Sunday, February 28, 2016

Birthday Goodies

On Thursday morning, I was led on a bit of a treasure hunt through the house to find my birthday gifts. In the bathtub, hidden by the shower curtain, I found a hard-sided potting bin and a book on orchids.  Under the dining room table on a chair, a seed saving binder (Lee Valley)In the washing machine (ha!), a whole bunch of dahlia tubers (assorted ball and Karma dahlias).  The boxed tuber is called, 'Arabian Night'.

Also in the potting bin, some little watering caps (red and green, beside the seed saving binder) that are used on water or pop bottles.

In the plant room, a peat pellet greenhouse kit that includes a head mat.

When I checked my email, I found a gift certificate for Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds from my brother! I ordered:

Grey-Speckled Palapye Cowpeas -
White Whippoorwill cowpeas

Grey-Speckled Palapye cowpeas

Lime Basil

Flashy Oak Lettuce

Gentilina Lettuce

Mexican Sunflower (Red Torch) -

Candy Roaster - North Georgia squash

Calima beans (I grew these last year - tender, and excellent producers)
Mexican sunflower – Red Torch

I have never grown cowpeas before.  I am not even sure they will do well in this zone, it being the polar opposite (pun intended) of the climate they typically thrive in.  I chose early varieties that have a bush-like habit (I gather most are "viners").  If I can find the space, it will be a fun experiment.

White Whippoorwill Cowpeas -

The rosemary, parsley, and leeks planted a week and a half ago have all started to sprout:

One little rosemary sprout in this picture!

The leeks were the first things to appear.

Now, I just have to wait until I can start my tomatoes, eggplants, marigolds, pansies, squash, etc. Mid-March seems very far away.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

New Year, New Seeds, New Grow Lights

It is lightly snowing out this afternoon and it is -8 degrees.  Though normally I would refer to this as bathing suit weather where our winters are concerned, this season -8 has been on the chilly side.  This has been, by far, the mildest and most humid winter in northern BC since I moved here in 1999.  No snowstorms, no extended stretches of -25 to -40 degree weather.  January and February are usually the coldest months, making me dread leaving the house.  This year, I have been poking around the property wearing a sweatshirt instead of a winter coat, boots, and thermal mittens. Not much snow is on the ground, but there is a lot of ice.

Earlier this month, I placed an order with West Coast Seeds for nematodes.  We will apply them to our raised beds and garden plots in the Spring in an attempt to combat the root maggots that have gone after our onions, leeks, and radishes in recent years.  Those will be shipped in 2 or 3 months.  Being me, I also ordered some seeds.  *cough*  Some had been on my seed-trade wish list for a few years (e.g., Epazote, Stevia), some were to replace seeds I used up last year (Sunspot sunflower) and some were just because they looked like fun to try (Patio Snacker cucumbers and Principe Borghese tomatoes, a meaty cherry variety that is reputed to be excellent for sun-dried tomatoes).   They arrived quickly, very nicely packaged, and the shipment included a complimentary package of Butterfly Blend wildflower seeds.  Always a nice touch!

In December, Santa (okay...R...) gave me a grow-light system from Lee Valley.  I was not expecting that, and was very pleasantly surprised!   I moved some things around in the plant room and we set it up in the afternoon on Christmas Day.

Yesterday, I decided to start my leeks and some parsley seeds.  A little early, but the leeks are easily maintained until transplanted outside by simply trimming them every few days once they have grown a few inches tall.  This morning, I started rosemary seeds.  We will see what comes of those.  I keep reading that rosemary is notoriously difficult to start from seed and that even new seeds have a low germination rate.  I set the parsley and rosemary on the heat mat and the leeks on a shelf.  Hopefully, Bea won't be too put out by the tray of leeks being in one of her favourite look-out spots.

Lou, enjoying the view from the other side of the plant room (seated comfortably in a container of jade plants).