Tag Archives: seeds

2012 Garden Orders Placed

Happily, my garden orders will only be about $100 this year compared to $200 + dirt money we spent last year and the year before. The garden will be a little bit smaller which partly accounts for the decreased cost. The vine borers were so bad with the pumpkins last year that I’m not going to plant anything that they can eat. Hopefully a year of starving will keep them at bay, and I can grow some nice pumpkins again next year.

I have a lot of seeds left over from last year which helps too.  I only had to order one type of tomato this year.

Goals and Decisions

This year I decided I wanted to plant less types of plants, and to do more canning with the larger crops. I settled on beets, peas and basil. Beets because I like beets (and I bought a pound of beet seeds last year!), peas because you can never have too many fresh peas, and basil because last year’s crop was sufficient for cooking, but much too small to make pesto. And I love pesto.

I also focused on turning the garden next to our house into an herb garden. I just got accepted to the UMN Masters of Geographic Information Science, so I expect that the next couple of years will be very busy. I plan to continue gardening, but I want to reduce the amount of work it takes. I’m hoping that having an herb garden is part of that solution.

This Year’s Order: $101.23

The total isn’t actually in yet, because I haven’t bought the cherry tree, but it’s in the budget this time around and I know what kind I want. We’re going to get a North Star sour cherry tree. Here’s the rest of the order.

Next On The Todo List

Next up on the todo list is to clean my starter pots so they’ll be ready when the seeds get here. I also need to sharpen my lawn mower,  shovels and hoes. I bought a tiller that doesn’t start last fall, so I need to get that running and till the garden.

It’s nice to be working on gardening stuff again!

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2011 Garden Finally Planted

Well, I finally did it. I finally got everything planted. I also ended up buying two more fluorescent shop lights and making a better growing station than I had last year.


Everything Planted and Under the Grow Lights
Everything Planted and Under the Grow Lights

I made a frame to go around the shelves, and lined it with part of a 2mm poly drop cloth. the bottom shelf of containers doesn’t have water trays, so they just drip down to the bottom. you can see on the left that I’ve got the lights on a timer.

Last year we made a 5 gallon bucket of wet dirt and filled containers from that before planting. I wish we had done that again this year. When I watered the plants, the light dirt swirled all over, and I’m pretty sure that a lot of the seeds are no longer at their recommended depths. Oh well, I’ll cross my fingers and everything will probably work out anyways.

Happy planting!

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The Fridley Farmer : Seed Saving and Hybrids

Growing up, I always thought that if you planted the seeds of a tomato, you would grow the same kind of tomato plant. It turns out that that’s not always the case.

The seeds in a fruit or vegetable usually have the genes of a mother and father plant. Whatever type of plant polinated the fruiting plant will determine what happens genetically. So the first reason the seeds might not do what you want is because they’re from two different kinds of plants. As an example, crab apple trees are frequently used to polinate other apple trees. A crab apple Honeycrisp mix is probably not going to be that tasty.

So let’s say you’re careful. You hand polinate a plant so you know that the pollen came from the same type of plant. It’s all good, right?

Maybe, but probably not. Unless the seeds say “Open Pollination” or “Heirloom” the plants you grow will probably be sterile. Seeds that say Hybrid on them will likely be sterile or produce a different type of offspring.

The solution to seeds that don’t sprout is to use Open Pollinated or Heirloom seeds. You can save the seeds from those plants, and replant them the next year. I have noted previously that we spent over $160 on seeds this year. If I had seeds from a previous garden, I wouldn’t have to buy seeds again.

By now you’re probably thinking “cool, he’s going to start saving seeds this fall then”. Well, maybe. Here’s the thing. Some seeds need to be fermented before they can be saved. Others need to get a cold treatment to simulate being left out over winter. Then they have to be dried and stored propperly. Keeping track of what needs to be done to what kind of plant is starting to sound like real work! I am not 100% convinced that it’s worth it.

The issue of making sure that the seeds I am saving aren’t crossbreeds is also a concern. My garden is small and diverse enough that the brandywine tomato could be pollinated by the roma tomato. Making sure that isn’t the case would require me to either plant only one kind of tomato or to manually polinate the seed tomatoes. Again, more work.

The other issue I have with seed saving is that gardening to me is about the food I get out of it. Many of the hybrids are more productive or disease resistant than their heirloom counterparts. Besides, I intend to eat every last one of my tomatoes — I don’t think I’ll be able to save any if I wanted to.

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