Saturday, March 28, 2009
Broccoli, Kale, Celosia, and Dahlia all have been moved out of the domes. I should move them to the lights in the garage where it's cooler. The furnace room is a good bit warmer than the garage and I want to slow their growth a little. It is also good practice to start a fan gently blowing on them. The movement of their stems helps to make them sturdier and the airflow helps prevent disease.
Friday, March 27, 2009
I found this little hedgehog gall today, while walking to the bus-stop to pick up my children after school. It reminded me of how I feel all winter...like I'm holed up in a shell, feeling prickly and unpleasant, while inside I wait for spring so I can emerge.
Here is my method of seed starting.
I start with cell packs that I re-use every year. I separate them since they come all stuck together in a flat-sized group (I'll explain why later). I fill them gently with a moistened, but not sopping, soil-less mix that I've sterilized.
Next I place the seed onto the surface of the medium (these are tomato seeds) and gently press into the medium to just less than the suggested depth. I use a dull pencil or chopstick.
I then cover the seeds with a layer of milled sphagnum/peat moss, spritzing with water to moisten. Tiny seeds are barely covered. Larger seeds, like tomatoes are covered with about 1/8 inch. The moss helps to retard fungal growth, such as damping off.
I mark the cells with labels showing the type of seed, variety, and start-date. I make my labels out of cut up mini-blinds and write with Sharpie markers. This is a great way to re-use the extra slats that often have to be taken off to make the blinds the correct length. I avoid using very old blinds as they may have high lead levels.
The flats are covered with a clear dome top and placed under fluorescent lights. I use one cool white and one warm white in each fixture to mimic natural light. Since fluorescent bulbs are cool to the touch, I bring the bulbs down until they just rest on the surface of the plastic dome...touching, but not buckling. I have my lights hanging on chains from hooks in the ceiling so they are easily adjustable to whatever height I need. The lights are on an automatic timer that goes on at 7:00 am and off at 10:00 pm.
Here they are, awaiting germination. As of today -the 27th, the broccoli, kale, and Celosia have germinated. Once germination takes place I remove the cell from the domed flat and put it in an un-domed flat with the leaves less than an inch from the actual fluorescent bulbs. This is why I separate the cells before putting them in the flats. It makes it much easier to remove individual cell-packs as they germinate. Different plants have different germination rates.
I remove the cells because the heat and humidity under the dome is more than the germinated seeds require. Once they have sprouted I want to slow down growth. Bright lights very close to the seedlings, and cooler temperatures will help avoid disease problems and leggy growth -which causes flopping seedlings.
Okay, well not that kind of baby...but when you're power-tool poor the way I am, acquiring a 'new' tool is very exciting.
My husband's father loved to do woodworking and small projects. He had built up a nice collection of power tools -scroll saw, table saw, drill press etc... He even built custom stands for them all. He took care of them meticulously and documented everything! After he passed away the tools sat, unused for almost 10 years. My MIL mentioned giving them to us a few times, but it never seemed right. We didn't have a real need, or the room. What if she needed a small repair done? At least she'd have the tools on hand.
Well, finally projects here have reached a point where you say....if only we had a.....:^) Plus, we worried she would get fed up and just have everything hauled away or have a yard sale.
We brought the scroll saw home last weekend. It's attached to the stand my FIL made for it. It needs a new blade and some oiling, but I tested it out and am so happy to be giving new life to something a very special man once used to make lovely things.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
My studio is a bit of a mess right now...my desk especially. Yet somehow my desk has become irresistible to my two cats. Kanye prefers to sit on either my open laptop, or my postal scale. Kaida just clears herself a nice spot in the sun and settles down.
Sun is the operative word in the irresistibility of my desktop. Sun pours in the picture window and onto my desk. The window also offers a lovely view of the squirrels and birds in the yew bushes and yard outside.
As much as they can be a bit pesky ON the actual laptop and scale, I tolerate them on the desk because...well, they're sweet, adorable and picturesque...and I can't keep them off.
Originally uploaded by Lynn_EL/UnaOdd
I keep a big bowl on my desk. I always buy more when I'm in the store...do I have that color?...in that size? Love, love, love my markers. I use them for illustration, for decorating my packages, for correspondence, doodling, and just plain old looking at in my big orange bowl.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
The reason I sterilize my soil is to kill off any weed seeds, fungus, or other harmful organisms that may have found their way into the mix. I sterilize my soil by placing it into a large foil pasta tray and covering it with aluminum foil sheets. I then bake the soil in my oven for 2 hours at 200˚F/93.3˚C. I even have some quality control helpers here in the first photo.
Now that my mix has been sterilized the next step will be planting my seeds. I'll be posting on that soon!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
In addition to her very impressive and wonderfully done blog, Jan also has an Etsy store called DAISY JANIE, where she sells fabulously printed fabrics of her own design. I am seriously admiring (and coveting!) these wonderful prints!
Thank you Jan! I think I love how the pod looks with your prints! :^)
Thursday, March 5, 2009
I was thinking the other day how I would like to diversify into some other products. I started playing around with some supplies....one of which I had to wait a week for it to arrive by UPS Ground -misery! It's been a really fun break from my polymer work.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
A lovely flower, a surprise from my husband....captures my current mood.
I think it's the lengthening of the days. I really do not tolerate the lack of light very well. I spend most of the winter feeling blah and lethargic. Work is a struggle, energy is low, weight goes up.;^P
The past few days have felt very different. I notice the later light and feel more hopeful. I've been experimenting with a new jewelry process and am happy with the results(more on that later). Gardening plans are underway and some cleaning and organizing has been done. Now I just need to get that haircut that I'm overdue for......
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I have this listed in a few places as one of the things about me, and it's true! I just found my little bottle of whiskers yesterday. It had been packed away for the last three years, while we relocated. I found it in a shoe box while clearing the space in the laundry room for my seeds.
All the whiskers I ever found, from every cat I've had as an adult -here in a little medicine jar. (Updated as needed) As of 12/30/09 the collection is up to 399.
It's that time again. (Actually I'm a little behind schedule)!
Here's my basic set-up in the laundry room, next to the furnace. This is where the seeds will go once they are first planted. I can fit nine flats under the lights. The seeds go in cell inserts in flats with plastic covers. The fluorescent lights will be lowered until they just touch the top of the covers. I use one warm and one cool fluorescent in each fixture. It mimics the effects of natural light and is much cheaper than grow-lights. Once the seeds have germinated the tops come off and they are moved to another bank of lights on a workbench in the garage, where it's cooler. This will allow them to grow a little sturdier. Too little light and too warm temperatures make for leggy plants.
I'll post more pictures once I have some planting done.
Here's a rundown of a little of what I hope to grow this year:
Tomatoes-heirloom-Brandywine, Hillbilly(LOVE!), Black Krim, Sausage, Green Zebra, Oxheart
Okra- Louisiana Green Velvet, Creole, heirloom Burgundy
Sugar Snap Peas
Leeks- American Flag
Carrot- Scarlet Nantes, Nantes Half Long
Lettuce -Red Deer Tongue, Four Seasons, Brune D'Hiver, Forellenschluss, Merlot
Basil- Genovese Sweet,
Spinach- Giant Nobel
Corn- Sugar Dots
Broccoli- Minaret, Zamboni, Early Dividend
Beans- Tiger Eye 'Repokeb'
Eggplant- Black beauty, Snowy, Purple Blush, Rosa Bianca
Onion- Evergreen long white bunching
Zinnia- Persian Carpet
Poppy- Black Peony
Celosia- Orange Temple Bells
Cosmos- Double Click, Radiance
Calendula- Triangle Flashback, Kablouna, Porcupine,
Linaria- Flamenco, L. purpurea
Morning Glory- Mini Bar Rose,
Nicotiana- N. langsdorfii 'Cream Splash', lime green
Oxypetalum caeruleum- southern star blue milkweed
Cephalaria gigantea- golden scale-head
Thalictrum Rochebrunianum, T. uchiyama
Asclepias speciosa- showy milkweed
Digitalis obscura- willow-leaved foxglove
Sphaeralcea coccinea- scarlet globemallow
Emilia coccinea- tassel flower
hot pepper- Pretty in Purple
Coleus- Palisandra, Wizard Scarlet, Wizard Pineapple, Wizard Sunset,
I've got a ton of older seeds that were stored for two years, under refrigeration, during our relocation. I think I'll do a lot of direct sowing of these, just to see what actually germinates.