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Veggie Tales - February 2020

Jamie
16 days ago

It’s February- generally the coldest, most wintery month of the year for many of us- but in reality it’s the time when the Spring gardening season officially begins! After all of the seed-buying and planning for the new season, it’s time for many of us to start our cool-weather plants as well as those warm weather crops that need a little time inside before transplanting!


if you haven’t finished making all of your purchases, don’t panic! There’s still to make seed purchases and take advantage of the sales many of the seed companies are having.


Happy February!

Comments (358)

  • Jamie

    Those are looking good, Richard!

    We will be starting some ornamentals this weekend and probably some herbs. I think I will wait 2 more weeks to start tomatoes as they got too large the last couple of years when I started them this early.


    On a related note ... a younger coworker of mine just bought his first house. He is from Bangladesh and his family were farmers so he has missed having a garden. He was asking me the other day about some recommendations for finding the tools and plants he was used to using. He got really excited when I showed him the Baker Creek catalog as it has a lot of the greens and things that he was used to eating and seeing in his home country. He was a bit disappointed when I told him that mangoes and some other tropical fruits would not grow here (unless they were in a greehouse or a dwarf variety in a container)

  • RD Texas








    Best Wonder pepper of the year. The one on the left is just a little bit smaller than the average. Just about all the pepper plants made it through the winter.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    My garden

  • cindy_7

    Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!
    Richard - You are making us all green with envy. Most of us are months away from what you have growing and producing now.
    Jack - That's cold!! We should be in the 50s by Sunday, too.
    Our low last night was 34 and the current temperature is 35. The high today is predicted to be 36. Tonight the low is supposed to be 15.

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)

    Happy Valentine's Day!

    Richard - All your plants look so happy. Here's hoping you have a great growing year.

    Len - What are the tall sprouts? They're really reaching for the light.

    It's all the way up to 17 degrees here now, "feels like" 4. Looking for a high of 35.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    Margi those are sweet peas and I'm trying to decide whether to prick out into modules or just put them in the ground after a couple days hardening off. It will probably not go down below 30 here again this year.

  • RD Texas

    Happy Valentine's Day to all

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Len, I recognised the sweet peas. I'm sure you are aware of this but I've learned that the term 'sweet pea' is sometimes used in the USA to mean both edible peas, Pisum sativum, and ornamental sweet peas, Lathyrus odoratus, like yours. Just in case anyone reading thinks yours are the edible ones, they're not.

  • bcskye

    Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! It got down to at least 5 degrees last night and the windchill was terrible. All the poultry had put themselves in their coops well before usual except for the silly ducks. They like to try my patients and keep me out until my fingers start hurting. Pay back, I haven't let any of them out yet today. It's 17 degrees out there now and we're supposed to get up in the 20s, then I'll let them out.

    All the plants you have started look so good. Only the three of mine that I posted before have all germinated and are looking good. Worked yesterday so the next several days I'll start more seeding.

    RD, I'm going to take your advice and start some dwarf fruit trees this year. My niece will hate me. Last summer when I was very sick, she talked me into agreeing to sell my place and moving up to the city near her within the year. Not going to do it. Might even start up a hive or two as well.

    Madonna

  • cindy_7

    Just sorted my tomato seeds and have selected the varieties I hope to grow this season. I managed to get it down to approximately 68 varieties and that's good for me. At one point I was growing 140 tomato plants each year. Going to put the one dwarf variety in my Earth Box. (thanks, Richard) The rest will be in the ground.
    Hopefully, I'll cull a few more varieties before I actually start my seeds.

    Decisions, decisions.

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA

    Ginger and Tumeric has started sprouting!





    May have started parsley a little too early... never had it grow this fast before.



    John - i splurged some tax refund money on those treepots. I like them. Will be good for the nursery! Plan to plant out all the fruit bench grafts in the ground but these will be useful for all sorts of other cuttings and starts.


  • Habanero King (zone 7a, MD)

    Overwintering broccoli started producing shoots! I wonder where the crown is...



  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    LOL floral that is so. Here are my edible peas planted out this morning. Actually all edible pods because my mother made me shell peas and I don't have to do out any more!

    I soaked watch too many parsnip seeds for my tubes so plated two rows in front of peas. good a/b test for future ref.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    Kevin - In the ground is good.

    I found Shenandoah pear trees at Cummins nursery, no scions. This new pear variety is pushed for being resistant to fire blight, but what I like is that it's a precocious pear. And I'm wondering if you put it between a rootstock and say a Bartlett pear if it will also make the Bartlett produce much sooner. A tree inherits precociousness from a dwarf rootstock, but I wonder if it applies in my situation, and then if you have the Shenandoah and a Bartlett would you get precociousness from both?


    Madonna - I guess if you want dwarf fruit trees you don't want Antonovka apple rootstock seeds??

    It was 14° F this morning, It's 20° now. I bundled up and went for a walk this afternoon. I was quite comfortable, there was no wind... to speak of. Haven't started or planted nuttin yet.

  • Chris (6a NY)

    Jack - that cold front is headed east for sure! Our low temp tonight is forecasted to be 1°, so tomorrow morning will be bitter. As much as I'd like some snow to come along with it, I'm just glad the temps are at least resembling winter. Unfortunately, the temps will be climbing back near 50° by Tuesday and more rain. The snowdrops started blooming here at least a week ago. I'm pretty sure that's at least a couple weeks early for here. Hopefully the weather doesn't play some trickery with the fruit trees or the farms around here will have a very bad year.

    Love seeing everyone actively growing! Has this winter moved fast for everyone, too? Maybe it's the temps. I'm happily growing Cabernet, Patterson and Calibra onions right now, along with garlic chives. I've got a bunch of viola going and I'll be starting lisianthus tonight. I like how, from here on out, I'll have plenty to start. The hardy greens next and that should transition right into spring crops. Fingers crossed for this spring to be normal and now crazy heat waves come summer!

    Kevin - hope your crops outside hold up well with the cold! Will you be covering them?

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    6:45PM Came back in from my chore. I believe we've reached the point that there's as much daytime as night time. Just from personal observation?

  • Chris (6a NY)

    Not quite yet, John! We officially hit 12 hours of daylight on the 16th of March here, but the equinox is the 19th this year.

  • cindy_7

    Just heard on the nightly news that there's another polar blast coming late next week.

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)

    Len - I was thinking those tall sprouts looked a bit like peas. I guess I wasn't totally wrong.

    I had 1 sprout in my spinach container. Surprised! I thought they were usually very slow to sprout. It was not quite 5 days from sowing. No others are showing themselves yet. :-(

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    I sowed 8 varieties of peppers this morning. I added Serrano and Cayenne to the list that I posted a couple days ago. Thanks Richard!! I have them on a heat mat so I should see some sprouting by next weekend.

    Floral - your ability to identify plants amazes me! Did you study horticulture?

    My potted indoor lettuce is getting root bound. I have to water them every other day now. I'll harvest it today and again next weekend and then probably throw them in the compost pile. They've served their purpose scratching my gardening itch over the winter months.

    Most of the country looks precipitation free this morning except for the PNW. Sorry Len!! Big difference in the temperature from yesterday here. Right now it is right at freezing and it's supposed to get up to 44 this afternoon and 50 tomorrow. Melt snow melt!

    Only 3 more weeks until daylight savings time!!

  • Jamie

    Our forecast warmed up a bit so I’m going to transplant the early greens that I started back in January. I was targeting this weekend but was going to wait until tomorrow. They have been outside enough that I think they’re hardened off. The low tonight is only supposed to be in the 40s. We will dip back down into the 30s at the end of next week. It’s sunny now but still cold.

    I am also sowing snow and sugar snap peas as well as fava beans today. I’ll start some annual flowers as well as some herbs... and maybe a few eggplants

  • cindy_7

    Jack - If you are planting your pepper seeds then I probably should, too.

    It only got down to 17 here last night and it's already up to 28. Supposed to top out in the mid 30s today.

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    Good Luck Jack! After 2 weeks in incubator at 80 degrees I have good germination and strong sprouts on some, at least 50% on most. All sprouted peppers are out under lights now. 5 varieties are holding out: Poblano, Anaheim, Suger Rush Peach, Serrano, and Fish.


    Cindy I can't imagine that many tomatoes; I have about 20 and overwhelmed! We have room for about 10 plants in the hoop house so I'm going to start those now to be ready April 6 which is 5 weeks earlier than we usually plant outside. How to decide which ones? It turns out 5 out of my 11 favorites below came from you, Thanks Cindy!


    Got list down to 11. Cherokee Purple, Galina, Chocolate Cherry, Goat Sac, Paul Robeson, Vincon Watts, Black Krim, Mortgage Lifter, Pink Ping Pong, Brandywine, and our favorite Pam's Wild ( One that we grew from a half spoiled Costco tomato several years ago that seems to come true when I save seeds) Will include more in the later planting.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    Cindy - I'm only starting the smaller fruited peppers now with the intention of topping them in about 6 weeks. I'm not starting my bells and other larger peppers like banana, Hungarian wax, Ajvarski, etc until mid March and I won't top those.

  • LoneJack Zn 6a, KC

    But remember Len...Cindy can trade tomatoes for lobster and crab! I'd grow that many too if I could make deals like that! Maybe you can find someone that will trade you King Crab, Salmon, or Halibut for veggies.

  • cindy_7

    Len - What Jack said! And I do love seafood.

    Jack - I plan to top all of my pepper plants. Guess I should also start my eggplant seeds. I think that they grow even more slowly than peppers.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    I'd probably be better off trading lobster for tomatoes than going out in the ocean to tend my traps. Ha

    I ordered one bunch of Copra onion starts from Dixondale. Shipping was FREE ! Don't know what the temp went to last night. They predicted 9° on the evening news last night. The weather channel says that it's 30° now, so it's probably 27° ?

  • RD Texas

    If I had a restaurant that would trade me lobster for tomatoes I would grow 250 instead of 150. Lol. I am going to count what I have going now. I potted up about 50 or so today. I have given away about 75 this year too

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)

    Cindy's got a pretty sweet deal...tomatoes for lobster! Being more than a little bit land locked here in Kansas, that sounds like a wonderful arrangement. Oh, how I love seafood!

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    Got my Baker Creek seed order. I'm thinking about the included asparagus seeds (Mary Washington) and how I'm going to start them. I've decided on direct seeding into the ground in early May. Right after I get the seed potato in the ground. I'm planning on sowing on 6" centers with rows 16" apart. 4 rows except with a 24" space in the middle to allow easier harvesting. After removing some female plants may get to a final spacing of 12" in the rows.

    Any suggestions?

  • RD Texas

    Okay, never mind on the 250 thing-I have 255 going now. Tomato plants with tomatoes on them per container: 2 Jaune Flamme (20), 2 Berkeley Tie Dye (15), 2 Chef's Orange Hybrid (6), 2 Sweet Tangerine (7), 2 Persimmon (3), Chocolate Stripes (7-more than I got all last year), Big Beef (2), Persimmon (2), 2 Porter (6), Chef's Orange Hybrid (2). These are in containers outside under the sun (once again listed per each container): 2 Lucky Cross, Goliath, 3 Black Krim, 2 Big Beef, 2 Big Beef, 2 Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Red, Orange Slice Hybrid, Andrew Rahart's Jumbo Red, 2 Tomande, 2 Box Car Willie, 2 Nygous, 2 Sun Cherry, 2 Sun Sugar, 2 Hillbilly, 2 Sugar Rush, 2 Burpee Quarter Century, 3 Wagner Blue Green, 2 Creole, 2 Pruden's Purple, 2 Kelloggs, Damsel, 2 Persimmon, 2 Bloody Butcher, Lucky Cross, 2 Sweet Atif, 2 Dester, 2 Brandywine, Dester, 2 Nectar, Big Zac, Big Zac, 2 Lucky Tiger, 2 Missouri Love Apple, 2 Pruden's Purple, 2 Girl, Girl Weird Thing, 2 Honeycomb, 2 Ildi, 2 Emerald Green, 2 Rebel Yell, Creole, Cherokee Purple, 2 Sweet Tangerine, 2 Orange Slice, 2 Druzba, 2 Centiflor Red, 3 Creole, Ananas Noir, 2 Pruden's Purple, 2 Berkeley Tie Dye, 3 Black Krim, Lucky Cross, 2 Tomande, Honeycomb, Orange Jazz, Orange Jazz, Persimmon, 2 Honeybee; Dwarfs: 2 Iditarod, 2 Black Angus, 2 Peppermint Stripes, 2 Kelly Green, 2 Big Green Dwarf, 2 Sweet Firebird, Fred's Tie Dye, 2 Maralinga, 2 Adelaide Festival, 3 Beauty King, 3 Brandyfred, 2 Bansai Queen, 2 Tennessee Suited, 2 Mr. Snow, New Big Dwarf, Confetti, 2 Wilafred.


    On the big table, under the big light ready to be transplanted in a few days: 3 Nyagous, 3 Creole, 2 Black Truffle, 3 Paul Robeson, 3 Black Sea Man, 3 Fruit Punch, 2 Druzba, Stump of the World, 2 Orange Berry, 2 Black Krim, 2 Big Orange Stripe, 3 Orange Slice, 2 Girl Girl Weird Thing, 3 Angora Super Sweet, 3 Rainbow Heirloom, 2 Druzba, Druzba, 2 Sleeping Lady, 3 Moonglow, 2 Black Ethiopian, 3 Pineapple, 3 Ponderosa Red, 3 Black Krim, 2 Pink Pioneer, 3 Aunt Jenny's Yellow Cherry, 2 Jaune Flamme, 3 Black Krim, 2 Jaune Flamme.


    On the smaller table under the flourescents: 3 Orange Wellington, 3 Bloody Butcher, 3 Caspian Pink, 3 Wes, 3 Darkstar, 3 Orange Wellington, 3 Girl Girl Weird Thing, 2 Margaret Curtain, 3 Darkstar, 2 Honeycomb, 3 Honeycomb. Tomatoes just started: Watermelon, Amelia, Polbig, Artisan Spike, Garnet, Little Margo, Country Taste, Subartic, Marriage Perfect Flame.




    ON the roof: 20 Baby Bok Choy, 12 Baby Bok Choy, 3 Mini Butternut Squash, 3 Red Jalapeno, 3 Anaheim Pepper, 3 Tepin, 3 Pasilla Bajio, 3 Red Jalapenos, 4 Candy Roaster, 3 Candy Roaster, 4 Yellow Scallop squash, 5 Georgia Rattlesnake Watermelon, 6 Georgia Rattlesnake Watermelon, Marketer cucumber, 6 Lemon Squash, 3 Patisson Marbre squash, 5 Sunburst squash, 2 Candy R oaster, 5 White Scallop squash, 5 Golden Zucchini, 5 Pattypan Blend squash.


    I think that should keep me busy this season lol

  • cindy_7

    Me, too, Margi!! Me, too.

  • cindy_7

    Wow, Richard! That's a lot!!

  • RD Texas

    Yeah Cindy I think I might be through planting for this year-maybe 30 or so green beans. I need at least 50 more containers now.

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)

    Holy cow, Richard! On the roof?!? I can understand that you’ve run out of space elsewhere.

  • RD Texas

    Margi, I just have the squash on the roof until I transplant it in the area I tilled. I am going to hit it with the tiller again tomorrow and then one more time next week the day before I transplant everything-probably add a couple bags of cow manure to that bed too-then the wood mulch and I will dig through it all and plant the squash, melons, and baby bok Choy

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)

    That sounds like a great plan, Richard.

    Today's high is predicted to be 56. A great day to do some winter cleanup chores like bush trimming. I hope I can make myself do it!

  • Kevin Zone 6b - PIT, PA

    John - that sounds like a fine plan to me. You may want to plant at even closer spacing so that you can have better chance to end up with males at 12”. You could also dig up males carefully and transplant then into the right spots. How are you going to keep the weeds at bay?




    Richard - Whoa! You are the tomato king!

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    You can do it Margi! We are heading into a week of dry weather; what a concept. Need to gather fruit tree sprays and get that done before bud break.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    Kevin - I plan to dig in compost twice and then rake before sowing the seed. After the seeds germinate and grow some I plan to put another inch of my MM compost. Then later another few inches of wood chips. I want to try to stay out of the bed as much as possible. I've made up my mind that since I can't harvest ... much for at least two years, there's no reason to be in a big hurry and use transplants. They might be bigger and healthier if they're direct seeded after two years. But I wouldn't get overly concerned at any potential difference.

    I think I'll plant closer as you suggest, three inches? Worst case if I have too many remaining males that I'll find a space for them here or in the neighborhood. I'm thinking of leaving a couple females and save seeds over the years. There's that big field next door that I can use as a test bed for how the critters like asparagus.

  • Jamie

    We got two varieties of peas planted- White Little Snowpea (about 30 days) and Sugar Daddy Snap (about 65 days). The Sugar Daddy peas are a “self-supporting” variety that is only supposed to get to 24” tall. we have two more varieties that we will plant in 10 days.

    We are using some tomato cages as pea supports for the climbing variety


    we got two varieties of fava beans planted also - Sweet Lorane and Windsor.

    And we transplanted the seedlings





    the garlic is doing ok. We fertilized it today.

    these have been outside with no cover or mulch since I planted them. They look better than the ones that were under cover



  • bcskye

    Woe is me! A few minutes ago I was trying to add another grow light to one of the indoor greenhouses and it collapsed. What a mess! A jar with a sweet potatoe partially submerged in water, the tray of onion starts already an inch tall, the Brussels spouts and broccoli already an inch tall. All smeared over the curtain and carpet. Thank heavens All the other seeded veggies were on top of the fridge, and freezers. This after finding my beautiful white Peking duck hen dead in her coup this morning. That was gruesome, either a weasel or mink got her. Should I have stayed in bed today? Right now I don't even feel like moving. Wiping away a tear of frustration.

  • Jamie

    Oh dear, Madonna. I hope things improve soon!

  • itsmce (zone 6b, Kansas)

    Madonna, you certainly had a challenging day. I hope tomorrow is MUCH better.

    Jamie - All your plants look happy.

    I did manage to make it outside for awhile this afternoon. I turned the compost and added a few kitchen scraps. Most of my time was spent working around some of the bushes. In the Viburnum (snowball bushes) there were many branches(?) that were dead. So I worked at fining all of those and pulled them out. I do believe I have termites doing some of the damage. Any suggestions?


  • RD Texas

    Madonna, so sorry to hear about your duck. I am a critter hater from way back. I have lost a few dogs over the years to coyotes. Would probably try to trap whatever took her from you.


    My onion starts got flipped upside down too and a lot of them were still good, so I am hoping for the best for you too. Don’t be deterred there are always a few curve balls in life, livestock/pet raising and gardening. Just think about all the beautiful fruits and vegetables that you will be bringing into existence, without you they are lost.

  • RD Texas

    Margi, I use neem oil for all pest problems and it is pretty effective. I had a problem with termites in a house before and I used a termite foam that was super effective. It had a little applicator hose and it mostly wiped them out. Not sure if it would work the same on bushes or not. I sprayed some right on the mound inside a planter box and it killed them

  • cindy_7

    Madonna - Hope that your day tomorrow is better!

    I am no longer receiving email notices for this thread. Or for any thread on here.

  • RD Texas

    Cindy my phone wasn’t receiving notifications for about 3 days and then they just started working again. There is no rhyme or reason with Houzz

  • PRO
    Len NW 7a

    5 grandchildren here tonight:)

  • Jamie

    Margi- you may need to use a soil drench to take care of that problem. It's getting time to try that as the sap will begin to rise in the woody stems. I have to use one to prevent Bark Scale on our Crape Myrtles. It's not always necessary to pull out the big guns, but sometimes you have to resort to using them. I use dinotefuran (I believe) I'll have to check the label when I get home. Someone at a good nursery might be able to recommend something for you to use.

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