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California Poppies

  “Volunteer poppies in my vegetable garden: Spring 2016”  The sheer, delicate vibrant beauty of golden sunrise orange poppies (Eschscholzia californica; Family: Papaveraceae) takes my breath away. Volunteers, like this one, are blooming in my raised beds. And yes, they take up precious room.   I pull out some and leave a thick stand at one end of the beds for the bees, other pollinators and me! “Violas and sleeping Poppies” Have you ever wondered why or noticed that California poppies fold up at dusk? Tulips, hibiscus and crocuses do also. This phenomena is called,...
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Time To Transplant The Seedlings!

1.  Transplant your seedlings when they are about the size you see here into 4” by 4” pots.   Through the years I have saved a lot of money by growing my own seeds.  Each plant in the nursery costs what a packet of seeds does and will grow as many plants as I need for about 3 years depending on the viability of that species.  PLUS, I can pick and choose heirloom varieties.  Some of the above are lettuces and herbs; others are tomatoes. I gather up the supplies I need along with the flat of seedlings, spread out some garbage bags, lay an old piece of carpet to sit on and...
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Welcome To The World, Seedlings!

After some of the seeds have sprouted when the propagators are in the sunny window, I move them to the grow lamps and take the domes off. This is because the lamps generate warmth and the domes can accumulate too much moisture. The excess moisture can create an environment for mildew and fungus. I lower the light fixture to about 4 inches above the propagator, turning it on about 8:00 AM and turning it off about 10:00 PM.   (This photo was taken when the seedlings were about two weeks old.) Here they are. Welcome to the world, little ones. These seedlings are 7 days old...
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Steps To Propagating Indoors

Step One: Start with a clean multi-celled propagator.  I have two sizes and usually end up using the smaller one for successive plantings and flowers. Step Two: I cover my dining table with a sheet and use a big bowl to fill with the sterile seed starter. Step Three: Fill the cells half-full with the starter.  I have numbered each cell as you can see here.  This propagator is over ten years old.  When the numbers fade I just write over them.  On the larger one, I tape on a piece of masking tape and write numbers on it with a waterproof black marker. I use a plastic funnel...
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Checklist For Propagating

Through the years I developed a simple way to start vegetable and flower seeds for my garden.  I live in a small house and use my dining table to set-up the propagating process.  After that’s done I set the mini-greenhouse in the kitchen window until some of the seeds sprout.  Then, I place the planted flat under the grow light lamp stand on a library table in my office.  In the early years I set the lamp up on the dryer in the garage.  After gnat attacks and subsequent virus infections I realized the tender seedlings needed more protection.  So, first thing in the...
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Sowing Seeds Indoors

When I first started gardening I bought all the plants I needed from local nurseries.  As the years passed I wanted more to grow varieties and explore the vast world of heirlooms.   It’s one thing to read about propagating and another to actually do it successfully!   I had my failures.  And I don’t have a greenhouse so I managed with the small space I have.  Because you and I may live in very different climates, find out when it is the best time to start your indoor seeds for the Spring and Summer garden. Your local nursery can assist you.  Don’t plant too early.  A good...
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The Life of Seed

Seed.  Every time I plant one there is a moment of anticipation!  Am I giving it the optimal environment to thrive in?  Will it grow to maturity and flower?  I feel a bit like an expectant parent. Having a fascination for seeds I enjoy exploring where they came from, how they got here and what makes them grow.  Starting from the beginning here, I would like to write about the following.  I will be providing links and references so you can dig deeper if you wish. Part I: The Evolution of Seed Part II: Botany of Seed Part III: The History of Human Use of Seeds for Farming...