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Happy New Year! A new year begins! With the holidays over, it’s time to finish up our plans for the coming season- checking our seed stashes, ordering new seeds, getting ready to start transplants, etc. a gardener’s work is never done!
Welcome back Tony! Sorry it’s been such a rough patch in your house. No fun!Cindy, I, too, just had a Cosmic Crisp apple the other day. I went searching for it at one of the super big grocery stores here recently. It was, indeed crisp and juicy. That single apple cost about $1.50. I noticed that Honeycrisp apples aren’t as expensive as they once were. I guess it’s been replaced by Cosmic Crisp and other designer apples. Maybe in 10 years Cosmic Crisp will be a bit more economical.I’m heading to babysit my grandson for a few hours today which may overlap his nap time. I think I’ll take a stack of seed catalogs and get some things figured out for the garden while he naps.
Tony - that sauerkraut looks amazing! Did you ferment in the big jars? What did you use to keep it submerged?
I have a few quick question: How far apart should I plant Yellow Sweet Spanish Onion seeds? I found so Premier Pro Mix for $48, but it is only the 2.8 cubic feet bale: Approximately how many 5 gallon containers will that fill? Is that a good deal? Should I just try to find the 3.8 cubic feet bale?
Tony glad you are feeling better. Texas (or south Texas) just got the Honeycrisp apples 🍎 and they are still about $1.75 per apple but they are pretty tasty.
Jack - If it's not too much trouble, how about 15-20 of each? And yes, Provider sounds great too.
Did I ask for seeds of KBX? Would love to try that tomato, too, along with Wes.
Today looks to be our last above normal day for the foreseeable future. Everything changes tomorrow and by next week it's going to be cold again, especially at night. Not looking forward to that at all.
Cindy - No problem on the beans. Yes you asked for Wes, KBX, and Chapman. I've been working late this week due to afternoon meetings lasting until 5. I'll get your seeds packaged up this weekend and in the mail on Monday. Is there anything else you would like?
It's supposed to get cold here after the next storm moves through on Friday. We are only supposed to get a wintry mix on Friday changing to rain. Sunday's high for the AFC championship is only supposed to be 23 with a low in the teens that morning.
Jack - There is really no rush at all. I won't be planting any tomato seeds until March and beans until May or so. I'm good with what you are sending, thank you.
Our "storm" is supposed to be Saturday though the worst of it may be going north of here, thankfully. Looking forward to the games on Sunday!!
RD - that is expensive for Promix. the 2.8 cf package is not compressed so you get a whole lot less soil than the 3.8 compressed bale. This is from Greenhouse Megastore (which is probably not a good source due to shipping costs):
"The 2.8 loose cu. ft. bag is 25-35 lbs., while the 3.8 compact cu. ft. bag is 60-75 lbs.
The 3.8 cu.ft. size is compressed and expands to approximately 7 cubic feet loose. Each cubic foot of loose Pro-Mix fills approximately 10 one gallon trade pots, 14 eight in. hanging baskets, 57 four in. square pots or 7 bedding plant trays."
For Onions - an excellent way to grow them is to put 3 to 4 seeds per cell in a flat of 72 or more. Then you can transplant the entire cell out as a bunch of 3 - the onions push away from each other as they grow. If you want really big onions plant them separately, but this 'bunching' method is the best bang per square foot.
Another good way is to scatter sow them in an open container (think margarine tub). They grow like grass and then you separate the onions right before transplanting. The roots are hardy and can take abuse - I usually just rinse the rootmass of all surrounding soil, clip the roots to about 1/2 inch long, and transplant.
ONE TIP when growing onions from seed. Make sure to sow the seed fairly deep (approx 1/2 to 3/4 inch), especially if using fine seed starting material. Otherwise the onions will germinate and push themselves to the top prior to the roots digging in. Ask me how I know - every single year I forget and end up having to carefully top the trays with more soil.
Tony - sorry to hear of the flu pandemic. We are all happy to see you back. Baker Creek called and wondered why their Veggie Tales orders have been slow to start the year.
Darn it Kevin I surface sowed all of my alliums yesterday with only 1/2" vermiculite over seeds. Should I dig them up and replant them?
I bought a boatload of seeds yesterday online. As I said before, I want to try new varieties of things instead of sticking to the "standard" popular variety. There's also some thigns I'm trying for the first time (leeks, onions, Spinach) I got:
Beans - Black Turtle, Calima, Contender (instead of the usual Blue Lake)
Broccoli - Calabrese (instead of the usual Waltam 29)
Brussell Sprouts - Dmitri (after getting nowhere with L.I. Improved)
Cabbage - Brunswick , Early Jersey Wakefield (instead of the usual Copenhagen Market)
Cucumber- Tokyo Green (instead of the usual Marketmore 76)
Leeks - American Flag
Onion - Yellow of Parma, Yellow Sweet Spanish
Peppers - Golden Cali Wonder, King of the North (I'm such a Game of Thrones fan), Lipstick, Fish, Trinidad Scorpion
Spinach - Bloomsdale Long Standing
Watermelon - Black Tail Mountain, Ali Baba
Zucchini - Fordhook
If anyone has tried any of these varieties and have any advise, I welcome it! Not all of this I will be growing on my balcony... I will have to plant some at the farm in NC.
I want to try a couple of new herbs too (Lavender, rosemary) but haven't looked at those in detail yet.
As far as my favorite tomato, I literally didn't start liking tomatoes until my recent trip to Egypt in November. A lot of their dishes consist of tomatoes so I had no choice but to eat them. They are so much sweeter over there than here.. at least the ones I've had before... they were always quite acidic. So far I have only grown San Marzano, and that was for making sauces (and the sauces are amazing!). I want to try to grow other varieties, but I don't know which are the sweeter varieties to compare to the ones on the other side of the world. Any advice? Thanks in advance!
RD - here's yet another idea if you are doing a lot of alliums:
Take a 1020 tray filled with soil. Make four furrows the length of tray. Count out 100 seeds and then make three more piles that look close (dont waste time counting each one). Each furrow gets approximately 100 seeds. At transplant treat the same as first option I discussed above (pull out a clump, rinse, trim if needed, and transplant at desired bunch #).
This is how I do all my leeks, learned from Jean Martin Fortier (although he use deeper containers to hill up the leeks as they grow).
Second photo you can see some onions in cell flats to the left and right also.
Richard - I use Kevin's second method for planting onions thickly in a 2 lb. yogurt tub (you want 4-5" of depth for the roots). I try to fairly evenly scatter around 40-50 seeds and then cover them with 1/2" of damp potting mix.
I agree that $48 seems high for that much loose PM. I pay about $40 for the 3.8 cf bale.
I paid just under $44 (that included sales tax) for a 3.8 cf bale.
Kevin and others who might be interested in "Bulk" seeds from Baker Creek... I don't know if anyone has mentioned this but they have a "new" catalog with several different varieties in bulk packages: https://www.heirloomseeds.com/ is the URL for that one. They don't offer everything from their site in bulk though. They do have Purple Lady Bok Choy on there though and I really like it. I overwintered some and started some more recently.
Habanero, I got Lipstick as a freebie last year and it was the only pepper I planted that produced a consistent crop despite the sunlight starvation I inflicted on all my peppers (I put the indeterminate tomatoes way too close to them and they took over everything). I'm planting Lipstick again and am excited to see what they do when they're grown properly.
Kevin thank you so much, I really appreciate the detailed advice. I am going to see what I have available here and then decide which method to use.
Lyla I grew Lipstick peppers last year too and they are still producing. The taste is like a mild bell pepper to me. I use them in all kinds of dishes, mostly Italian. They are good for stuffed peppers too. I grew them in containers and they produced 8-15 peppers each-less than the Wonder peppers that were around 18-25 each (for about a 4 month period). I have about 10 of each, maybe more still growing. It was 80 degrees here today 72 at 8 am
The Like button is working again
Richard - I also pay about $36 for the large bale of compressed Promix.
Going to go cover my onion and leek seeds now! :-/
Len - not to worry - what I would do in your shoes** is add more soil/vermiculite on top. If they are filled to the top cold you compress/tamp down with your fingers then add?
**I can project to you because I just did this exact thing with my onions this year. Despite knowing about it from last year's mistakes. Double darn it!
My seeds had already started sprouting... there may have been some casualties with the disturbance/tamping. You should be much in much better shape since I'm sure they havent germinated yet.
Im not ready to say for certain but I have a hunch that vermiculite is not the best media for spreading over onions. Hard for me to accept that because I truly love what a sprinking of vermiculite does to nearly all of my other seedlings (holds moisture, doesnt grow the algae, allows roots to penetrate.)
My theory is that the vermiculite is too fine and light, the onion plants end up pushing themselves up to the surface (onion cotyledons are a bit different than other plants). Plus any overhead watering can move the vermiculite around. I ended up topping with about 1/2 inch of promix over the 1/4 inch of vermiculite originally used.
Here's what you need to be careful of when sowing too shallow. The roots end up air pruning themselves and you get weak growth. This can be remedied by piling soil around them but its not the best way to do it. Just sow them deeper. Kevin of 2021 - I am talking to you.
Jamie - thanks for the link, I got a catalog from Baker Creek that had market gardener or some sort on the cover but didnt take a close enough look to see what it was.
Lots of good onion starting advise. In most lightweight potting media I agree you should go deeper, not shallower. Up to 1 inch deep sounds good to me. I am hoping to avoid the "roots sticking out" problem Kevin shows. It has happened to some extent most years. Good to be reminded BEFORE I planted this year. Thanks, Kevin. Onions seem to be less even in their germination than most other seeds for me. I will think that germination is poor and then a week later more sprouts will show up. The first leaves also take a long time to look right and some never unkink if I don't help them along. I need to check what leek and onion seeds I have left and get them started ASAP. Maybe I'll try the clump method this year.
You’re welcome. Maybe they will start to of get more of their products in bulk soon
Thank you, Kevin. I also planted my onion/leek seeds on the surface. Covered them just now.
The winds are arriving as I type. The high temperature has been reached for the day. The weather/temperatures will be deteriorating each day. Snow/sleet/rain on Saturday, however, the worst of it will go north of us. Hope you people in PA and up will be ok. It will not warm up here until a week from tomorrow.
It also looks like you all in the middle of the country will be getting hit tomorrow. Stay safe.
Good luck, All. We will have some really cold weather in this area starting Monday but it will not be as bad as it will be for most of the rest of you.
At least there is no snow or ice in our forecast.
COLD here today with freezing drizzle starting this evening is what I'm hearing. The drizzle is expected to turn to freezing rain which will continue overnight. They're saying 2/10". Tomorrow is looking to be above freezing, so at least it isn't slated to last long. The morning commute could be a big challenge around here.
oh dear .. good luck, Margi!
"Cold" is coming here too (its January, isnt it supposed to be cold? amazing how fast we humans get acclimated), but looks like it will only stick around for less than a week (next weekend its back into the low 50s possibly?).
Gave the hoophouse one more good soaking this AM then tucked everything under AG30 row cover - #9 galvanized wire hoops hold it up off the plants. Can you tell which fabric was used last year and which is new?! lol. I guess I should have at least hosed that thing off before putting it away. Dont think the S.O. would appreciate it going in the washing machine.
So excited about receiving this book from Richard Perkins. Its probably going to get me in trouble with thinking of all kinds of new 'enterprises' to start on our farm.
Great picture of you and your boys, Kevin!
Good luck to all of you frozen folks! Starting to rain here so snow will be history again.
Kevin, how is the book? I saw him advertising it on his youtube channel. I've watched a few of his videos.
Jamie - its pretty awesome, I havent read much of any particular part but there seems to be a lot of real world examples and templates for doing just about everything a small regenerative farmer could think of. Its 740 some odd pages long... LOTS of info! Over 100 pages on market gardening alone. All kinds of great permaculture topics such as keyline design, agroforestry, landforms. And case studies on over a dozen other small farms he has worked with or visited.
He's at a really northerly latitude also, isn't he? I was thinking he was Danish or Swedish but I can't remember now.
Kevin - I received a package today.
Haven't been doing any gardening work. Except for making potash for the coming season. Cutting up a tree that fell in an ice storm. Stacking some for emergency heat, the rest will wind up in the garden.
Jamie - he's from Sweden, at 59* latitude!! Which means his 'persophone' is from mid October to late February!
John - what was it ? tree scions?
Kevin - Apples and a pie cherry. You can PM me but I haven't been able to respond in the past.
Cindy the pear will ship later, I hope.
Shipping appears to be free.... so far
John - Please wait to ship until March if possible. Thanks.
Cindy - The Bartlett pear half of the graft is here on the tree. The rootstocks are scheduled to ship to me in mid March. I was referring to the other half of the pear graft that I haven't received. I will graft soon after receiving the rootstocks and let them heal for at least 3 weeks. Then ship and hope the graft union holds.
John - No rush at all because I think that winter is just getting going here!!
Kevin I used your first method since I had a bunch of the 120 cell trays and there were 600 seeds in the package. Apparently Pro-Mix is like gold around here and there is not a single store within 120 miles that sells it. I am going to go to my local nursery and see if they will order me some through the distributor that told me that can't sell to the public. I don't know how they expect to expand their business if they don't even make the product available for purchase. Other companies will bring their product right to your front door for no extra charge. Even Greenhouse Megastore wanted $66 for delivery.
Habanero, if you like sweet tomatoes, you might want to try some of the black or orange tomato varieties. The Chocolate Stripe and Amana Orange are both pretty sweet and the Honeycomb cherry tomatoes are the sweetest tomato I have ever eaten in my life.
I haven't been able to post anything from my phone for the last two days, so I have to go to my computer to post anything. Houzz doesn't make it easy
Richard, do you have True Value Hardware store around you...they have ship to store on Pro-mix https://www.truevalue.com/pro-mix-bx-potting-seeding-mix-3-8-cu-ft
Thanks Len, the closest True Value hardware is about 45 miles away, but it is much closer than Austin or Houston
Len now it says that the ship to store option is not available. And that was a pretty good price too. My phone works on here again, so at least there is that. Lol
Richard - I purchase ProMix at a 'mom and pop' nursery here. They do not advertise, do not take charge cards, and are not on the internet. Anyway, maybe you can find a similar nursery.
Cindy, I was going to go to the biggest little nursery at 8 this morning but my arm is really bad today. Might try later or tomorrow. I am going to San Antonio next week and I should be able to find some there if the local nursery route fails.
I have over 100 little tomato sprouts now-there is at least one sprout in all the varieties I got from you. The only container without a sprout is Golden Green dwarf
Richard, the seeds for Golden Green Dwarf were purchased seeds, too. Not one of my saved varieties. I didn't grow it last year.
Richard the Pro Mix gods are conspiring against Texans...may have to order some coir and vermiculite and make your own.
By the way I was buying at big box store Lowes and now I see they are only stocking the high priced smaller container. I Best order from True Value before they change their minds.
I'm working from home today. We are having an ice storm in the area but luckily the worst is to the north of here again. There is maybe 0.10" of ice on all surfaces at my house right now and it is raining lightly and still building up. It's supposed to warm into the mid 30s soon and stop freezing on the surfaces. Lot's of wrecks in the area and they shut down the airport for a bit this morning when a Delta plane slid off the runway.
I need to adjust my timing on the migrogreens a bit. 10 days on the radish mix is plenty. 2 weeks is right on for the spicy mix, and about 18 days is perfect for the beet/chard mix.
I need to pick up a bale of Promix sometime this spring since I don't have enough left to last the season.
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