Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gardener's Winter Dreams

SSE Video HistoryI'm reading all the seed catalogues arriving daily ---the favorite winter activity of gardeners. I saved seeds from our favorite produce last fall so I'm planning when I need to start the seeds indoors.

I planted 21 tomato plants last year and it took forever for them to set fruit and then they did---all at once! OMG! Was I ever busy. This year, I plan to plant 3 tanks with tomatoes and hopefully that will be enough. I had better success with tomatoes in the raised beds the first year than in the ground  last summer.

Laurel holding a Flammée

I heartily recommend Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants in Torrance, CA for healthy, strong, well packed for shipment, heirloom tomato plants. That is where I got my heirloom plants last year and I was pleased with her product; they were worth the money since all the plants thrived. Laurel does plant propagation from the TomatoFest seeds. Gary Ibsen who is the founder of the TomatoFest in Carmel CA that started the heirloom tomato market going and growing through the festival is an old friend of Laurel's. He now has over 600 varities and when Mark and I lived in CA we attended the TomatoFest in Carmel and were thrilled to taste over 300 varieties at that time. It was an incredible experience with the product, the people and the location. It's one of the best food festivals we have ever attended anywhere.
Here is the link to Laurel's webpage.

Check out the TomatoFest here:

I ran into this crazy idea at Gardening; and I may try it on some of my seeds, who knows, sometimes crazy works.

Hello Jell-O Seed Starter

To get flower and vegetable seeds off to a disease-free start, try a sweet approach.
Sprinkle the seeds with Jell-O powder. You can also feed young plants with Jell-O
as they grow.

Peat pots
Potting soil
1 package of Jell-O powder, any flavor with sugar
Powdered skim milk, in amount equal to Jell-O (optional)
Saltshaker or other sprinkling device

1. Fill the peat pots with potting soil, and place two seeds in each pot.
2. Fill the saltshaker with the Jell-O powder (and powdered skim milk, if desired, for extra calcium), and sprinkle lightly on top. Gently press down the powder, and cover lightly with soil.
3. Moisten the soil, and cover it with damp newspaper.
4. After 4 days, remove the newspaper, and keep the seeds in a warm area with temperatures of 55° to 65°F.

We've had a few warm days and I'm itching to get my fingers back into the earth. But patience is the order of the day since it IS still winter! My head is swimming with plans for plantings around the yard and garden. Soon, soon...

Happy gardener dreams,

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