Mother of Pearls & an Emerald

Just another weblog

Garden Journal Update 4-18-11 April 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 7:00 am

We saw some little pea shoots peeking out of the ground! However, the weather has been cold, wet, and dreary so they may not flourish just yet. We also noticed most of the Watermelon Radish seedlings have come up under the row cover.
Lastly, we potted up all of the tomato plants from the little peat pots to 9 oz drink cups.


State of the Seedlings 04-14-11 April 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 8:11 pm

The week got away from me and I never posted the first State of the Seedlings! Lots more germination and growth this week. I’ll just sum it up in pictures this time. Click pictures to enlarge.


State of the Seedllings 04-10-11 April 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 10:55 am

1. We noticed more sprouts in winter sown containers on Saturday:
19 & 20 Violas (Johnny Jump Ups)
41 Vanilla Ice Sunflower
And some more on Sunday:
13 Echinacea-Purple & White Coneflower
14 Zinnias
18 Snap Dragons-Tall Mixed
50 1/2 Broccoli Raab and 1/2 Giant Parsley di Napoli
It’s GORGEOUS and sunny and 70 today, so I’m sure we’ll see more this week.

2. I noticed that our lettuces and baby spinach were starting to get their first true leaves and since I’m impatient, I decided to transplant some of these tiny plants to our square foot garden under row cover as well as a deck planter box. We’ll compare all three spots to see what’s the best for early growth.

Lettuce in Square Foot Bed

Lettuce in Planter Box

3. We have not noticed a single pea plant sowed on 3-31-11 poke through the soil yet. We planted the second side of the trellis on 4-7-11. Hoping a critter didn’t make off with our seeds…

4. I may have jumped the shark on the San Marzano and Amish Paste tomatoes by pre-sprouting more seeds! Both varieties finally germinated under lights and then all 3 San Marzano seeds pre-sprouted on the paper towel. I tried to transplant these as carefully as I could, we’ll see if they survive. Well, that’s just more to give as gifts, right?

5. The indoor seedlings look to be doing well. We found a really nice toasty germinating spot on top of the stereo receiver, much to Father of Pearls dismay. Alot of the Phlox seedlings got their start there and are now under lights, where they’d languished in the cooler basement originally with the Marigolds and Moss Roses in the same flat. Alright, next year I may have to buys some seed starting mats. Must look for clearance ones this summer.

6. I decided to try Sweet William mix/Dianthus inside, since I’d like to have alot more as edging plants. Father of Pearls has been hard at work moving garden wall blocks around to create new borders around plantings and that Alyssum and Dianthus will come in handy I hope. This will have to be the last of the seeding starting, since we’ll be out of room under the lights, especially when we pot up.


Growing Update 4-8-11 April 8, 2011

Filed under: Garden,Square Foot Gardening — motherofpearls @ 2:06 pm

So far, over half of our 52 winter sown containers have some kind of germination. The ones that haven’t yet are some tender annuals, so that makes sense. Go Mother Nature! Here is the list:
1 Lettuce-Green Ice
3 & 4 & 51Alyssum-Royal Carpet
5 Dianthus-Ipswich Pinks
6 & 7 Shasta Daisy-Silver Princess
8 Wildflower Blend for Full Sun
9 Rose Mallow
10 & 11 Black Eyed Susan
15 Lettuce Black Seeded Simpson
16 Baby Leaf Spinach
21 & 22 Bachelor Buttons-Cyanus Double Mixed
23 Sweet William Mix-Dianthus Barbatus
24 Lamb’s Ear
30 Grand Rapids Leaf Lettuce
31 Strawberry Pink Foxglove
32 Liatris Purple
33 Dianthus-Hot Pink
34 Salvia-Purple
38 Dianthus-White & Purple
39 & 40 Mammoth Sunflower
42 Jade Hybrid Sunflower
43 Autumn Beauty Mix Sunflower
52 Broccoli Waltham

Most everything is very TINY! I was at the garden center today and saw some cute Alyssum flats. Hard to imagine my tiny seedlings will grow to be that big and WHEN? Hopefully a warm up soon will get these babies growing. I’m getting a bit impatient!

We’ve accomplished one more item on our to-do list. This week, we made our own square foot grid out of the blind slats.

Square Foot Garden Grid

I think it looks pretty good for the purpose it needs to serve. We ended up with 7×4=28 squares in all! I still want to get some 12″ wood dowels to glue together to represent the 4-9-16 per square planting guide. I think the visual will be perfect for the kids (and me) for our first planting. I’m hoping to start to see some true leaves on the lettuces and then we’ll plant those out. I think we’re going to like the square foot gardening premise here.

The indoor started seeds are looking good. Within the two weeks, I’d say we had about 98% germination. I’m too lazy to do the actual count/math! I’ll get some pictures up soon. We added another shop light, so we can have more room to move out potted up plants. We already potted up the Jack Be Little Pumpkins because the roots were almost 6″ long and trailing though the bottom of the flat.


Garden Update 4-2-11 & 4-3-11 April 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 10:32 am

4-2-11 Since the dwarf zinnias were growing so well, we decided to start another flat of those, so we’d have a big grouping of them to plant.

More Dwarf Zinnias-makeshift greenhouse!

4-3-11 We noticed the TINIEST bit of germination starting on the Marigolds,and Moss Roses flat!

Marigold Sprout

4-3-11 Since we had no germination on two of the tomato varieties, I decided to try to pre sprout three seeds each of Amish Paste and San Marzano on damp paper towels in Ziploc bags. Hoping it works, we need some paste tomatoes this summer!

Pre-sprouting Seeds

Sorry, the pictures are a bit boring in content, but one of things I like about blog surfing is seeing the many ways people garden and a visual always helps.


Garden Update 4-1-11

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 10:22 am

We were originally planning on sowing our Green Arrow Peas on St. Patrick’s Day. But I’d read of some very cold weather returning, so we waited. Finally we decided that April Fool’s Day was as good as any to “fool” Mother Nature that we really can garden in Illinois in early spring! We planted just one side of the bean trellis and we’ll stagger another planting in a week. I decided to just plant to the thin to instructions (6″) instead of wasting them. That and the packet said you could plant a double row 6″ apart, so we staggered some in between the first row. Hope this works with how we have the trellis. I’ve read Peas don’t mind being crowded, here’s hoping that’s true.

We also noticed more containers with a hint of sprouts. We’ve got warm weather ahead, so I’m sure we’ll see a bunch more this week and update!


Seed Sowing Update 3-31-11 April 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — motherofpearls @ 9:53 pm

The following are containers we resowed. I had used a very cheap Impatien seed box and decided I could better use the space with these performers!
#48 Swiss Chard-Fordhook Giant
#49 Swiss Chard-Neon Lights
#50 1/2 Broccoli Raab and 1/2 Giant Parsley di Napoli
#52 Broccoli Waltham

We also started a flat of seeds indoors of:
24 Phlox Fantasy Mix
24 Moss Rose Magic Carpet Mix
24 Marigold-Burpee’s Best Mix

We’ve had a cold snap, so we haven’t noticed too many more sprouts in our winter sown containers, although I spotted a few new in the Shasta Daisy container #9.

Our first flat of indoor seeds seem to be doing well, our cheap shop light seems to be doing the trick. We have germination in all but the Sweet Peppers, San Marzano, Brandywine, waiting waiting… The Dwarf Zinnias are doing the best, I may add another tray of those, so we can have a larger patch of them!

Lastly, we were so excited to see some Tete a tete Daffs peeking up thru the soil today. We had transplanted them from a spot in the backyard where they continued to bloom year after year despite adverse conditions! The original owners had planted them around a tree that we later removed. That area was later seeded with grass and they continued to come up in the grass. Then that are became the pile of excess mulch we had left over and then tons of dirt and sod in hopes of building a berm and planting arbor vitaes there at some point. They plowed their way all of that, so last summer I moved them to near the front entry. I hadn’t a clue as to what I was doing, but it looks like I did something right!