Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seed Research - Part One

 Beginning Gardener-ness Alert....
Ok so it's time to do research on the seeds that I have so far and form a growing plan of action!! I am a becoming a little obsessive about gaining knowledge and organizing it so I can come back to it =]
In what I've read it talks about thinning and I am not sure how exactly to do this... What I gather is meant is to remove a plant or parts of plants and I wonder how necessary this is... The recommendation is well drained soil lots of sun. Sounds like Broccoli I have can be sown again in mid to late summer for a fall crop. 
- Waltham 28 

So from what I can tell now is a good time to start these seeds!!! Doesn't like too much cold and not to much heat either and you can sow right into the ground in the fall but you can't grow it in the same spot again for 4 years to avoid club foot. Wondering if I could possibly do two crops of this. This seems to be one that takes up a lot of space and need the be thinned? Is that really necessary? Sounds like Cauliflower doesn't like loose soil... I hope our summer isn't too hot for it.
- Snowball:
- Purple of Cicily

Sounds like cabbage does best in firm soil. The more I read the more beneficial thinning plants sounds. I've read you can use the thin-ings of cabbage as greens in cooking. That makes me feel a little better knowing the can be used beyond for compost. I see a suggestion of using a nitrogen fertilizer on the and wonder if there is natural way of making my own... www.ehow.com - homemade nitrogen fertilizer and the answer is.... Bake used coffee grounds! It says in this article that if your not sure how acid loving your plant is then dilute the coffee grounds in water and use a spray bottle. It also warns not to place the fertilizer directly on the roots because this can burn the roots. I think I am going to go with spring and summer plantings.. 
"Sow seeds indoors ¼” deep, 3” apart in seed beds. Transplant into garden beds when seedlings have 4-5 true leaves showing.  Plant seedlings deeply, up to the first leaves, 2' apart in rows 3' apart (or follow the spacing for your variety). Keep well watered but not soaking, don't let dry out. Do not to plant this veggie in the same spot next year."
– Brunswick (Baker Creek)
Package says: Start seeds for transplant 4-6 weeks prior to desired transplanting date. seedlings need bright artificial or full sunlight; in early spring. Seed should not be covered more then 1/4"grow plants in relatively cool conditions being no more then 75 degrees during the days and and about 45 degrees at night. When the young plans have developed 2-4 true leaves they are ready to transplant. set plants in the garden about 4 weeks before the last frost date in the spring or about 6 about 6 weeks before the first frost in fall. Space the plants about 24" apart.
- Mammoth Red Rock
Same package instructions as above on the Brunswick.
Looks like the Mammoth Red Rock is a must start inside and needs extra light and needs to be well hardened off which means introducing it to the outdoors a little at a time. 

It looks like carrots do best when started outside direct sow... Sounds like it needs deep rock-less soil and liberal compost or peat moss. Sounds like room to grow is the big thing with carrots! 
- Jaune Obtuse
 Most mature around 65-70 days from sowing. Early sowing can be done 2-3 weeks before spring’s last frost date. The tiny seeds should be surface-sown and not covered, or covered only minimally, and kept uniformly moist until seedlings are strong. May be sown throughout spring and summer at 2-3 week intervals, until about a month before first frost in autumn.
- Parisienne "round" du doubs 8" yellow 
I didn't actually find any results for this one... It all came up with the same info as above on the Jaune Obtuse seems they are a similar carrot.... I'm going to try and plant them the same and see what comes of it...  
-Zanahoria Short 'n Sweet 
Didn't find much on this one either... A few reviews say it's tasty n small, it sounds harder to grow.
Seed packet says: Plant March-June & August-September. Sow in deep, well worked soil that is stone free after danger of frost. Sow Seeds 1/2" deep, thinly in rows 12" apart cover with fine soil, firm lightly and keep evenly moist. Thin to 3". Do not transplant as crooked roots may result. Harvest in about 68 days.  

Sounds like chamomile should not be over watered and it can be considered a noxious weed so one should be careful to dead head to avoid volunteer seedlings the next year... I think I will try direct sowing. One source says to plant about 6 inches apart. Another source says to fertilize regularly to help reach maximum height.
Seed packet says: Plant May-June. Sow outdoors in average soil in full sun in spring after risk of frost. Sow thinly, cover with 1/4th" of fine soil... firm lightly and keep evenly moist. Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days. Thin to stand about 12" apart. Harvest in about 120 days.   

It sounds like this one is a good plat for a container... a sort of shallow wide bowl... I read a suggestion of mixing the seeds with sand and 3 parts sand to 1 part seeds to make it easier to spread out and then lightly cover with soil, the same source says to harvest about weekly and that you can get quite a few harvests depending on your climates heat. Another source says if you want the seed only trim the outer leaves and not from the main stem. A few sources suggest soaking the seed or washing them wish dish soap and then letting dry before planting for better germination, some go so far as to say you should gently crush the seeds as well as soaking. Below is from yet another source.
"Put the seeds in the soil and then cover them with about a 1/4 inch layer of soil. Leave the cilantro growing until it is at least 2 inches tall. At this time, thin the cilantro to be about 3-4 inches apart. You want to be growing cilantro in crowded conditions because the leaves will shade the roots and help to keep the plant from bolting in hot weather.If you are transplanting cilantro into your garden, dig holes 3-4 inches apart and place the plants in them. Water thoroughly after transplanting. "
from the same source...
" Even with ideal cilantro growing conditions, this is a short lived herb. Taking the time to prune cilantro frequently will help delay bolting and prolong your harvest time but no mater how much you prune cilantro it will still eventually bolt. Plant new seeds about every 6 weeks to keep a steady supply throughout the growing season. Cilantro will also reseed in many zones. Once the cilantro plant bolts, let it go to seed and it will grow again for you next year. Or collect the cilantro seeds and use them as coriander in your cooking." 
"Cilantro should be grown in early spring or fall when the weather is cool. It requires mostly full sun, although some have luck growing cilantro in morning sun and shade in the hot afternoon. One way to help keep your Cilantro plants from bolting is to grow cilantro it in the ground with plenty of mulch on top of the roots, this helps keep the soil cooler longer into the day. Under the right conditions, cilantro will last about 8-10 weeks before flowering. Cilantro will reseed itself in your garden if you allow the plants to flower and develop seeds. Harvest coriander seeds as soon as they turn brown by shaking the seed heads over a paper bag. Allow the seeds to dry and store them in airtight jars. To harvest Cilantro, wait until the plant is about 6"e; tall. Start harvesting cilantro leaves by removing the outer leaves and leaving the inside where the new leaves grow from intact. You can usually expect to get 2-3 harvests like this before the flowering stage begins. After picking the Cilantro leaves, clean and dry them thoroughly. Try storing them in the fridge in a glass of water to help keep some shelf life. Some like to wait until the Cilantro plant is full grown and then pull it up by the roots, using the whole plant at once. The roots are edible as well as the leaves of Cilantro and many enjoy adding the roots to favorite stir-fry dishes."

Sounds like this plant likes soil that has been prepared with compost or long lasting fertilizer like bone meal and that the roots need soil not too be too solid, one suggestion is to loosen soil about a spade and a half deep. Looks like April is the time to lightly sow Dill with just a little light bit over soil over it direct sow into the ground and it is supposed to do well in containers and I read plants can live for years.
"This herb has long roots that need plenty of room to grow."
 "Warning, don't plant dill near carrots or cabbages, they don't grow well together but Dill planted near onions can be beneficial" I also read that dill can be good for Tomatoes...
 "Be sure to keep the herb bed weed-free, using care not to disturb the dill plant roots when weeding"

So what it sounds like is that Fennel has a tendency in climates like mine in zone 5 to do something called bolting... which means that stimulated by cold when it's young it jumps to flowering and producing seed which is really nice if you just want the flowers seeds and green bits... in which case you go ahead and plant it in early spring like right now in April... Now if you want a tender bulb it sounds like you need to sow in June and harvest in September... I want to try both! =] I also noted that it is suggested that you plant this well away from any other plants as it inhibits other plants growth. Needs well drained soil and doesn't like to much acidity and doesn't like excessive amounts of water, water once to twice a week. Is self seeding. "Fennel generally takes about 100 days to reach maturity."
"Sow seeds early in the season and cover with 1/4" of soil. Space seedlings or thin plants to 10-12" apart, in rows 18-24 inches apart" 
I haven't found anything about growing it inside... So I'm guessing direct sow?
- Di Ferenze (Baker Creek)
Seed packet instructions: Sow in mid spring where plants are to grow in rich soil. barely cover the seeds. keep soil uniformly moistthroughout the life of the crop. Harvest when the bottom portion of each leaf stalk has expanded to form a sort of fleshy bulb at the base of the plant.

Planting time is April to May... From what I can tell kale is really adaptable.  About 50 days till maturity and can be harvested at any stage of growth but does not store well. I think this plant will like some baked coffee grounds because I was reading it likes some acidity needs nitrogen for the leafy green-ness
"Remove yellowing leaves which will appear round the base of plant." 
Sounds like this one does well started from seed in and out doors...  I might start some inside... This is another one that can't be planted in the same area for 3-4 years.
 - Russian Red or Ragged Jack
Some people say it's too late to start tomatoes... Wendy and some others say I just need to find out which ones are long growing and pick some that don't take as long to grow. Want to start them as soon as possible, sounds like they need a lot of light... I'm thinking of getting x-mass lights for them if I can find some or rope lights... (I was just told grow lights aren't that expensive, will have to look into what I can find!) Sounds like they need right moist soil and lots of fertilizer. Sounds like mulch is a must for this plant after it's planted in it's new home. Also sounds like tomatoes are heavy feeders and like fish emulsion, Seed weed solution, egg shells and a little bit of coffee grounds... One article stated basically that while the high nitrogen aka coffee grounds will give off very lush greenery it sort of inhibits the flowers and fruits, that same article says not to over fertilize.
Here is an interesting tip....
"I have read that tomato plants started from seeds indoors have a tendency to get leggy with very thin stems, even when light is optimal. Studies have shown that brushing your hand lightly across the tops of the plants daily will increase the size and strength of the stems.  Try it, what harm can it do?"
These bit's are from the same article... 
"When it is time to transplant your seedlings, bury the plant as deeply as possible. Roots will develop all along the buried stem and help support the weight of the plant as it matures. It helps to keep putting dirt around the stalk as the plant grows in order to strengthen it.  Should the plant be really tall and spindly, plant it horizontally. Don’t worry as the plant will put out root shoots all along the stem.  The stronger the root base, the better your tomato plant will stand up. Place your stake when you set out your plant since adding it later could damage healthy roots.  Do not be in too much of a hurry to get your plants into the ground."
 "use a lot of mulch to control weeds etc. However, planting in early spring when the ground has not thoroughly warmed, hold off on the mulch.  When the soil warms, apply mulch no closer than 1 inch to the stem, and reapply as needed to keep weeds down, retain moisture, and to keep the soil cool when the really hot weather arrives. Mulch will also keep fruits from rotting by not allowing them to touch the ground, and prevents soil-borne diseases from reaching the lower leaves."
The article also suggests planting marigolds on the borders of the tomato beds to help keep away the bugs... Sounds like getting the leaves wet is bad juju... invites in bugs and other bad-ness... need to just water the roots.
Wow there is a lot of tomato info out there! Yay! =D  
– Arkansas Traveler (Baker Creek)
– Aunt Anna (Baker Creek)
– Cherry Falls 
Seed packet says "Annual, planting depth 1/8" thin to 12" height 8"-12" Start indoors 6 weeks before last frost... Maturity 50-55 days."
– Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge (Baker Creek)
Packet says "cover only slightly to allow light. Do not allow to dry out. takes 3-10 days for sprouts to appear dependin on temp. Space seedlings 2"-3" apart. 
– Red Cherry
These quotes are from an article in the fallowing link...
 "Start cherry tomato seeds indoors on a warm surface six to eight weeks before the last expected frost date in your area. If it never freezes in your zone, start them six to eight weeks before night temperatures are consistently in the 50s. Use a fine seed-starting mix, and sow seeds 1⁄4 in. deep and 2 inches apart. Water so the soil is moist but not soggy, and keep the soil temperature between 70˚ and 90°F. A seed-starting mat that provides consistent bottom heat will provide the warmth the seeds need to germinate."
 "For healthy plants and prolific yields, give them what they like best: full sun (eight hours per day), fertile soil, and even moisture." 
 "plant herbs like cilantro and dill near my tomatoes and let them go to flower. They attract beneficial insects and keep pests under control."
- Cream of Saskachewan
 Lolly Says that Watermelon take up a lot of space... Hmm... I wonder how many of these I should plant... Aud was also telling me that they take up a lot of space and I should start the seed two weeks before the last frost, I have no idea when the last frost is, I am told that already happened but it snowed yesterday!!! Isn't snow frosty? Some one was telling me the last frost is in May... this is SO confusing!

"cucumbers, squash, watermelon.. they all like to be grown on a mound.. just mound up the soil and plant in a circle with one in the middle. i usually plant around five per mound... size of mound.... less then a foot..watermelon.. depending on the size of the melon, pumplins, gourds .. squash.. they have vines that will cling on to anything they can.. to keep the fruit/veggie from rotting on one side.. just gently rotate it on the ground.." -Lolly

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