Friday, February 05, 2010

Taking Stock of Seeds

I finally completely sorted through my seed inventory.
I've been putting it off for a while.
See, the problem is that once I start rummaging through the stash, I want to start sowing everything. And now.
Yeah, I know it's not time way up here in the great white snow belt, but there's just something about the irresistible draw of those packets. Knowing there are beautiful green plants inside those itty-bitty packages called seeds, pulls something ancestral from deep inside. It's simply a miracle.
There be beauty and food in them-thar packets!
Best of all, starting from seed is so easy!


I'm not out of control yet. Besides, who can resist those end-of-year sales when they're marked down to 2 cents a pack? They always germinate exceptionally well, especially if you store them properly, and I never buy anything we won't eat, because really, what's the sense of that?
Thank goodness I have room to plant . . . most of them.

And how do I know when to start what?
Right here: Grow Guide.
Now, how easy is that thing?

Most of the flowers will be Winter Sown soon (I only have 16 jugs out there!), annuals much closer to spring, though.

I'll also be dragging out and assembling our homemade light stand pretty quick to start the onions.

I can't believe I'm so organized this year. Now, if Ma Nature will just cooperate with the weather this coming summer. She's slacked really badly the last few years and left us with ridiculously difficult growing conditions.

Your Seed - Bounty or Bare Bones

(yeah, I know 'hoarder' is spelled wrong, but I'm not going through all that again)
2010 growing season - here we come!

Happy (seed sowing) growing!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Folded Newspaper Pot Pictorial

Since I get so many questions about how to make newspaper pots, and it's really, really hard to describe how to make them through emails or on the phone, I thought I'd just do the complete instructions with pictures here. It'll be much easier to point someone to this rather than explain how to fold them!

I've used regular lined paper instead of newspaper because it's easier to see in pictures, but the instructions are exactly the same for newspaper (one single page - rip down the fold in the newspaper and you'll have 2 sheets), you just get larger pots. The smaller ones I make from junk mail and the small size works great for seedlings since they fit together perfectly in trays.

I know this looks like a lot of work, and very confusing work to boot, but they really are easy once you do one and get the hang of it :)

Got your paper? Ready? OK, let's start!

1: fold the bottom short edge of the paper (A) up to the opposite short edge (B).

newspaper pot

2: Make them even (you shouldn't be able to see B) and press the fold down well.
newspaper pot

3: Now fold edge ( C) over to edge (D).
newspaper pot

4: Make the edges even and press the fold down well.
newspaper pot

5: Now comes the part that seems to be the hardest for everyone - slip your pointer finger inside the fold of the top layer only and pinch the bottom of the fold with your thumb. (We'll deal with the fold layer beneath this one in a minute.) Ignore the crease line - yours shouldn't have one yet.
newspaper pot

6: Pinching the fold between your thumb and finger, pull (E) up and to the left until it meets (F). Line up the crease with the fold the best you can and press flat.
newspaper pot

7: It should look like this:
newspaper pot

8: Now take edge (G)
newspaper pot

9: and fold it over to edge (H) and flatten.
newspaper pot

10: Now let's do the same thing with the fold on the other side. Put your finger inside the fold at (i), your thumb under, pinch and
newspaper pot

11: bring (i) up to meet (J). Press flat. It should look like the photo directly below this one (12).
newspaper pot

12: Grasp top layer edge (K) and flip it over to meet edge (L). press flat.
newspaper pot

13: You should have this:
newspaper pot

14: Take edge (M) and fold it in to meet the center crease at (N). Line up the crease with the edge and press really well. Do the same with the opposite side - bringing edge (O) over to meet center crease (P). Press really well.
newspaper pot

15: You should have this:
newspaper pot

16: You're going to repeat what you just did with the last fold to make a second fold the same way. Take (Q) over to meet (R) and (S) over to meet (T). Line up the folds with the crease neatly and press down really well.
newspaper pot

17: It should look like this:
newspaper pot

18: Flip the whole thing over.
newspaper pot

19: Repeat what you just finished doing on the other side. Fold both edges to the center once,
newspaper pot

20: and then again. You'll have this:
newspaper pot

21: Now, grasp the very top edge flap, pull it down toward you and fold it down flat.
newspaper pot

22: It will look like this:
newspaper pot

23: Flip the whole thing over and fold the other flap down.
newspaper pot

24: Now you have this (at this point you can do a quick snip with scissors and cut off the bottom point for a drain hole if you'd like - don't do too much at once, you may end up with a larger hole than you wanted!)):
newspaper pot

25: Pick the whole thing up,
newspaper pot

26: push the side folds out with your fingers and press the bottom down flat.
newspaper pot

27: Congratulations! You've made your first pot! You can staple down the flaps if you'd like - the staples rust away pretty quick in the soil and I've never come across one anywhere I've put these pots in.
newspaper pot

28: Have fun making lots more!
Tip - If you plant pot and all, be sure to bury the top edge of the pots, or rip them down, as they can sometimes wick water away from your plant once in the ground. If your sure to bury all of the pot, it works just fine.

Happy (in newspaper pots) growing!

Plants on The Ground, Plants on The Ground

Come on - sing along!

Plants on the ground, plants on the ground,
Lookin' like a fool with your plants on the ground.
Bags full of soil, pots dumped sideways,
Lookin like a fool with yer plants on the ground.

(you sang along, right?)

I'm planning that spring rush. You know, when you twiddle your fingers all winter long just waiting for spring to get here and suddenly it's as if a starter gun has gone off but you're already a mile behind first place before you've even left the starting line.

So much to get done in such a short span of time! It happens every single spring.
And, like every other year, I'm determined to win this race with a plan.
It never pans out, but hey, at least I got a plan.

First on the list - get all those perennial plants I bought for a couple of pennies at the clearance sales last fall INTO the ground. I'm determined this year not to just let them sit there, in their pots, on the ground, giving sidelong glances and muttering, "Yeah, I'll get to you. Eventually."

They are being planted first!
Ok, after I get the beds prepped and get done dealing with the Winter Sown stuff. Oh, and get the cole crops into the veg garden and deal with dead wood and weed and . . .

The best laid plans of mice and men.
Yeah, some thing just never change.

Happy (plants on the ground) growing!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Countin' 'Em - NOT!

, there is The Great Houseplant Census of 2010 going on.
Plant countage.
But, I can't do it. I just can't!
I can't bring myself to count hundreds upon hundreds of plants.
It would totally blow my non-reality that I don't have that many.
I don't! Right?
No one can ever have too many plants. (or seeds for that matter, but that is so totally a different non- reality)
Why would she want to be so cruel as to burst this happy little dream bubble of denial I live in?

Do people count how many candies there are in a bag of M&Ms? Or how many blades of grass are in their lawn? How many blossoms the dogwood gets? So, see - I'm being completely and totally sensible! I'm very good at rationalizing any argument I have with myself.

Which reminded me about a counting post I did 3 years ago - "I Will Not Walk That Path To Hell" - about garden book counting. Go ahead and count yours - I dare ya.

Geez, now I'm all stressed and can't even look my plants in the eyes leaves. Which means I'll pretty much be staring at my toes all day.

So, thanks,

Monday, February 01, 2010

Silly Cannas!

I checked on my stored Cannas today that I had started from a few seeds many years ago.
Yes, they multiply like rabbits, and I am so not complaining.
Silly things! Don't they know February is much too early for them to be doing this in zone 5?
It's usually March/April before I see much growth or any signs they're waking up.


Well, at least I know they're still alive.

Happy (early sprouting) growing!

Sowing Coleus Seed

It's time to start the coleus again.
It's ridiculous how easy they are to grow from seed and you can get some pretty spectacular plants.
Just grab any container, any potting mix and, as you can see, you can find some really cheap seed.


Remember to remove whatever you use for a cover as soon as they sprout. They aren't too finicky to grow.


You never know, you might end up with something so pretty you'd like to keep it as a houseplant through the winter, or take a snip and stick it in water.

This year, one of the plants I'd brought into the house gave me a very interesting sport. I think I'll call it 'Golden Sparkle'!
Apparently, Mr. Deville, she isn't ready for her closeup because this is the best I could get, and it's too bad because she really is pretty . . .


If you've never started coleus from seed, maybe this is the year to give it a try.

Happy (coleus) growing!