Winter Garden Experiments

This is, in some ways, a sequel to my post "Determined To Grow Beets". These little seedlings are from the beet seed that I crushed, didn't think I saw much of any seed inside the pods and had almost decided to throw the seed away. But after some of them began to germinate, I just could not throw them away. Yes, I know, it's 'way too early, and they probably won't live, but what other garden tasks do I have to do right now? It's still just a little too early to start my tomato and pepper seed germinating. I have all this empty space on the light table. It's not a waste of my time when that's one thing I already have plenty of. I like to experiment. So call me silly if you want to, it's OK. There are worse things I could be doing for entertainment, like sticking my nose into what my adult kids and millennial-aged grandkids are doing or dancing naked in the back yard. haha only kidding about the second option but not so sure about the first.

I even planted some of the seed that didn't show any signs of being a seed, too. If you look closely, there are a few very short seedlings in the front parts of the cell-pack. There were 10 "pods" to begin with and so far I have counted 14 seedlings of wide-ranging sizes. Not a really good yield for compound seeds, and I imagine that the seedlings that are just now beginning to show would probably not have survived long enough to germinate out in an open garden in the spring. But maybe, who knows?

This is my "onion experiment". My Candy onions from last year began to show "storage rot", and so I had to put on my shop goggles, clean them up and chop them for storage in the freezer. I didn't think of saving the bottoms till I had already buried a lot of them in the garden with the rest of the contents of my kitchen compost bucket. As you can see, today I have discovered a little green onion. I think there are probably 12 onion bottoms in this tray.

These are my sweet-potato slips.



A purple-skinned variety that I purchased at "Sprouts", a health-food store in nearby Owasso.

There are a few rules that have to be observed when sprouting things in water, one of which is to stir the water every day so as to oxygenate it, thus keeping it from becoming stagnate and stinky, which then causes the parts of the cuttings that are under the water to soften and turn to slime. Not a pretty sight or a pleasant odor. I have read where some people put a baby aspirin in the water to increase rooting chances, but sweet potato will root easily so I didn't bother with that. Yes, this is early, too, as they will not be set out into the garden until early May, but my mother always had a sweet potato in a pot of water on top of the refrigerator during the winter, a reminder of the garden to come. She always said her eyes hungered to look at something green in the winter and she was not good with typical houseplants, nor did she have patience with growing anything that did not end up as food or flower.

I may grow them in tubs this year, as I had my sweet potato crop severely damaged last year by grubworms. I had applied Milky Spore without observable results a couple of years ago, also whenever I find them where I'm digging I collect them and put them where the birds, hungry for protein in the spring, will devour them. When Junebugs start to fly into the early spring morning patio lights, I have been gathering them into an empty milk jug, which I dump into the burn barrel when next I have something to burn. I can't think of another thing to do to remedy this situation, unless it is to start growing my roots in tubs and not in the ground.

Do you do any garden experiments in the winter, and if so, how is that going for you?


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