Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cool Season - Starting Seeds II

I have updated my post on seed starting last saturday (only 4 days ago). Check out the progress:

Cool Season - Starting Seeds

My battery pack for my digital camera needs to be replaced. It keeps running out of power. Hopefully I can get a new one quickly.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Cool Season - more sowing...

Beets and Scallions sown today Bed #8 was sown today, 1/2 with Golden Beets, and the other 1/2 with Deep Purple Bunching Onions.

Each of my 9 raised beds range in size from 21 square feet up to 32 square feet, for a total of about 235 square feet raised beds space. Not enough space to stock up and store, but just enough for something fresh daily year round.

I direct sowed some parsley into bed #6 two weeks ago, and so far only some volunteer morning glory are coming up. I know parsley is slow to germinate, but I thought I'd sow a few extra in this pot/flat that could be transplanted around the yard later, just in case.


Parsley sown in bed #6 has finally germinated


Parsley seedling are ready to transplant into individual pots

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Cool Season - Starting Seeds

Bed #2 - Temporary seedling storage My seed starting efforts are safely stored behind bird netting, waiting to be transplanted. The Fall is my favorite time to start seeds........nights are still warm, days are cooling a bit, no rain. I don't have to protect them or bring them indoors, like I do in the spring. It's so much easier.Some seeds have best germination rates using Uncle Tom's Method........ stock, calendula and cornflowers. Some seeds are best sown directly into a flat of soil..........lettuce, greens, leeks and scallions. Some seeds are best sown directly into the garden.........carrots, beets, cilantro, parsley.

Stock, Cornflowers and Calendula - started between coffee filters
They took about 10 days to germinate. They dry out really fast, some days I sprayed them water at least 2 or 3 times. It helps to place them in a baggie if its really hot and dry out, then they don't dry out so fast. After they germinated, I transplanted into the dixie cups you see in bed #2.

Calendula - germinated
I check everyday, and transplant those that have germinated into dixie cups. Deepending on their size, I might bury the seedling completely, or leave the little green tip above the soil. Either way they do great. brave........thats how I learned. This is only my second year starting my own seeds, I used to be totally unsuccessful, until I learned Uncle Tom's Method.

Progress has been going nicely for the past 4 days. Looks like my transplanting of germinated seeds and broadcasting of seeds in flats, was successful. If you look closely, little green seedlings are breaking above the soil in the dixie cups, and the small flats.

I have been watering them daily, with a very gentle hand watering can. They are in partial sun/shade.

Stock Seedlings

Cornflower Seedlings

Calendula Seedlings

Lettuce Seeds Germinating (directly broadcast in soil)

Lettuce Transplants (seedlings in second flat)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Cool Season - 1st sowing

The garden has only required watering and harvesting during the month of August, good thing, because I was too busy doing other fun things.Bed #9 This is my first direct sowing for the cool season. I am going to grow fava beans for eating, for the first time........I did grow them once as a cover crop, but never to eat. Today I sowed fava beans seeds (unknow variety - I got the seeds in bulk at Common Ground) in the back 1/2 of this bed; carrots (purple dragon and saint valery) and cilantro were sown in the front 1/2.

In the front corner you can see a volunteer oregano plant that I am letting grow. It's helpful to have herbs and flowers mixed throughout your beds in organic gardening, to attrack beneficial insects.

I plan on reserving at least 1/2 of my beds for cover crops. I have cereal rye and emmer wheat, and some fava bean seeds. If I want to grow fava beans for a cover crop, I have to harvest the stalks just as they start to flower, before they grow the pods. At that point, they have brought nitrogen into the soil, but once they start producing the beans, they will use up the nitrogen in the soil, so are useless as a cover crop.....but great to eat!


Fava Beans have germinated

Friday, August 04, 2006

Fall Seed Starting

Half Dome in Yosemite Valley
Now that I have returend from my trip to Yosemite, I am ready to start germinating some flower seeds for my fall/winter garden.

If you live in the Bay Area, it's time to start some of your fall seedlings too. I am using Uncle Tom's Method to start some flower seeds. This method works really well in the fall, when it is too hot to germinate the seeds outdoors. I collected these Calendula, Stock, and Corn Flower seeds from the plants I grew last fall, so we will see how well they germinate.

Stock seeds

Cornflower seeds

Calendula seeds

Spray a coffee filter with water, sprinkle some seeds on half of it and fold it over to cover the seeds, then spray the top with water again. Place it in a labeled, plastic bag. I keep them on my dining room table, where there is no direct sunlight, and a consistent temperature. Check daily to make sure they don't dry out. Spray with water if necessary. In about 10 days they should all germinate.