Friday, January 29, 2010

Seed-Starting Dates!

When my crisper drawer in my fridge starts to look like this, I know that Spring planting time is right around the corner. In fact, NEXT WEEK my first seeds will be going into my seed-starter mix. This is so exciting! I based the start dates on past experience. For example, my tomatoes were a bit too large by the time I had planted them last season. The only exception was a Cherokee Green that I started two weeks later. It was the perfect size, so I am starting tomatoes two weeks later. These experiences helped me select the best times for each crop.
If you do not already, start keeping a journal of what cultivars you plant, when you started the seed, when you set them out, and whether or not you would want to start them earlier or later next season. These notes are invaluable when it comes to setting up your own seed-starting dates for your area..
*DS - Direct Sow
*SP - Small Peat pot
*LP - Large Peat pot
4LP Asclepias Tuberosa
2SP Basil, Red Rubin
2LP Celery, Tango: Paper towel to germinate, seed needs light, cover lightly with soil
4LP Lavender, Ellagance
FEBRUARY 12 --- Pepper Time!
1LP Alma Paprika
1LP Anaheim
1LP Ancho
2LP California Wonder
1LP Cayenne Long Red Slim
1LP Chinese Giant
1LP Corno Di Toro
9LP Fat N’ Sassy
1LP Hungarian Yellow Wax
1LP Mini Yellow Bell
1LP Mucho Nacho Jalapeno
2LP Celery, Tango: Paper towel to germinate, seed needs light, cover lightly with soil
2SP Salvia, Flare
2SP Salvia, Vista Red
1SP Dill, Fernleaf: Don't plant near fennel.
1SP Fennel, Florence: Don't plant near dill.
DS Peas: Green Arrow, Little Marvel, Maestro, Serge
MARCH 19 --- Tomato Time!...Leave Room to Build Up in Peat Pots (Fill pots only half way to start...Once the tomatoes are growing beyond the upper edge of the peat, fill remainder of pot with soil. Be sure to remove leaves that are below the peat pot edge. Roots will form along newly covered stem. This worked great last season!)
1LP Aker’s West Virginia
1LP Amish Paste
1LP Better Boy
1LP Big Beef
1LP Box Car Willie
1LP Brandywine
1LP Celebrity
2LP Cherokee Green
1LP Cherokee Purple
1LP Hillbilly
1LP Isis
1LP Jet Star
1LP Kellogg’s Breakfast
1LP Pineapple
1LP Pink Sweet
1LP Rutgers
1LP San Marzano
1LP Sandul Moldovan
1LP Sun Gold
5LP Mexican Sunflower, Fiesta del Sol, don’t cover seed
1LP Tomatillo
DS Radishes, Cherry Belle
DS Romaine: Jericho
DS Romaine: Little Gem
12SP Nasturtium, Empress of India (dislike transplanting, they respond well to peat pots)
APRIL 16 - Don't let these guys get too big before going outside.
DS Carrots; Chantaney, Scarlet Nantes
1LP Cucumber, Picklebush
1LP Cucumber, Salad Bush
3LP Gourds, Mixed small and large types
2LP Muskmelon, Minnesota Midget
2LP Pumpkin, Baby Bear
2LP Pumpkin, Spirit
1LP Zucchini, Black Beauty
3SP Cilantro, Delfino
MAY 21
DS Beans, Blue Lake
DS Hyacinth Beans x2
DS Sunflowers, Sunspot
MAY 28
DS Corn, Serendipity
3SP Cilantro, Delfino: To replace first set later in season.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Direct Sow

Many plants are just as easy to start directly in the ground. Here is my 2010 list of those items.
Beans: Blue Lake (pole, 64 days, stringless)
Carrots: Chantenay (heirloom, 5-7” by 2”, resists splitting and forking in tough soil); Scarlet Nantes (70 days, 7”, sweet, nearly coreless, excellent, sweet flavor)
Corn: Serendipity (bicolor, triplesweet, 82 days)
Peas: Green Arrow (70 days, 2-3’), Little Marvel (64 days, 18” vines), Maestro (61 days, 26”), Serge (68 days, semi-leafless, 26-28”)
Romaine: Jericho (55-60 days, disease resistant, tolerates heat, slow to bolt); Little Gem (33 days, 4-6” tall, slow to bolt)
Sunflowers: Sunspot (80 days, 2’ tall, 10” heads, good source of seeds for birds)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


In addition to the tomato and pepper starts that I listed in previous posts, I will be starting these plants within the next few months. It won't be long now.

TRANSPLANTS (Planting one of each unless otherwise stated.)
Celery: Tango x4 (18-20” stalks, hardy biennial, 90 days, tolerant, hybrid, no need to blanch)
Cucumber: Picklebush (Burpee hybrid, 52 days, 2’ vines, 4 ½” fruit, light green, tolerant to cucumber mosaic virus and powdery mildew); Salad Bush (hybrid, 57 days, AAS Winner, 3’ compact vines, disease resistant, 8”, excellent flavor and production!) x2
Gourds: Mixed small and large varieties x3
Muskmelon: Minnesota Midget (heirloom, baseball-sized, orange flesh, sweet, 3-4’ vines)
Pumpkin: Baby Bear x2 (105 days, AAS winner, ½ pound, 5-6” across, 3-4” tall, good for pies and roasting); Spirit x2 (hybrid, 98 days, semi-bush, 8’ vines, 12” fruits, AAS winner)
Tomatillo: (heirloom, 2”, papery husk, harvest when just turning yellow-they will be hard, stores 1-2 months in cool, dry place, 4’ high, need support)
Zucchini: Black Beauty (60 days, AAS Winner, bush, best at 8”, dark green)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Let's Talk Peppers

2010 Peppers:
*- Returns from last season
Alma Paprika (hint of warmth, 80 days, great dried as paprika seasoning, 1-2”, ripen from creamy white to orange to finally red)
*Anaheim (mildly hot, medium-hot, 75 days, 24-20” tall, ripen to red)
Ancho (mildly hot, heirloom, poblano type, typically used green although will turn red, like a bell with pointed end)
California Wonder x2 (sweet bell, 75 days, 4” x 4”, 28” high)
Cayenne Long Red Slim (fiery hot, 72 days, heirloom pre-1827, 6” long, thin as a pencil, ripen to red)
Chinese Giant (sweet bell, 90 days, ripen to cherry red, 6” across and 4-5” deep)
Corno Di Toro Red (sweet non-bell, 72 days, Heirloom, 8-10” long, ripens to red)
*Fat N’ Sassy x9 (sweet bell, hybrid, 61 days, 4 ½” x 4 ½”, 22” tall, disease resistant, excellent production!, ripens to red)
Hungarian Yellow Wax (mildly hot, 67 days, 6” long by 1 ½” across, matures from light yellow to bright red, 16”-24” tall)
Mini Yellow Bell (sweet bell, 90 days, ripens to yellow, 2”, 16” tall)
*Mucho Nacho (jalapeno, a bit hotter and larger than regular jalapenos, hybrid, 68-70 days, excellent production, ripen to red, excellent yields!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Tomatoes for 2010

Below is a list of my 2010 tomato planting list. I will be planting one of each with the exception of Cherokee Green. This tomato was so delicious last season that I just have to grow two. The only tomato that I really want to grow but didn't get seeds for is Virginia Sweets. That will have to be at the top of my wish list for 2011.
*=Returns from last season

Akers West Virginia (85 days, indet., crack-resistant, 1 pound)
Amish Paste (74 days, indet., 8oz.)
Better Boy (hybrid, 75 days, indet., excellent disease resistance, 12-16 oz.)
Big Beef (hybrid, 73 days, indet., AAS winner, 10-12 oz.)
Box Car Willie (80 days, indet., crack resistant, disease resistant, 6-10 oz.)
Brandywine (Amish Heirloom since 1885, 80 days, indet., potato-leafed, large beefsteak)
*Celebrity (hybrid, 70 days, semi-determinate, crack resistant, disease resistant, AAS winner)
*Cherokee Green x2 (80 indet., regular leafed, excellent flavor- best of 2009!, ripe when green with yellow blush and slightly soft to the touch, mutation of Cherokee Purple, 6-16oz.)
*Cherokee Purple (Heirloom, 80 days, indet., disease resistant, crack resistant, 10-12 oz., new seed-last season's failed to germinate)
Isis (cherry, 67 days, indet., short trusses in double rows of 6-8 fruits each, ¾” yellow-gold, star on blossom end)
Jet Star (hybrid, 72 days, indet., compact habit, low acidity)
Kellogg’s Breakfast (Heirloom, 80 days, indet., large orange beefsteak)
Marglobe (72 days, determinate, tolerant to Fusarium Wilt)
Marion (78 days, ind. 6 oz.)
Pineapple (Heirloom, 85 days, indet., 1-2 pounds, bicolor)
Rutgers (75 days, determinate, crack resistant, 6-8 oz.)
San Marzano (paste, 80 days, indet., 3 ½ “ long)
*Sandul Moldovan (75-85 day, indet., smooth, regular leafed, excellent flavor-second place in 2009, 8-16 oz.)
Sun Gold (hybrid, 57 days, indet., cascading trusses)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winter Blossoms

Several years ago I purchased a boxed amaryllis. It was on clearance after the Christmas holiday. No big surprise that I can't resist the opportunity to grow anything during the winter. So I took it home. Potted it up. Waited and watched. Perhaps one of the best $4 garden purchases I have made. Every summer I let it dry out a bit in a cool, shaded area and it goes dormant. Near the end of summer I start to water it again and let it sit in a sunny window. For the last 3 or 4 years I have been fortunate enough for it bloom at just the right time. Right when it seems like Spring will never arrive. It's a lovely preview of the beautiful blossoms to come in just a few months.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Planning for 2010

The planning for my 2010 garden is well underway. This weekend I will be typing up and posting my 2010 planting list for both edibles and flowers. If the weather cooperates, this will shape up to be a tasty and productive year. No space will be wasted.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Last night on PBS there was a great special called Nature. The entire hour was about hummingbirds. It was beautiful. If you get the chance, check your television listings to see if you can catch it. It provides a wonderful insight into their lives with amazing footage. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Who Can Wait For Spring?

Although it is too early here in zone 6 to start seeds for this coming season, I decided to let the kids have a little fun. We planted a few dwarf Little Marvel peas (soaking in the cup), carrots, Simpson Elite lettuce, and radishes in a large container. My son had a lot of fun counting, planting, and watering the seeds. The container is now placed in my sunny, southern-facing indoor window. Although it gets cool near the windows, I figured the kids might have a little luck with these cool season crops. If not, it was still a fun activity on a cold winter afternoon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Signs of Spring!

I was in Lowes on the second. They have already started setting out their seeds and seed starting supplies! A hopeful sign that winter will eventually come to an end. A much needed sign after enduring days of below freezing temperatures.
Is that a crocus I see? :)