Seed Sense #12

Hard to believe it is now 5 weeks past our last frost free date and 6 weeks since my last post. It’s
almost time to start the count of weeks before first frost to plan fall and cold crop planting. Golly. I haven’t even started picking tomatoes yet!
That being said, I already harvested all my Pac Choi, Kohlrabi and I am harvesting loads of Snap, Snow and English Peas, Arugula, Kale and Swiss Chard. One of my zucchini plants has 4” zucchinis on it that I can harvest soon and the broccoli is close to harvest time. Yea!

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Seed Sense #11

2/3 weeks BLF date and I’m feeling hopeful. Temperature in the 60’s is being promised for the weekend! Oh yay. I really believe no one appreciates Spring and warmer temperatures more than we do in Door County!

Technically our zone 5 has May 16 as the last frost date despite the National Weather Bureau reporting a 30 -40% chance of frost for that date and less than 20% chance for May 31. Which would you choose?

I was told this week by a Door County man who hails from a long line of farmers that the family vegetable gardens were always planted on Memorial weekend. That’s good sound experience advice I can relate to.

Have you finished all your early cool season crop seeds and are looking for something to do? Now would be a good time to finish pruning the non flowering shrubs, cutting new edges to the flower and shrub beds, amend soil if you haven’t yet and…. Yes, I’m going to say the W word, weed.

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Seed sense #10

Pushing the season?  Of course!  What else have we to do besides watching our seedlings grow and dreaming of fresh tomatoes and grilled baby zucchini?  Or are you just one of those people who wear white shoes before Memorial day and don’t care?  Tread lightly oh fearless one!  Planting on Mother’s day is no longer the norm for Door County.

Was it ever?

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Seed Sense #9

Its week 4/5 BLF date.

Besides taking advantage of the 2 over 50 degree days we had and direct sowing Arugula, Radish and Carrots, have you checked the viability of your saved seeds yet?

What? You ask.  What is it and why should I?

Well, it is a germination credibility test for the seeds you or your friends saved from favorite plants.  Or just checking to make sure those old seed packets are still good.

Why should we check them?  A seed is a seed right?  Wrong.

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Seed Sense #8

Its week 5/6 BLF! What’s going on with your seeds and seedlings?

I’m transplanting! The Kale, Kohlrabi, Chard, and Pac Choi I started on April 6 all have 2 sets of leaves on them and are getting crowded and tangled.

I found these nifty break apart 2.5” containers in a tray of 18 at a local big store. I was going to use them for the seed talk and thought, put them to use! If you do not have any previously used smallish pots on hand or want to purchase anything new, 8oz paper or styrofoam cups will work if you poke drain holes in them. There are DIY newspaper pot instructions on line too. The 18 pots took 1/2 bag of the 12quart size Jiffy seed starting soil. Start by filling the pots with slightly moistened soil. Or dry. It is easier to push the seedlings into the pots if the soil is drier.

Carefully lift the seedlings out of the germinating tray or pots by lifting out from the bottom, scooping them up by the roots with your fingers or a non pointed tool. Separate them, do not handle the plant by the stem.

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Seed Sense #7

originally published April 16

More on tomatoes.
This is a long post so grab a cup of coffee ( or wine ) and sit back and enjoy.

Who doesn’t love a good fresh sun kissed Tomato? That is why there are numerous books dedicated to the topic of tomatoes. There are 100’s of lovingly saved heirloom varieties and even more hybridized cultivars. How do you choose? What are the pros and cons of each and how many should you plant?

Well, if you were to listen to me during the Master Gardener’s seed selection committee’s review of my list, you’d know I have a really hard time at choosing, and consequently we always ended up growing more for the plant sale then originally planned or needed.

So how do you choose?

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Seed Sense #6

originally published April 13

6/7 weeks BLF! What are you starting this week? Tomatoes!!

I’ve heard from many of you that you have already started your tomatoes and that is awesome!

I just seeded mine yesterday. Yes on Easter! What else is one to do during a pandemic and a raining dreary day but think of mouth watering juicy tomatoes? So once again I lost all control and planted 13 varieties. See the photos from my last year’s bounty!

Every year I tinkered with start times of tomato seeds when growing for the Master Gardeners. Trying to get them large enough for the sale or not too tall and spindly is always a challenge which ends with just being at the mercy of weather
.
Tomatoes, like peppers and Basil prefer heat and will not grow without it. So if it wasn’t sunny out, the greenhouse did not stay warm enough. Tomatoes need the soil to be 70 – 75 degrees and respond best to warmer air temps.
This year I am following author and garden blogger, Margaret Roach’s advice and not starting them till 6 weeks BLF date.

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