Monday, March 16, 2009

Clean Slate Seed Cleanout!

I've planted or set aside (or both) portions of saved seeds from last year and the year before. I've been to several seed swaps and shared out even more. Now, with a bunch of seed left, I've got the radical idea to raise a little 'seed money' (get it!) for a new business and sell the rest of my goodies online.

Naturally, I want to give other garden bloggers first dibs! All seeds grown by yours truly, $1/pack plus postage (you choose the postage); I can take Paypal, or you can mail me a couple of bucks. :-)

I've got several packs of a pink/red spicy sweetpea mix that I saved from last summer. They kept up thru the heat and reseeded so vigorously that I didn't need to plant them again! 24 seeds per pack.

Also a few packs of now 4th-generation Blue Celeste sweetpeas. Light, sweet fragrance, great climbers and reseeders. Not as heat tolerant as the pink ones, but still routinely last thru June & July.

Just a couple of packs of Nasturtiums. These are, um, like 10th generation at this point of a six-pack of Alaska jumbo nasturtiums I got in 2003. They self-seed enthusiastically, and both ramble and climb. Mostly yellow flowered, with some orange and occasional deep reds. Lovely for winter and spring salads! A dozen seeds in each pack, and if they fail you, I have oodles more.

A small handful of Cosmos fun-- a mix of Sonata, Picotee (edged), and Seashell types, about 30 seeds per pack. Small birds love to get the seeds before you can, but if you bag a few flowers with a square of nylon stocking, you can save the seeds. :-)

Several packs of a really nice versatile pea that is mostly Cascadia with a little Alaska thrown in. Use it early for a snap pea, stays sweet and delicious through plump-up. When you can see the peas through the pod, the flavor has moved inside and you can use it as a shell pea (if you've had the discipline not to eat all of them earlier). Go on vacation and miss the final round of harvest-- no problem. They dry on the vine and turn into a nice soup pea. I love these and have been planting and saving them for a couple of years now. 24 peas in each pack pod, for a spring and fall planting. Vines will go 5 - 6 foot plus if you start them climbing right away.

One pack of nice yellow Italian style pole beans, black-seeded. I don't recall the exact cultivar, though it likely started out as Renee's Seeds tri-color. I've been saving these for ages. A dozen seeds, enough to get ya going.

Lumpy Sweetie, a pepper hybrid that I've developed, though far from stabilized. The parents are a generic pimiento type sweet pepper and Topepo Rosso, but I know some other things have snuck in there. Thick-walled and sweet, and fairly prolific. Give 'em a try, they're not pretty but they are really tasty and fruity. Two dozen seeds per pack.

Early Cilantro, another umpteenth generation saver, that naturalizes prolifically here. This variety is *not* particularly bolt-resistant, but it starts coming up in early to mid February and gives you fresh green happiness just when you need it most. :-)

Drop me a note if you'd like to adopt a pack or two of any of these and help turn my overflow stack into the next round of seeds. I'll try add some pictures to this post later, lunch hour is nearly over!

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Early Garden PlanZ

A co-worker, upon hearing I was doing garden planning, asked if I used CAD/CAM software. Nope, I told him, Powerpoint! :-)

Usually I use graph paper, but I couldn't find my pad and darn it, I'd been meaning to come up with a template for a while. What I really want are Square Foot Garden colorforms (remember colorforms?!)

First pass at this year's garden plan. 2008 was a disaster since I couldn't compensate for overcrowding with painstaking near-daily garden care: too busy at my employee job.

Note that I have already impulsively purchased two plants which are NOT IN THE PLAN, a Black Krim tomato and a Lolita summer squash. (What are they thinking, naming something that should be picked before it's ripe, with a name like that?! If it weren't an All-America winner, I would not have gotten it. Ugh.

Oh, um, and the tray of Early Butternut was SO CUTE and fuzzy and cotyledon-y with those little sawtooth true leaves just starting. So, um, I picied that up too, but I know just where they are going to go, in that area by the fig tree along the side. (cough)

For our community garden bed, we are planning to do mostly a 3 Sisters setup this year. I blanked at the last minute on whether the beds are 14 or 18 feet long. If they're 12 feet, I am going to have to edit severely, but I am fairly certain they're at least 14 feet.

We were almost the only ones growing corn at the community garden in 2008. There were maybe 3 or 4 other plots, of the 70-plus, with corn, and at least one of those was baby corn.

We're going to go with a nice healthy anthocyanin favorite, Sweet Double Red Corn. It's supposed to be good for fresh, parched, or flour consumption. I'm itching to try my Hopi Blue or to get some Painted Mountain Flour Corn, but let's plant what we already have for now.

My little 4x6 corn patch last year did pretty well, but should have been spaced better. The squirrels ruined a really excessive number of ears-- wish they'd finish one before trashing another. With an alleged top height of 5 feet, the Sweet Double Red should be eas(ier) to net off, unlike the 7 - 9 foot ears of the Golden Queen F1 we grew last year.

I'm happy to make the .PPT file available, as soon as I clear up the question about the CSG bed length.

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Slacker's Garden Update

I'll try to follow up with pictures.

Cilantro is going strong, all over the place. Batavian Nevada, which I'm starting to suspect is merely a fancy name for Black-Seeded Simpson, ditto. Some Merlot and Cimmaron Romaine have come up in the beds, but most are outside the beds. I'm letting them keep going, but have pointed them out to Mike as "take these first". I think I should start another patch of the romaines. The hard rain either washed away or buried too deeply most of the first set.

The favas are about 2 feet tall, and the some of the beets I put in behind and between them are just showing a pair of seed-leaves.

Two square-foot areas of Baby Catalina Spinach are coming up-- one almostly completely, the other lagging severely. Cascadia snap peas on one trellis are about 2.5 feet tall and starting to climb-- the volunteer peas I mentioned in my December update turned out to be Sweet Peas, not edible peas.

I planted a batch of either Cascadia or Alaska (curse my "I'll remember, no need to label" mentality) at the foot of one of the carport posts, and they germinated 100% and are about a 6 inches tall. I need to get them onto wire or string asap, and didn't get to the hardware store for a trellis this weekend.

The little pak choi mostly didn't emerge, so I resowed and have a half dozen tiny seed-leaves showing. This afternoon, Mike and I dibbled a long, long row of onion sets, half yellow and half red, along the little front decorative fence. I put a set of shallots in the corner, and am figuring out where to put the other set.

A broccoli has come up in the square planter, let's see if it thrives. The Bright Lights chard is still with us, but hasn't taken off yet, is only about thumb-size. Something feathery is up and tall in the back corner, but I can't tell yet if it's a bronto carrot or a small fennel; there are several of them.

Oh, and I dug out my seedling heat mats, and picked up (lazy this year!) a bag of potting soil. Usually I make my own, ain't gonna happen with my current work schedule. Time to start tomatoes and peppers indoors. Maybe time past, but at least I'm starting now. ;-)

Much, much, MUCH weeding done this weekend, and a little earlier in the week-- the soil is so saturated that even Nasty Things with Taproots are coming out nicely. My problem children, aka the bunchgrass, come out in big clumps, and the stitchgrass in patches like sod. All into the compost pile!

Some of my mystery flowers are coming up, too-- there are definitely poppies, and there may have been some earlier that I mistook for dandelion-ish weeds (wups). Something reddish-greenish that looks almost like a zinnia is coming up in 3 places-- I think it might ge the clarkia, which I've not grown previously. And some cute little exuberant green bursts of teensy leaves, which I weeded out in a few spots in the main bed are also showing up in my flower planter. Wups. I wonder what those are. I will leave alone any more that show up outside of the planter.

Cornflowers coming up well in the expected places, and many unexpected ones. Have moved a long line of the out-of-place ones onto the front fence, keeping my fingers crossed that they take. They seem ok so far!