Monday, January 30, 2017

Getting those small seeds ready!

This month, during those colder days when it was either wet or too cold to work outside, I've been getting some of my seed mats made for the Spring garden.  This is the best way to plant those tiny seeds that I've found, and it's worked great every time. 

My method - buy the cheapest, thinnest paper napkins that you can find at the grocery store, school glue (I use the clear blue, but the white works fine too), and I use a wood skewer to place the seeds.

Open the napkin up, dab a tiny bit of glue on your skewer, pick up a seed with it, and place it on the napkin where you want it.  For carrots I put 4 x 4 on each quarter sheet (so 64 total on the napkin.) For lettuce I put 4 x 3 on each quarter sheet. Up to you.
 The seed will adhere - then when you're done with the sheet - place a second napkin over top and press it down to adhere the two sheets together using the excess glue from each seed placement. Then write the name of the seeds on the top of the sheet. Drape it on something to let it dry (I use the back of chairs usually.) 
There you have it! Ready to plant now or when your garden is ready to go. The next day after they've dried real well, I fold and put away until time to plant.
I rake back the dirt a bit from where I want the seeds to go and line up the napkins on the ground, then cover lightly with dirt.  All spaced out and no dealing with those tiny seeds! The glue melts when wet, so water well for a few days to keep them wet.

So far I've made these lettuce mats:

  1. Winter Density -
  2.  Asian Red - Pinetree Seeds
  3. Baby Oakleaf - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

 Although beet seeds aren't that small, I use the same method for those so that they are spaced properly and it makes them so easy to plant. 

So far I've made mats for:

  1. Detroit Dark Red - Ferry Morse Seeds
  2. Cylindra - Seed Savers Exchange
  3. Chioggia - Pinetree Seeds

I space these 3 x 3 on each quarter to allow them room to grow. 
 I'm working on carrot seeds right now, so more on those later!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

More Prep for the Spring Garden

Next up, I've started a tray of herbs in the greenhouse:  
  1. Basil, Blue Spice - from Pinetree Seeds
  2. Basil, Italiano Classico - from Pinetree Seeds
  3. Lovage -
  4. Lemon Mint -
  5. Horehound -
  6. Dill Bouquet -
  7. Parsley, Triple Moss Curled -
  8. Parsley, Dark Green Italian -

Some of them are already sprouting - the basil was first. 

I've had almost nothing but failure with onions in my garden - occasionally I'll have some really small onions that are actually usable, but I'm totally NEVER giving up. I'm determined to succeed, so I'm following a group on Facebook that has a sub-group for growing onions - the fellow leading the group is giving tips and instruction on how to start and grown them. So far so good.

The seeds were sown and are now growing.  I'm waiting to find out what to do next.
  1. Texas Grano 502 - Ferry Morse Seeds
  2. Sweet Spanish Yellow Utah Jumbo - Ferry Morse Seeds

I had a small packet of cotton seeds that I saved from some Mississippi Brown cotton I grew way back in 2012.  On a whim, I decided to plant a few of them to see if they were still any good, fully expecting them not to sprout. Imagine my surprise when 12 (so far) of the 15 seeds came up! Amazing! I'm hoping they'll continue to grow and provide some decor for the fall. 

I've filled up the greenhouse with little seedlings, but this is enough for this post - I'll have more next time!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Spring Garden Beginnings

Geez, I've sure ignored my little blog lately -- there's just been so much going on and by the evenings, I've been just too tired to think about it. But lately I've been making plans and making a few beginnings for the spring garden, so I need to start logging my progress. 
John got me these nice trays with inserts and clear covers at Christmas time, and I'm really putting them to work.  I've spent all winter saving toilet paper rolls, and cut in half they fit perfectly in these inserts!
So far I've started the tomato seeds. These are some that I got from a Facebook seed sharing group that I belong to:

  1. Carbon - a large black tomato, indeterminate
  2. Chocolate Amazon - a large purple tomato, indeterminate
  3. Mikhalych - a large red tomato, indeterminate
  4. Blueberries - black cherry
  5. Dagma's Perfection - medium orange, indeterminate
  6. Japanese Black Trifle - medium pear, burgundy, indeterminate

I also started the Tomatillo:
  1. Amarylla - yellow, from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
  2. Purple de Milpa - purple tinged, from Seed Savers Exchange
Also two types of Huckleberries and a Ground Cherry:
  1. Chichiquelite Huckleberry
  2. Garden Huckleberry (the same ones I grew last year)
  3. Aunt Molly's Ground Cherries
And to finish off this tray, I started a few sweet peppers:
  1. King of the North red pepper from Seeds Savers Exchange
  2. Violet Sparkle - from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

I had already started a couple of hot peppers and they've already got their first leaves.  I've had to re-pot them once already! These I also got from a blogger that I follow who was offering some of his saved seeds. There are some very generous people in the gardening community! These are supposed to be a medium heat pepper.

  1. Aji Angelo  - this link is to examples of this type of pepper. The Angelo is red.
  2. Aji Golden - this was the name the grower gave me, so I'm guessing it's the Amarillo.

This is a start! I have more to report on, but I'll save for the next post.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Taking Stock of My Seed Addiction

Today was another cold day, so I spent most of the day taking stock of my seed stash.  I do believe I have a problem -- I'm a seed collector/hoarder! Yikes. 

But I can't help it, there's always something I haven't heard of, or its new, or it looks interesting, or..or...I JUST HAVE TO HAVE IT!!! Ha!
I made a nice new spreadsheet of the types of seeds I have, their common names, what year they were packaged, where I got them from, and this time I included how long each type is usually viable. Good grief, I found out I have 30 different types of tomato seeds. 

In any case, I'm getting ready for an exciting spring garden!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

4 Days in Intensive Care - What a Scare!

Well, I'm back. 
I thought I was done with dieting, watching every label, counting calories. I was tired of all of it after probably 46 years of doing that all the time. 
I'm 66, I thought. I don't need to do all of that anymore. Who cares, anyway. I'll just be me. 
Yes, I gained back many of the pounds I had lost over those many years, but I was okay with that. It was so much easier to just eat what everyone else is eating. So much more fun. 
Well, that didn't work out so well. Wednesday morning I ended up in the emergency room with blood pressure off the charts and unable to get a breath.  I was hooked up to all the tubes and monitors, x-rayed and given a breathing treatment.  I was so sure it was just pneumonia. Not to be taken lightly, mind you, but not terribly serious.
Think again!
The doctor came in and calmly stated that my tests indicated congestive heart failure and he was admitting me to the hospital immediately.  
Surely he didn't mean me...he obviously had the wrong room. 
I must have looked at him like an idiot. I couldn't even comprehend what he was saying, so it was a good thing my husband was in the room to hear it too.
By 4 a.m. I was transferred to the main hospital by ambulance and hooked up again. I was breathing better. I was pretty sure the main hospital heart specialist was going to say it's not what they thought. All a big mistake, I was sure.
Not so fast.
My heart stopped. THAT'S enough to get you serious about taking care of yourself.  I have three grandchildren. I HAVE to be here to dance at their weddings. I have to watch them grow up, and be there for them when they need their Mimi. I have to make some changes.
So -- here I am. Ready and WILLING again to get serious about losing weight, eating better, and doing away with salt in my diet.
I have no choices -- I've backed myself into this corner and I have a way to get out. I'm on my way.