Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Indoor seed Staring

I was at the Galerie Restigouche Gallery the other night and among other topics, I was asked when is the best time to get seeds started indoors. The person asking the question was eager to get going but also wise enough to know it was too soon.
Tomatoes seeds need 8 to 10 hours of sunlight daily in order to germinate properly indoors. If they do not get adequate sunlight the stalks will grow as they reach for the sunlight. I have seen this effect in the greenhouse which does not get enough light to grow tomatoes properly.
The plants grew tall as they stretch themselves towards the sun but the fruit was undersized and took too long to turn red.
Tomatoes are a heat loving plant. However, for indoor seeding, they prefer a lower night temperature of between 10 and 16-degree C or 50 to 60 F. This temperature range helps the plants grow strong.
Some suggest that running your hands lightly over the plants will also result in stronger plants.
Be careful with watering the seeds, especially during the germination period. Too much water at this stage can cause a fungal disease which will kill the plants.
Different seeds, whether they are beans, peas, carrots or spinach, for example, may require a different germination temperature.
Beans will not germinate in a cool soil. They demand that the soil temperature be higher than 16 degrees C or 60 degrees F. It takes time for the soil to warm to this temperature. Remember simply because the air feels warm does not mean that the soil is warm enough to plant.
People have had to replant seeds because they put their seeds into the ground too soon. The seeds rot, the potential crop is gone and disappointment sets in. However, if this does happen do not quit. It is usually possible to plant new seeds and still get a good crop.
Keeping an eye on how the seeds are doing and record the time they begin to emerge from the soil. The record provides a guide for next year’s garden.
A soil thermometer is a good way to know what temperature the soil is. However, gardeners who have been planting in the same area for a number of years also have a sense of when it is time to plant out.

I mentioned above recording the progress of the seeds you have planted. If you are new or have only been gardening for a few years, I suggest you keep a planting journal. What did you start indoors when did you move them outdoors? What did you direct plant outdoors? Be sure to keep records for both seeds and seedlings both should be recorded?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Cut-And-Come Again Garden

Nutrient density is a measure of the nutrients provided per calorie of food, or the ratio of nutrients to calories (energy). The salad or cut-and-come-again garden is ideal for some high nutrient plants.
This is one of the simplest gardens to set up and even a small space can yield meals all through the gardening season.
Cut-and-come-again refers to the plants’ abilities to grow new leaves after they have been harvested. Careful cutting will keep the plant growing new leaves.
In hot weather, lettuces and other green leafy plants have a tendency to bolt, in other words, go to seed, rather quickly and the crop is lost.
Now what to grow in the cut-and-come-again garden or salad garden? There are many options. I like spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, and arugula, for example, but there are a number of others, that are ideal in a salad garden.
My five top crops for the home salad garden are and this is not in order of importance: leaf lettuces, radishes, snow peas, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
The snow peas, cucumbers, and tomatoes can all be grown vertically in containers if your space is limited or if you simply do not want to bend over to tend them.
Leaf lettuce is a lettuce with an open growth habit, which forms loose clusters of leaves rather than a tight head of lettuce, red leaf lettuce is an example.
Leaf lettuces reach maturity before other lettuces and are ideal for the short season garden. I like growing several plants that are early producers because winter is long and the growing season quite short.
Growing something that provides a yield early provides fresh food early in the gardening season. This is why I also grow radishes. Some radishes can reach maturity in 28 days. We enjoy the mild heat and flavour in salads and sandwiches.
Cucumbers, tomatoes, and lettuce make a fine sandwich. Cucumbers are one of the foods that remind me of my youth and a garden just would not be complete without them.
Snow peas are great in a stir fry served with rice or make a great addition to a salad. In fact, all these vegetables can be combined in a number of ways to produce healthy and delicious salads. So, until next week, happy gardening.

Native Plants

There are two projects happening here in Campbellton that have me turning to the subject of native plants. When we are discussing native pl...