Branching Out's Seeds and Sprouts

Branching Out

Deeply Rooted
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Today I was getting a bunch of different bean seeds ready for planting when I noticed a small brown spot on one bean. At first glance it seemed fairly innocuous, but upon closer inspection with a macro lense the blemish looked rather nasty. That bean is in the garbage now--and I will be putting all ugly bean seeds under the microscope from now on.
 

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Branching Out

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The black plastic edging material that borders our flower beds has sunk down to the point that it is no longer able to keep the lawn grasses out. I asked my spouse to lift it back up for me, but apparently this is not an easy task. Today he was really pleased to find an easy method that worked well to pull the lip of the plastic up a few inches. He basically grabbed onto it with a dandelion puller, placed a board under the tool for leverage, and pried the edging up out of the dirt.
 

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Branching Out

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Meanwhile, my scrubby slope swale project from April 13th continues. I noticed that almost none of the beans on the top row survived, so I moved the two that still looked okay down to the bottom row. The best looking bean plant is growing in the shade of a big radicchio that is in the middle of the patch. Given that I still have seed I poked in a bunch more Ugandan Bantu Beans, and top dressed with some more alfalfa and rich soil. The construction of this swale is proving to be a challenge, but the soil is improving gradually and that will likely help make it easier to work with. The swale is not well defined yet, so I used a trowel to make the furrows a bit deeper for now. We have heavy rainfall coming tomorrow, and I would like the fresh layer of soil to stay in place rather than washing down the hill. I this area may well be too steep for swales. After the summer I will try to modify the contour of the hill to create a more gentle slope.

I also planted a double row of Cocaigne Shelly beans along the top of the slope, so see if they might fare better there than the Ugandan Bantu Beans did.
 

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flowerbug

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The black plastic edging material that borders our flower beds has sunk down to the point that it is no longer able to keep the lawn grasses out. I asked my spouse to lift it back up for me, but apparently this is not an easy task.

ours normally gets frost heaved out of the ground and i'm trying to figure out what else i can do for edging instead. it just doesn't work if i have to keep putting a lot of effort into keeping it in place. we have a lot of clay in our gardens where i have some of it and that seems to be the trouble. the edges along a more sandier area stay in place better (but it happens i have to move that too for another reason entirely...).
 

digitS'

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Plastic stiffens with age and develops a mind of its own, don't you think?

There is some of that edging that runs up to front yard corner posts that has lifted up. They are out of the way and I have pushed a brick against each of them rather than dig out multiple feet of edging to level the bunch of it, and probably doing a poor job. Meanwhile, edging has nearly disappeared below ground level in 2 places in front and back yard. Oh yeah, there's a sharp turn location where it has also lifted and a short stake is holding it in place.

No sharp turns were possible with old, cedar fence boards but I was happier with them. Short stakes and some cutting of the 1 x 4 fence boards was needed but it was all easy and a reasonable use for the old boards. They only last for a half dozen years but I am almost sorry that the tall, backyard fence only needs replacing on about a 20 year schedule :D.

Concrete edging? Yeah, I suppose but there's quite a bit of sidewalk concrete that is cracked and out of level on this property. Oh, I have a little rock and mortar edging that has held up well for about 25 years :).

Steve
 

Branching Out

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The Rainbow Treasure strawberry plants that I started from seed on December 17, 2022 and planted out in the spring of 2023 are now beginning to produce a respectable crop. This is very exciting. The other day I was able to eat a few red berries, and a couple were already munched by bugs. When it stops raining I will try to cut some straw to put under the plants to keep the strawberries up off the soil.
 

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Branching Out

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For a while now I have been wanting to try direct sowing bean seeds with clear acrylic cups over top, to create a mini greenhouse environment for each seed. Yesterday I finally got this experiment off the ground. About half of the bean seeds were given plastic laundry soap cups for protection, and half were just poked in the soil and left open to the elements-- which may involve a fair amount of rain over the coming days. I added a small ring of stones around each planting spot, so I will be able to track how many of these seeds emerge. I also covered two bean seeds with avocado shells to see if the black avocado skins, which are waterproof, will help warm the soil and speed germination. The seeds are an outcross of a Network pole dry bean called Vulcan that I received from Heirloomgal, and grew out last summer. Thank you again Heirloomgal-- such pretty beans. (The Bean Collector's Window indicates that their original Vulcan seed source was from Drevhostic, Czech Republic in 2019).

And once again I am growing sorghum to act as supports for the pole beans. Last year sorghum was a bit of a bust for me, but I figured it was worth trying again this year. If the sorghum stagnates I will add poles or strings for the bean plants to climb on.
 

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Branching Out

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This is one of those springs where I am happy to have planted a lot of early cold-tolerant tomatoes in containers under the overhang of the carport roof where they are able to stay warmer and drier than seedlings set out in the garden. There are also a few pots with small Alpine Poblano peppers, dill, and cilantro. We are in the middle of a long rainy stretch, and all of these plants still look great.
 

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digitS'

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BranchingOut, I intended a similar experiment early and under the temporary hoop house. It was one of my 2024 fails. The other was steve's stevia. I will get back to that in a second.

Often, serious freezing makes for growing problems under the plastic film without provided heat. I am not doing that for cool season crops planted in those beds. I have saved a box full of Gatorade bottles, intending to imitate @Phaedra 's procedure. Having 3 record high days in mid-March, at my customary time to set up the hoop house, completely threw me off the need for the experiment.

Second Fail was the tiny stevia emerging in a potting soil that developed mold. Yes, the same problem you had earlier in the year. Mold showing up can sometimes be overcome by setting the containers out during the hardening-off season. It was way too early for that. I tried a different experiment with these tiny things – cinnamon. Absolutely, didn't work.

Stevie
 

Branching Out

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A couple of days ago I got busy covering up my melon seedlings with clear acrylic trays, in the hopes of keeping them drier during several days of heavy rains. The acrylic is heavy enough that the wind doesn't lift it, and there is enough air flow to keep the plants from molding. It's working pretty well, with the exception of a couple of opportunistic slugs that found their way under one of the covers (at least they were easy to see!) The pepper seedlings were covered with a long narrow piece of plexiglass; I placed it on top of several 'loop hoops'. I just love these loop hoops.
 

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