grdnguru's blog

Progress on seedlings.
Posted on Mar 13, 2023 10:20 AM

I spent an hour or so this morning planting new and redundant seedings. I seeded in 44 seed starts with various vegetables that needed to be started plus a round of seconds on some for surety. As seen in the pictures, my seedlings are progressing well. I will be transplant them into larger pots shortly and am hoping that I can put them in my greenhouse from there. Given the weather has been cooler and mainly cloudy, I'm not sure that my seedlings will fare well in the greenhouse at this time. So, I decided to start a few seconds to be ready just in case.
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I now have roughly 132 seedlings and seeded cells in my basement. That's much more than I normally start but the prices of the early plants in the stores seem higher than last year. I have more than ample seeds to grow a wide ranging and varied selection of veggies. Having the lights and space to start the seeds and a greenhouse to harden them off in is a small luxury. I decided last fall that I would definitely be much more aggressive given the prices and quality of the vegetables in the stores.
Some of the seedlings you see are from 6-10 year old seeds. I am getting a very good germination rate on most of them which I attribute to how I store and handle my seeds. I recently watched a Youtube video from a well known gardener regarding seed storage. Everything they pointed out was an affirmation of what I was doing. Except, I took it another step further which is what I believe keeps my seeds fresher and longer lasting. I've always believed that seeds could last decades if properly handled.
That subject will be the theme of my next post. I will detail what I do and what my general results have been. So, until the next post, I hope you are growing well. Happy gardening everyone!!

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Mother nature is playing games.
Posted on Mar 8, 2023 9:56 AM

I got excited when the weather appeared to be taking it easy on me. But, as we all know, nature is unpredictable at the least. I have two seed trays with many seedlings in them which will have to be potted up to allow them to grow. I will do that but where they go next is the question.
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It appears that the weather will be turning much colder for the next 6-10 days with a possible recurrence towards the end of March into early April. Low temps are estimated to be reaching the mid 20's for a couple of days. This is not the normal temps and kind of reminds me of February. Not the ideal for sure.
Right now, the temps in my greenhouse are swinging wildly to put it mildly. The picture shows the hi and lows that occurred yesterday. 97 is pretty warm for early season crops but it only happens for an hour or two. What I watch is the overnight low which for yesterday is pretty good at 34. If it goes to 30 or below, that's where I see damage to the plants. Seedlings would struggle at these temps for sure. So, here I sit with seedlings with nowhere to go but my basement.
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Time will tell but given that the local news weather forecasts have changed in the last few days, I have a pretty good suspicions it will pan out to be unseasonably cold. I'm just going to have to adapt to it.
Well, that's all for now. Hoping everyone is being successful in their gardening adventures. Until next time, Happy Gardening everyone.

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March - A gardener's new hope.
Posted on Mar 4, 2023 9:05 AM

March is an important month in a gardener's world. The days become longer which hopefully will bring warmer and drier days. It can tempt a gardener into a false security at times. One never knows nor can they predict when a rogue snowstorm will come upon them. All of these dynamics combine to make March very challenging.
I have been concentrating on two areas recently. A good portion of the last weeks time has been spent on first getting my soil prepped. This has involved turning over the leaves into each garden bed. I used a 4 tine rake and just gently turned the soil over to help speed the decomposition process. This process seems well underway given the predominance of worms I uncovered.

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While I was doing that, I sowed in 60 sets of seeds into a starter tray with various veggies. These were for tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, peas, cilantro, and onion starts. I decided that I am also going to direct seed in onions, lettuce, spinach and various herbs in pots in the greenhouse. Those will have to wait until the weather and temps turn a bit. There are forecasts that say the middle of March will be colder and snowier than we have seen in my area. What else would one expect from March afterall?

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The start of March is always very busy in many different ways. The days can become chaotic if you let them. Every year at this time, there is so much enthusiasm for what's ahead. Anticipation builds rapidly as we endure winter's last gasps. We can finally get to growing - hopefully. So, all I can say is, Happy Gardening everyone!

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What to do with your spent soil.
Posted on Jan 31, 2023 1:38 PM

At the end of every gardening season, I would take my pots and empty the soil from them into my garden beds. It seemed the logical and gardening thing to do. Well, last year, I had an inordinate number of pots to empty. The soil in these amounted to a substantial amount of dirt. So, I decided that I wasn't going to just spread it over the beds. Rather, I took an old wheelbarrow and used it to collect the soil and keep it for next year. I covered the soil with 6 ml plastic to protect it from the winter elements.
On this past Saturday, I looked to see what I had after the three months of it sitting in the cold. As you can see, it looks pretty good.
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Using a feed scoop, I collected a bucket load of it. I then put the bucket into my greenhouse so it would warm up.
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Once warmed, I will sift it to remove various debris so that it will be a cleaner soil. I will then use the sifted soil as a base layer for my pots. I'll fill every pot about a third of the way up with it, augment with a granular fertilizer and then proceed to fill the rest of the pot with new soil, compost and another round of fertilizer. At the tail end of last summer, I followed this routine with a great amount of success.
Doing this both lowers the cost of purchasing new soil and fits in with my organic practices. I'm getting more and more excited about the upcoming season. It will be very different and new to grow my garden totally in pots. I will be challenged for sure but you never learn without a challenge.
I hope each and everyone of you are getting their gardens into shape. So, until next time, Happy Gardening Everyone!

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Plans for 2023
Posted on Jan 20, 2023 11:37 AM

So much to tell here. As last year came to a close and I was working in the garden, my thoughts turned to 2023. I began to consider how I was going to approach the garden logistically and labor wise. My biggest successes were from potted plants and greenhouse plants.
I attribute this to the fact that the weather last year was very unpredictable and at times, wetter than normal. When you have a garden you kind of expect that. But, at times, the weather was fierce. I tried to prepare the plants for the predicted storms, but it seemed that no matter what I tried, the storms were damaging. So, when I thought about what plants did well, they were either in a pot or a grow bag. A lot of my in ground plants were either twisted and torn apart or they were snapped in half by gale force winds. And, if the winds weren't damaging enough, the heavy downpours associated with the storms left the ground soaked and the plants beaten down. This contributed to a bunch of yellow and dying plants.
The potted and bagged plants, however, seemed to flourish. There are many reasons they did. One was that I put up mini greenhouses which prevented wind damage. They also negated the soaked ground issue by being potted. There were 2 or 3 really bad storms where I put my potted plants in my greenhouse, garage and shed to augment the mini greenhouses. That was surprisingly successful.
I began to think that this year, I would grow all my plants in pots. I have more than enough pots to suit our needs. I have finally gotten to the point that I don't over plant. Over the last 2 years, I have accumulated around 200 pots of various sizes and materials by purchases, gifts and handouts. Yeah, I kind of over did it but, for the most part, they were all bargain priced. I can grow just about any plant I can think of thanks to this.
So, I am committed to a potted garden this year. This will be my biggest experiment and challenge in gardening. There is much to do but I have the luxury of being retired. It will be interesting to say the least. I hope you will follow as I travel this uncharted (for me) road. Until next time - Happy Gardening!

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