Branching Out's Seeds and Sprouts

Branching Out

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The only difference in those from the others, which weren't doing this, was I had added a bit of alfalfa meal to that soil batch as I was transplanting the bigger peppers at the same time. I think it was a bad idea!

Hmmm. I will go easy on the alfalfa meal when potting on seedlings then; too much organic matter I suppose. In my case I had used a different brand of potting soil, that seemed to retain more moisture than the one I was accustomed to. It sure doesn't take much to throw things off balance.
 

Crealcritter

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The weather was pleasant for two days in a row (yay!) so I uncovered part of one of the vegetable beds and popped in a bunch of seedlings. Previously the soil in this area was horrible, with no texture and very little organic matter. Each spring I would battle a water logged mat of dense weeds. Out of desperation, last November I had sprinkled a sack of alfalfa pellets over this area and then buried it under a thick blanket of leaves. When I pulled back those leaves today there earth underneath was in fine shape-- there is definitely some organic matter developing, and it was dark and fine textured. And no weeds either as the leaves acted like a mulch over the winter. I will definitely be trying this technique again in the future.

Awesome work there on soil rejuvenation, it's encouraging. We don't rake or blow leaves in the fall, nor do we pick up sticks that fall over winter unless they are big branches. We mow it all in when mowing season starts. The mow yard grass seems to really like all the organic matter.

Jesus is Lord and Christ 🙏❤️🇺🇸
 

heirloomgal

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I'm not sure 100% that's what it was, but I do think it's likely causing the mold - which I've never seen before. I bought some of the organic Pro-Mix bags for seed starting/seedlings and I'm not happy with it. I don't think it has any peat in it, so it's heavy, much too heavy for young plant roots. It's more dense & fertile than the baled Pro Mix I'm used to so I didn't realize that extra fertility I added would cause such a problem. I won't buy this type again, it was a convenience thing at the time. The difficult thing with Pro Mix bales here is in Jan-Feb the available bales are often expired, and freshness is vital for the pH adjuster in there to still be effective. I usually have to wait for the greenhouses to open to get a fresh bale which means April-May, so I settle for what's available. :confused:
 

Branching Out

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The do say that cinnamon helps, and I ended up sprinkling it all over my tray of blocks that had mold growing. I think that, and allowing the tray better air flow so it could dry out made a difference. Preventing the mold is far easier than getting rid of the mold.
 

Branching Out

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It would appear that seeds of garden peas, sweet peas, and chickpeas all need to hit the dirt now. I made a bunch of soil blocks and sowed Supersnoop Sweet Peas (a short border variety, with seeds given to me by a friend), Celeste Blue Sweet Peas (Adaptive Seeds indicated that it was the best sweet pea in their field), and also a tray of fragrant stocks from The Experimental Farm Network. They say that fragrant stocks grow very quickly, so larger blocks were used for those as well.

Last year I grew chickpeas for the first time, and while I was able to grow about a dozen plants many of the seeds either shattered or rotted from too much moisture. This year I will try a different technique, and if it doesn't work at least I have extra seeds to try again. For now the chickpea seeds are sitting on a plate on the kitchen counter, with a slightly damp cloth and a second plate over top. I think that if you want to prevent shattering the seeds need to hydrate very slowly, so I figured the damp cloth would get them used to the idea that they need to plump up a bit. After a couple of days I will put them in soil, and try not to over water them like I did last year.

I poked a few pre-sprouted dwarf shelling pea seeds in to the ground yesterday, and now I have seeds of Alaska Pea and Citadel pre-sprouting inside. If I can find room fit them in the garden the plan is to trial 5 or 6 different cultivars, to see which ones perform well in our climate. Fresh peas are such a treat-- I can hardly wait for them to grow!

One of my notes says that spinach does well planted along the front of the row of peas, so I am starting some 'Space' spinach seeds too. 100 seeds were carefully counted out. They sure don't look like much, but I know that once they sprout 100 spinach seedlings will be a LOT. I decided to try chilling a tray of spinach soil blocks in the the fridge, and when I opened the fridge door I found two trays of lettuce seed that I had placed there a week ago and totally forgotten about. These trays of lettuce are now sitting in the living room, waiting to germinate. I hope that the week in the fridge gave the lettuce seed time to fully hydrate. They are Edox MI and Darkness, two cultivars that have germinated poorly for me in the past; the cold treatment may just motivate them to grow. At least I hope so. :)
 

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Branching Out

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We have two days of heavy rain in the forecast, and then a couple more days with snow-rain showers. Tonight we get to turn the clocks forward to 'spring ahead' one hour, and honestly we are all looking forward to the extra hour of light at the end of the day-- and very much looking forward to the end of this cold, wintery weather. We had slushy rain falling again this morning! Oh well. Such is life. In advance of the many inches of rain that will be falling I covered up as many seedlings as I could, including the peas that I just planted; otherwise they may rot. Cold and wet is a bad combination. With a little luck the white fabric will temper the wind and the pounding rain, so the plants don't get completely flattened.

I ended up deployed what I call my 'Little Chuck Wagon' tunnel over the pansies and ranunculas that I transplanted yesterday, because something has already been digging them up. One of the fava starts that I planted last week was dug up as well; good thing I held back a few plants, so I could fill in the gap. The tunnel will either prevent the animal from digging up my plants-- or else provide the varmint with a nice warm place to relax while it devastates my flower border. 😊
 

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Branching Out

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I redid a section of flower garden last fall, and had extra peonies at the end. The extra peony roots ended up just sitting out in the elements all winter, with temperatures down to -18C (0F). They survived despite this complete lack of care and attention. And popping up beside them, in a crack in the cement? Grape hyacinths. I know that some of you are wishing to add grape hyacinths to your gardens, but here we are trying to rid ourselves of them. They are, hands down, the most annoying weed in our garden because they pop up EVERYWHERE and they are deep rooted so when you pull them the bulb often remains deep down in the soil. I suspect that we have sent hundreds of pounds of them away with the green can. We are making progress though. There are fewer and fewer of them each year now.
 

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Branching Out

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This bok choy was direct sown in early October, and over-wintered with just a layer of leaves for protection. Remarkably, it looks to be thriving in the cold and wet weather. The plant is very short, just a few inches high, but it is growing. I suspect that it is destined to be part of Korean Rice Bowl for supper one day soon.
 

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digitS'

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Bok choy may or may not survive our Winters. However. If a few of them can take the damage and do survive, they bolt immediately to seed.

The grape hyacinths on the west side of the house are in a significant amount of shade. In 25+ years, they have only retreated a bit in the territory they occupy.

However. They showed up on the east side of the house where there's more sunlight. They managed a real good start! Now, you have me worried ...

Steve
 
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