Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Post #2 of the Day.
Yesterday a flock of robins greeted the morning with us. There must have been close to 100 robins smothering the old oak, our rooftop, and our yard. Flicking through the leaf mulch I have on a well-worked part of the garden. It is one of the few pieces of ground not covered by snow. If it wasn't so cold, and the kids could sit still, I would have loved to take a picture of them from outdoors. It was quite a site. I remember a similar experience with the robins last winter. Flocking to fresh, warm water poured into plastic flower pot bases for a refreshing bath.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snow and Peppers

After surviving TWO more feet of snow (I'll post pictures later), I started my next set of seeds. Twenty pepper plants were started this weekend. The lavender and basil that I planted last weekend have already germinated. I'm still waiting on the celery and asclepias tuberosa. Perhaps I should use the paper towel method on them like last year...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Seed-Starting Method With Pictures

This is a step-by-step method for starting seeds that I have found to be very successful. For starting seeds that are particularly difficult to germinate, try the paper towel method that I posted last season. Your success will be greatly improved.

1. Soak peat pots in warm water for approximately 5 minutes. 2. Fill each pot with potting soil until soil is within 1 inch of the top edge. 3. Fill the rest of the pot with soilless seed-starting mix. Fill flush with the top edge of the pot.
4. Mist soil with sprayer heavily. Cover with plastic wrap. Wait a minute or two and mist again heavily. It may appear as though the peat is moist at first. It’s NOT! Check moisture with your finger. Continue to spray heavily until soilless mix is thoroughly moistened. This step takes a while. (Side note: I’ve considered soaking a bunch of soilless seed-starting mix in a small, covered container just prior to planting to speed this step up. I haven’t tried it yet, but it would ensure thorough soaking of the soil.) 5. Once starter mix is thoroughly moist, double check that the soil level is still flush with the top edge. If not the top edge will wick moisture away from your seedlings. Label your pots, and sow your seeds to the appropriate depth. 6. Place ¼” of water in tray (just enough to cover the bottom of the tray evenly).
7. Cover pots with plastic wrap to create a greenhouse and keep soil from drying out during the germination period. 8. Place tray under grow lights (or in sunny window). Make sure the pots are within an inch of the top of the plastic. 9. Check daily for germination and to make sure the peat posts don’t dry out. Maintain a thin layer of water on the bottom of the tray to keep moisture levels high under the plastic until germination.
10. Once seeds germinate, remove the plastic cover. When they need water ALWAYS water the pots from the bottom to prevent damping off.
11. Continue to keep the lights within an inch of the seedlings. Move pots around if necessary to maintain this distance. Place shorter plants on one end to increasingly taller plants on the other end. This will help maximize the efficiency of the light reaching the plants. Leaving the lights on from 7am to 7pm has worked very well for me. It provides healthy, sturdy plants.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Snow...Lots of Snow

Does anyone have a sore back this morning? Here near Reading, Pennsylvania we received somewhere between 18-24 inches of snow in less than a day. It sure is a pain to shovel, but it definitely looks beautiful from a window inside a reativitely warm house. The back yard have two large yews on each side. They are about 10 feet tall and 15 feet wide. Can you spot them under all that snow on both sides of the birdbath?
FRIDAY AFTERNOON: It was clear that a big storm was coming. The birds were flocking to the birdfeeder. Especially the cardinals and house sparrows. It didn't start snowing until after 6pm, but by the following afternoon...SATURDAY AFTERNOON:
On the bright side, I started my first set of seeds on Friday...right before the storm hit. I will be posting my seed starting method along with many pictures soon. Stay warm everyone!

Monday, February 1, 2010


Just to let you know, I added additional plants and notes to my previous post on seed-starting dates. Boy, I can't believe how cold it is lately. It seems silly to be talking about starting seeds. We haven't had any snow or ice, but the temperatures and windchills have been really brutal. I believe yesterday it felt like 4 degrees. 4 degrees! When the weather gets this cold, it feels like Spring will never come. I just have to keep reminding myself that I get to start planting FRIDAY!