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N&C Midwest:  February 2017 Toplef10N&C Midwest:  February 2017 1zd3ho10

Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

N&C Midwest:  February 2017 I22gcj10N&C Midwest:  February 2017 14dhcg10

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N&C Midwest: February 2017

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herblover
R&R 1011
CitizenKate
CapeCoddess
Scorpio Rising
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/2/2017, 6:17 pm

Well, I am a bit late on the trigger!  Short, dreary February is here!  Sunny here, Groundhog saw his shadow, so 6 more weeks of winter for us here, although not much of a Winter so far by comparison!  
cheers
Nice to see the sun, even though it was cold!  Days noticeably longer, Yay!sunny
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/2/2017, 10:17 pm

OK, got my seeds today from Pinetree, and Mr. B!  Together with the seeds from Beetles, I am set!.  So now I am ready to begin serious overthinking.....LOL!  thinking
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Post  CapeCoddess 2/3/2017, 12:48 pm

I seriously need to go thru my seeds.  It's a crazy mess in the lower forty at the back of the fridge.
Rolling Eyes
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/3/2017, 6:21 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:I seriously need to go thru my seeds.  It's a crazy mess in the lower forty at the back of the fridge.
Rolling Eyes
CC
Do you keep all your seeds in the fridge?  All the time?
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Post  CitizenKate 2/4/2017, 2:55 pm

Snipped from last month's thread:
Scorpio Rising wrote:
BeetlesPerSqFt wrote:
Scorpio Rising wrote:Interesting, thanks for the info!  Seed viability or germination, 2 separate issues, is an ongoing challenge.  I bought Burpee Ruby Crunch lettuce seed last year, because I didn't have a red.  I planted it in my baby seed sitch, on heated pad, under lights, 3 times!  Not  a single one ever made it out alive?!  Not ONE?!!!

New cultivars, Merveille de Seisons Quatro, and All Year Round.
Wait ... were they the on heated pad all three times? What temperature does that get your soil to?
I ended up getting another analog meat thermometer at a thrift store for gardening use so I could determine this. I use bottom heating (mine is a strand of rope lighting) for my nightshades and curcubits, but not my lettuce.  

Lettuce won't germinate if it's too warm, and 'too warm' varies somewhat with variety. I'm seeing different sources on the web draw the line at 75,85, 90 and 95. Rolling Eyes   Ruby crunch may particularly unwilling to germinate at warm temperatures? If none of your attempts were at room temperature, without heating, I'd certainly give that a try!
I did it both ways, zip.  First time on the pad, about 75 degrees.  Nada.  2nd time no pad in window. Nothing.  3rd time outside in September, again, not one!

I wanted to respond to this when I saw it the other day, but was a little tied up then.  Just thought I'd share my notes on lettuce seed germination.

I also had lots of problems getting lettuce seed to sprout the first time(s) I attempted it.  My first try, with some black seeded simpson, I set them on my warming mat and kept them in the dark until they sprouted... but not a single one sprouted.  But yet, I've seen people comment in forums and social media how easy it is to get lettuce to sprout...   thinking   I thought it was a bad batch of seed, and tried again with some buttercrunch.  Still nada.

In my search on the internet for clues, I found a temperature chart by Tom Clothier, and according to his chart, the ideal germination temperature for an average lettuce seed is between 59-77 deg. F.  Pretty wide range, but between 69-77 deg. F, the germination time is less.  So, that seems to indicate they do best around room temperature. Above 77 deg. F, the germination rate starts to drop drastically.

I also found another article - sorry, I failed to bookmark it, so I can't remember where I found it - that said lettuce seems to prefer getting some light.  Not direct sunlight, but normal room lighting.

So here's what I tried that worked:

I start by soaking them in purified water with a little H2O2, at room temperature, in room lighting (out of direct sunlight), for 24 hours.  (I add about a bottle capful of H2O2 to a 12oz bottle of purified water.)

After 24 hours, some may have root tails coming out, or they may not.  I sow any that have sprouted in seed starting mix.  The rest go into paper towels that have been wetted (just fully wet, but not dripping) with water/H2O2 mixture.

Each day, I check for more root tails, and sow any seeds that have one.

I keep the seed tray at room temperature and lighting (out of direct sunlight) until the sprouts emerge from the mix, then put them under grow lights.

So far, I've started a few dozen lettuce seeds this way, and it seems to work consistently, though I've still got some challenges with the romain lettuce I tried last year.  I'll probably have more notes to add as soon as I crack that code.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/4/2017, 4:29 pm

You know, CK, I had zero problems with the BSS, or Matchless, but that stupid Ruby Crunch! I usually put the leaves off the heating pad now that I know!  One heating pad only heats about half of my starter box.  Lol!  

I am done with the Ruby C.  Too much pain!  Gonna move on to a Meirveille de saisons Quatro from Pinetree, it is reddish, pretty. (Marvel of 4 seasons, no idea why they use the French nomenclature.   That is all I was looking for!  I did grow a red deer tongue variety years ago too, direct sew!   Hmmm
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Post  CitizenKate 2/5/2017, 1:12 am

Scorpio Rising wrote:You know, CK, I had zero problems with the BSS, or Matchless, but that stupid Ruby Crunch! I usually put the leaves off the heating pad now that I know!  One heating pad only heats about half of my starter box.  Lol!  

I am done with the Ruby C.  Too much pain!  Gonna move on to a Meirveille de saisons Quatro from Pinetree, it is reddish, pretty. (Marvel of 4 seasons, no idea why they use the French nomenclature.   That is all I was looking for!  I did grow a red deer tongue variety years ago too, direct sew!   Hmmm

Roger - 10-4! I'll take this as a heads-up not to bother with Ruby Crunch. Me no like that kind of pain, either!
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Post  R&R 1011 2/5/2017, 5:01 am

I posted in January's post forgetting it was Feb.  Embarassed

I'll be working on my seed station today and ordering seeds.  Laughing
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Post  CapeCoddess 2/5/2017, 10:37 am

Scorpio Rising wrote:
CapeCoddess wrote:I seriously need to go thru my seeds.  It's a crazy mess in the lower forty at the back of the fridge.
Rolling Eyes
CC
Do you keep all your seeds in the fridge?  All the time?

I do....in lettuce clam packs. You know how I love those empty clam packs! I love you
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/5/2017, 8:59 pm

R&R 1011 wrote:I posted in January's post forgetting it was Feb.  Embarassed

I'll be working on my seed station today and ordering seeds.  Laughing
I know!  I have the seeds, but need mix, and another cell pack.  Oh, and need to get my shelving area in order!

Just read your misplaced post, R&R!  Wow, you had a lot going on last year, glad you got it under control, or at least on the road!  

Glad your bees are at least some are surviving!  And bummer about the chickens...grr! Sounds like you have plans!  Keep us posted on here!  Glad to see ya!


Last edited by Scorpio Rising on 2/5/2017, 9:08 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : read other post!)
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Post  R&R 1011 2/5/2017, 9:31 pm

Scorpio Rising wrote:
R&R 1011 wrote:I posted in January's post forgetting it was Feb.  Embarassed

I'll be working on my seed station today and ordering seeds.  Laughing
I know!  I have the seeds, but need mix, and another cell pack.  Oh, and need to get my shelving area in order!

Just read your misplaced post, R&R!  Wow, you had a lot going on last year, glad you got it under control, or at least on the road!  

Glad your bees are at least some are surviving!  And bummer about the chickens...grr! Sounds like you have plans!  Keep us posted on here!  Glad to see ya!
Glad to see the regulars are still posting. I love seeing what everyone is up to.
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Post  herblover 2/6/2017, 1:43 pm

I have been off the boards for ages, life stuff....but did spend some time this weekend planning for this year.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/6/2017, 9:21 pm

herblover wrote:I have been off the boards for ages, life stuff....but did spend some time this weekend planning for this year.
Fill us in when you get a breather!  Glad to hear from you, herblover!
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Post  sanderson 2/8/2017, 12:17 am

Herblover! happy hi

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Post  herblover 2/8/2017, 8:54 am

Scorpio Rising wrote:
herblover wrote:I have been off the boards for ages, life stuff....but did spend some time this weekend planning for this year.
Fill us in when you get a breather!  Glad to hear from you, herblover!
Last year was consumed by handling my mom's estate, especially going through the house.  It took my sister and I 7 months to go through and decide what we wanted, then had an estate sale and had to clear out what was left before the more than expected work of getting it ready to sell and fixing items noted on inspections after her death in Nov 2015.  I did have my garden, but it suffered from a lot of neglect, and I didn't do nearly the put up I usually do.  Looking forward to a much better garden season this year!
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/8/2017, 7:47 pm

Oh, wow, herblover!  That can be time consuming and tedious and heart wrenching....glad you two got through it, and are still on speaking terms!  So many families get torn apart during the probate process.

Glad you are on the other side of that, and hope to hear about your plans for this new year!  I too am looking forward to 2017 as a clean slate!  Not garden wise!
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Post  herblover 2/9/2017, 10:14 am

Scorpio Rising wrote:Oh, wow, herblover!  That can be time consuming and tedious and heart wrenching....glad you two got through it, and are still on speaking terms!  So many families get torn apart during the probate process.

Glad you are on the other side of that, and hope to hear about your plans for this new year!  I too am looking forward to 2017 as a clean slate!  Not garden wise!
Not only still on speaking terms but closer than ever!  Through the whole process not a cross word, no disagreements on how to handle any issues that arose, and only 1 item we both said we would like to have.  We both felt strongly that we needed to handle things fairly and in a way that would make our parents proud and feel we were successful in that.
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/9/2017, 9:11 pm

herblover wrote:
Scorpio Rising wrote:Oh, wow, herblover!  That can be time consuming and tedious and heart wrenching....glad you two got through it, and are still on speaking terms!  So many families get torn apart during the probate process.

Glad you are on the other side of that, and hope to hear about your plans for this new year!  I too am looking forward to 2017 as a clean slate!  Not garden wise!
Not only still on speaking terms but closer than ever!  Through the whole process not a cross word, no disagreements on how to handle any issues that arose, and only 1 item we both said we would like to have.  We both felt strongly that we needed to handle things fairly and in a way that would make our parents proud and feel we were successful in that.
Good for you guys!  My sister and brother had a similar experience, we really came together over all the memories, reminiscing, and laughs, cries!   I love you
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Post  Scorpio Rising 2/11/2017, 10:16 pm

Warm here today, started out cool but warmed up during the day.  Need to tend the compost pile.  A going to start some leaves tomorrow, spinach, chard, lettuces.  Maybe kale.  

Plan is to organize seeds and plan.  sunnybouncestudy
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Post  CitizenKate 2/12/2017, 11:03 am

Clearing off the grow light shelves to make room for seed trays, it's almost time to start some kale and lettuce.

Checking the stores to see if they have onion sets yet...

For once, I'm going to start the early season plants as soon as they can be started, and get as long a growing season as I can from them. I've really acquired a taste for kale, and now that I even know what to do with it, a lot more of what comes out of the garden will actually get used in meals.

Starting to think about digging out the roots from the beds that I left to decompose. Just checked the basil stumps and their root balls have partially dissolved into the mix, but there's still quite a bit that's intact. Probably should have tried to water the beds a little more often during the winter.

The compost I've been adding matter to up until late fall of last year is almost ready. I added a bunch of shredded dead leaves to it, kinda late last season, and it's mostly getting delightfully crumbly and black, but I still see a lot of leaf stems that haven't quite broken down yet. (Also put some of the shredded leaves in the beds, too, to give them some organic matter to digest over the winter.)

Worms are still present in the bins - yay! - so I haven't disturbed the compost too much when it gets below freezing at night. I'm presuming they're trying to stay deep inside the bins, where it's a bit warmer, so wouldn't want to throw my little friends under a (freezing) bus by tossing the pile and leaving them on top.

Some of the horse manure I picked up is still pretty hot, too, I can still smell some ammonia in places, but some of it is already well composted.

I've been really anticipating the start of gardening season, but at the same time it feels like it kinda sneaked up on me. Just now realizing how much I still have to do to get ready...
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Post  countrynaturals 2/12/2017, 12:40 pm

CitizenKate wrote:For once, I'm going to start the early season plants as soon as they can be started, and get as long a growing season as I can from them. I've really acquired a taste for kale, and now that I even know what to do with it, a lot more of what comes out of the garden will actually get used in meals.

I harvest the leaves close to the plant, then cut off the stems right at the base of the leaves, leaving the nice long stems for the rabbit. Cool
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Post  countrynaturals 2/12/2017, 12:47 pm

CitizenKate wrote:Starting to think about digging out the roots from the beds that I left to decompose. Just checked the basil stumps and their root balls have partially dissolved into the mix, but there's still quite a bit that's intact. Probably should have tried to water the beds a little more often during the winter.

My basil and peppers left HUGE root balls. I couldn't afford to lose that much dirt, so I pulled them up and left them on top for all this wonderful rain to wash them off back into the bed. Now I can throw their carcasses on the burn pile without any qualms.  Cool
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Post  CitizenKate 2/12/2017, 12:52 pm

countrynaturals wrote:
My basil and peppers left HUGE root balls. I couldn't afford to lose that much dirt, so I pulled them up and left them on top for all this wonderful rain to wash them off back into the bed. Now I can throw their carcasses on the burn pile without any qualms.  Cool
Great idea - I'll try that. Hope the peppers and tomatoes aren't the same... probably get out today and check on that.
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Post  CapeCoddess 2/12/2017, 1:48 pm

I love watching you guys getting cranked up for the coming growing season. I'm getting to feel it vicariously.

Expecting a blizzard here tonight with hurricane force winds. Rolling Eyes
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Post  CitizenKate 2/12/2017, 2:11 pm

CapeCoddess wrote:I love watching you guys getting cranked up for the coming growing season. I'm getting to feel it vicariously.

Expecting a blizzard here tonight with hurricane force winds. Rolling Eyes
Ugh, jeez... How oppressive.

N&C Midwest:  February 2017 90640

Hang in there, Nanook! I know it seems a long way off for you, but spring is right around the corner.

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