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Bare root seed starting

Bare-root seed starting

It doesn’t get simpler than this for seed starting in controlled conditions: the bare root approach. Spread seeds on paper towel, place another paper towel on top, mist with a spray bottle, roll up (don’t forget to mark the rolls if you are doing more than one), and place in a ziploc-type sealable plastic bag.  Then, put the bag in a warm spot, light not required. Be sure to check on the seeds daily, as they can use the oxygen! Within a few days, you will see the little white radicle tip emerge, and from there it is root growth in action. When to take them out is open to experimention: all the veggie seeds I’ve come across are pretty tough and wanting to grow, given the minimum reasonable conditions, so you can plant right at germination, or a couple days down the line with more root. As always, there are lots of variables to consider, play around with, and so forth, but you should be generally fine no matter what. Since I usually only do this for germination tests, I don’t actually plant them (cruel, huh?!). Other materials than paper towels (they shred easily when wet, an advantage when separating if roots start growing into them) and plastic bags could be used—kinda interesting, a while back I checked the book and called my certification agency to see whether there were organic standards for the paper towels used with this method, since they are in such intimate contact with the seeds at such an early stage and who knows what’s in the paper, but no…this is not covered, anything goes, if you’re certified, this would be, well, certified organic. Anyhow, this year, these seeds are for production: here, it’s sweet peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes! We’ll see how it goes!

Germination in ziploc

NOTE: Yeah, I am still messing around with my phone camera and the sometimes cheesy photo filter effects in Instagram for Android…

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Planet Jr. rides again

image

Rolled out the Planet Jr. seeder and got in a first 300′ of peas. Sugar Ann snap peas, that’s edible pod. This is just ahead of three days of colder temperatures, rain, and possibly snow. Since the weather forecast lately more often than not doesn’t even get the rest of the same day nearly right, who knows?! Still feels good to get that in. First direct seeding of the year. Yay. (Oh yeah, the new photo format is from Instagram, an app I’ve been playing with on my phone, kinda like Twitter for pics.  And I started this post from my phone, but  finished writing it on the laptop. Technology: enjoy it while you can! Hahaha. :)

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Planting the rain gauge

Planting the rain gauge

The field is way dry enough to till, so it’s time to get on the rain watch (yeah, and like as not there will be some snow in there)! Picked a new spot, just for variety, and set out the rain gauge once again. Hopefully it won’t fill up, then freeze and explode in some freakish lotsa-rain-then-cold-snap-all-in-one-night event. The 2×2 that it’s mounted on is starting to split from being pounded, so rather than change it at the moment, I only went down about a foot till it hit real resistance, and then shored it up with some rocks that were conveniently collected right there. Good for now, and probably all season! No effort wasted for real is my motto for the year. :)

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Garlic rising

Garlic in early April

The garlic really pushed up in the freakishly summery end-of-winter days, already around 6″ high. Don’t recall exactly how far ahead they are—there may be pics on the blog from this time in past years, I haven’t checked—but this is pretty big early growth. I’ve been wondering about deer tucking in as they are about the greenest thing around at the moment, but it seems they’re not to the deer’s taste. And they’ve done fine through a couple of -5°C/23°F nights, and a bit of snow. So it’s so far looking good for the first crop up this season!

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It’s gotta be summer!

Wayne doing tractor yardwork

Wayne doing early evening yardwork SHIRTLESS on one of his trusty old tractors means it’s gotta be summer, right?! Well, this is actually only the first day of spring, a balmy 27ºC (80ºF) one that even got the sweat rolling just a bit around midday walking around the field, and cooled down gently as it pulled into dusk. Nice, but freaky. Late March in the last few years around here has often been pretty clear of snow, but days and days of summer temperatures…never. Birds are twittering, the grass is greening, and garlic is already pushing up through the mulch. Crazy weather continues…

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Greenhouse out in the cold

Greenhouse in snow, early March

Checked out the greenhouse, haven’t been out to see it in a while. As usual, it’s there! I’m still always…pleased that it handles whatever weather comes at it, no problem. The first installation, it was in the middle of a 9-acre garden and hayfield, no nearby windbreaks, for five years unfazed, through real blizzards and windstorms that felled trees and took roofs off of houses. Reliable!

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