Tag Archives: seedlings

FEAST OR FAMINE

Is Gardening Too Easy?

    Control yourself, Lee! Growing seedlings this time of year is too easy. Within a single packet of seeds  is the potential for a gardenful of vegetable or flower plants, even shrubs and trees. As such, a packet of seeds is relatively inexpensive.    I have envisioned delphinium in my garden, its tall, blue studded spires backed by the fence surrounding my blueberry planting. I could have just gone out and purchased a few potted delphinium plants, but I wanted a bolder effect so purchased instead a packet of seeds. Who would have thought that germination would be so good. After all, the seed germinates best when fresh and likes some cool temperatures to awaken; some people freeze the seeds in ice cubes for awhile before sowing them. I used nothing but patience, and not that much was needed.    I couldn’t bear to discard most of the seedling, …

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Winter’s Legacy and Spring Forward

This winter’s cold is most evident on bamboo. Clumps of tawny, dead leaves, still attached to the canes, stare out from among the trunks and stems of dormant trees and shrubs. I hadn’t realized that bamboo was so widely planted. The depth of cold isn’t what killed the canes and leaves; it was the duration of cold. Seventy miles south of here, leaves of yellow groove bamboo, Phyllostachys aureosulcata, among the most cold hardy of the thick-caned bamboos, typically stay green and fresh all winter, but even they’ve been killed.

My bamboo, before pruning

No, the plants aren’t dead; just their canes and leaves. Warm weather will coax new shoots from the roots, shoots that will push skyward rapidly. I’ve measured as much as 6 inches of elongation per day. The record for bamboo growth, not around here, of course, is almost 3 feet in …

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The Season Begins

Gentlemen (and ladies, and kids), start your engines. The 2014 gardening season has begun, here on the farmden, at least.

The day began with my lugging the big pail of potting soil from the cold garage to a warm spot near the woodstove. My home-made potting soil — equal parts peat, compost, garden soil, and perlite, with some soybean meal thrown in — is moist when I make it, so was frozen solid. Not usable or suitable for germinating seeds.

Once the potting soil defrosts and warms, I scoop it into a seed flat and a small plastic tub into which I’ve drilled drainage holes. Firming the soil in place with my Furrow Maker, a small board with spaced out,

The Furrow Maker in action

1/4-inch dowels glued to its underbelly, creates a miniature farm field. Into the tub’s “field” go rows …

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Tomato Sowing, and More

Sowing tomatoes was the big moment in the garden last week. The sowing was actually indoors and it was on April 1st, which is 6 weeks before the “average date of the last killing frost,” or, to those in the know, ADLKF.

I’m finicky about what varieties to grow because good tomatoes just waste garden space, never getting eaten if great-tasting tomatoes, are also to be had. But look at tomato variety descriptions in seed catalogues and on seed packets, and you’d think that every tomato variety tastes great and is worth growing. 
I read those descriptors carefully to narrow the field. For starters, I avoid any tomato listed as “determinate.” Determinate varieties grow by branching repeatedly because each stem ends in a cluster of fruits. The plants are compact and ripen their fruits over a short season, which appeals to commercial growers. Downsides are that their lower leaf …

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Homegrown Rice & Good Gates

Whoops, I don’t know how this post from May jumped up to today. There are some new comments but its otherwise an older post. The newest post is the next one down. Farmdening is easier to figure out than blogging . . .——————————————————

Here I am swimming in seedlings and small, potted plants sitting on shelves or the ground in the greenhouse, on my picnic table, and on the terrace. Each plant is waiting for the right time to be planted outdoors or to be moved to a bigger pot. So why would I add to the crowd by planting something as absurd as rice? Because rice tastes good and might be fun to grow.

Interest in commercial and home rice cultivation has been on the rise here in the northeast, as attested to by last year’s Second Annual Northeast Rice Conference, held …

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