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March 2nd, New England

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March 2nd, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/2/2011, 3:41 pm

Since no one started a thread yet, I'll begin.

I finally looked up Chinese cabbage on Google and learned that you cannot start it as early as regular cabbage indoors.
The info states it should be transplanted 2-3 wks before last frost date when its not more than 4-5 wks old. If my math is correct, that means I should start Chinese cabbage seeds indoors 7-8 wks before last frost date.

They are a cool weather Brassica crop that needs to reach maturity early in summer so its best to start them indoors or buy seedlings from a reputable dealer to plant outdoors at the right time.

Well, I started my seeds indoors 11 wks before and they are looking good but they will be much too old by transplanting time. Also, I should have started them in 2" soil blocks so their roots are disturbed as little as possible.

These are in 3/4" soil blocks, Chinese on the left growing well, and mini Super Red 80 cabbages on the right and growing as they should.

I'll start more seeds at the proper time but in the meantime, I just might transplant one or two into a pot and see if they grow indoors under the lights into large plants. It'll be an experiment but I don't want to lose all these seedlings if I can help it.

On the other hand, my broccoli are doing well in their 2" pots. I can almost believe spring is coming soon. Its in the 40s today and sunny, but 20s arrive again for the next 2 days and then back into the 40s. I'm hoping the 40s become a permanent number daytimes for March here in Maine. I need to get out to walk the dogs and see the snow melt from my garden beds.

How are my other fellow New Englanders doing this month?
Can you believe spring may be near after all?

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  camprn on 3/2/2011, 6:29 pm

Well, the Great Winds of March have arrived and the sap has begun to flow during the day. Anticipated temp overnight is -5F (-20.5C) with windchill to -25F (-31.6). We are currently having a snow squall Mad .
The onions and leeks are progressing and the artichokes had 65% germination rate. They are all happy on the window sill. I am starting to fret that I may not get to sow my peas, beets, spinach and chard at the first of April. This is the garden yesterday.
[img][/img]

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March 5 in New England

Post  camprn on 3/5/2011, 9:01 am

The willow is turning yellow and there is liquid water falling from the sky. I can see small patches of bare ground. Very Happy

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  Megan on 3/5/2011, 9:39 am

Willow turns yellow.
Liquid water is falling.
I can see the ground.

Camprn, you are a poet! Very Happy

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  camprn on 3/5/2011, 9:46 am

Shocked Absolutely SHOCKING! Thanks for that Megan, you have just earned my first smile of the day. Very Happy

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/5/2011, 2:23 pm

camprn - the only patches I'm seeing are on the driveway thru the ice... But supposed to be above freezing for the next 48 hours, so I'm hoping.

What seeds are you starting indoors, and what seeds are you planning to grow directly in the garden? I got my tomato seeds today in the mail, and next week should come the rest of the seeds. On my list this year are:

Broccoli
Eggplant
Corn
Lettuce
Bell Peppers
Peas
Squash
Cucumbers
Pole Beans
Corn
Various herbs

Should I be worried if I haven't planted any of them yet? I think the indoor planting dates here are 3/15 - 4/1, but maybe some of them, like the broccoli and lettuce, need to be earlier. I can't do anything till the seeds get here anyway tho.

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  camprn on 3/5/2011, 2:45 pm

@NHGardener wrote:camprn - the only patches I'm seeing are on the driveway thru the ice... But supposed to be above freezing for the next 48 hours, so I'm hoping.

What seeds are you starting indoors, and what seeds are you planning to grow directly in the garden? I got my tomato seeds today in the mail, and next week should come the rest of the seeds. On my list this year are:

Broccoli
Eggplant

Corn
Lettuce
Bell Peppers
Peas
Squash
Cucumbers
Pole Beans
Corn
Various herbs

Should I be worried if I haven't planted any of them yet? I think the indoor planting dates here are 3/15 - 4/1, but maybe some of them, like the broccoli and lettuce, need to be earlier. I can't do anything till the seeds get here anyway tho.
Yes the 3 weeks of now to April 1 are the best time to start the long growing plants that will be transplanted into the garden.
The things I highlighted in red I am planning on planting this week. If your seeds show up in the next week or 2 you should be fine.
Additionally I am seeding inside:

Tomatoes (various kinds)
Basil
coleus ( I have a lot of shade in the yard near the house)
Poblano peppers
hot peppers
Brussels sprouts

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/5/2011, 2:57 pm

So camprn, you're saying I would be best off seeding all those plants indoors?

I'm gonna need a lot more trays than I thought.

Do you use regular potting soil for your indoor plantings, and then transplant into MM outside?

I know I should be reading the book more and asking questions less. I'm impatient. But I'm going to go read right now...

Edit: My seeds just came in the mail! Yippee! I rushed them into the fridge just like Mel said to do. Very Happy


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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/5/2011, 3:53 pm

I started Cauliflower seeds today, both Cheddar and Early Snowball and also some Carel Cabbage which I just rec'd from Territorial Seeds this week and some Flat-leaf Italian parsley as well.

They are on the right on the heat mat.
I also devised some little plant markers suitable for my little 3/4" soil blocks. I made them by bending paper clips to fit and in this way I'm able to write on the cardstock the variety and planting date and anything else I'd like. The thin tips of the clips slide right into the soil

I made them from the small paper clips to fit my itty bitty blocks but also made some from the larger paper clips for my 2" and larger soil blocks.
.url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=486&u=15016226][/url]
I wanted you to see the turquoise 10" plant pots I got for my herbs and nasturtiums this year. Its my favorite color and they had them at Walmart for $3. each so I bought the 8 they had left. I just couldn't pass them up.
This way I will free-up more raised-bed space for veggies instead of nasturtiums, marigolds and herbs.

I also planted two of the 3 Genovese Basil Disks I got from Territorial into 6" pots and put them under the light I keep in my living room for my houseplants. I'm hoping to get Basil started early inhouse this year. I'll let you know how those disks work out.

We got some rain today and it reached 40 degrees so I'm hoping some of the snow is melting. I still can't see my outdoor beds.

In my area its ok to start cold-weather crops indoors since they won't be ready for 10-12 weeks from the time they are sown.
That means cabbage, cauliflowers, broccoli, and parsley are started now. I'm not going to have Brussels sprouts this year. The family don't care for them so I didn't want to waste the space.

With SFG one can cover their crops easily with heavy row cover, blankets, sheets or old towels if a bad freeze is expected once they are transplanted outdoors.
We can also put gallon milk jugs over the young transplants to give them a little more warmth from the sun on cooler days.
That's one of the beauties of SFG.

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/6/2011, 8:02 am

quiltbea, As I'm thinking about ordering the equipment from Johnny's that you've mentioned here, I'm wondering whether I even need to get the 3/4" soil block, and just go straight to the 2". I know they recommend the 3/4" for the small stuff, but it would be a lot cheaper just to skip that step, I wouldn't have to buy the press or the 3/4" adapter for the 2" soil blocker. What do you think?

Also, I see they have different warming mat sizes. What size have you found works best for you? The 9x19 I'm thinking is too small, the next step up is 20 x 20, but wow, over $50. Still, it's an initial investment that you use year after year, so I'm thinking it might be worth it...

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/6/2011, 2:15 pm

NHGardener,
I like the 3/4" blocks to start my seeds and put them on the heating mat. They fit much better and take up less space during germination. If something doesn't germinate, I can toss that little block out and haven't wasted soil either.

Remember, you have to make your soil specifically for the block making. Either buy the 512 soil mix or make your own. I have Eliot Coleman's recipe for that if you need it although I don't make my own, I buy it. Its easier for this old lady. ha ha

Of course, you can skip that and go to the 2" size instead. It'll just take more room to put them on the heat mat during germination time.

My mat measures 10 x 20 and is fine for me with my small blocks germinating on it. It also fits on the little table that I use for starting seeds.

One just has to make things work for their own needs and purses. I hated to spend that extra money, but for me I felt I needed both.

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March 11 in New England

Post  camprn on 3/11/2011, 6:22 am

Well, for the first time in about 3 months we finally had a whole 24 hours where the temp did not go below freezing! Today, like much of the rest of the country, we are getting liquid water from the sky. Despite still having at least a foot of snow in the garden, things are looking up for planting peas at the end of the month!

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March 12, 2011

Post  camprn on 3/12/2011, 12:06 pm

Well, the thaw continues though it seems so s l o w ... 39F today and no local flooding, though we still have huge ice dams in some rivers. I saw a bald eagle yesterday and heard geese overhead this morning.

Sowed Gilbertie and Sweet 100 tomatoes, eggplant, poblano and sorrano peppers. I have some left over spring flowering bulbs that I didn't plant in the ground, I am going to pot those up this afternoon.
I have not tapped any trees but the maple sap continues to flow and folks here abouts are cranking up the sugar houses. I may do some tree pruning today. Spring is surely on the way sunny

What are your gardening activities today?

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  middlemamma on 3/12/2011, 7:51 pm

Quiltbea?

I would love the recipe to make your own soil starter if you wouldn't mind. Smile THANK YOU.

Also I hate paying shipping for soil from Johnny's...can you recommend a store bought version that would work in the soil blockers?

Jen

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  camprn on 3/12/2011, 8:30 pm

Hey Jen, I was looking at this the other day but I didn't post it because I thought it was a big recipe for a lot of the gardeners here, but it's a good video.

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  middlemamma on 3/12/2011, 10:50 pm

Thank you Camp, that was a good video.
Are phosphate rock and greensand readily available or is that something you would buy in commercial bulk?

His mix is 2 parts peat (1part black and one part brown) to one part compost, pearlite, & water.

To that he adds a cup of lime and 1 gallon of his homemade fertilizer which is equal parts of blood meal, phosphate rock and greensand.

It is a huge recipe the way he makes it, but could be cut down? I just have never seen peat other than the one kind, Sphagnum...I have never seen it described as brown or black. :?:


Good things to think about here...

Thank you camp!

Jen

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  middlemamma on 3/12/2011, 11:47 pm

I am sold...

I ordered the small soil blocker tonight and in a couple weeks when I can afford the next size up I will get it.

They will last FOREVER and I plan to garden till I am 110 years old....so they will pay for themselves in time.

Quiltbea....thank you for all your posts about these...it helped me decide they were worth it.

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  camprn on 3/13/2011, 9:56 am

Jen, the soil amendments should be readily available at your nursery or landscape supply store.

Fertilizing the Organic Garden <~~~Click here for a brief description.

Different types of peat moss

What is garden Green Sand

Basic Bone Meal Info

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/13/2011, 1:16 pm

For those thinking about using soil blocks, check out this video for more info.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juUu2KGPCTE

Then you might want to watch Part Two and see further useful information about tomato growing and compost tea.

I use blocks for all my seed starting indoors, not just tomatoes. I've got broccoli, cabbages, basil, parlsey now transplanted into 2" blocks and I've got cauliflower and some herbs in the 3/4" blocks right now.

I happen to have taped most of their shows of 'Gardening Naturally' when they ran on TLC some years ago. Now that they are on YouTube, I've saved any they post here to my computer's video library.

Mel is my garden guru and Eliot Coleman and his wife Barbara Damrosch are my gardening idols for this part of the country. They've been gardening in Maine for years and share their tricks and experiences which are easily adapted to SFG.

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/13/2011, 2:01 pm

quiltbea, I have to laugh as I start to watch that video, because he's reinforcing what I've found as I've started this process: the extreme quantity of reading material you can get bogged down in. Who knew that gardening was so very complicated. I'm spending more time preparing to plant my tomatoes than I did figuring out how to raise my kids. Smile

Okay, back to the video...

By the way, I ordered from johnny's, the soil blockers, the heat mat, and a couple packets of seeds I decided I wanted to add to my collection here. Well, one of the seed packets (snap peas) was back ordered until 3/16. Since I haven't heard from johnny's that my order was sent, I'm a little worried that they're saving the entire shipment until they get more peas in. If they do I'll survive, but I'm really anxious to get going on everything.

And like you Jen, I couldn't stomach paying the extra $$ for the soil (shipping charge). I'm either going to make the recipe here or, if it's just too complicated, which it might be, I'm thinking regular old potting soil/seed starter may have to do...

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  quiltbea on 3/13/2011, 2:48 pm

Here's the Soil Block Starting Mix directly from Eliot Coleman's video from his TV show 'Gardening Naturally:'

3 Quarts Peat Moss
2 Tablespoons each of greensand, phosphate rock and dried blood
Mix together well.
Add:
1 Quart Perlite
3 Quarts Compost
Mix everything thoroughly.

There you have it. The mix for making soil blocks he featured on his TV show over 10 years ago.

I've never tried it since I buy it by the bagful. I bought one bag last year and so far I've still got some left over for this year but I bought another bag to be sure. I don't do well mixing up stuff. I only use it for the mini and midi blocks and when I put them into my 4"-5" air pruning pots, I add a regular potting mix around the seedling.

NHGardener:
I, too, laugh each time I watch that video.
Right now, after swapping here and getting free seeds from Wintersown, I must have 50 (I keep a list) seed varieties. Groan. I don't have room for them all but I've been shifting my garden plans, both SFG and community garden rows, and think I can get about 40 types started, one of each. Yes, I plan on freezing a lot this year.

From those I want to save seeds, I'll just have to make a net bag to put over the blossoms to keep bees and insects away till the tomato starts to grow since I'll have to have them side by side this year. The ones that are hybrid I won't have that problem since I can't save their seeds.

Wish me luck on that venture.

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/13/2011, 3:23 pm

quiltbea - 2 tablespoons of dried blood? Do I dare ask the clerk what aisle the dried blood is in? Laughing

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  camprn on 3/13/2011, 4:02 pm

@NHGardener wrote:quiltbea - 2 tablespoons of dried blood? Do I dare ask the clerk what aisle the dried blood is in? Laughing
Yup, go right ahead, it's in the same area as the bone meal. Wink . If you go to Blue Seal they also have it for a better price in large bags. I use it through the summer to boost all the leafy veggies and to give the compost pile a charge to heat up.
.

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  NHGardener on 3/13/2011, 4:19 pm

Thank you camprn - I'll gather up my list and hit Blue Seal. Guess I'll have to get a container to store the leftover soil too. What do you use? Maybe a plastic garbage can w/lid?

I won't ask whose blood it is, or how they get it... Shocked

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Re: March 2nd, New England

Post  camprn on 3/13/2011, 4:43 pm

You can get 5 gallon buckets w/ lids from Dunkin' Donuts. But a trash can with lid would work just fine! They are stackable. The dried blood is a by product from slaughter houses and is cooked before being dried and packaged.

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Re: March 2nd, New England

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