Seedling Inventory in April

New Pepper Trial: I sowed some Red Rocket Pepper seeds yesterday. This is a new variety that I have acquired from China. It possesses may characteristics that I am looking for for a home garden: sweet small fruit with thick meat, early maturing and a robust plant.

Eggplant Starts: I've had a great success in my eggplant starts. I sowed Black Dragon Eggplant and Opus Eggplant (Both from New Dimension Seed) on April 1.

Tomato Plants: I purchased this years tomato starts from Columbia County Master Gardener Sale. They varieties I got were: Sungold, Sweet100, Roma, Giant Valentine, Isis, Saucey, Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple and a few other varieties. 7000 tomato plants were sold out in 4 hours! I believe that is a new record. Anyway, I've got mine. I will be transplanting them as soon as the soil warms up, and I will cover them up with Minihooper so they will get an early start.

Vegetable gardening: Things you can do to trick nature

Seeds need certain conditions to germinate. Temperature is one of them. If your soil temperature is too low, your seeds will not germinate no matter what. But, there is something we can do to change that. Minihooper (From New Dimension Seed) is a great device that can be used to modify soil temperature, and allow your the pride and joy of an early harvest. It will raise the soil temperature by 10 degree, and allow you to plant many things that you otherwise couldn't plant.

Get a instant dial thermometer and take a few readings around your garden. I did mine this morning. The soild temperature is between 40-50F. I sowed my spinach and peas last week, they are already up.

Vegetable Gardening: Soil Temperature vs Temperature

Spring arrived, as the temperature is warming up it is tempting to go out and plant your vegetable garden. But, don't be fooled by the warm sunshine, what really matters is the soil temperature. When spring arrives, it takes a while for the soil to warm up. Our temperature fluctuates from the mid 80th to the low 30th, the soil temperature lies somewhere in between. Frost is still a possibility. Cool crop (ie. peas, spinach, beets, radishes, baby bok choys) will do fine, but the frost tender (cucumbers, squash and watermelons). Small seedlings of the cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts should not be transplanted until later. The warm season crops (the nightshades including tomatoes, peppers and eggplants) should be still in your greenhouse, or better yet at the garden centers. It is still too early to sow beans, carrots and basil when the soil temperature is between 40-50F. However, if you can do something to modify the soil temperature, you will be greatly rewarded. More to come tomorrow....

Garden Planted, too early?

As April is warming up, Daffodils are blooming like mad, tulips just started to bloom. Nothing like the spring flowers bring smiles on my face. We had a couple of 70 degree days already. I have started my usual tomatoes, peppers and eggplants in pots under heat mats back in March, they are coming along just fine. The soil is dry enough to work on, so I planted my peas, baby bok choys and onions (sets). The warm weather made me boldly go where few has gone before, I planted my cucumbers and beans.... Will report later and let you know what happens. I covered my sowing sites with some straws bought for the chickens.

Learning more about the chickens

The chickens are getting bigger, so now they are living in a big wooden box in our garage. We are going to build a chicken house soon... Among the chickens we have are: laying hens (White Leghorn, Golden Comets and another unknown kind), a couple Ginnie birds and a couple bantam roosters we adopted. Someone lives inside of city limit could not keep them. They are an English Game bantam cock and a Sebright Roost. Both are small breads, they are beautiful birds.
My discoveries about chicken this weeks are: they eat a lot and grow fast; they are a lot like high-schoolers, hanging out by age group, regardless of what kind they, they are faster than me but slower than my cat.
I remember my grandma used to chop up vegetable scraps and mix with corn meals to feed chickens, that's what I am feeding them every morning besides the medicated chick feeds we bought for them. The farm store people recommended the medicated feeds because it suppose to prevent diseases for young birds. They can hear me coming in the morning and get all excited. I have also noticed I've been watching a lot less TV. I now watch my reality show: the chicken channel.