bought a quarter pound of every kind of lettuce I wanted to try, I would have a hard time even giving the extra seeds away.

One year, a semi-destitute friend who was "co-gardening" with us got a seasonal job processing lettuce seed. He spread a couple of big bags of the chaff that the processor gave away over our garden. That spring, there was very deep red lettuce EVERYWHERE. But it was tough. In retrospect, it was probably a variety intended for the baby leaf trade.

Old seed often comes up just fine, depending on storage conditions and the type of plant. Hard to find it for sale anymore because of federal regulations requiring germination testing.

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 05:13 PM (qahv/)

72 About lights for growing plants: Be careful about the light spectrum of the lights you choose. Some are intended to induce blossoming and are not the best choice for seedlings.

So far, I have gotten by with just a set of 4 foot cool white fluorescent shop lights set very close to the tops of the plants. Like, 2 inches. But I am in California and generally put my seedlings out during the day fairly soon after they are up.

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 05:22 PM (qahv/)

73 Advo, are you in the Northwest?

Territorial has great growing information for that region in their catalog. But like you say, they are on the pricey side.

I also like Nichols, in Oregon. Used to be quirkier than it is today.

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 05:26 PM (qahv/)

74 We don't use the grow lights (fluorescent in the right color range) to supply warmth to the seeds and seedlings. We have warming mats that go under the trays which provide a gentle non-drying heat. We keep the house rather cool in the winter and the mats are needed. The lights are on stands that straddle the seedling trays and can be raised or lowered as needed. It must work, we probably have a better than 95% success rate. And green thumbs seemed to skip my generation.

Posted by: JTB at November 01, 2014 05:54 PM (FvdPb)

75 KT, we could be the charter members!! There are far worse things to be addicted to than gardening...and books. I have a book issue, too, but that's for tomorrow morning! (Although I'd love a gardening book discussion here!)

I started off ordering HCG when my husband and I had a cabin in Big Bear (mountains east of Los Angeles), but I used them for our garden in Huntington Beach as well as here in Arkansas. Great peeps, with some unusual selections! We have stopped by the nursery in Santa Fe a time or two on our trips back and forth from CA to AR.

Bluestone isn't the place for unusual plants but I have to say their plants have arrived looking better than any other mail order nursery I have ever ordered from. They are not near as inexpensive as they used to be, but the quality of their plants is outstanding.

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 05:56 PM (qYuXr)

76 germination testing requirements ... I wonder what seed company wanted that to be a regulation. ha

yeah, 1/4 pound lasted me three years, with most of the lettuce ending up as mulch. I can't say if it suppressed other weed growth or not, but it seems like it could be a good "cover crop" in that capacity. It's easy to toss down though, and just watching something come up is fun ... cheap thrills for the easily amused.

I bought the T5 light thing a couple years ago, but reading now it seems the t-8 can be cheaper and just as good if one gets the right bulbs. I'm thinking the 6500K (which mine came with) is the bluer light for less fruiting. I'm guessing the "grow lights" are fuller spectrum, which plants can use but people can't see.

In a fleeting fit of ambition I bought 4000' of slotted row cover, thinking I'd do some rows of tomatoes or something. Flimsier than expected stuff needs wire arch support every 4' though, but I may try to get a jump on things next spring. Of course for us that means maybe March for some things. But ambition measurements run higher in Fall than Spring. lol

Posted by: Illini Bill at November 01, 2014 05:57 PM (O+hNE)

77 chemjeff, did you ever get your side yard planted?

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 05:58 PM (qYuXr)

78 and just watching something come up is fun ... cheap thrills for the easily amused.

Spoken like a true gardener!

Posted by: Tammy al-Thor at November 01, 2014 06:10 PM (qYuXr)

79 You're so right about "ambition measurements", Bill. Heh.

Floating row cover does better with an arch for some crops, but some types can be used without and arch for some of the low-growing plants, if you don't have too much wind.

And yes, watching something come up is fun. Except for, like, Bermuda grass.

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 06:17 PM (qahv/)

80 P.s.: The Crosman seed company funded the Crosman Rifle outfit. Audio history here from the Democrat & Chronicle:
http://tinyurl.com/knj7ku3

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 06:25 PM (qahv/)

81 good thought on the flat row cover KT, thanks. It's real thin, so plants could just push it up. Or I could just run a piece of twine 6" up or so, to keep vertical plants from bending over ... easier than securing it over the hoops. Should help warm the cold ground too, with some solar heat held in, which will maybe do as much good as the early growth.

Posted by: Illini Bill at November 01, 2014 06:52 PM (O+hNE)

82 Floating row cover can give a little frost protection. There are "frost blanket" weights and "summer" weights that don't trap much heat. They were introduced without the hoops. The plants were intended to push up on the cover as they grew. After planting, secure the edges or the row cover over seeds or plants with soil or "garden staples", leaving the row cover kind of floppy.

To me their big advantage is preventing insect damage early in the season. Just don't plant, say, turnips where plants in the cabbage family grew the year before. Then you could trap cabbage root maggot pupae (in the ground) under the cover. Same deal with tomato hornworms and tomatoes.

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 07:50 PM (qahv/)

83 The connection between Crosman Seeds and Crosman Rifles reminded me of Garden and Gun Magazine. I guess they sort of go together.

http://gardenandgun.com/

Posted by: KT at November 01, 2014 08:07 PM (qahv/)

84 yeah, I didn't give much thought to it when I bought it. Probably just clear plastic would serve better for early planting, or soil warming. Still, an extra ~15 degrees under the cover will add a lot of growing degree days through early June I'd guess.

I should work the ground this fall, letting it go through freeze/thaw to break it up nicely. Then placing the plastic before planting, the sun goes through clear plastic and warms the darker (worked) ground, with the plastic as the barrier. That works better than black plastic, where just the plastic gets hot but loses most of the heat to the air. But my slotted stuff will lose much of the heat. Lots of options I guess.

But you Californians don't worry much about frozen ground.

Posted by: Illini Bill at November 01, 2014 09:01 PM (O+hNE)

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