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N & C Midwest: March 2016

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N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/1/2016, 8:11 am

In like a lamb for me here in Ohio.  I have some spinach seeds planted, as soon as it pokes it's pretty green heads up, I am putting in some lettuces and some kale and chard.  

Planning to put sugar snaps in the ground in a couple weeks, St. Patty's day-ish.  And potatoes.  Then I will get some hotties going;  peppers, tomatoes, and maybe my nasturtiums and marigolds?  

I have never grown melons, so need to read those packets.

Kate: "And I still have a few more construction projects to do before all my beds are fully equipped for the season.  I hope there's an end to that part in sight, those projects always make the season more rushed, and I'm looking forward to the first season when I can just focus on the plants."

Me too!  I also have some construction projects, but I don't need them to get started, just by May.  So a little wiggle room!  

Landarch, I have never started this many seeds indoors.  Just hope I get the timing right.  Peppers, tomatoes, melons and ground cherries will be in a couple weeks, I think?


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 3/1/2016, 8:18 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Added quote from February thread)

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/2/2016, 12:39 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:In like a lamb for me here in Ohio.  I have some spinach seeds planted, as soon as it pokes it's pretty green heads up, I am putting in some lettuces and some kale and chard.  

Planning to put sugar snaps in the ground in a couple weeks, St. Patty's day-ish.  And potatoes.  Then I will get some hotties going;  peppers, tomatoes, and maybe my nasturtiums and marigolds?  

I have never grown melons, so need to read those packets.

Kate:  "And I still have a few more construction projects to do before all my beds are fully equipped for the season.  I hope there's an end to that part in sight, those projects always make the season more rushed, and I'm looking forward to the first season when I can just focus on the plants."

Me too!  I also have some construction projects, but I don't need them to get started, just by May.  So a little wiggle room!  

Landarch, I have never started this many seeds indoors.  Just hope I get the timing right.  Peppers, tomatoes, melons and ground cherries will be in a couple weeks, I think?
I've started working on mine already.  Otherwise, it'd just be like me to wait until I've already got stuff growing, and have to do a lot of extra work because I didn't get my garden beds all tricked-out before planting.

silly me

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/2/2016, 7:25 am

I am planning on building a new 4x4, since I technically don't have a "real" SFG. And a triangle for some strawberries. After that, just trying to naturalize my yard to contain some food producing plants that require very little maintenance....some blueberry bushes I am thinking.

Do you put bottoms in your beds? I am not planning to...

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/2/2016, 8:04 am

Oh, yes, SR. At least, I do. When we put the boxes together, we sandwiched heavy-duty cardboard between 2 layer of weed cloth. then I put newspaper in the bottom to boot.

I'm going thru now & as I'm pulling out all the junk I shoulda done before during fall cleanup, I'm putting MORE newspaper down as it's breaking up.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Goosegirl on 3/2/2016, 8:08 am

Lamb here as well.  I will be starting a pepper project in the next week or two.  More on that after it gets started!

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/2/2016, 6:08 pm

Might have to think about the box bottoms....

GG, I think the one time that I did start pepper seeds indoors eons ago, I did it wayyyy to early. Ended badly. Leggy, weak underproductive plants.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  herblover on 3/3/2016, 9:13 am

My boxes have 3/4 inch plywood bottoms with drain holes drilled all over.  Where they are located is in the swale of our yard where ours and the neighbors water runs to the storm drain.  They sit up on bricks and it works out very well.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  trolleydriver on 3/3/2016, 9:45 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:GG, I think the one time that I did start pepper seeds indoors eons ago, I did it wayyyy to early.  Ended badly.  Leggy, weak underproductive plants.

I read somewhere that many home veggie gardeners start their seeds indoors way to early. According to Mel's ANSFG book peppers should be started 7 weeks before last frost and transplanted to the garden 2 weeks after last frost. For me up in the "great white north" that would be around March 27 for starting indoors. Tomatoes are 6 weeks before last frost and they go out right after last frost date.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/3/2016, 6:53 pm

@trolleydriver wrote:

I read somewhere that many home veggie gardeners start their seeds indoors way to early. According to Mel's ANSFG book peppers should be started 7 weeks before last frost and transplanted to the garden 2 weeks after last frost. For me up in the "great white north" that would be around March 27 for starting indoors. Tomatoes are 6 weeks before last frost and they go out right after last frost date.

Yep, I think that is right. I might get to start mine a couple weeks earlier, but not a whole bunch! My last frost date is either May 1st or May 15th, depending on how much risk you can take!

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/3/2016, 11:47 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:I am planning on building a new 4x4, since I technically don't have a "real" SFG.  And a triangle for some strawberries.  After that, just trying to naturalize my yard to contain some food producing plants that require very little maintenance....some blueberry bushes I am thinking.  

Do you put bottoms in your beds?  I am not planning to...
I lined my beds with landscape fabric to keep Bermuda grass out, but I'm considering ripping the linings out and opening the beds to the soil below.  The Bermuda grass is getting into the beds even with the linings, and I'd like the worms to have easier access (both ways).

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/4/2016, 8:06 am

My current boxes have broken bottoms as they are old window boxes. There are a ton of worms in them in the summer. I think I will not be putting bottoms in the new box. Bring on the wormies!

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/4/2016, 11:26 pm



OK, tiny pale spinach sprouts, new lights from Christmas, had to buy dowels to mount these babies. And buy extra hook things.....


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 3/4/2016, 11:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Made no sense)

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/4/2016, 11:31 pm



This is in the dark... Gonna get better pics in the morning....just knew that I had to get some light on these little spinach babies. Had to kinda rig it. Lithonia lights went together nicely. Never handled fluorescents before. Glad I have fledged from the dark and incandescent nest!

On to lettuces!

Kale....1 per square? Are they huge? Is it any good? Gets a lot of attention.....superfoods and all. I have limited squares, and really want to branch out on maters and peppers a bit. And carrots...those rocked!

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/5/2016, 1:03 pm

Found my answer on kale spacing...my own thread questioning it; I must have a mental block with kale or something! tongue

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/5/2016, 6:01 pm



OK, planted King of the North peppers, Brunswick cabbage, sweet banana peppers, Big Red sweet pepper, lettuces, a couple kales, marigolds, and green bunching onions.

Spinach is up. Added a 2nd 4' double flourescent. Heating pad on, hopefully I can keep my basement warm enough for the peppers.

Hope springs eternal. cheers

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/5/2016, 6:39 pm

Look at YOU going to town there! You go, girl! Nice shiny table for the babes, too.

What's the temp in your basement? I'm thinking of your summer veggies - peppers, maters, ground cherries, etc. Do you have a heating pad?

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/5/2016, 7:11 pm

@CapeCoddess wrote:Look at YOU going to town there!  You go, girl!  Nice shiny table for the babes, too.

What's the temp in your basement?  I'm thinking of your summer veggies - peppers, maters, ground cherries, etc.  Do you have a heating pad?  

CC

I know! I can't believe it myself! Yes, I have a heating pad, but am worried about the ambient temps in the basement....not 80 or even 70 for peppers and tomatoes...need to keep the heating pad in service. How sould I Manage the ambient temps? In a couple weeks, most of this will be outside..leaving room for my warm weather stuff. Neighbor just texted me, he is going to show me how to use my Christmas drill/driver...

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/5/2016, 9:56 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:OK, tiny pale spinach sprouts, new lights from Christmas, had to buy dowels to mount these babies.  And buy extra hook things.....

Looking good, SR!  They'll be out in the beds in no time.

Big gardening weekend here - just finished transplanting my spinach to the outdoors today.   These are the ones that you saw in my sprouting demo...



Came up a few short on the transplants, so I'll just germinate a few more seeds and just plant them out here as soon as they wake up.


We are still getting frosts at night pretty frequently, so I set one of the cages on top, and lay plastic over it.  (It also helps keep our dog from trampling the beds. Mad )




Also, I mentioned the other day I was thinking of tearing out the linings in my beds, with the hopes of possibly attracting more worms into my beds.  I was getting another bed ready for onions and carrots to go out in the next week or two, and decided to tear out the lining in that one, all the while wondering how soon it might be before any worms start to show up - probably not until, say... May or so, if at all.

Well, I no sooner had added more compost and gotten it tilled in, when seemingly out of nowhere, look what shows up!

I guess that answers my question!   okay

Meanwhile, had to re-start 3 flats of pepper seeds - I tried a new starting mix and nothing sprouted.  Trying again with something else...

That's the weekend news from the Flint Hills.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  landarch on 3/6/2016, 8:56 am

Scorpio....very nice...is that a pack of free cabbage seeds from Baker Creek?  The seed package says Brunswick cabbage is a fall/winter type...so I guess these will be my fall cabbage seeds.

I'v been busy starting seeds.  Here's what I've found so far;

1.  100% germination rate on sugar snap peas new seed...about 50% rate so far on older seed.
2.  100% germ rate on bell peppers new seed...about 50% so far on old seed.
3.  spinach is going slow...did not use Kate's method.  
4.  was stupid and left come cold crop seedlings outside to harden off too long one cold evening last week...freeze burn.  What survives will be hardened off I guess.
5.  100% on lettuce, new and old seed.
6.  tried seeding carrots in small soil blocks last week...nothing yet.
7. seeded beets in soil blocks yesterday.
8.  need to find some chinese cabbage seeds today somewhere...or wait until monday.
9.  will start tomato seeds next week.  I like jiffy peat pellets for this...air pruning.
10. Almost forgot...6 of 18 old black beauty eggplant seeds have germinated...0 of 18 new Rosa Bianca seeds..on a heat pad for over a week.


King Arthur and Early Jalapeno pepper seedlings...Sugar Ann sugar peas off to the left.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/6/2016, 10:00 am

@landarch wrote:Scorpio....very nice...is that a pack of free cabbage seeds from Baker Creek?  The seed package says Brunswick cabbage is a fall/winter type...so I guess these will be my fall cabbage seeds.

I'v been busy starting seeds.  Here's what I've found so far;

1.  100% germination rate on sugar snap peas new seed...about 50% rate so far on older seed.
2.  100% germ rate on bell peppers new seed...about 50% so far on old seed.
3.  spinach is going slow...did not use Kate's method.  
4.  was stupid and left come cold crop seedlings outside to harden off too long one cold evening last week...freeze burn.  What survives will be hardened off I guess.
5.  100% on lettuce, new and old seed.
6.  tried seeding carrots in small soil blocks last week...nothing yet.
7. seeded beets in soil blocks yesterday.
8.  need to find some chinese cabbage seeds today somewhere...or wait until monday.
9.  will start tomato seeds next week.  I like jiffy peat pellets for this...air pruning.
10. Almost forgot...6 of 18 old black beauty eggplant seeds have germinated...0 of 18 new Rosa Bianca seeds..on a heat pad for over a week.


King Arthur and Early Jalapeno pepper seedlings...Sugar Ann sugar peas off to the left.


Yes, Landarch, it is the freebie Plant A Seed Brunswick Cabbage seeds from Baker's!  I put 2 in, have never grown cabbage, but like cole slaw!  

Sounds like you have been busy, too!  You have some good germination rates, except those eggplants and spinach...darn it.  I have never grown eggplants, either.  What do you make with them?  I love eggplant Parmesan.  

Kate, I can't believe you have things outside!  Wow!  Under cover, no less, good for you!  Did you harden the spinach off at all?  16 of my 21 spinach seeds are up.  And congrats on your worm! If you build it and don't block 'em out, they will come! Worms adore MM!

I only had room in my 72 cell starter for 2 kales, so I will stick a few more kale in where I don't get spinach germination.


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 3/6/2016, 10:04 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Congratulations on the worm....yeah. I know.)

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/6/2016, 10:42 am

@landarch wrote:
King Arthur and Early Jalapeno pepper seedlings...Sugar Ann sugar peas off to the left.
Those look great - that's what I was hoping mine would look like by now.

I've got a re-do of all my pepper seeds because I was foolish and put them all into a new batch of DIY starting mix I was just trying for the first time.  When I pre-sprout them in wet paper towels, once I plant them in the mix, they usually show up in 3-4 days, but after a week and nothing showing up (no lettuce or cabbage, either), I started to wonder what was up.

I dug up a few seeds, and they looked fine, they were alive, apparently healthy, no mould or fungus, but just not growing at all.  I got a soil test kit from Menard's and tested the pH, and ahhhh... found the new mix was very acidic, well out of the desirable range for most plants.  No wonder nothing was growing.

So this week was also time for my little lesson in pH levels.  The commercial potting mixes I also tested came out pretty neutral, or even slightly alkaline.  My MM was slightly acidic, but adding more compost makes it more neutral.  Interesting, if somewhat annoying, since I really would have rather just had my pepper seedlings than a lesson in plant pH.

@Scorpio Rising wrote:
Kate, I can't believe you have things outside!  Wow!  Under cover, no less, good for you!  Did you harden the spinach off at all?  16 of my 21 spinach seeds are up.  And congrats on your worm!  If you build it and don't block 'em out, they will come!  Worms adore MM!

I only had room in my 72 cell starter for 2 kales, so I will stick a few more kale in where I don't get spinach germination.

I know, I can't believe it either.  Last year, I wouldn't have dreamed of putting anything out this early.  But when I realized how well spinach and lettuce hold up in the cold, I got a little more courageous.  (I did set them outside for a few hours some days before I transplanted them, but I really can't tell if that made any difference or not.)  By the way, it got down to around 20 deg. F Saturday night, which was their first night outside, and they appear to be quite happy out there at this point.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/6/2016, 10:56 am

Yes, I hate those kind of lessons.....I really missed not getting any peppers last year. Some critter ate the plant, bunny probably. And I put a replacement in but it didn't produce and I ran out of summer.

I am shooting for next weekend for my spinach, peas, and root crops.


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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  landarch on 3/6/2016, 10:30 pm

97% germination rate as of this evening on my King Arthur pepper seeds from Tomato Growers Supply.

Less than 50% on my Yolo Wonder seeds from Botanical Interest...I bought these last fall when they were marked down to $.25 a pack.

I put my soil blocks containing Aristotle peppers on heat mats...about 22 blocks with one seed each.  These were expensive hybrid peppers...more pricey and less seed count.  Seed packet said 20 count and I  got 22 seeds.  I love packets that say 30 count and you get like 45 seeds.

It's supposed to be a low of 58 degrees tonight so plants are staying outside.

Still 0% germ rate on Rosa Bianca eggplant seeds from Baker Creek...about 6 of 18 Black Beauty eggplant from an old packet from Botanical Interest.

Spinach seeds have started to germinate...brought them up from a cold basement next to my desk...hopefully they all pop in the next few days.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/7/2016, 7:41 am

That's great, Landarch! It is supposed to warm up here this week a bit. Not enough to put plants out though! Fingers crossed for your late germinators!

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/7/2016, 6:26 pm

Just checked my little seedlings....spinach is hitting the top of the plastic starter box. Will need to get those out tomorrow. Only other sign of life I saw was one of the kales was up. Otherwise, watered. Was almost 60 here today!

I am kinda hoping I have a couple spots for kale in my spinach area if they don't germinate.

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

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