Welcome to my new website. It will be both fun and informative. It will have five of my favorite topics: pictures, thoughts, recipes, gardening ideas and did you know? Please enjoy, leave comments, ask questions and visit often.
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  • GARDENING SEED TIPS

    Posted on March 23rd, 2011 Pam No comments

    1. Buy only the seeds that will be planted this year.
     They say gardeners buy three times the seed they need each year. I probably buy five times the amount of seed I actually use. I also save seeds from heirloom vegetables I grow. I try to plant my ‘heirloom’ seeds each year to keep seed fresh, but that doesn’t always happen. 

     
    2. Know the life expectancy of various garden seeds. 
    Some seeds only have one year of good germination, it is good to know which seeds these are. Below is a list of vegetables and an estimate of their longevity. But remember, how the seeds are handled and cared for will also determine how long a seed will last and still germinate.
    Some recommend putting seeds in a glass jar and placing it in the refrigerator, others say a cold basement shelf will do the trick. I worry about putting seeds in the refrigerator, they might freeze if placed in the coldest part. Did you know the warmest place in a refrigerator is the door? That might be the best place for storing seeds.
    But however seeds are stored, keep them dry, cool and out of direct sunlight. I put all of my seeds in a box or a tub and away from light. I also test them for germination if I want to know if the seeds are still good.  

     

    1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Years +
    Onions Peppers Carrots Beets Cucumbers
    Parsley Sweet Corn Peas Broccoli Lettuce
        Spinach Cabbage Spinach
        Beans Swiss Chard Radish
          Pumpkin  
          Squash  
          Tomato  
          Watermelon  
          Cauliflower  
    3. Mark seed packets. 
    It is a good idea to mark the seed packets when they are purchased each year. I use a different colored marker every year. Most of the seed packets will have a date, but having the packages color coordinated makes it easier to find the packages that need to be planted before their expiration date. Another thing that might be helpful is to write the last year they should be planted on the packet. 
    It is also good to keep the empty seed packets for future reference, I staple them in my garden journal. I also put other information next to the seed packet, such as, where and when I planted the seeds. 
     
    4. Take an inventory. 
    It is sometimes helpful to go through seed packets each Spring, before it is time to purchase new seeds. Make a list of the seeds to buy and separate the seeds that need to be planted this year before their expiration date expires. 
     
    5. More about germination. 
     Some seeds need a certain temperature before they will germinate. It is good to know what those conditions are for each type of seed. Some seeds will germinate at 50 degrees while others like a temperature as high as 85 degrees. Although some seeds will have some germination results at a lower or higher temperature, each seed has an optimum germination temperature. Some need light conditions while others need dark, some need a cold treatment first and some do not. Check the seed packet, some will give that type of information.

     

  • WHAT, WHEN, WHERE AND HOW TO PLANT

    Posted on March 21st, 2011 Pam No comments

    Read the rest of this entry »

  • SEED GERMINATION

    Posted on January 20th, 2011 Pam No comments

    When planting seeds it is best to speed up the germination (sprouting) process. Sometimes it is best to soak the seeds first. Some seeds have a rough outer shell. To help with germination, try scoring the tough seeds first with a file or sand paper. Then soak the seeds in Accent meat tenderizer overnight in a diluted solution. Use one teaspoon tenderizer to one quart of water. Another tip is to soak them in a thermos of warm water for a couple of days. The tannic acid in hot tea will also soften the outer coating. Some people use hot water when watering their seeds for the first time, claiming they soften the seeds faster.

    My trick is to use a bathtub. Yes a bathtub!! Put four 4-packs upside down in the bottom of the tub. Then place a planted flat on top of the 4-packs. Place each 4-pack under a corner of the flat. Then fill the tub with ‘hot’ water up to just below the flats. Drain and fill the tub with hot water three to four times each day. This creates a humid environment that plants love. You will be surprised how fast seeds will germinate this way. Peppers will germinate in 13-15 days and tomatoes in about 10 days, squash and pumpkins in about five days. I only use this method when I need to speed up the germination of some of my seeds, don’t leave them in the tub too long or they will get leggy from growing too fast.

    Another technique that people use is to soak the seeds in a wet paper towel placed in a zip lock bag. Then plant the seeds after they have sprouted. This is a more time consuming task, but you can plant only the seeds that have germinated and usually don’t need to thin the plants later.

    Before I plant things like squash, pumpkins, cucumbers and cantalope, I soak the seeds in water for about five days. Then plant them in the ground about five per hill, thinning to three plants later.

    Before planting corn, I soak the seeds in a jar of water overnight. I don’t soak pepper, tomato, pea or bean seeds before I plant them.

  • Spring Snow Storm

    Posted on April 7th, 2010 Pam 2 comments

    Yesterday we had a huge snow storm. In Idaho Falls, we got about 6″. Yuck !!!!!
    So I took a few pictures, I hope you enjoy them.

    Here is my cat Shaker, he is an awesome cat, but he doesn’t like snow.

    These are my green houses, and the watering can. All burried under snow !!!

    Here is a picture of 6 rows of tulips, really !!!

    Here are the lilies next to the house…completely covered.

    These are three purple crocus.

    Here are some tulips next to the house, notice the ice surrounding the leaves !!!!!

    Well, as my Mother would say, Spring is just around the corner, but which corner !!!!

  • The root of the matter

    Posted on March 22nd, 2010 Pam No comments

    Do you know how long roots can get? Well I was shocked to find out that the huarango tree that grows in Peru has the longest roots in the world extending to 80 meters (over 250 feet).
    But as you can see from the picture below, a tomato plant has pretty long roots too. I pulled this extra one up from some that I am starting in the house. I was very surprised at the size of the root. This tomato plant is about 2 weeks old. The root is as long as the stem, aproximately 3″ long.


    The reason I am showing this picture to you is to remind you that just because the soil is dry on top, the plant may not need water because the roots go deeper than we think. We want to encourage the plant to have long roots and to search for water well below the top of the soil. In short, water deep and less often.

    A good test to check to see if your plants need water is to get a handful of soil from 4″ to 6″ deep in the ground. Squeeze it and if it breaks apart easily, the plant needs water, if it forms a ball and leaves mud on your hand, the ground is still wet and your plant probably does not need water.

    This is a good test to see if your ground can be worked, too. You can drop the ball you have formed on the ground, if it breaks apart you can usually work your ground. If you dig or work your soil when it is too wet you can pack it down so much you create cloddy, compacted soil. And when you plant your plants, much needed air can’t get to the roots. If you have worked with clods, you know it is much harder to work the ground in your garden.

  • Bits and Pieces

    Posted on March 18th, 2010 Pam No comments

    Here are just a few garden pictures I have taken in the last few weeks.

    They really don’t deserve there own day on my blog, so I just put them all together.

    1. This picture shows a small row of tulips, I planted them about three years ago. That is why they are kind of thick. This picture was taken on March 8, 2010. It shows them coming up through a hard crust.

    2a. This shows a crocus bud. The date is March 8, 2010.

    2b. This shows the same bud on March 14th.

    2c. Here is the very same crocus in full bloom on March 17th.

    2d. This is a darker crocus. I love this picture.

    3. This picture is kind of cool. It shows a pine tree which is about 1 foot tall. The snow has melted all around it. I watched this over and over all winter. This tree is located on the north side of the grainery, so it doesn’t get a lot of sun. I think living plants have their own heat, so the snow melts around them.

    4. This is a picture of my cat Shaker. He has such a different personality, he is a very cool cat. Here I am trying to take pictures of a bouquet of flowers and he has to be ‘involved’.

    5.This is a picture of a Columbine. I can’t believe it has started to grow. It is very soft and delicate.

    6. This is a picture of a mum, I don’t know what kind (notice the lady bug). It doesn’t bloom until fall, and doesn’t get really pretty until it freezes. It is a dark mahogony color. It is next to the house facing east. A perfect growing area.

    7. Here is some lilies. I can’t believe they are up already, again, by house facing east.

    8a. Here are ‘bunch’ of tulips on March 4, 2010.

    8b. Here they are again, on March 17, 2010.

    9a. Speaking of tulips, here are some I forced inside.

    9b. Here they are again March 17th.

    The neat thing about most of these pictures is that it shows the rapid growth this time of the year. Mother Nature at her best.

  • Garden web site

    Posted on March 17th, 2010 Pam No comments

    I just found a neat blog from a lady in the United Kingdom. Click here for a link to her site. She has some cool ideas, especially the one about using a small wire frame called a Strawberry Crinoline, to keep strawberries off the ground, click here to check it out. The reason you want to keep strawberries off the ground is to keep them clean and to keep them away from slugs.
    Check it out.