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N & C Midwest: March 2016

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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  landarch on 3/17/2016, 3:40 pm

I really can't afford to fill my 25' x 25' community plot with raised beds and Mels Mix...so I adapt what I can from SFG.  I noticed that I could use both sides of a free standing trellis for succession planting...not so at home in my raised beds (stone wall in the way).

I started pepper seeds a few weeks ago...they should really take off once I get them out of the seed starting mix and into some soil with nutrients (hopefully some tonight).

My first round of starting spinach seeds would be considered a fail...then I tried the method Kate described recently and noticed that many seeds have germinated in a wet paper towel after snipping with clippers and soaking in the fridge overnight.  They need to be in seed starting mix this evening as well.

Freezing temps predicted for Fri, Sat, and Sunday nights...just got a call that the local seed supply store finally received a shipment of cylindra beets (that I've been waiting on).  Bulk seed is the way to go in terms of quantity for the price.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/17/2016, 5:16 pm

Are you just amending the soil as best you can at the Community plot? Still, will really up your productivity to have so much more in the ground!

I made some make-shift cloches with pop and water bottles with the bottoms cut out...getting ready to place them, will take some pics and post. Watered, it is really really windy here....warmish but gonna get cold.

Never tried the cloches, but Eliot Coleman swears by them....he's are real glass type items! Mine, recycles! I am going to keep 'em if they work! I will be out of town over the weekend, so the perfect crunch test...cloches and seedlings on their own in the elements. Cool
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/17/2016, 7:54 pm

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9 spinach under pop bottle cloches.....


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 3/17/2016, 7:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Cannot figure out how to write sand post pics oniPad)
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/17/2016, 7:58 pm

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4 black seeded Simpson lettuces...hope these babies keep my babies warmish! Felt like I hit the roots on some of the spinaches when I was pushing the bottles in....but it is gonna be cold cold cold. Also covered the kales, they might have been alright, but it is now going to be low 20s, didn't want to chance it.

Fingers crossed!


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 3/17/2016, 8:02 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Learning curve with the new posting of pics....)
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  landarch on 3/17/2016, 10:14 pm

the soil at the community garden has been "improved" each year for the last 20 years or so...when I plant I also add home made compost.  

Just like SFG I tend to plant in grids so weeds don't have a chance (green beans, spinach, etc.)..and I minimize areas where I walk.

What I like about amended native soil at ground level is that holds moisture well but is also workable after within a day of rain.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/18/2016, 6:25 am

Kinda like the original SFG....
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/18/2016, 10:57 am

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Image hosted by servimg.com

4 black seeded Simpson lettuces...hope these babies keep my babies warmish!  Felt like I hit the roots on some of the spinaches when I was pushing the bottles in....but it is gonna be cold cold cold.  Also covered the kales, they might have been alright, but it is now going to be low 20s, didn't want to chance it.

Fingers crossed!
You know, I don't know that spinach roots are quite as sensitive to being jostled as I've read. When I transplanted mine, there were a couple of mishaps, in which the growing mix fell away from the roots, and I just had to drop them into the hole with bare roots exposed. They're doing fine.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/18/2016, 11:23 am

Here are the photos of my new box cage.  My other cages have chicken wire permanently attached to them with zip ties, and when I needed frost protection, I just draped plastic sheet over them and used bricks to hold it down.  Putting the plastic on and taking it off has been a bit fussy, especially when it's breezy, and I wanted something less flimsy, so I decided to try something a little different.

For this one, I left off the chicken wire, and used some "snap clamps" attach the plastic sheet snugly and neatly to the tube frame.  So now I just switch between different cages.  So far, this is making it much easier to add and remove frost (or bug, or varmint) protection in a snap.









I've got a few lettuce transplants, and some really awesome kale to put out, but I think I'll wait until the nasty weather passes.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  landarch on 3/18/2016, 1:55 pm

Kate, where do you get your snap clamps?  Johnny's Seed or somewhere local?
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/18/2016, 3:43 pm

Kate, I love it! Really versatile and portable too! And glad to hear that about the spinach, because I had several decanting mishaps too, and the the cloche insertions.....yours look really good.
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building new beds

Post  Sweetmama on 3/18/2016, 5:37 pm

I just moved to NE Ohio and am having to start over building and filling new beds.  Home depot has a new product (pictured above) that I plan to use. I am going to stack them two high and then just slide a 2x12 board into them and voila, ready to get started!  Has anyone else ever tried these corner blocks?  There is an opening to put a metal pole in for securing them to ground. 

On another note, what can I safely plant outdoors in this area right now?  As soon as my beds are built, I am going to be itching to put something in the dirt! Very Happy

Sweetmama
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/18/2016, 10:16 pm

Those look pretty cool, Sweetmama, let us know how they work out! Just read back though this month's thread to see what folks have been putting out. There is a wealth of knowledge in these pages!
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/18/2016, 10:26 pm

@landarch wrote:Kate, where do you get your snap clamps?  Johnny's Seed or somewhere local?
Local - I wish.  Couldn't find them anywhere in town, so I had to order them.  Cheapest place I found them was Greenhouse Megastore.  A lot of them come cut to 4-inch lengths, but these come in 48-inch-long pieces that you cut down to the size you want, and I've been cutting mine into 2-inch pieces, which hold just fine.  So far.  What a Face (They snap on very tightly, so I don't think they'll go anywhere unless I really want them to. Really really.)  So I can get 24 snap clamps out of one piece.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/18/2016, 10:51 pm

@Scorpio Rising wrote:Kate, I love it!  Really versatile and portable too!  And glad to hear that about the spinach, because I had several decanting mishaps too, and the the cloche insertions.....yours look really good.  
The cages look bulky, but they're really light and easy to pick up and carry around. (May need to set bricks on top if it gets really windy.) Once it gets a little warmer, I'll just take off the plastic sheet and put tulle on it and set it over my leafy plants to keep out the moths, or shade cloth to extend the growing season for my cool weather plants.

Your spinach plants are looking pretty good, too. I think your pop bottles should give them enough protection from the cold. Spinach is surprisingly impervious to cold even without protection. Lettuce, too.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/18/2016, 10:57 pm

@Sweetmama wrote:
On another note, what can I safely plant outdoors in this area right now?  As soon as my beds are built, I am going to be itching to put something in the dirt! Very Happy
Sweetmama
Looks like you're in about the same plant hardiness zone as where I am. So spinach, carrots, cabbage, potatoes... it's also a good time to start peppers and tomatoes indoors. A little early yet for squashes and cukes.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/19/2016, 3:29 pm

Sweetmama, I have peas, radishes, spinach, lettuce and a couple kale out. Next out will be root veggies; turnips, beets, carrots and some potatoes. Starting my tomatoes, melons, cukes inside, with peppers already up under lights.

Marigolds going strong under lights. Cabbage made it, only 1 but that is OK.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/19/2016, 10:36 pm

SR and Sweetmama are practically neighbors in OH.

Only one of my cabbage seeds has made it so far, too, out of 3 that germinated. Starting more tomorrow in my "old mix". Still trying to figure out what it would take to get the organic mixes to work like my "old mix"... I just planted all my tomato seeds in the old mix I've been using, and they're just about all up now within 3 days. Pepper shoots are just starting to show beneath the surface after 3 days.

thinking
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/20/2016, 2:59 pm

Weird, Kate. Only 2 of my green bunching onions germinated. Just checked on the babies outside, was gone since Friday. All alive under their domes! Nothing germinated, but it has been very cold at night, low 20s.

Yes, me, llamamama and now Sweetmama! Fellow Ohioans!
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CitizenKate on 3/20/2016, 4:31 pm

It is weird, I thought they all worked about the same, but all growing mixes are not alike after all, in terms of how well they encourage plant growth. I'm sure the fertilizer is part of the puzzle, since my "working" mix contains some type of slow-release artificial fertilizer. It's a little higher in nitrogen and much lower in phosphate and potash than the organic mixes. The organic mixes are also pH neutral or slightly alkaline, whereas the "working" mix is slightly acidic, which is what is recommended for most plants.

Anyway, once I get all the plants going that I want for my garden, I'll do some serious testing and get this resolved for next year.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/20/2016, 4:45 pm

Forgive me if I already asked you this, is your working mix homemade? I got a bag of organic starter mix in a yellow bag at Walmart, and most things have done fine. Will start tomatoes this week, as I need to figure out how many squares I am going to need.
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/20/2016, 4:50 pm

@Sweetmama wrote:

I think I love this thing!  Can't wait to see it in action.

Kate and SR, are you ladies talking about seed starting inside?  I always thought that seeds had all the stored nutrients they needed to begin growing.  I use used MM to start mine in.  Then use Neptune once they've used up all their food and ask for more, by lightening in color usually.  And if some don't germinate then I figure they aren't viable.

If this isn't what you meant just ignore me...  who?me?

CC
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/20/2016, 5:02 pm

CC, that is what I am talking about, but I thought as soon as the cotyledons faded, the little guys needed something from the roots to grow?
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/20/2016, 5:13 pm

You know I never really paid attention to the cotyledons dropping and whether or not the color of the true leaves changed at that time. Could be. Although now that I'm looking at my seedlings in the window, some of the spinach mustards still have ALL their leaves but I've had to feed them a couple times already. The kale and collards have dropped their cotyledons but not sure when I fed them for the first time. I'll pay more attention next batch.

CC



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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  Scorpio Rising on 3/20/2016, 6:20 pm

I don't know if that's true, distant 4-H memory about seed starting that apparently stuck!
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

Post  CapeCoddess on 3/20/2016, 6:31 pm

I just googled it and it looks like your 4H training is correct on most websites.  Thanks for the tip.  I never knew it was so easy.I'll use it on my tomatoes and peppers this year.

CC
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Re: N & C Midwest: March 2016

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