lonejack2

GardenWeb chat - March 2017

I am starting this thread to replace the 'Seed Starting Time Redux' since it is getting pretty long.

Feel free to ask questions, post progress of your seed starting and seedlings, brag about your harvests if you have any this early, cheer your successes and lament your failures, complain about the weather, etc.

Comments (540)

  • jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)
    3 years ago

    Here is the first 1000 (kale, lettuce, swiss chard, kohlarabi) or so seedlings in my new greenhouse, the greenhouse isn't finished yet, but I am using it. Still need to get the insulation installed and electricity ran and wired up.

    I have another 800 tomatoes to move out here on Friday (in the house under lights) and I started another 800+ peppers, broccoli, cauliflower and tomatoes last night.


    Best Answer
  • Steve Lng Islnd NY Z-7a SunSet Z-34
    3 years ago

    @tana, I got way more than 2 on each plant, probably like 10. Had way more than I needed and many were wasted, I am only growing 2 this year because of the high out put of this variety. Once they are the size you think is appropriate you need to cut them off so the energy goes into new development. I highly suggest that you mulch them with grass clippings, the eggplants go nuts with it.

    @all had my first bad experience with Park Seed today, those Chandler Blueberries I ordered from them are on back order till April 1st, that was not specified on the site when I purchased them. After three emails to them asking for the status with no reply I used their chat option on their website to get some answers and that is when they told me they were back ordered. I am a bit pissed.

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    I haven't ordered from Park Seed in years, but only ordered seeds when I did. When were they supposed to come? April 1st is only 3 days away :-)

    My blueberries, raspberries and strawberries come from Nourse Farms next week! Dixondale just notified me that the onion seedlings are on the way as well. I have about a 3'x4' space designated for onions. Definitely can't fit 50-75 plants there, so I'll be giving away some to family and friends.

  • Sunflowers
    3 years ago

    What kinds of blueberries and raspberries did you order, Chris? I'm SO ready for tons of blueberries this year. It'll be my plants' second summer in the ground after 3 summers in containers (yes I have to constantly fight the soil Ph rising) and they exploded with growth last year and are loaded with blossoms already. AND my mason bees (a Christmas gift from my brother) are set to arrive on Friday.

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    5 each of Prelude and Heritage raspberries and 2 each of Bluecrop and Blueray blueberries. I keep hearing that there's a constant battle with soil ph, if you're native soil isn't acidic(mine isn't). I was going to pot up the blueberries as well. In fact, I may keep them in pots their entire life because it's easier to control acidity that way. I know I'll have to keep increasing the pot size. Or I could build small, individual raised beds for the blueberries and just acidify the soil. That might look nice.

    Mason bees! That's awesome. I have a mason bee house that I'm putting in the garden this year. I'm thinking about building another one too. I hear that sometimes it's hard to get them to take, but I hope they come.

  • Sunflowers
    3 years ago

    Sounds like you'll have a good amount of berries in the coming years!

    I have a raised bed that's 4x10 with 5 dwarf/half-high blueberry bushes in it and I dug out all of the existing soil and filled it with a mix of peat moss, perlite and pine bark fines. I test the ph about twice or 3 times a year and have been able to keep it around 5.5 or so with long acting sulfur, short acting iron sulfate and fertilizing with ammonium sulfate. I think the extra growth they've put in makes it worth it to grow in ground, but I do still see the appeal of easy-to-control containers.


    I'm excited to see if the bees make a difference in my yields with increased pollination. My brother got me a kit from Crown Bees and it came with a house, reusable trays, bee attractant, special mud, and coupons for both spring mason bees and summer leafcutter bees.

  • isgen
    3 years ago

    Here's my lettuce and spinach being hardened-off in my low tunnel, probably eager to move up to the big leagues. I'll wait a few days still so as to skip a couple of night forecasts dipping well below freezing.




  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    Wow, looks like you've done your research, Sunflowers! I heard cottonseed meal is a good organic option too. Hope you get a bumper crop!

    Let me know how the mason bees work out for you. That's so cool.

    Isgen, those are looking great!

  • uaskigyrl
    3 years ago

    I don't know if I got a bad batch from Botanical Interests but none of the pepper seeds I got from them (in a pepper sampler package) sprouted. Out of 6 different peppers with 4 pods each, 1 got exactly 1 Italian Marconi. My Pink Banana Squash seeds from them didn't sprout either. I'm super bummed and ended up buying potted peppers from ChilePlants.com. I think I may skip winter squash all together because I just don't think I'll have time. However, I am getting Gold Nugget Winter Squash seeds from SeedsNow in a few days and those only take around 80 days to mature...so maybe I'll still have time?


    I was able to get enough seeds to sprout that I'm able to give a bunch of seedlings away and that makes me happy. Any seedlings that I can't find homes for I'm going to give to the church's (that is next door) community garden.


    My current stressor is figuring out how I'm going to trellis everything without taking out a small car loan :-p


    I plan on growing the following in my garden plot: Health Kick Roma Tomatoes, Brandywine Tomatoes, Small Shining Light Watermelon, Minnesota Midget Melon, Scallop Summer Squash, Contender Zucchini, Cascadia Snap Pea, Edamame Midori Giant, Golden Wax Bean, Swiss Chard, Kohlrabi, Turnips, Kale, Carrots, Tomatillos, Beets, Royalty Purple Beans, Tom Thumb Pea, Black Beauty Eggplants, Peppers: Italian Marconi, Jalapenos, Big Jims, Pueblos, Pasilla Oaxacas, Anchos


    In a vertical garden I have: Cauliflower, Romaine Little Gem, Strawberries, Baby Bok Choy, Mesclun & Arugula, Cherry Belle Radish

    Out front I have in a large pot with a tall trellis: True Lemon and Parisian Pickling Cucumbers with Tom Thumb Buttercrunch Lettuce in the shade of the cucumbers.

    Don't even get me started on my flowers! lol

  • uaskigyrl
    3 years ago

    @Sunflowers That kit sounds amazing! Maybe I'll get one. Being in the city it's hard to get pollinators and I've been thinking of releasing lady bugs in my back...but maybe a mason bee home will be better? I'll have to look into it!

  • Sunflowers
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Nice color on that lettuce, isgen! How long did you grow those in the plug trays?

    Thanks Chris, I hope I do too. I convinced myself that the initial expense would be recovered when considering how expensive organic blueberries are at the grocery store. So far we haven't had bumper crops, but until last year I didn't cover with bird netting so I lost probably 80% of the berries.

    Wow, you have a lot going on, uaskigyrl! That really stinks about your seeds from Botanical Interests. I'm surprised that none of them sprouted. I bet you'd still have time to plant the winter squash. You should think about mason bees! They're supposed to be low maintenance and do an even better job than honey bees!

  • uaskigyrl
    3 years ago

    @sunflowers I grow Black Beauty Eggplants almost exclusively every year (I find that they make the best size for eggplant parmigiana) and I generally get 8 fruits a plant. Last year I only got 4 but that's because I started way late and by the time I put the eggplant in the ground it was too hot and she didn't really take off and start producing fruit until the temp dropped back down to a consistent 80s. So, she only had about a month or so of fruit production time before it was too cold for her.

  • Peter (6b SE NY)
    3 years ago

    @Sunflowers, you got post 500.

    Wow this topic has become a little overwhelming... I hope no one takes offense if I don't respond to your post.

    Black Beauty isn't well suited for my climate here. I grow Galine, Hansel, and this year am trying Nadia for verticillium resistance and Prosperosa just for fun.

    @uas, that's a pretty list... go ahead and splurge on the small car loan ;)

    @isgen cute transplants... how much of a jump start do you get that way? I don't have the space or time to start transplants for things I can direct sow.

    My extremely expensive potatoes came today from Maine Potato Lady.

    It is 1 lb of Magic Molly on the left and 2.5 lb of Red Gold on the right. The Magic Molly sure doesn't look purple..... not very happy ao far. I could wash and cut one ipen to get a better look but there are only 6 tubers...

    This is in addition to the 5 Kennebec I have chitting... I am going to have to cull some of these potatoes. That's about 30 plants if planted whole, I have room for like 15.

  • Steve Lng Islnd NY Z-7a SunSet Z-34
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    @Chris I have grown the Virginia Sweets and Tasti-Lee before. Virginia is a real good slicing tomato like a beef steak but a yellow and red mix, like the golden sun you guys are growing but it is its own heirloom . Tasti-lee is like a super tasty text book tomato, very round. Both grow well and are indeterminate.

    I really would like to do some grafting and mess around with indeterminate, disease resistant root stock with determinant heirlooms that people don't normally grow because of disease. Everybody and their mother grows tomatoes around here ( 2-4 plants) and I bet there is a good market for those here.

  • isgen
    3 years ago

    @Sunflowers,

    Thanks, yeah I like the colour on that Cimmaron lettuce! I started them just over a month ago, but in a "communal" tray. I hadn't though of buying one of these at the time, so I transplanted each seedling before the roots would get tangled. Will definitely start in that next year.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Peter - those are definitely not Magic Molly. The skin should be purple as well as the flesh. Those look more like LaRatte. I'd contact the potato lady and have them send the correct order and eat those or till up some more space and plant all of them. I've never had problems with critters bothering potatoes so you might try planting the extras outside of your fence. What's to lose?

  • Peter (6b SE NY)
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    @Jack, yes I will contact her.

    I will see if I can sneak them in somewhere, I certainly have tons of unfenced space, but my wife gets unhappy when I start planting vegetables anywhere, at least anywhere near the flower beds. I can try planting them in shade in a secluded spot she won't mind. The description for laratte sure sounds tempting...

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    Peter, let me know how your potatoes do. Maybe I'll try Maine Potato Lady next year. Hopefully they can get you the correct potatoes soon. Are you gonna start chitting these now?

  • Peter (6b SE NY)
    3 years ago

    Idk how I would avoid chitting them... they are in a cupboard until planting in 1-2 weeks. Not really enough time for anything much to happen. I took my Kennebecs out of the fridge a few days ago. They are kind of shrivelled so I didn't want to leave them sitting too long.

    You are planting potatoes this year?

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    I mean like putting them under lights.

    Yes. I couldn't resist the temptation. The thought of planting something and then digging up a surprise yield is just too tempting. I'm doing them in very large grow bags. Got some for my cousin too, for when I do their garden. Yukon Gold and All Blue from High Mowing Organic Seeds.

  • Peter (6b SE NY)
    3 years ago

    Cool hope you get a nice harvest.

    I think the lights just help keep the stems stocky. Not necessary really right away.

  • Steve Lng Islnd NY Z-7a SunSet Z-34
    3 years ago

    I am growing Elba Potatoes this year from seed stock I saved from last year. I grew Keuka Gold back in 2014 that got from the Main Potato lady they were really good. But the yield from the Elba is better and the taste is very good as well.

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    Thanks, Peter, hope you do as well.

    Steve, you just store the potatoes in the fridge? I love watching these youtube videos, and seeing people reveal their potato yield lol.

    Looks like Winter didn't get the memo. Rain, sleet and snow here tomorrow into Saturday. Looking further out, I see what looks like a deep trough of cold air late next week. Hopefully that's the last one we get.

  • babushka_cat
    3 years ago

    Basil germinated!

  • Sunflowers
    3 years ago

    Ahaha you do that too, Chris!? I spent almost an hour last night just watching potato reveal videos on Youtube. The ones in containers are especially intriguing to me. It's like living vicariously through them!

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Great, babushka! Which variety are you growing? I had the growing itch in the winter, so I grew basil, parsley and cilantro indoors.

    Sunflowers, yes! I can't get enough. I hope we can have similar success! It's gotta be so satisfying to dump a container out and see loads of potatoes!

  • Sunflowers
    3 years ago

    My mason bees are here!!! Look at 'em. So cute and small, yet (I hope) so powerful!

    Peppers and tomatoes are doing well this evening. Still need to snip off the second tomato in each cell. My husband is helping with starting the tomatoes this year and I promised to wait until he's back from a work trip this weekend so he can help.


  • babushka_cat
    3 years ago

    @ chris: I am growing a variety that will hopefully taste good and offer some visual interest in my raised beds: Genovese, Thai Basil, Purple Ruffles and Lime Basil.

    Good to know I am not the only one obsessively watching youtube videos of vegetable gardening LOL!!!! Learning so much and clearly I have found my people! The Rusted Garden and Claires Allotment are two I have been watching recently.

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago
    Awesome, Sunflowers! So how does that work? Are they in like eggs right now? Lol Tomatoes and peppers look great!

    Babushka, great varieties! I want to try Thai basil. Isn't it great, watching garden videos?? I only wish there were shows on tv. Something tells me they will become more popular in the future. Gardening and farming is making a big comeback.

    So I received my Highlander onion seedlings from Dixondale today. What's my course of action until they can go in the ground??
  • Steve Lng Islnd NY Z-7a SunSet Z-34
    3 years ago

    @Chris this is how they were stored.


    just in a closed card board box

  • Steve Lng Islnd NY Z-7a SunSet Z-34
    3 years ago

    This is a time lapse from last year of pole beans, corn, basil sweet potatoes, summer squash and some other plants. If you watch the right side you will see the pole beans start swinging around looking for something to grab onto. You guys will like it. https://youtu.be/hP6A63XeOCU

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    Steve, that's a great video! You transplant your pole beans??

    So you just stored them in a box and they lasted until next planting like that? Nice!

  • Peter (6b SE NY)
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    So it turns out those potatoes were in fact purple. Just very dirty. Maine Potato Lady has great customer service, just for the record. In the past I have emailed Ronniger's with no response at all.

    I will definitelt watch that video and read everyone's posts tomorrow.

  • babushka_cat
    3 years ago

    @ steve - AMAZING VIDEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • naturegirl_2007 5B SW Michigan
    3 years ago

    Steve, I like the video. It looks like the bean leaves go up and down, too. Is that a response to light and darkness? I'm going to have to go out in the dark this summer and look at my beans!

  • Steve Lng Islnd NY Z-7a SunSet Z-34
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    @All, thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed.

    @Chris the Elba Potatoes where with some Music and Italian Pruple, Garlic. I did transplant my poll beans last year, they were that giant green mass in my Jungle pic. I've done it before then too with peat pellets. They have always produced well. I let the first couple plants bean pods mature all the way and just keep direct sowing them till its too cold.

  • Steve Lng Islnd NY Z-7a SunSet Z-34
    3 years ago

    @naturegirl, it could be.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    Original Author
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Very cool video Steve...dancing seedlings! There towards the end it looked like the corn was dying. How did the corn end up doing after you transplanted it? I've started corn a couple times indoors but I always put it outside immediately after about 50% sprouted and then transplant at about 2 weeks.

    @Chris - looks like New England is the land that spring forgot again this year. Just keep the onions in a cool dark spot and they should be fine for at least a couple weeks.

    @Sunflowers - so do you just add water to the bees and they come to life ;-). Powell Gardens has a bee keeper that has several hives on their property and they wander over to pollinate some of my stuff I think. The times I have grown buckwheat as a cover crop really drew them in by the thousands when it was in bloom. I was scared to chop it down with my weed eater when the time came. Your tomatoes and peppers are looking great! So you are going to pot up the tomatoes this weekend?

    I potted up about 2 dozen of my tomatoes last night. 3 or 4 varieties are a little slower to sprout and grow so I am holding off on those. Light space is starting to get tight....I only have one bank of the 6 that is not in use right now. I just started about 20 broccoli and cauliflower for my brother so I need to figure out what to do with those soon. He is coming down to visit from Minneapolis on Easter weekend and taking them home so I won't have to deal with them when they get big.

    @Peter, Those spuds sure didn't look purple! They must have had a lot of dirt still on them.

  • Steve Lng Islnd NY Z-7a SunSet Z-34
    3 years ago

    @LoneJacK the corn did good until the pole beans took over everything near them.

    This is what turned into the big green mass aka "Jungle" that I had. I think it would of worked bUT the beans needed to be planted 2 or 3 weeks after the corn.

  • hokiehorticulture
    3 years ago

    @Chris- I received mine last week and the planting instructions included in the box says to take the rubber band off and separate the starts to provide good air flow until you can plant.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    @Hokie I did not know that you were supposed to separate them. I buy my Dixondale plants locally so they don't come with planting instructions. DD online instructions just say to keep them in a dry, well ventilated area and not to put them in soil or water and that they can live off the bulb for approximately 3 weeks.

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    Hokie, yeah after I sent that I opened up the sealed bag and found instructions lol. I cut the rubberbands off and laid them out in a tray in a cool place. Glad they can last a few weeks before going out.

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago
    It's a little booklet and it tells you spacing, soil and fertilization requirements.
  • Sunflowers
    3 years ago

    Cool video! Fun to see the water go down in the potato jars, too.


    Chris - The bees are still in their cocoons when they arrive, so now I place them outside in the bee cabin and they'll come out of their cocoons and start to pollinate and do their thing! I only put half of the cocoons out last night because I didn't have time to staple some chicken wire on the front of the bee cabin and there are some hungry birds who I'm sure would enjoy a bee snack. The other half of the cocoons are chilling in my fridge until this evening.


    LoneJack - That's awesome that you get bees without doing any of the upkeep! Perks of being so close to a botanical garden. Yes, I will be teaching my husband how to pot up tomatoes this weekend! I also need to make room under my lights. Might be moving some succulents that are under the lights right now outside as long as I can keep them relatively dry.

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA
    3 years ago

    Wow
    there are a ton of updates since I've been on here last! End of the month
    rush to fill up this thread?

    I
    didn't know about separating onion sets/plants either. I have a
    bundle of Walla Walla that I'll probably get out into the garden this weekend..
    not sure its worth unbundling now but I'll try to remember for next year!

    @tana
    - Yes I would love to talk canning! God willing we will all have great
    harvests this year! I take a really simple approach most years...
    freeze maters in 1 gal bags, then when ready to can, rinse under hot water
    to peel skins then into the big ol pot they go. I have an immersion blender
    that helps break everything down.

    @sunflowers
    - cool that you are doing the mason bee thing. I never knew they were
    that great for the garden.... I always saw them as something that destroyed my
    rocking chairs/pergola/anything that's wooden. I have some reclaimed
    lumber that they got a hold of last year... I end up cutting it in slices just
    to see how they did their holes. It is amazing how perfectly round they
    get them!

    As
    long as we're talking about ordering bugs online, I am trying praying mantis
    eggs this year. Hopefully they will be around when the Japanese
    beetles swarm. My 4 year old thinks they are the coolest, he keeps asking
    me to play youtube videos of them hatching. Cant wait to see his face when he sees the real thing. Wife is tentatively okay with having them in the house for now (if little one wasn't so excited about them she wouldn't have it).


    Made
    some progress the past couple days. Planted that broccoli in the pumpkin bed and will take the advise on here to just chop it down but leave roots intact when its done. Sowed some more lettuce/spinach. Built
    the rest of my ‘perimeter’ beds (three 2x6 beds, and two 2x4 beds). Made up some 5-1-1-ish potting soil and filled up all the front porch containers. Planted some hop rhizomes in the four biggest containers (Cascade, Willamette, CTZ, and Crystal). Plan is to have them climb up each corner of our pergola and train them along the top...we did it with morning glories last year and really liked the shade/comfort it provided. Im not sure the hops will be as aggressive as a first year plant but we're going to see how it goes.

    Still
    have to move the fence and build the two beds that will have peppers this year
    (6x5 each).

    Tomato seedlings are doing well with most having their first set of true leaves. Pepper young'n's (whipper snappers?) are doing great, really starting to take off now. Everything else has sprouted, petunias are taking forever to do anything.

    I really should take more pictures.

    Oh and
    I have to get my drip irrigation lines planned and then installed. Thinking of running 1/2 inch line through all the beds and then either adjustable emitters either directly on the 1/2 line or attached to 1/4 inch line when plants are further away. I tried running longer 1/4 inch line last year and it quickly became a tangled mess.

    Really itching to get one of those Rachio or other
    smart sprinkler controllers but I’m pretty sure my yard/garden budget is way
    over this year already and I still need to bring in/find/dig up a few yards of planting
    material.

    Sorry for the novel.

  • uaskigyrl
    3 years ago

    Oh my gosh, kpr. My petunias sprouted quickly then have done nothing. Sigh. Also, cool on the praying mantis! I didn't know you could buy them. That is interesting!

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago

    kpr, wow haha, you have lots going on! Glad your son is taking a liking to nature! Something kids should get more involved in these days. Are you planning on using those hops? :-p Sounds like everything will look great, once it comes together. Definitely send us some pics!

    I have no experience with petunias, but might be their MO. Some plants don't seem to be growing, but they are just getting their root system established first.

    I sowed some lettuce last night, indoors, in 3, 6-cell containers. One has Adriana(butterhead), another has Parris Island Cos(romaine) and the last is the Farmer's Market Blend(mesclun) from Botanical Interests. I don't know if I'm a little early or late for starting them indoors. I know they only need bout 3-4 weeks before going out, and they should be out after the last hard frost. I think I'm ok.

  • babushka_cat
    3 years ago

    Eight yards of soil goodness delivered this AM for the new raised beds. Installation is this weekend! Germination continues, have more seeds I need to plant. Running out of room under lights, need to adjust shelves to add 2 more banks of lights. Also included a picture of my bare root roses from earlier this year. Seemed like the best place to soak them given the volume...I am in my new (vintage) forever house, lots of roses going in this year! Picture of garden in my old house that I sold also included.



  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA
    3 years ago


    @uaskigyrl - glad to hear Im not the only one with 'stuck' petunias. Hopefully they are just pushing out lots of roots. Amazon has praying mantis eggs (what don't they have?!)

    @chris - Yes my boy is in awe of everything outdoors and garden related right now. He reminds me to check on the peppers every day when I get home from work! I'm soaking in this timeframe in his life because I know that when he gets a little older his passion will likely drift to sports, technology, girls, etc. etc. but hoping he keeps the fire burning.

    Yes I homebrew beer so the hops will go to good use!

    @babushka - Lots of happy shoveling in your near future it seems! That's great RE: roses. Good use of that 'soaker' tub!

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    @babushka, take it easy on your back hauling that soil! Don't put too much in one wheel barrow load. Your grow setup looks really neat and it looks like you have plenty of containers on stand by to pot up. The roses really seem to be enjoying their bath...hope you didn't add any bath salts. lol We only have (had) a few roses and after last year's Japanese Beetle attack, I don't think they are going to do well this year but that's my wife's problem...I am only in charge of the food crops.

    @kpr - let us know how the Praying Mantis vs. Japanese Beetle battle goes. I was considering treating my garden area with Milky Spore last fall but I hesitated and by the time I really looked into it, it was past the recommended application time. Maybe this year.

    I'm about to leave the office for the day. Early quit on a Friday is my tradition!! I'll see everyone on the April 2017 chat thread on Monday.

    Have a great weekend playing in the dirt!

  • Chris (6a NY)
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    I started the April 2017 chat. Here is the link: GardenWeb Chat - April 2017

    Hope you don't mind, Jack :-)

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