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PNW February 2012

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  gwennifer on 2/6/2012, 11:16 pm

That's what I finally decided too. The girls helped plant some peas and radishes today. We'll do a few each week from here on out and see which ones take. They were so excited, and then my oldest read the back of the package on the peas and was like "Awwww, 68 days to harvest?" How fun that she's disappointed about having to wait that long to get to eat some peas!

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My SFG is waking up!

Post  MCard on 2/7/2012, 11:35 am

So glad to see this thread! My toddler took me out into our garden last weekend and we discovered that my square of chives is coming back strongly. Considering we were covered in several inches of snow and ice just a few weeks ago this amazed me. And, it appears I can grow the heck out of oregano and thyme -- the squares with these cyborg (meaning: can't be destroyed) herbs really bring a smile to my face.

Thanks to all for their commentary about peas. Mine were unimpressive, if not downright disappointing, last year. With the Lincoln's birthday guidance in mind, I will plant this weekend and see if that doesn't help this year's outcome. Of course, last summer in the Seattle area was pretty bleak (from a gardening perspective), so perhaps this summer will be different.

Separately, we'll be making a run at dwarf blueberries this year. Not in SFG's, but in containers. We secured our first bush, Sunshine Blue, last weekend, and will be getting the second bush, Bountiful Blue, in the next few weeks when shipments arrive.

Best of luck to all! Very Happy

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/7/2012, 11:52 am

@MCard wrote:....snip.... Thanks to all for their commentary about peas. Mine were unimpressive, if not downright disappointing, last year. With the Lincoln's birthday guidance in mind, I will plant this weekend and see if that doesn't help this year's outcome.....


WooT (your herbs!)

I am the queen of plant your peas on Lincoln's birthday. But I've got to admit, I do not get peas any earlier than the rest of the pea-growing PNW. Saint Patrick's Day is not too late, neither is April 1st. Peas will grow in the heat of summer but do not seem to be as sweet in the heat. There is a disease that is at its peek in July and August called enation (sp?). It looks like a case of warts or pimples on the pod. It does not affect the peas inside but it is ugly, especially if you prefer snap peas. I’m told that it is spread by sucking aphids but I cannot document it, though I have seen the bumps on late summer peas that are infested with aphids.

That said, I'll be out on February 12th planting a square or two of peas (and I'll probably be doing it again on March 17th)

Debs....who also had an unimpressive pea year last year.



Golden Sweet Snow Peas in bloom.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/7/2012, 3:56 pm

Finally started my first indoor seeds yesterday.
Kong Kohlrabi
Calabrese Broccoli
Veronica Broccoli
Snow Crown Cauliflower
Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed Lettuce
Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce
These seedlings were all started Sat 2/4 in vermiculite and yesterday I purchased a 48 inch seedling heat mat and set my starter containers on it. They are quite warm. The lights and heat mat are on a 16 hour on, 8 hour off schedule.

This morning, the following seeds have germinated
Calabrese Boccoli
Veronica Broccoli
Kongo Kohlrabi
Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed Lettuce
Parris Island Cos Romaine Lettuce

The only thing that has not germinated yet is the Snow Crown Cauliflower, which has a minimum 5 days germination.

Today I started Italian Flat leaf Parsley, Genovese Basil, Red Torpedo onion seeds and Big Bunch Onion Seeds.
Still looking for containers to start my cabbages, spinach and a few more varieties of lettuces.

I can't tell you how excited I am to see little green first leaves sitting in the vermiculite.

I am fortunate that I will be able to transplant lettuces and greens to my Round Foot Square Garden (24 inch bowl type planter) on my semi enclosed porch. There the risk of frost is minor. It lets me start harvesting lettuces and greens from the comfort of a warmer and drier place here in the rainy cool PNW.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  FamilyGardening on 2/8/2012, 4:13 am

some of our babies have sprouted!

i have a question.....i have a grow station in our garage ( which is our multi-purpose type room ) i have a large shop light that i used last year that worked great....but i didnt start my starts this early.....so my question is....once the babies sprout...do you think its warm enough to move them out to that room....there is no direct heat that goes in there....just the heat of doing laundry and going in and out for other things....or should we install a new light in the room that i now have the babies sprouting in?....hubby wants to know LOL.....i wonder why.....Laughing

hugs

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/8/2012, 8:52 am

Good golly FBmom. School doesn't start for a couple of hours and I've already been doing research. Of your veggies I know red torpedo onions (love that!) and flat leaf parsley, though I've read your wild lettuce posts before.

Calabrese Broccoli:

There are three commonly grown types of broccoli. The most familiar is a often referred to simply as "broccoli", and sometimes calabrese named after Calabria in Italy. It has large (10 to 20 cm) green heads and thick stalks. It is a cool season annual crop. also--Sprouting broccoli, Romanesco broccoli and Purple cauliflower (wikipedia)

OK, I knew a few of the others too but not Kong Kohlrabi. Couldn't find it on google. Hey good growing with your basil. I grew Genovese Basil last year, it was wonderful! It is not often that I envy people who can run a heat mat, but for basil, I envy you. The Toy Box will not see basil sprouts of any type until mid May.

Hope you find the information you need Rose. It is kewl that your guy likes this aspect of gardening.

Debs.....who got her fruit trees pruned, doesn't know what she is doing even after taking a class (I should have sat in the front row) but made a video about it anyway.....a really LONG video (yeish)

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/8/2012, 12:14 pm

Lavender Debs, I seem to have lots of trouble with my keyboard. It just doesn't work right. Shocked


That was supposed to be KONGO KOHLRABI .
I am also trying for the first time in my garden (grew in the community garden and loved it) VERONICA BROCCOLI . It is really beautiful, pale chartruese with neat points and spirals.
Both of these came from Territorial Seed.

BTW, my Snow Crop Cauliflower germinated today. I am so excited to see the itty bitty babies, I just can't stand it.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  FamilyGardening on 2/8/2012, 12:23 pm

furb i love these tiny babies as well.....one of mine has tiny fuz hair Laughing

hugs

rose....off to find lav's video.....love her video's!

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/8/2012, 12:32 pm

WooT wOOt cauliflower!! I'm going to start mine soon! I'll giggle for a while about your keyboard. Ray isn't working so I am stuck reading and re reading my posts and still miss things that my warn out keyboard hiccups on. I want to just replace it but that seems a bit selfish during spring gardening buy-a-thon. I feel your pain.

Rose, drink coffee.... this one is WAY too long (but thanks for the good word.)

Debs.... who just heard that we are going to Mt. Vernon and my favorite seed racks at the Skagit Food Co-op. Hope I can ditch my designated "adult supervision"

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/8/2012, 1:22 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote:still miss things that my warn out keyboard hiccups on. I want to just replace it but that seems a bit selfish during spring gardening buy-a-thon.
I agree, you have to establish your priorities. Smile The heat mat was not cheap, but when I see how fast things germinate using it, I am glad I purchased it.

@Lavender Debs wrote:Hope I can ditch my designated "adult supervision"

Rolling Eyes Oh, It's nice to know I am not the only one who has to be watched during the spring gardening buy-a-thon.

I still want to try Boffer's H 3's but just did not get "around tuit" yet. It would be nice to start things outdoors even in cooler weather. His results were pretty good, it seems especially well suited for the PNW. It is great having someone start the experimenting for you and then snagging his ideas. I bought the soil heating cables last fall, and one of these days............

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/8/2012, 8:46 pm

@Furbalsmom wrote:
@Lavender Debs wrote:Hope I can ditch my designated "adult supervision"

Oh, It's nice to know I am not the only one who has to be watched during the spring gardening buy-a-thon............


Don't 'cha know, you are the one I stole that from!

Debs.....home with a new sweet pea, a new snap pea, fresh spinach (mine is struggling to germinate) and more of my old friend, Golden Sweet Snow Pea..... that and a box lunch we took with us on a walk to see if we can find a snowy owl or two (we did not). I've just decided that smoky Fildago Coffee is my new fav!

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Mid February

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/9/2012, 12:42 pm



I am so jazzed about the first real planting this year. Starting a tray of greens in January works for a while, but the first seeds exposed to actual MM and weather can go out this weekend. Whoo-hoo. I know that those of you with electrified, weatherized gardens are way ahead of me, that’s kewl. But poor-me, I still have to wait for my traditions.



Does this seem too ambitious? If it matters, packets to the left are for starting in a tray to plant out in April. Packets to the left can be put out this weekend.



The tray of seed started in January is coming along.

Debs....working on a video of spring seeds and how to get the powdered enoculants to stick to pea seeds.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/9/2012, 1:18 pm

Debs, that does not look too ambitious to me. I am going to try some of my peas this weekend and follow your traditions. I will also save some pea squares to plant a few weeks later too. I am drooling, thinking about the peas to come.

Those January seedlings look healthy.

I am using the heat mat for germination now, but don’t intend to continue growing the cooler weather plants over heat. I think they will be happier and maybe a bit sturdier with cooler roots.

When I start some warm weather plants indoors next month, I will continue to use the heat mat just for those that really crave heat like tomatoes and peppers. At least that is my plan for now. I hope to cover at least one of my Table Tops with hoops and 6 mil plastic to keep them a bit warmer once they get outside.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  happycamper on 2/10/2012, 12:17 am

Wow, those seedlings look great! I have a question, it seems several of you start your lettuce indoors in seed trays. I have only used the "direct sow" method outdoors and have never transplanted lettuce.
It sounds like it may be better to start indoors and get what, a two week start in the growing process before planting outside?
I direct seed most items. Do any of you have certain items that have better success rates starting them indoors instead of direct sowing them outdoors?
I start peppers, tomatoes, stevia indoors and leeks (first time growing them).

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/10/2012, 3:41 am

happy camper,

I find the cool season veggies transplant pretty well, but it is really important to harden them off over a week or two before you transplant outside.

Lettuce can be started indoors 7 weeks before your last average frost date and transplanted outside 4 weeks before your average last frost date. Then I start direct seeding them outside about the time I transplant. Succession gardening without trying hard.

I am trying stevia for the first time.

Warm season veggies like tomatoes, eggplant and peppers need a head start in order to produce during our very cool summer on the coast. I even start cucs and squash inside about 2 weeks before the soil warms up. (even if I finally end up having to warm the soil with plastic mulch)

The soil did not warm to 60 degrees here till June last year. That's only three weeks before the days start to get shorter. Shocked

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/10/2012, 8:19 am

@happycamper wrote: ....snip.... it seems several of you start your lettuce indoors in seed trays. I have only used the "direct sow" method outdoors ....snip....It sounds like it may be better to start indoors and get what, a two week start in the growing process before planting outside? ....


I almost always end up buying a tray or three of mustards and salads in spring. This year, I put a little more thought into getting seedlings started that I might buy. Otherwise, I direct seed.

Starting seeds at home has more to do with finding the varieties I like....same with direct seeding instead of buying plants. I do not use lights or heat mats but that is a matter of storage space and my husband being out of work this year. MOST of the seed I have was pulled out of the crisper drawer in the fridge. Some of it was bought with budgeted money. 2012 has been a good year for setting trays outside for light. If it stays this warm I will be leaving them outside over night which means they will not need to be hardened off.

The main reason I like to start early has more to do with itchen to get started. There is a sense of satisfaction once they get going. Direct seeded will be better if you can wait that long. I work from home and NEED to get out of my chair. I do not have small children to care for, no grandchildren, besides my dogs, what else am I going to fuss over? This satisfies my need to nurture.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  happycamper on 2/11/2012, 6:30 am

Furbalsmom and Lavender Debs thank you. You have both given me several things to think about. I think I will plant some lettuce seeds in a flat and see if there is enough light under the window by the desk for germination. I could try wintersowing some since I have some containers leftover but I think I will direct seed some this weekend and cover the bed. I have not removed the hoops yet and doesn't take long to cover a bed so it won't hurt to plant one or two squares to see what happens.
I agree with planting the varieties that you like. Black Seeded Simpson seems to be a favorite of everyone here (and so easy to save the seed). Some family members were surprised last year that they were eating mustard, spinach, arugula and lettuce salads and liked them.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/11/2012, 8:27 am

@happycamper wrote:...snip... Some family members were surprised last year that they were eating mustard, spinach, arugula and lettuce salads and liked them.


I love that! I have family who only like lettuce with ranch but kept telling their peeps that there is something about my colorful "gourmet lettuce" that makes them want more. Ha! Mustards and spinach and greens, Oh My.

Debs…..10 hours of daylight!!! Ready to “while away the hours, con’sulten with the flowers… “

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  gwennifer on 2/13/2012, 12:55 pm

I went to a seed starting seminar at Shorty's nursery this past Saturday. I don't think I learned much beyond what I'd already gleaned off the forum here, but it was nice getting out by myself for a couple of hours. I had to laugh at one thing: The lady teaching the class likes to use Jiffy peat pellets for their convenience, and recommends sprinkling vermiculite on the top to absorb moisture to help protect the seedlings from damping off. With SFG on the brain, I couldn't help thinking she was 2/3rds of the way towards some MM!

She also recommended making worm compost tea to feed new seedlings once the cotelydons start to yellow and fall off. Just soak one cup of vermicompost in one gallon of water.

She presented an interesting theory on hardening off that she herself had not yet tried. Has to do with witholding water rather than transitioning outdoors or using cold frames. Just withold water until seedlings wilt, than water. Withold water again until they wilt again and then water again. Continue to do this for two weeks and then just plant outside. And that's it! Sounds much easier to me. I'm intrigued!

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/13/2012, 8:01 pm

She presented an interesting theory on hardening off that she herself had not yet tried
Sounds Interesting. Let us know how it works out for you.

I think I would prefer to use a technique that had been suggested by someone with first hand knowledge. My concerns are if you are letting the seedlings wilt, they get stressed and they still would not get a chance to get used to the sun. I have lost seedlings to sunburn before. Of course, this theory might work well too.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  dsfin on 2/13/2012, 10:25 pm

I agree Furbalsmom!!! Stick with the "tried" and "tested" when unsure. Nothing wrong with experimenting though!!!

@gwennifer ...... The term "hardening off" means to change the climate (i.e., temperature) the plant is exposed to. As this applies to newly germinated seedlings, which most likely have been getting pampered with a relatively warm environment, this would mean you'd want to now expose them to some cooler temperatures. Moderately cooler temperatures will help "toughen" those seedlings up a bit. Making them "ready" for the wild of out-door planting when that time comes. It will help to stop them from getting "leggy" too. Providing cooler temperature, must be done in moderation though.

I think the idea (from the class), of "dehydrating" the seedlings to the point of making them "wilt" is absurd!!! The last thing you want to do to any plant, at any stage of development, is to STRESS it!!! Undo stress on a plant promotes attack by pests and disease.

Just give those "babies" some cooling off time!!!

---Dave

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/13/2012, 10:46 pm

On wilting to harden..... I think it makes sense. You want the plant to adjust to stress, to be less tender, less susceptible to transpiration in moving air. I'm betting that dehydration will harden the outer cell layer, allowing the new cell layer to adjust for the extremes of the outdoor garden.

Then again, I’ve been known to be full of raw compost.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  gwennifer on 2/14/2012, 3:55 am

Yes LavenderDebs, that's what it was all about - hardening the hypocotyl.

Actually, a quick Google search just now shows this is nothing new - lots of people listing witholding water as one of the ways to harden off plants. (They could all just be copying each other though - you know how the internet can be). Many mention to plant outdoors on a cloudy/overcast day if possible, so obviously sunburn is still a concern.

Well, my goal was to start my seedlings this weekend or at least by Valentine's day. Better get on the ball tomorrow. I'm going to be doing it with artificial light, as I have to have them up in my room (north facing window) to give them the best chance of surviving my 1 year old. Garage would be better in that regard, but I know I would forget about them in there.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Furbalsmom on 2/14/2012, 5:34 am

I do need to take back some of what I said.

I think I would prefer to use a technique that had been suggested by someone with first hand knowledge. My concerns are if you are letting the seedlings wilt, they get stressed and they still would not get a chance to get used to the sun. I have lost seedlings to sunburn before. Of course, this theory might work well too.

I did not intend to sound snippy or dismissive, and if I sounded that way, I do apologize.

One of the reasons we are here is to help each other out and discuss different techniques. There are many times we discuss tips we have heard about through classes or conversations, some we discover on the internet. We don't necessarily have first hand knowledge, but that does not mean that it won't work. I enjoy experimenting myself.

I do admit to being skeptical of hardening off through stressing, but I am really interested in your results.

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Re: PNW February 2012

Post  Lavender Debs on 2/14/2012, 8:40 am

@Furbalsmom wrote: ...snippy... "I did not intend to sound snippy or dismissive, and if I sounded that way, I do apologize."....snippy....."I do admit to being skeptical of hardening off through stressing, but I am really interested in your results."


I cannot speak for anyone but me BUT I did not for a moment think you sounded "snippy" just skeptical. I bet old timers felt that way when the new SFG book came out. You seemed gracious as always.

@gwennifer wrote: .....snip... "my goal was to start my seedlings this weekend or at least by Valentine's day....


Oh me too! Ray took me out for dinner after church. Came home in my happy place fixen to get dirty but my home was full of drama. Two adult men (my sons) were boiling over because of laundry, specifically they both needed MY dryer, one tossed the others stuff out before it was dry the other needed dry clothes asap. OH MY GOSH it was like they were 13 and 15 again. Ray told them to work it out and leave the house standing. If they had been jr-high still I would have sent one to turn the compost and one to muck the chicken yard but they are not kids anymore so I retreated to my room to watch a sappy valentine move marathon until things cooled off.

Debs... crossing her fingers, hoping to get some seeds in the dirt today. (Happy Valentines Day!!)

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Re: PNW February 2012

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