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Sunday, January 30, 2011

COLD TOLERANT Tomato Seeds Planted: Hot House Cage

It starts out with the slow growing plants but as the addiction starts taking hold, mad planting begins.

I just planted tomato seeds. It is a bit early here for that. But I have a strategy. These are cold tolerant tomatoes. They are the same ones I put in toward the end of last year. They did well in the cold but I was too late in planting them. A hard frost got them.

My idea... Grow the cold tolerant ones and build a hot-house tomato cage around them. If all goes well, TOMATOES in May.

To see what a hot-house tomato cage is check out my Knol on it.
How to Build a Hot-House Tomate Cage: A Slide Show

I planted:

Polar Baby
Oregan Spring V
Silver Fir Tree
Glacier
Sub Artic Max

Silver Fir is a Russian variety. I figure the cold spring might work.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Progress on the Seedlings: Snapdragons are Up

I planted my slow growing herbs and other plants. I also planted snapdragons that don't grow slowly but I want them to be large come planting time. Everything was planted on 1/21. Only the snapdragons are up. The chive garlic is just showing.

Snapdragons 1 week old

You might notice I over plant my cells. I really over planted the snapdragons. They are hardy. I will divide them, redivide them, and divide them again. This method save me space.  Below is my grow closet.


My Grow Closet

The Beginning of the 2011 Gardening Season

Every season has a beginning. I figured the first big snow is a great starting point. Perhaps poetic. Definitely something to look at and appreciate.

What I like is the previous years garden gave shape to the fallen snow.


Tomato Cages and A Grape Vine


White Pine and (left) Perennial Bed


Cucumber Wall and Blackberry Brambles



White Pine, Birches and an Apple Tree


The Upper Garden and Compost House




Monday, January 24, 2011

Grow Light On, Seeds In, The 2011 Garden Season Has Started

I cleaned out my grow closet. The lights work. Everything was dusted. I have two flats planted. I recommend getting your slow growers in now.

I planted rosemary, oregano, garlic chives, and lavender. They tend to take a long time to grow. I do over-plant me seed cells. I typically break them up and put them into cups. I will then break them up again a second time, out of the cups, if needed. It is the most effecient way for me to use my space.

I also planted snapdragons and coleus. The coleus take a long time to germinate and grow. I want them up and about come frost free time. The snapdragons grow like weeds. I must put 20 plus seeds in a cell. I will divide and divide them till ground planting time. They are very hardy plants and damage to the roots does little to stop them from growing.

Buy Tomato Seeds Adapted to Your Climate

I am as guilty as the next person. I love the heirloom tomatoes and for some reason, have a fascination for Russian heirlooms. The problem is, my zone stays hot longer and the temperatures are hotter then a lot of the Russian zones. I have had many Russian heirlooms just burn out come late July, early August.

It is important to match the heirloom seed to its growing conditions. Cold weather tomatoes will burn out. Planted late enough the might thrive till the September and you will be rewarded. Plan and plant accordingly to the needs of the variety.

That being said, I did buy 1 (only 1) Russian heirloom. Trying to figure out where it is from, is quite difficult. The rest of my seeds are for hot hot summer days.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

What I Ordered Through Seed Catlalogs

I ordered my round of tomatoes and peppers. Ill be growing these, selling seeds, and selling transplants. Ill start the tomatoes in late Feb. Ill be starting my slower growing herbs and flowers this weekend.






Item: Details: Quantity: Each: Item Total:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#9348A Jalapeno Large Quantity 9348A - 1 $ 4.95 $ 4.95
M Jalapeno M 
1/8 Ounce $4.95 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#9316A Sweet Large Quantity 9316A - 1 $ 4.45 $ 4.45
Banana Sweet Banana 
1/8 Ounce $4.45 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#9437A Purple Large Quantity 9437A - 1 $ 5.25 $ 5.25
Jalapeno Purple Jalapeno 
1/32 Ounce $5.25 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#9567A Jaloro Large Quantity 9567A - 1 $ 5.25 $ 5.25
Jaloro 
1/32 Ounce $5.25 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#9146A Giant Large Quantity 9146A - 1 $ 5.25 $ 5.25
Aconcagua Giant Aconcagua 
1/32 Ounce $5.25 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#6334A Patio Large Quantity 6334A - 1 $ 10.75 $ 10.75
Hybrid Patio Hybrid 
1/32 Ounce $10.75 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#5539A Orange Large Quantity 5539A - 1 $ 6.60 $ 6.60
Russian117 Orange Russian117 
1/32 Ounce $6.60 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#5645A Mexico Large Quantity 5645A - 1 $ 6.90 $ 6.90
Mexico 
1/32 Ounce $6.90 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#5939A Jersey Large Quantity 5939A - 1 $ 6.65 $ 6.65
Devil Jersey Devil 
1/32 Ounce $6.65 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#5725A Large Quantity 5725A - 1 $ 6.90 $ 6.90
Brandywine Brandywine (Sudduth's) 
(Sudduth's) 1/32 Ounce $6.90 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
#6414A Black Large Quantity 6414A - 1 $ 6.60 $ 6.60
Plum Black Plum 
1/32 Ounce $6.60 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Sub Total: $ 69.55
Shipping Total: (US & Possessions - First Class) $ 5.25
Grand Total: $ 74.80 PAID

Friday, January 21, 2011

3 Kinds/Colors of Jalapenos: My Ebay Auction

One strategy I use to maintain a Zero Cost garden is, I sell and auction seeds, if I am not giving them away. Typically I sell enough to pay for my cost. Yes, I order extra and sell them down.

I am planting another salsa garden this year and found jalapenos to have the right amount of heat for salsa. I ordered yellow, purple and green jalapeno seeds this year. The make for great heat and color contrast.

You can find my auction here if your are interested. They can also be found at Tomatogrowers.com.

3 Kinds/Colors of Jalapenos and Sweet Banana: EBAY Auction

(this is what is being auctioned)

Jalor Jalapeno 20 seeds

It is the first yellow jalapeno developed out of the Texas Agricultural Extension Service. The fruit is described as a beatiful golden yellow that turns orange, then red. It grows on compacts plants. Heat is equal to your standard jalapeno and it is resistant to 6 pepper viruses. 70 days maturity.

Purple Jalapeno 30 seeds

The fruit of this pepper turns dark purple and stays that way for a long time. It will eventually turn red. They are a little bit larger then your standard jalapeno and carry the same heat. They color contrast looks great is salsas. 75 days maturity.

Jalapeno M 30 seeds

Your standard green jalapeno that grows 3 inches long and is about 1 and 1/2 inch wide. It stays dark green for a long time and then turns red. It's great for salsas, nachos, stuffed, and all your hot dish needs. 75 days maturity.

Sweet Banana 30 seeds

They grow 5-6 inches long and start out light green, change to yellow and orange, and finally red. They are sweet with no heat. Great contrast in salsas and great all around use, cooked or raw. 72 days maturity.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Illustrated Forms of the Tomato:

This is very cool a easy on tomatoes from 1896. All hand drawn pictures.

Link to 1896 Easy of Evolution: Tomatos (20 more pages)
This link will start on page 104? Scroll down to page 112 to find the entries below.












A Tomato Soup Recipe From 1880

Winter is here and there is only so much we can do, gardening wise. Here is a recipe that is 230 years old. I think it is interesting in that it is simple and basic, and not much different then how we would make it today. Why not try the recipe?


The Link to the book

Tomato Catsup and Preserves: A Recipe from 1888

Looking in the old books is interesting. The language and the way the measure. The recipes are self explanatory.

Updating Artificial Lawn Code Regulations in San Jose, California




If you are a resident of San Jose, California, you’ll want to check with the city before installing a synthetic grass lawn at your home or business. That’s the opinion of San Jose Mercury News columnist Dennis Rothrock after talking to city officials. Rothrock recently wrote that depending on the type of fake grass installation you have, you might be in violation of city ordinances.

Rothrock had originally written that it was illegal to have an artificial grass lawn in San Jose, leading residents to ask him to provide the specific law that prohibits such installations. After speaking with the San Jose code enforcement officer Jamie Matthews, Rothrock clarified that while fake grass is not specifically banned by city codes, the code enforcement office does consider it to be illegal if it is “attached to a paved impervious surface such as concrete.”

Individual town ordinances or homeowners’ association regulations about artificial grass lawns are often nebulous. This is one reason why it’s best to leave installation to experts who know how to put synthetic lawns in place in ways that are legal and the most efficient.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Free Sarah's Galapagos Seeds

I mentioned a while back that I would be glad to mail you some seeds. The germination rate is very low but all you need is one plant.

If you want to join my blog and send me an address I will send you some seeds. They will come in an envelope and it will say seeds. Beware when opening.

Here is the link to the Sarah's Galapagos blog entry. Sarah's Galapagos Spotlight Blog Entry

Iced Out: Thank Goodness for Grow Lights: Pea Containers

We have just been iced out here in Maryland. I know it is only January and I have a solid 6 weeks before I can get peas in the ground and clean up the garden. Thank goodness I can start plants indoors. It does get a bit depression. I love a good fluffy snow, the kids love it, the dog loves it, but this ice is just depressing.

Time to clean out the grow closet.

Here is tip for late February in my area. Peas in containers.

Well my tip for peas is to use the 14 gallon containers you can buy at any discount store. Poke a hole in the side, not the bottom. The hole should be about an inch up the side. You want to keep a small reservoir in the bottom. Fill it at least 2/3 with good bagged soil. If you put a tomato cage or a few stick in there, the peas will climb beautifully.  They grow fast, are easy to pick in a container, and you don't have to wait for the ground to thaw. This gives you an early pea planting start by about 2 weeks. The earlier you get them in, the quicker the come to the table.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Welcome to the 2011 Gardening Season!

It is that time of the year. This is about the time I start getting excited for the new gardening year.  I will be cleaning out my grow light station (see picture below).  I will start planting a lot of the slower growing herbs, perennials, and annuals before February arrives.

This year I am going to keep track of my entire costs on the blog and see how I do in maintaining a zero sum garden. A zero sum garden is a combination of saving money by growing my own plants and by swapping plants with other gardeners. The other part is selling my excess to pay for things like mulch and (this year) a deliver of garden soil. I plan to fully amended my garden boxes, expand (shhh!), and build a patio.

This is what I bought today and I will get them under the grow lights this week.

12 dry quarts of Jiffy Seed Starting Mix ($4 Walmart)

Seed packs from Walmart are $.20  for American Seed Company seeds. They don't have heirloom stuff but the basics are best had cheaply and $.20 a pack is cheap.

2 packs of Snap Dragons (Tall Deluxe Mixed) 125 mg per pack ($.40)
2 packs of Silvia (Red Bonfire) 100 mg per pack ($.40)
4 packs of Coleus (Rainbow Mix) 300 mg per pack ($.80)
3 packs of Chives 200 mg per pack ($.60)
2 packs of Parsley (Moss Curled) ($.40)

I do have to spend a lot more on seeds. I also bought some a Home Depot.

1 pack of Oregano (Origanum Vulgare) 148 mg ($1.00)
1 pack of True Lavender (Lavendula Angustifolia) 600 mg  ($1.19)
1 pack of Chives Garlic (Allium Tuberosum) 600 mg ($1.00)
1 pack of Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) 100 mg ($1.00)

My total so far is this year is $9.80. I know herbs are about $2-$3 a plant in the nurseries. I know Coleus run $3-$5 a plant. I intend to use many of these plants for my garden but also plan to have many to sell to pay for (well what else) dirt and mulch.