Seed Layout 2013

Growing seeds under a grow light. The light is about six inches from the seed pods. I plan to buy clear covers for the tubs, to keep in humidity. Basement temperature is around 64 degrees. Ideally, it should be 70 degrees. Some people use heating pads underneath the tubs.

March 20 – put clear covers over tubs to keep in humidity

March 22 – seeds starting to show signs of life. T1 over an inch tall.

April 12 –

This seed layout is under a 4 foot dual fluorescent light, one is a grow light. The light fixture only covers the shown seeds; hence the empty slots. The 4 foot lights only cover 15 plant pods.

 Mar 14, 2013 Seed Plantings
Tub 4 Tub 5
Tub 3 Tub 2 Tub 1
– – – P2 P4 T2
– – – P2 P4 T2
– – – P2 P4 T2
O1 R1 C2 P3 P3 P4
O1 R1 C2 P3 P3 P4
O1 R1 C2 P3 P3 P4
T1 B1 P1 P2 B1 C1
T1 B1 P1 P2 B1 C1
T1 B1 P1 P2 B1 C1

Legend

T1 = tomato (last years, roma?)
B1 = bell pepper (last years, Cindy’s)
P1 = hot pepper (last years)
B1 = basil
C1 = cilantro
O1 = Greek oregano
R1 = rosemary
C2 = chives
P3 = red pepper (red mercury)
P4 = anaheim chile
T2 = roma? (last years)

Later Seedlings

Apr 15 (4 weeks before last frost)

  • Baby romaine lettuce
  • Bloomsdale spinach

Apr 22 (3 weeks before last frost)

  • Cucumber, which needs to be started in peat moss. Plant in fiber containers.
  • Zucchini, start in peat moss? Plant in fiber containers.
  • Jack O’Lantern Pumpkins. Plant in fiber containers.
  • Pie pumpkins. Plant in fiber containers.

 

Filed under: layout

Plant Leaves Wilting During the Day

I have noticed that during the hot summer days, many of the plants look wilted, especially the cucumbers, sweet potatoes, and zucchini. At first, I thought they were low on water, so I watered them. The next day the same wilted look occurred but at dusk the plants looked vibrant. After a few rounds of this, I think this is nature’s way of conserving water loss through the leaves.

Filed under: maintenance

2011 – Onions Planted

I planted about 40 yellow onions in between the rains.
I had a few no-shows in the greenhouse so I replaced them with basil and oregano seeds. Since they take 80 to 90 days to fully grow, I may buy a couple of plants for the interim.
Most of the seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall.
There was frost last night as the low was 34 degrees; almost a record. Dad always told me to plant tomatoes the 15th of May; I’d cheat and plant May 1st…until a few years ago temperatures were well below 32 on May 3rd and 4th. Lesson learned.

Filed under: planting

2011 DDC Garden

Finally started planting the DDC garden. It has been very wet, so early vegetables such as potatoes which are normally planted on Good Friday, are being delayed. I planted radish seeds (Champion heirloom) a few days ago. The garden layout is under Pages section of the blog. In the greenhouse, there are jalapenos, red peppers, and spinach seeds growing.

Filed under: garden happenings

Coffee Grounds in the Garden

I have heard about using coffee grounds in the garden a long time ago. I was reluctant because I thought the grounds were too acidic and did not add much nutritional value.

But I was wrong.

  • Coffee grounds have a near neutral pH once they start decomposing.
  • They are rich in nitrogen which is good for most plants (not legumes).
  • Worms are attracted to them (worms are great for the garden).
  • Coffee filters and teabags break down quickly which is great for composting.
  • Make coffee ground “tea.” Add two cups of used coffee grounds to a five-gallon bucket of water. Let the “tea” steep for a few hours or overnight. You can use this concoction as a liquid fertilizer for garden and container plants. It also makes a great foliar feed.

Most coffee shops will be glad to give you their used coffee grounds.

Coffee grounds is considered green part of composting (meaning they contain mostly nitrogen. Brown means it contains mostly carbon.) with about 20:1 of nitrogen to carbon.

Coffee grounds are approximately 1.5% nitrogen. They also contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, copper, and other trace minerals.

If you do add a large quantity, you may want to dig them into the garden as there are reports that they will “go bad” and develop a fungal layer if left exposed to the air. They have a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 20:1, roughly the same as grass clippings.

Contrary to popular belief, coffee grounds are not acidic. After brewing, the grounds are close to pH neutral, between 6.5 and 6.8. Neutral pH is 7. The acid in the beans is mostly water-soluble, so it leaches into the coffee we drink.

Coffee grounds take a few months to break down.

Coffee grounds are easily compacted which would prevent water and air from reaching the plant, if the coffee grounds layer is too thick (over 1/2 inch).

Coffee grounds lack phosphorus (the key ingredient in flowering fertilizers) so they cannot be used as a standalone fertilizer for flowering plants. If you could buy coffee grounds in bags at garden centers the 3 numbers on the bag would be 2-0.33-1. (nitrogen – phosphorus – potassium)

Conclusion

Don’t use coffee grounds as an only mulch. Sprinkle up to 1/2 inch around then cover with a few inches of coarse mulch, such as wood chips.

Use 10% to 20% volume in a compost pile.

Work coffee grounds into the soil so they do not mold. It is best to compost coffee grounds before using them.

I put some around some vegetables and roses which I’ll report on at the end of the growing season.

Update

Although empirical, I notice a lot more worms in the garden this year. Could be the coffee grounds…

Filed under: fertilizer

Garden #2 Layout

Our gardening has gotten so large, we now have two gardens.

Garden #2 is about 8×13 feet. Most of it is nice Illinois black dirt, about 5 inches deep. It was made from ripping up an old 10×13 cracked concrete pad.

Last year, we planted spinach, Roma tomatoes, cherry tomato, zucchini, cucumber, red bell peppers.

Garden #2 layout as of 11 May 2010

North

mmm  z    ssss
mmm       ssss
mmm  z    ssss
          LLLL
r j j r   LLLL
          ssss
       c  ssss
          ssss
   b o h
   b o
  • b=basil (seed)
  • c=cucumber (seed)
  • h=cherry tomato
  • j=jalapeno
  • L=lettuce (seed)
  • m=chamomile (seed)
  • o = oregano
  • r=red bell pepper
  • z=zucchini (seed)
Filed under: layout

Zucchini Everywhere

Zucchini abounds. The weather and growing conditions are a perfect storm. Last year we harvested a few measly zucchinis and no cukes. This year…whoa. I cannot pick them fast enough. They make great giveaways but I’m running out of neighbors!

The zucchini bread turned out exceptional as did the minestrone soup. Zucchini is good on salads and tossed in many stir-fry recipes. Any other ideas on how to deplete the zucchini shelf?

Filed under: harvesting