SmartGardener: SmartGardener.com is a consumer technology solution that enables food gardeners - individuals and community gardeners - to easily plan, grow, manage and harvest their own food.
This is a great site!
Jan 21, 2013
I've always enjoyed the prim rose. I'm not too picky about the color, I just feel happy when I see one in bloom. They seem to be a little reminder or promise that spring will come. It's a great flower to pick up this time of year to add a little color and life to your home. The best part is the fact that by the time it starts to fade it will be just about the time for my prim roses and crocuses in the garden to bloom. As the soil warms, I'll find a spot for this prim rose and it will be there in the early spring for me next year. A promise of spring, a promise of a smile. Until then, there's a little promise of spring in my kitchen window and I feel happy.
Jan 14, 2013
Jan 13, 2013
I use a combination of very small peat pots and plastic cell inserts. I find that the seed starter soil from Henry Fields is fantastic. I always have very good results with it and I do not have a problem with my soil drying out. (A big hazard with delicate seedlings.)
I have heat mats that are placed under my seed trays to help keep the temperature of the seed trays a little warmer. Last year was my first year to try them. I had two and I found they really helped with starting seeds such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. I bought two more this year and I am excited to see if they help push my cole crops along so that they have a good size in time for early spring planting. Word of advice, when buying heat mats for seeds, search online at Amazon.com so you can find the best deal. They can be very expensive and I have found I can get them for about $16 online.
I have a plant rack that my husband and I have attached aquarium light hoods to in a way that allows me to move them up and down as the plants grow. The plant rack has been a great investment! I start most of my plants from seeds and purchase very few plants for the garden. (Sometimes, I can't resist a cool new variety of a vegetable or a flower that will make a great companion plant.)
My plant rack will hold 8 trays, right now I only have 3 1/2 trays started. These are the seeds I started today;
Fast Vantage Cabbage, Farmer's Extra Early Cauliflower, Hybrid Premium Crop Broccoli, Perfection Drumhead Savoy Cabbage, Cherokee Purple Tomato, San Marzano Tomato, Black Krim Tomato, Diamond Eggplant, Baby Bok Choy, Riesentraube Tomato, Black Cherry Tomato, Fish Pepper, Italian Pepperoncini Pepper, Mulato Islano Poblano Hot Pepper, Hybrid Twilight Eggplant, Sweet Bell Mix Sweet Pepper, Lg. Leaf Italian Basil, Tango Celery, Coriander, Cilantro, Curled Parsley, Bok Choy, Jalapeno Pepper, Sweet Bell California Wonder, Blue Scotch Kale.
The cole crops need to be started so they are of good size and strength for early spring planting. If I don't start them early enough, they will not mature before it begins to get too hot and then they will bolt. The warm weather crops, such as tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, always produce so much better if they are a good size when they are introduced to the garden. It's the hardening off process that is a pain, but it's all worth it!
I feel that I'm off to a good start with this year's garden. Now I just have to figure out where my different 'neighborhoods' will be and make sure I rotate my beds. Back to my notebook!
Jan 5, 2013
As I begin to prepare for the new year, I actually begin to feel a little excitement. A new year always means a fresh start with my garden. I can look at my notes, look at what we have in the freezer and pantry, and begin to plan what needs to be planted and the layout I want to use. (This is the stuff that makes me feel like a little kid!)
I went to the garden today to see what I could find. I was very pleased with my small harvest! I was able to bring in carrots, kale, and Swiss Chard. Not bad for January 5th!
I also found that some of my herbs still looked pretty good and the ground was only frozen in the upper 1 inch of soil. So, we'll see what happens. I brought in Italian parsley, curled leaf parsley, some shallots, and some celery. I'll be curious to see what they do inside.
Yesterday, I was very excited to see that my seed orders arrived! Now, I'm in the process of getting everything set up so I can begin to get seeds started.
I have had very good luck with the seeds I order from Henry Field's and I find that their quantities of seeds in a pack and prices are very reasonable.
Some things I can't find at Henry Field's I get from companies such as Baker Creek. I usually get seeds such as Fish Pepper and Cherokee Trail of Tears beans from Baker Creek.