Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Odds and Sods


In late March/early April I sowed a number of seeds for various plants that I haven’t spoken about yet, so figured I had better get to it before I’m showing off flowers or harvesting veg and everyone is wondering – “where did that come from?” ;)

In addition to the alyssum & petunias that I have already talked about, I have also sown marigolds, daisies & lemon bee balm.

The marigolds are the same as those I grew last year, a variety called Janie Flame from Stokes Seeds.

Marigold Seedlings - 5 weeks
 

I was super happy with the way they livened up the beds and if they helped with pests, so much the better!

Marigolds in last years tomato bed
 
The daisies are a variety called “Alaska” and that is about all I know.  My daughter received the seed packet as part of a loot bag from a birthday party.  I sowed some seeds in a 4” pot and they are now, more or less on their way - there is quite a size difference between the seedlings.  These will be going into my daughters bed as she wants to grow at least as many flowers as veg.

Daisy Seedlings - 3 weeks
 
The lemon bee balm (monarda citriodora) purchased from Baker Creek is for my straw bales; the plan is to plant one alyssum & one lemon bee balm seedling into each bale in an effort to attract pollinators to the squash that will be growing in them.   Since I wanted an annual, I chose lemon bee balm for this task instead of the perennial scarlet bee balm (mondarda didyma).

Lemon Bee Balm - 3.5 weeks
 
As many of you may be aware, I had issues with Basil Downy Mildew last year.  This year I purchased a variety from William Dam that is supposed to be resistant – Eleonora.

Eleonora Basil - 3.5 weeks
 
In addition, I'm also growing Thai basil.  It was infected last year as well, but not until much later than the regular basil, so it seems to have at least some resistance and I’m fairly certain that the seeds themselves are not infected.

Thai Basil - 3.5 weeks
 

I also started some kohlrabi – Early White Vienna (55-60 days) – which is a repeat from last year.

Early White Vienna kohlrabi in last years garden
 

I purchased a new kohlrabi variety to try this year as well – Kolibri (43 days, Pinetree).

Photo Source:  Pinetree
 
Isn't it gorgeous?  And it's not just it's good looks that attracted me to this variety, but also the fact that it can get fairly large without going woody.

I was originally going to give the kohlrabi a few squares, but then ended up having space issues in the brassica beds - there are just too many Chinese green varieties to try!  Since kolhrabi is more of a "little something extra" for me, rather than a main crop, I decided to reduce it's space to one 12" square - not a lot, but I'll be squeezing 4 seedlings into that space (I did have 5 but one didn't make it).

I'm growing the Early Vienna in the spring and then will replace that with the Kolibri over the summer as it is supposed to be heat tolerant.

Kohlrabi Seedling - 3.5 weeks
 
You'll notice the kohlrabi are already planted outside - these were the only starts due to be transplanted out this past week and I really didn't want to do the endless days of hardening off for 4 seedlings, so I cheated.  I planted the seedlings and then shaded them with a folded up bit of Agribon; each day, I removed the covering for longer periods of time.  The temperatures have been moderate (10-20C/50-68F) and even the nights have not been that cold, so I'm hoping they will be fine.

And lastly, I sowed several cells of Upland cress that I purchased from William Dam.  Each year, I seem to have at least one packet of seeds that gives me nothing, and this year, the upland cress was it.  I waited and waited and, after a couple of weeks, I still had no germination.

I asked Mark for some advice (the cress in his garden inspired me to give it a try this year) and he suggested that I keep this one going – as many factors can influence the rate at which seeds germinate – but also start a fresh batch.

Well, that first round sat there for a couple more weeks and nada - so that one is now gone.  For the second go-round, I decided to try sprouting the seeds first.  Quite a few of the seeds sprouted and I sowed them very shallowly into a cell pack.  A few fragile looking stems are now coming out of the soil.

Upland Cress Seedling
4 days after sowing sprouted seeds
 
The seeds are tiny and seeing how fragile the seedlings are, I have a feeling that I sowed the seed too deeply the first time round.  You know how I've said that sometimes, it's not what you've done, but simply a case of bad seed.  Well, this time, the fault clearly lay with me.

Till next time...

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things” ~~ Robert Brault

13 comments:

  1. It's getting down to the wire now, isn't it? We'll all be so busy for the next month. I'm sort of dreading it, but despite my fears, I always get it all done in time.
    Love those Marigolds, Margaret. What a nice splash of color!

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    1. You're not kidding - this is definitely the busiest time of the year for me & building some new beds isn't making things any easier.

      Last year, I figured the marigolds would make good companions for the tomatoes - I was actually quite surprised how much I ended up absolutely loving them!

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  2. I didn't know there was a resistant variety of basil. I ought to try it. Basil used to be so easy to grow. Now it is a race to see when mildew hits the basil. Last year it hit one part of the garden but not another until much much later. I planted my basil today and put it in three spots in the garden. I figure I have a better chance that way.

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    1. That's a great idea, Daphne. Spread the risk. I hope it works!

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    2. That's so interesting - I wouldn't think that relatively short distances would make that much of a difference. Maybe I should consider doing the same thing & planting some basil here and there in the beds instead of in the herb bed. Oddly enough, the last time I did this I planted some in the tomato bed and they didn't do that well at all. Mind you, that was before I had the fence & the bunnies chewed most of them down to the ground.

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  3. Some seeds seem to have their own ideas as to when they want to grow and you can't hurry them along.

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    1. So true - It's been 8 days and most of my tomato seedlings are up, but I'm still waiting on 3 slowpokes that are obviously taking their sweet time.

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  4. I love marigolds, such a bright splash of colour, especially when they're planted amongst the veg. I don't grow many herbs and haven't grown much basil in the past. I haven't heard of Basil Downy Mildew before, just another of the endless diseases which can blight our crops, it seems there's always something. Hope this batch of cress does better for you. I'm going to grow watercress this year. I've grown it in a container before so I hope it does ok.

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    1. Last year was my first experience with downy mildew - I think it's a relatively new disease for basil, around here anyhow.

      I'm crossing my fingers on the cress - I see several more seedlings coming up today. Watercress is one of my favourite salad additions and it will be interesting to see how upland cress compares. How exciting that you are actually growing watercress - I didn't think it could be grown in a container. I'm looking forward to hearing about how it does for you.

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  5. I am lucky and nothing has hit our basil - yet. I have been growing Kolibri for several years and I love it. It does well for me at a 6" spacing, which is pretty much what you are doing (if my math is correct).

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    1. You're math is indeed correct - I'm planting the seedlings at 6" spacing all the way around. Last year I think I used a 4" spacing and it was a bit too close.

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  6. I too plant marigold in my veggie garden, they add such cheery colors to the garden and l hope they deter some of the bugs. I also grow kholibri and just love the color.

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    1. I really wasn't expecting to enjoy the marigolds as much as I did - they are definitely a permanent addition to the vegetable beds!

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