|TLC Gardens & Crafts and MIKE's MANTIQUES||
If you have been following our garden blog, you know that we started our seeds earlier this month (3/17 & 18) for some of the garden plants we plan to include at our raised bed garden. This is a photo journal of the progress on those seedlings. We have since purchased more seeds to start hopefully next week to add to the growing selection! Any plants that are going to be excess that we have will be available to purchase at the Craft and Vendor show we are participating in on April 20th at the Ypsilanti, MI Eagles. See our "Around the Craftroom" Blog for more details on the show. Please, as with any of our blogposts, feel free to comment or ask questions. We'd love your input on our site!
Our Herbs that we seeded on Sunday, March 17th have started to sprout already!
The Basil and Thyme are popping up.
This shot was taken on Wed., Mar 20th; the first day I noticed any activity...
On Friday, March 22; 5 days after seeding these herbs, this is what the Basil and Thyme look like : )
Still no activity from the Rosemary and Sage. The spray bottle shown is what we use (on mist) to keep the "soil" moist. We not only spray the soil itself, but the inside of the lid to the container the plants are kept in to help keep the condensation within the container.
On Monday, March 18th, we soaked the seeds for the peppers and cherry tomatoes the were dried out on Tuesday and Planted in the egg tray on Wednesday. The Spinach and Broccoli were soaked on Tuesday, dried out on Wednesday and planted on Thursday. This is the setup we have hiding beneath the clear plastic cover from the deli tray. I poked holes into the Styrofoam to hold the Popsicle sticks the names are written on in Sharpie marker. I seldom have much luck with peppers from seed, so am really hoping using this seed soak from Jerry Baker will help me to have better luck with my seeds... We shall see what happens in the coming weeks : ) We still have 6 openings to add more seed in a week or so once the sprouts have begun to show up. This will allow for a secondary planting to harvest after the first batch of broccoli or spinach comes in, or maybe to add our Roma or Beefsteak Tomatoes when we get those seeds... have not yet decided..
Today is the last day of winter and we here in Belleville, MI are getting hit with a snow storm today. We started some seeding projects this week after setting up our garden planner from the folks at Almanac.com
We purchased some seed starting mix from our local Meijer and had saved some of the 2 dozen sized egg trays which we will be starting our seedlings in. Since our garden has become smaller over the years by making the raised beds, we don't need as many plants as we used to so we start off small. This also allows us to plant at different times to allow for different harvest times for most of the produce. We started by direct seeding some herbs to refresh our herb garden. I find it difficult to find the herbs I desire at the nurseries when I want them so prefer to start them myself. I have Sweet Basil, Rosemary, Sage, and Common Thyme started in the round container (yes, that is a cake container) which is easy to seal and hold in moisture and let in light as well. I have Four rows of Four herbs with several seeds in each "hole". I keep it moist with a spray bottle and it lives in the Toy Room Window for now.
In the larger container, which is another cake type container from the deli/bakery at Meijer; there are 6 rows of 6 "holes" with seed starting mix keeping moist and ready to plant peppers and Black cherry Tomatoes that have had the seeds soaking. I love the Jerry Baker book I picked up at a yard sale and his tips for solutions and potions are awesome. I mixed up the seed soak solution to speed up sprouting and put seeds in my old pill bottles and labeled each bottle so I'd know which variety was in which bottle. The solution is very simple; 1 Qt warm water, 1 tsp dish soap, 1 tsp Ammonia, and 1 tsp instant tea granules. Let that set awhile to dissolve the tea and store in a sealed glass jar. I put a bit in each pill bottle with the seeds and let set for 24 hours (overnight). The following night, I had taken an old nylon stocking and cut into sections, tying off with knots to make little hats to go over each bottle and hold in place with a small rubber band (the kind used for little girls hair work great! also use those to hang and dry my herbs). This allowed me to drain the solution and set the bottles on their sides in the egg tray to dry for 24 hours. Tonight, we will be able to put the seeds into the moist seed starting mix.
Meanwhile, I did the same thing wit h my Spinach and Broccoli seeds the following night, they will be drained tonight and hopefully put into the "soil" tomorrow. Once these begin to sprout, and have begun to get their first leaves, they will hopefully be ready to go out into our cold frame in the yard to continue to grow. At that point, we will transfer them to their own larger pots which will be their home until they are planted in the raised beds at the garden.
One other thing I did to get ready for planting was made my own seed strips for my carrots, radish, and green onion. As these are things that we plant throughout the season and the seeds are so tiny; I like to have a strip I can just lie down and cover with soil to plant rather than try to see where the seeds are going... It is really simple..
Cut strips of newspaper approximately 1 1/2 inch wide in the length you desire. Fold the strips in half length wise and run a small bead of NON TOXIC White Glue the length of the crease. Place your seeds along this bead of glue, keep in mind the placement of seeds will need to be proper for each plant... you don't want to crowd your root vegis! Lie flat to let these dry overnight. I pinned them to the cover of my ironing board over night to keep them from blowing off or sticking to one another... When they are dry, LABEL them with a marker so you know which seeds are on which strip, preferably at the end of the strip. Roll them up and store inside a toilet paper tube to keep from getting crushed and keep in a sealed container with your seeds. When it is time to plant, just loosen the soil as you normally would, place the strip - seed side down - and dampen it with warm water and then cover with 1/4 inch of loose soil and mark your row as normal. Keep this moist for the first week or two to allow the paper to disintegrate and the seed to germinate.
We'd love to hear from you with ideas that YOU find work good for YOU. If you try our suggestions, please share your results as well... We hope to be able to interact with our followers... so don't be shy! Let us know you're here : ) That's all for today, it's time for me to go wash some dishes and watch the birds play on the feeder. I'll post again in a few days hopefully with some new photos of the newly seeded trays.
Remember to always Pay it forward... though you may think things are rough for you - there is always someone that has even more problems than you do. It's easy to be kind to someone else... make the day of a stranger with the simplest of gestures. It makes you feel much better about life : ) Trust me!
I just finished the layout for the 2013 Garden using the Garden Planner from the Old Farmers Almanac and had to share this with my gardening friends here. This planner is amazing!! I recommend you check it out and see how it can help you create a better and more efficient garden for your home! I first had to set up last years layout so it would know where things were planted and then for this years garden, it let me know where I could plant my plants without having plants in the same places. You can view my layout at http://gardenplanner.almanac.com/garden-plan.aspx?p=377345
This is the first time I've ever used a garden planning program and I must say, I'm in love with this!! We all appreciate things that make our lives easier and can save us time, so I'm sure you'll love this program as well. I am presently on the Free 30 day trial but believe it will be well worth the $25 annual subscription fee to the folks at the Almanac. With that being said, feel free to check out our layout and get an idea how this works for yourself. You can check it out for yourself with your garden in mind by going to their site at http://gardenplanner.almanac.com/ and set up your own garden layout. We'd love to hear from those of you that try it out for yourself... or if you've used other garden planners how they worked for you.
Meanwhile, I'm gonna get started on the seeding of the plants my planner recommends starting indoors now over the next few days so I can be ready when the planting time comes : )
While at the Hospital last week, I spotted a few daffodil stems peeking through the snow and vinca vines in the small memorial garden near the entrance to the building. I thought how nice it was to see signs of Spring and life, in a memorial garden dedicated to the Med Flight staff that had perished several years back.
Several people on my Facebook page have shared their Robin sightings with much excitement that Spring is on it's way as well. The news showed a video of the ice breaking away on the river in Detroit yesterday as a sign of Springs arrival... I myself have noticed while we drive around that the branches on the trees; especially the weeping willow, are a brighter color than they were a month or two ago. A sure sign that they are beginning to bud up to turn green. My lilac trees have huge buds on them already, I sure hope they don't get froze off again like they did last year.
As we were so fortunate here in SE Michigan to avoid the big winter storm this week, I am also noticing alot of activity at the Bird Houses in our yard by the Sparrows the past few days. This signals the on-set of Spring to me. All four of the birdhouses have been aflutter with Sparrows checking them out and fighting over which pair will win the bid. Of course, two of the houses are built for smaller birds so they spend hours trying to figure out how to get through the "door", each one taking turns with no luck. It is actually quite entertaining to observe. Then again, when one is stuck in the house all day, it does not take much to amuse them I suppose ; ) I even saw a Black Bird check out the birdhouse nearest the feeder after the Sparrows were having an "Open House" of sorts... First time I'd seen one of his breed go into the man-made houses, he did not stay long, just seemed curious as to what all the excitement was about I suppose. At this rate, the Blue Birds will soon be joining us and taking over the houses the Sparrows are so desperately trying to move into, and that is just fine with me!
I managed to get my first bag of seed starting mix in the past week as well. I will be starting seeds soon, and hoping to be able to set the seedling plants out in our cold frame in the yard by April to take to the garden by May. It is about this time of year that most of us gardeners become anxious and excited to get out and get our hands in the soil once again. In Michigan, the winters just take the life right out of a person... teasing us with the changes day to day. Will it warm up or will we be buried in snow and ice.... March is so far coming in like a rather gentle lion for us; and I am hoping and praying it goes out like a lamb... warm and cozy!
With all that said... I think it is clear that this Gardening Grandma is more than ready for SPRING. Bring it on - with all it's beauty and glory, I am so over winter already! How about YOU?
I have been interested in nature since my youth. My favorite class in school was any science that involved plants and I graduated with a major in Science as a result.