March 30, 2010

Grow house

My little seedlings are quickly outgrowing their bathtub incubator. It's a good thing it's going to be in the 70s - 80s the rest of the week. Time for some sun for all of us!

Until then, every 12 hours I rotate the plants. They spend half the day under growlights and the other half spread throught the house, wherever I can find a flat space. The lights run 24-7. So far no housefires.

I'm counting on a gorgeous weekend. I want to finally plow and build the raised beds. Otherwise I may just stiffle any common sense I have left and shell out mucho dinero on this slice of heaven I saw at Costco:

Must resist!

March 21, 2010

Suicide mission

Seems my peppers made a suicide pact. My beautiful little sprouts were sunning themselves when they threw themselves over the side of the deck. Some survived the fall, but many were decapitated. Their remains were thrown all about and now I don't know which are the Thai chili peppers and which are the bell peppers. I suppose I will just have to be surprised.

It's been in the high 70s here the last few days so I had everyone out in the sun during the day. I guess I'll just stick with the grow lights until they are all bigger and stronger.

I received the giant seed shipment last week and finally finished planting today. Some of the seeds I planted earlier are already ready for transplant, but I can't find peat pots anywhere. With all this warm weather the garden centers are wiped out.

My vision continues to take shape in my head. Unfortunately my dreams come together faster than my reality. (e.g. the tiller is still in the box it came in.) Good thing I started early.

March 12, 2010

A star is born

The first cherry tomato seed has sprouted! Four days. Hopefully his friends will feel some peer pressure and put an end to their laziness.

March 11, 2010

Honest, officer, it's for the tomatoes.

Why is my shower glowing?

Today we MacGyvered some grow lights with random parts from Home Depot and some pink twine I found in the garage.

Admit it, you're jealous.

I now have two showers that have been unused for years that are finally serving a purpose.

We also bought a tiller kind of like this one. I have a feeling once we fire that up, nothing is safe. We shall conquer the land!

March 10, 2010

Click happy

At least four times over the past few days I have fired up the Tomato Growers website and oogled the different seed varieties. Each time I fill my basket with goodies, then realize they don't take Amex. (It's the only credit card number I have memorized.) Getting up off the couch clearly wasn't an option, so I would just wait. Problem was, it never saved my cart. So each time something new caught my eye, and the grand total grew a little higher. Today I finally placed an order....$88!

Here's how I selected my seeds:

For tomatoes, I selected mostly stuff we can make into salsa. But then I would be mesmerized by the strange varieties and throw some of those in too. Their fancy marketing language would sucker me in to others. Other times the names were just funny. I think those will jump right out at you.

I always like to plant crazy stuff you won't find even at most farmers' markets. White eggplants. Purple jalapenos. Ivory cherry tomatoes. One year I was so excited to grow purple green beans. Imagine my disappointment when I cooked them and they all turned green. BLAST!

We do have some space limitations, so I generally pass on growing things you can buy cheap in the grocery store - e.g. carrots - or things that take up too much space like pumpkins. I like to focus on the weird stuff and the expensive stuff like tomatoes. And this year we're aiming to make a LOT of salsa, so that was taken into consideration as well.

If you're curious, here's what I ordered today:

#7492 - White Lightening Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#9716 - Santa Fe Grande - 30 seeds.
#9437 - Purple Jalapeno - 30 seeds.
#9543 - Mucho Nacho Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#9007 - Jamaican Hot Chocolate - 30 seeds.
#9022 - Bulgarian Carrot - 30 seeds.
#9030 - Ancho San Martin Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#9206 - Lilac Hybrid - 20 seeds.
#9352 - Bianca Hybrid - 20 seeds.
#4927 - Tumbling Tom Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#5362 - Sweet Pea Currant - 30 seeds.
#6334 - Patio F Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#6970 - Florida Basket - 30 seeds.
#3524 - Baxter's Early Bush Cherry - 30 seeds.
#6044 - Health Kick VFFA Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#3566 - Arkansas Traveler - 30 seeds.
#2912 - Crimson Fancy VFFA Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#2768 - Bush Champion VFFA Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#6701 - Cisineros Tomatillo - 30 seeds.
#6273 - Purple Tomatillo - 30 seeds.
#5678 - Powers Heirloom - 30 seeds.
#6822 - Snow White - 30 seeds.
#4701 - Orange Banana - 30 seeds.
#5833 - Kellogg's Breakfast - 30 seeds.
#5213 - Big Zebra - 30 seeds.
#4518 - Glacier - 30 seeds.
#5268 - Viva Italia VFFNA Hybrid - 30 seeds.
#5070 - Rocky - 30 seeds.
#5542 - Mama Leone - 30 seeds.
#6099 - Grandma Mary's Paste - 30 seeds.

I think I'm going to need to get some more seed starting kits!

March 9, 2010


I was cuddling my seeds earlier today when I realized that SOME OF THEM ARE SPROUTING! After 48 hours.

Imagine my disappointment when I saw it was just the sunflowers. But those seeds did expire 4 years ago, so that's kinda cool.

Maybe the sunflower sprouts can inspire the other lazy seeds to get their act together. Nobody likes salsa made out of sunflowers.

March 7, 2010

Busy day in the fields

I've started a spreadsheet of everything I've planted so far, and their ETA. They better not disappoint me!

Many of these say to sow indoors 6-8 weeks prior, so maybe I'm not really that far ahead of the game after all. I would be much happier if I had some grow lights or warming mats, but I'm trying to make sure the total cost of my garden doesn't exceed $100 per tomato grown. I'm still stalking craigslist though, should a marijuana farmer decide to retire and purge his supplies.

I turned over all the dirt in our existing plot this afternoon. I even got fancy and removed the stray dog droppings that found there way to that end of our yard. Years of horse manure and care have made this section of our yard prime farm land. I saw worms all over the place, including one as big and thick as my ring finger that I initially thought was an old piece of rope. Strangely, it instantly reminded me of something I saw at my bachelorette party, the thought of which grossed me out even more than the worm itself.

Premature Germination

The sun came out today for the first time in about 8 years. Against my better judgment, I started a few seeds. And by a few, I mean around 200. Some of them I bought at Home Depot, others from Merrifield, and some I found on top of my fridge - where they had been since 2006. It will be interesting to see what happens to those.

Last time I grew from seed I started even earlier (mid-February) and had to transplant everything twice. After that mess, I decided it would be easier to just buy the plants every year. You would think I would have learned, but you would be wrong.

This year I'm especially motivated to grow some crazy stuff, so back to seeds we go. Plus, Badger asked me several weeks ago if I had ordered my seed catalogs yet, so it's been on my mind ever since. (Apparently Badger has morphed into a 80 year old farmer who is not aware of the series of tubes we call the internet.)

Today I planted-
1) Cherry tomatoes
2) Roma tomatoes
3) Thai red chili peppers
4) Assorted bell peppers
5) Cilantro
6) Parsley
7) Dill
8) Japanese eggplant
9) Sunflowers
10) Teddy bear sunflowers

That's only the beginning. I also ordered about $40 worth of seeds from Tomato Growers. If all goes according to plan, I'll have a huge pile of plants I can give to friends.