Fall seed starting

I am behind the eight ball on seed starting, as usual. It was so hot the latter two weeks of July though, too hot for even cabbages.

Today I cleaned up my seed trays. I also wetted more seed starting mix.

Here are the seeds I seeded today.

2017 Leek and onion seeds

The Tadorna and Mechelen Blue leeks are supposed to be very cold tolerant. Same with the Kincho Scallions and Evergreen Hardy Bunching onions. I want plenty of these for Kimchi and general fall and winter eating.

The Early Texas Granos are short day bulbing onions I hope to overwinter for next year.

According to Johnny’s Seed Catalog, the ideal temperature for germinating seeds in the onion family is 77 degrees. So I set the containers in the shade behind the tower. I will probably bring them in the house though as they do get sun in the late afternoon.

Allium seed starting

All of these containers are 4-6″ deep for strong root development. Onion family seedlings can take some rough handling so pulling them apart to plant is no big issue. I planted these containers with 120-200 seeds each. As soon as they are up, I will start feeding them with fish and kelp emulsion.

Not sure how I will handle the bulb onions. I need the seedlings to stay smaller than a pencil in diameter or they will bolt next Spring. It may be better to plant them later.

I also have the Welsh Onions to plant for winter green onions. These are very reliable and hardy. I have a few of these in the greenhouse…already 6″ high! They only take 3 weeks or so to get that big.

Welsh Onions Curing in Shade

I need to get a garden update here soon. 

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Potato stats

Mercy and I dug the last 2 rows of Red Pontiacs. We got 35 and 25 lbs respectively. So I think we got 140 lbs total of Red Pontiacs. Need to look for that info here.

So 5.6 lbs per lb planted. Not great. But better than last year. 

Just off a heat wave, btw, during which we did almost nothing in the garden.

Selma Suns

The second sunflowers, Selma Suns from Southern Exposure, are blooming. They seem to have stronger flowers than the Velvet Queen Sunflowers. All are beautiful.

Selma Suns with stripe

Selma Suns with faint stripe

I need to work on my sunflower bouquets. Still nice to have fresh flowers on my dresser.

Weeds and to do

It is that time of year when the weeds take over. The Summer square still needs weeding. But the scrab grasses are too big. Even the winter squash and melon patches have more pig weed sprouting. And we still need to

  • Get the potatoes dug (4 rows down, 6 more rows to go), 
  • Clean up the garlic, 
  • Plant the 3rd summer squash/cucumbers/beans,
  • Put up some sort of supports for the peppers, Done
  • Harvest the remaining Bodacious sweet corn  Done
  • Mow the spring square, Done 7/21
  • Mow all around the garden  Done 7/21
  • Mow Square 1  Done 7/22
  • Start fall seedlings
  • Till and plant cover crops in squares 1 and 8
  • Weed whack and mow the potato square once harvested
  • Tie up tomatoes
  • Spray kelp on everything!
  • And weed!! Working on it! 7/17-7/19

On an up note, the bush beans are doing wwell, the sweet potato patch is beautiful, the second sunflowers (Selma Suns) are blooming, and we have watermelons and melons coming along!

Bodacious!!

Sweet corn that is. Here’s at least the second bushel we have harvested so far. They are still good but won’t be much longer.

Mercy cooked up this much last night too. We ate a handful of ears and then she froze 14 pints.

Bushel of Bodacious!

This corn has been very good. And not very buggy.

First Green Beans

The bush beans, Provider from Southern Exposure, are starting to produce! Good thing Mercy thought to check.

These are destined for on of my favorite potato salads.

Provider beans, broken

Having them with hot smoked hams. Thanks Pop & Ashton!

Homegrown ham, hot off the Webber

The missing cracklings courtesy of Annamika.

July 2017 Greenhouse Notes

I was just watering some green onions in the greenhouse. Beds are mostly cleaned out now. It is time to start seedlings for fall but I am concerned it is too warm.

There is shade cloth on as well as the plastic, which is pulled up for cross ventilation. I need the plastic on as this is also my planting shed and storage for seed starting supplies. But it traps heat and keeps the beds dry, save around the edges.

North greenhouse beds. Green onions in background.

Maybe we can add another layer of shade cloth. Better to try that first than spend money on shadier cloth.

South greenhouse bed

Also need some drip irrigation. I have old soaker hoses to try. Need to test them out.

Shadecloth over plastic on greenhouse

These are my thoughts between painting and watering. 

Hide & Seek Garlic

Mercy and I dug what remains of the garlic out of the Spring Square. It is way past its prime but salvageable.

I think there are a few reasons it is so poor:

  1. It was planted late. December. Due to last year’s drought.
  2. The soil is poor and we did not amend it at all.
  3. There is some disease on the cloves.
  4. The weeds rapidly smothered the garlic plants in late Spring.

The worst part is getting the pig weed, Johnson grass, and summer grasses out of the way! long pants and boots are a must along with gloves. 

So from here, I plan to plant the seed heads that formed (never got all the scapes cut off) in the greenhouse to use for planting cloves next year.

Then clean, a much as possible, the garlic heads and cure them. Then, dry and powder and/or ferment the cloves to preserve them.

We’ll save any bulbs that are worth planting but there won’t be many. I will likely buy a few pounds of seed garlic for fall planting and rebuild our garlic stock. 

Last time I lost most of my garlic was after the 2007 drought.

Now to get the Welsh Onion dug…..

Seed Sorting

I went through all our seeds yesterday. Everything is vacuum sealed.

Seeds for Fall/Winter

I forgot how much I order for last year that were never used thanks to the drought.

This seed inventory was used to update my spreadsheet, which I sorted by seed supplier so I could add up the orders. Always so much to order (don’t tell Frank!!).

Now to get sowing!!

Fall/Winter Garden Plan

Began working on this yesterday. Started a spreadsheet with

  • Type 
  • Variety
  • Germination temps 
  • Days to harvest
  • Persephone days (those days in winter with fewer than 10 hours daylight when plants stop growing)
  • Seed cost
  • Amount of seed
  • Supplier
  • And notes

Right now, Squares #4 and #5 are slated for Fall/Winter/Spring crops. That is 22 forty five foot rows.

Here is what I am thinking….

  • 2 rows broccoli (44 plants)
  • 1 row Brussels Sprouts (22 plants)
  • 2 rows cabbages (44 plants)
  • 2 rows Napa cabbages (44 plants)
  • 2 rows beets
  • 2 rows carrots
  • 2 row head lettuces
  • 1 row turnips
  • 1 row bok choi
  • 1 row mustard mix
  • 1 row kales
  • 1 row snow peas

That’s a lot more on the list and I need to do succession sowing, not everything at once. So it is a bit more complicated than just how many rows. I want a steady supply through winter.

For now, I need to go through my seeds, vac seal those I am no longer using, and figure out what I need to order. Then immediately after seeds arrive, we need to start sowing cabbages, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

The greenhouse needs to be cleaned up and seed starting equipment cleaned. 

And I plan on trying some interesting varieties from Wild Garden Seed, West Coast Seed, and some other seed suppliers in addition to my standard sources, Johnny’s and Southern Exposure.