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N & C Midwest: April 2017!

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N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/1/2017, 10:18 am

Good morning Midwest!  Looking a bit gloomy out my window this morning, but better weather is on the way after a cold night tonight I see....

Today, I am planting my leaves out; lettuces, spinaches, chards and kale.  Am also going to direct sow radishes, turnips and peas.  

What's going to happen today where you are? cheers
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  MBroman on 4/1/2017, 10:34 am

First time SFG-er.
Today, I will be planting my cold weather crops lettuce, spinach, and peas - and maybe onion, potatoes and carrots, too? 

Some sites are also saying I should be planting my herbs between now and the next couple weeks: mint, sweet basil, chives, cilantro, rosemary & thyme. 

I think I will reference a few more sources before I plant, just to be sure. 

I did not start seeds indoors this year (been in the house less than a year) so these will all be direct sow (bulbs/seeds). 

It is a good day to plant - overcast and cool.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  sanderson on 4/1/2017, 7:18 pm

Cilantro and parsley seem like cool weather plants here in CA.  They even survived light winter freezes.

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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/1/2017, 7:37 pm

Yeah...none of that happened today...I went to Columbus to meet up with my kids for lunch so it was good.

Tomorrow, will be planting out the starts, plus the other direct sow stuff...!  LOL!  Finally a peek of the sun....sunny

Cilantro and parsley would not germinate on the heating pad with basil and dill...notes taken.  They like it cool.

MBroman, I think you will be OK direct sowing them, especially cilantro and parsley...they will wake up when they need to.  Chives, Mints, Rosemary and Thyme are hardy and perennial, so choose your site well and put them in the ground if you can, they will come back year after year.

Basil is tender, I put it out when the tomatoes go out.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  MBroman on 4/1/2017, 10:37 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:MBroman, I think you will be OK direct sowing them, especially cilantro and parsley...they will wake up when they need to.  Chives, Mints, Rosemary and Thyme are hardy and perennial, so choose your site well and put them in the ground if you can, they will come back year after year.

Basil is tender, I put it out when the tomatoes go out.

Guess I could plant them now. I'll see how tomorrow goes (time to mow the grass around here). 
I made a note in my spreadsheet to wait on the Basil. Thanks!

Today, I got one entire box planted (it was all cool weather crops); veggies. Now we wait. 

My parents have their herbs planted in SFG and they come back each year. They live about 2hrs north of me. So, I'll give it a go this year and see what happens.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  CitizenKate on 4/2/2017, 11:49 am

Scorpio Rising wrote:Yeah...none of that happened today...I went to Columbus to meet up with my kids for lunch so it was good.

Tomorrow, will be planting out the starts, plus the other direct sow stuff...!  LOL!  Finally a peek of the sun....sunny
Planting is fun, but lunch is way more fun.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!

Scorpio Rising wrote:
Basil is tender, I put it out when the tomatoes go out.
Basil definitely does not like the cold, especially in the spring.  In fact, I keep mine inside at night until the nighttime lows don't go below the low 40's.  But before then, I do set them outside when it's sunny.

Everything I put out already is doing great - lettuce, onions, garlic, kale, and broccoli.  I read up more on growing garlic, and now I know why it's probably better to plant in the spring and let it overwinter until it comes back up in the spring.  I decided to try it both ways and see what results I get.  If nothing else, I found out I can get chives from my spring garlic, so it seems you can't go wrong with it.

I've had the pepper seedlings on a heating pad for two days now, and they still haven't budged.  They look exactly the same as they did two weeks ago.  If soil temp was the issue, I think I would have seen some change by now.  Also ruled out soil pH (since the tomato seedlings are doing great in the same mix), damping off (all but one of them are still nice and green, just not growing at all)... only other thing I can think to try is to add some of my organic starter fertilizer cocktail, but they're in MM, so nutrition shouldn't be an issue.

Probably too late to start over now, but I'm not going to plant another pepper seed until I know what I need to do differently.  Other gardeners seem to be able to raise these things without any problems, so I know there's got to be an answer, somewhere...
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/2/2017, 12:57 pm

Kate, my pepper seeds take a ridiculously long time to germinate even on the heat. It's the same with my ground cherries. They seem to take a week to 10 days. Then they take forever to grow. They really like heat and I just don't have it in my house. It's crazy.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  CitizenKate on 4/3/2017, 2:04 pm

I see. So it may still just come down to providing adequate warmth. I found an article that discusses this in more detail, and it mentions how a cool spell can really stall their growth, even long after they have sprouted. I only kept them on heat until they sprouted, then I presumed they could continue without the extra heat. So - I'm just going to leave this batch of seedlings on the heat for at least another week before I decide whether they're going to make it or not. Then next time, I'll just keep them on heat from the start all the way to transplant time.

Maybe I'll just build them their own little tropical incubator! tongue

On a happier note, I finally found a misplaced packet of flower seeds Burpee sent me per gratis to help our bee and butterfly friends.

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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/3/2017, 8:07 pm

RAINING AGAIN!!!!!

Jeesh!  I put out my 2 kales into containers, and the spinaches.  Kept the lettuces inside even though they are busting out of their starter cells...we are still projected to get super cold possibly snow Friday-ish.

As for the pepper thing, I leave my peppers and ground cherries on the heating pad until I take them upstairs.  Also, same thing with melons ans squash but they happen faster.

They do take a while.  This year for some reason the ground cherries did better germination speed wise, but I had them on the warmest spot on the pad.  They are still there, all the heat lovers are.  

MBroman, 2 hours can make a difference!  I went to Columbus Saturday and the shrubs and pear trees are staring to bloom, wow!  Some of the annual herbs might self-sow, not sure, I know dill and cilantro do.  But not dependably nor where you want them!


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 4/3/2017, 8:08 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : doesn't understand ground cherries...)
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  CitizenKate on 4/4/2017, 3:06 am

I know, we've gotten nothing but rain every day for the last two weeks. Today we finally got a short break and some sunlight broke through. I knew the carrots would start to show up if we got just one good day of sunshine. Counted six that emerged from the mix today.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/4/2017, 9:05 pm

CitizenKate wrote:I know, we've gotten nothing but rain every day for the last two weeks.  Today we finally got a short break and some sunlight broke through.  I knew the carrots would start to show up if we got just one good day of sunshine.  Counted six that emerged from the mix today.
Oh , wow!  Awesome...still raining but not constantly.  Soooo windy though...hardnend off the lettuces.  They will go in next Monday hoping.  The forecast for Fri night is 29, I lost spinach with that temp last year...honestly, I am over it.  Live or let die.

OK, now we are all hearing Live or Let Die by Sir Paul McCartney.....
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  landarch on 4/4/2017, 11:14 pm

I've had my peppers germinate in 3 days this year on a heat mat...then somethings keeps eating the tops of the best ones (see my new post)...frustrating.

I had to order more (I buy King Arthur and Touchdown from Tomato Growers Supply)...and I picked up a pack of Giant Marconi from Baker Creek...probably 4-5 weeks behind so we'll see how it goes...I'm never in a hurry to get peppers in the ground anyway and often do a lot of them in grow bags where the soil temps rise pretty quickly once the weather turns.

Right now hoping my beet seeds don't rot in the ground...still raining.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/5/2017, 12:38 pm

landarch, what temp is your soil when on the heat mat? Maybe mine isn't high enough...
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  herblover on 4/5/2017, 3:19 pm

I finally got the first few squares planted on Sunday; one each of spinach, arugula and mizuna.  I'm planning a big planting this Sunday after the predicted snow on Fri!  I need to go see if anything is up; it has been fairly mild but rainy and little sun.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  landarch on 4/5/2017, 4:41 pm

not sure what my temp is...maybe I can check tonight with the children's thermometer.

A few years ago I found a seed starting kit with heat mat on sale in the off season at Menards...something like $5 each...so I bought all they had..so what ever those mats heat up to is what I have.

I have the best luck presoaking in a damp paper towel overnight...kept warm and in a zip lock.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/5/2017, 7:56 pm

I have never actually measured the temperature of my soil (MM) but feels really warm, like 80ish.  

All my peppers and maters and ground cherries are germinated, so heating pad off until melon/cuke time!  Just lights.

Opinions:  Once germinated, should they come up into the East facing window or remain under the T8s?  Height is a determining factor here, but just polling....
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/8/2017, 2:47 pm

I think we have finally emerged from the Winter veil...such that it was.  I am going to plant stuff out in the beds and do what I can in the mosh pit that is my garden area...wet!

Nice today, out of town until Monday, but still excited to get things in the ground so to speak!
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  CapeCoddess on 4/9/2017, 6:49 am

Scorpio Rising wrote:I have never actually measured the temperature of my soil (MM) but feels really warm, like 80ish.  

All my peppers and maters and ground cherries are germinated, so heating pad off until melon/cuke time!  Just lights.

Opinions:  Once germinated, should they come up into the East facing window or remain under the T8s?  Height is a determining factor here, but just polling....

As soon as anything of mine germinates they get popped into the window. The house came with lights but I have never used them. They are down in the basement and it's cold down there. But it's my understanding that windows cause plants to be more leggy than if they are under lights.

What did you end up doing?
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  MBroman on 4/9/2017, 9:21 am

Opinions:  Once germinated, should they come up into the East facing window or remain under the T8s?  Height is a determining factor here, but just polling....

I kept mine under the lights - I just raised the lights. They were on small chains. I started them very low and gradually raised them link by link until I couldn't get them higher on the shelf. By that time - it was fairly close to begin hardening them off. 

My shelving system was nothing fancy - a standard utility set that had 4-5 metal shelves spaced 12" apart. And my bulbs were the recommended one cool one warm. Seemed to work decently. No heat mat. Germination wasn't a problem. 

And...only a couple varieties had problems with damping off. 

It was a very small house and there weren't options to place them in a sunny window (too many eaves). So, raising the lights and keeping them on the shelves was a system that worked for me. Wink
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/9/2017, 7:05 pm

I have kept mine under lights until they are too tall, my lights are just utility lights too,on little chains which allow some adjustment....

Just checking.  Once up-up, they go in the window....but they they really have to go in pretty quick as it is an East-facing window, also an eave, so not super direct either!
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  CitizenKate on 4/9/2017, 10:23 pm

After a week away on business (plants were left in the care of good help), I've found that the peppers have still not budged, other than a few of them that have died since I left.  They were sitting on a heating pad about a week and a half, and they are not recovering.  Perhaps the damage was done as soon as they sprouted and I took them off the heat and put them under light.

Too late now to start over, so it looks like, for this season, I'll just be getting starter pepper plants from the local nursery.  (Don't worry, SR, those lovely pepper seeds you sent me will not go to waste.  They are in a safe place until I can figure out how to get the most out of them.)

I'm reading all your posts with great interest, because I really want to understand the difference between what I'm doing and what those of you who are having relatively consistent success with your peppers are doing.

I'm kind of a nerd when it comes to anything, and gardening is no different.

Come, my dear Watson - the game is afoot!  study
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  herblover on 4/10/2017, 11:34 am

I got 7 more squares planted yesterday; I each of another variety of lettuce and spinach, and the first chard, kale, radish, beets, and carrots.  The arugula, mizuna, and spinach planted on 4-2 are all up and growing well.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  countrynaturals on 4/10/2017, 2:34 pm

herblover wrote:I got 7 more squares planted yesterday; I each of another variety of lettuce and spinach, and the first chard, kale, radish, beets, and carrots.  The arugula, mizuna, and spinach planted on 4-2 are all up and growing well.
WAAAAAA! I'm still house-gardening, with another couple of nights in the 30s coming up. Plant a square for me, please -- anything but spinach. Rolling Eyes
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  herblover on 4/10/2017, 3:33 pm

countrynaturals wrote:
herblover wrote:I got 7 more squares planted yesterday; I each of another variety of lettuce and spinach, and the first chard, kale, radish, beets, and carrots.  The arugula, mizuna, and spinach planted on 4-2 are all up and growing well.
WAAAAAA! I'm still house-gardening, with another couple of nights in the 30s coming up. Plant a square for me, please -- anything but spinach. Rolling Eyes
I may easily have more nights in the 30s; our last frost date is mid-May.  I will just put them under their blankies if it is going to be near freezing.
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Re: N & C Midwest: April 2017!

Post  Scorpio Rising on 4/10/2017, 6:23 pm

CK, I leave my hotties on the heating pad after sprout for about 2 weeks...No reason...just the late bloomers.  Like Ground cherries take foreve!

CN, my spinach looked bad today...kinda , um not doing much.  I have 4 Space in the basement under lights...never grown that variety before.  Might put them out this weekend....other than that, all leaves went out today.

Herblover, I transplanted all my leaves today, will put the root veggies in this weekend..,carrots, beets, radishes, and turnips.  YUM!!!!!

Finally a bit of a breather weather wise!  I was away for 3 days, also glad to see stuff alive.

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