They’re UP!

I really love having something that helps me get through the long (although relatively short) winters here in Maryland!  It seems that no sooner are we shut in then our beloved seed catalogs arrive after Christmas and the dreams begin of our summer vegetable garden.  And then when the ice and snow and frigid temp’s are upon us in Jan and Feb we are able to to escape for a brief moment with starting seeds!

I get pleasure out of the simplest things in life.  It really doesn’t take much to make me do back flips for joy!  In fact this morning I was doing the joy dance when I noticed that many of the seeds I started on Wednesday were already UP!!!!  Wahoo!

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For me, this is such a difficult stage in a plants life.  They are so fragile.  I have to make sure that they stay moist but not soaking wet.  I learned last year that watering from the bottom is the best way to do that.  I have to make sure they stay warm but not too hot.  It’s not like I can ask them how they feel…is the room too warm?  Did you get enough to drink today?

What’s up???  Bee’s Friend (from my friend Val P), my Small Compost Tomatoes (they grew in the compost last year and they are just a little bigger than a golf ball), Twinkly Eggplant, Holy Basil, Sweet Basil, Compost Plum Tomatoes (yeah, more from the compost!), and Echinacea angustifolia.

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Spring IS in the Air

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The days are continuing to lengthen in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Robins have returned and songs of joy are in the air; theirs and MINE!! During the last few days of a tempting taste of Spring, I was able to take the covers off my small hoop houses and expose my greens to the warming temp’s. I still had my winter carrots in one bed and pulled them all.

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Since my last frost date is May 16, I’ve finally started most if not all of my seeds indoors. Trying to find spots all day to keep them warm and in the sun is quite a challenge, but it’s do-able. The winter sun is much higher in the sky so our southern exposure is more difficult to find on our first floor.

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I planted 5 varieties of Tomatoes, 2 varieties of Hot Peppers, 1 variety of Sweet Pepper, Sweet Basil and Holy Basil, Sage and a few other herbs. Hopefully in a couple weeks I will see germination. Learning from my trials last year with peppers, I decided to soaked the seeds overnight and then planted them mostly in the pearlite and then try very hard to keep them warm.

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Everything is labeled well, with dates and names. If the seeds were gifts then I also write their name on the marker. I’m thinking of buying an Electra-Grow Mat in order to keep the temp’s at a steady 70*F.

Spring Fever

I love this time of year! I wait expectantly for the man in brown to appear at my door with packages just waiting to burst forth with life. Yep, I’m talking about my garden seeds. Nothing excites me more! Well……just about nothing.

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I’m trying to sprout my India Eggplant seeds. I don’t know if they are Hybrid, so I soaked them overnight and figured, what the heck, it’s worth the try. If they do sprout, then I will be extremely delighted!!!

I received my seed from Territorial Seed Company the other day. I can never remember what I order so it’s quite the surprise to read all the packages. I like the companies that tell you how many seeds are in a pack….not this 3 grams, 1/2 gram. Who the heck knows what a gram of seeds looks like??? Not me. Territorial does say how many seeds are per package.

To my surprise, I ordered 1 lb of corn! All I know is that a pound is 16 oz. I don’t even think I have room to plant a pound of corn! I’ll have to plow the back 40 for this one. Oh, well, I’ll have enough for next year and the next after that too. Plus, it’s an heirloom…..go figure.

My big question is….if it doesn’t say that it’s a hybrid seed, then can you presume that it’s an heirloom??? Or does it mean that it’s open pollination??? Does anyone know the answer to that. I’d hate to go to all the trouble collecting seed that will never sprout. I did that last year! I just ordered Seed To Seed and hopefully will find all the answers to my questions.

So far, here’s what I’ve got planned:

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Renegade Beans 1 oz

Red Ace Beets 1 oz

Golden Bantam Heirloom Corn (yep 1 lb!)

Twinkle Eggplant 1/8 gram (???)

Micro Greens Blend 4 grams

Osaka Purple Mustard 4 grams

Dakota Peas 1/2#

Cinderella Heirloom Pumpkin 3 grams

Bloomsdale Savory Spinach 1 oz

Winter Buttercup Squash 3 grams

Winter Waltham Butternut Squash 3 grams

Purple Turnips 2 grams

Homemade Pickle Cuc’s 1 gram

Soil Thermometer, 100 2″ Peat Pots, 5 Flats and Domes, Natural Jute Twine (2), and plant tags

I pulled my seeds out of the freezer to find LOTS of greens! That’s ok, Honey and I really like them. Most of them are left from last falls order to Cook’s Garden.

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My friend Val sent me a couple neat seeds. Collecting Heirloom seeds could prove to be a very fun thing to do!

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The picture below is of Val’s Chinese 5 Color Hot Peppers. Aren’t they gorgeous!!! I hope they’re not tooooo hot!!!

Courtesy of Plantain Pixie on Flickr.com

I feel so blessed to have a few seeds from Val and hope that I can get them to germinate. Then I’ll have some to share.

Spring Is In The Air!

Yesterday it was over 50*F!  We got rid of most of our ice except for the piles on the northside of the house!  Those will be there until June!!!  This morning even though it was 32*F the birds were singing a happy tune and I could smell spring!!!

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I ordered most of my seeds this weekend.  I decided on Territorial Seed Company and Abundant Life Seeds.  I tried to only order heirloom seeds so that I will eventually become independent of the seed companies, except when I want to try a new variety.  It will also be fun trading with friends and family.

I only grow now what we actually like to eat.  I use to always grow broccoli, but frankly I don’t like broccoli!  So I don’t grow it anymore.  I want to plant plenty of corn and pray that the crows don’t get it this year.  We didn’t have near enough in the freezer.  It really was one of our favorites this winter; butterbeans and corn!  I didn’t have near enough butterbeans either.  In fact I planned on having them for Christmas only to be disappointed to find them gone!

Hopefully I’ll add a few more square feet to my garden for vines.  I ordered Cinderella Pumpkins and Turnips to give to my milk cows.  And of course the chickens always get all the compost they can eat.  Boy I can’t wait to dig my fingers into the dirt!

The days are worth counting now…..45!  The first day of spring, March 20 and my 27th wedding anniversary!

Sweet Potatoes Galore!

Vines everywhere

I just had to show off my sweet potatoes one more time before I plant them. I’m amazed. I had no idea what I was doing, but it worked! 😉 For those of you who were in my shoes a month or so ago, sit back and enjoy. I’ll try to give you steps so when it’s your turn you’ll be able to answer intelligently what a slip is….clue it’s not ladies underwear!!!!

Sweet Potato with Slips (roots are growing from slips)

Sweet Potato without slips

Naked Sweet Potato after Slips were pulled Off

Slip with roots

That’s it in a nut shell. Now I’ll move on to another challenge. This was a good one! Hopefully these babies will be in warm soil this weekend! 8)