Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to grow microgreens

Beet microgreens - research proves microgreens are supernutritious
I hope you get to check out the spring issue of Heirloom Gardener magazine.  My article about how to grow microgreens is inside, along with many really interesting articles and lots of DIY projects.  Here's the shortened 3-step version - because I'm THAT confident anyone can grow a great flat of healthful, delicious, and beautiful microgreens that easily.

STEP 1: Heavily sow seeds onto shallow tray (with drainage holes) of soil.  Cover with a fine layer of soil.

STEP 2: Daily, mist until soil is completely moist.  

STEP 3: Harvest in about 10-14 days by snipping just above the soil line.  

Microgreen salad mix: sunflower greens and radish greens - served with goat cheese medallions

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I made a simple request. Please water my seedlings while I'm away for 3 days.

It was just about 3 days!  And I came home to this...


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Everyone: look at my hellebores!

I'm very annoying to my family members from about April through September.  Everytime we pull up in the driveway, "Wow, look at that striped clematis."  Everytime we walk up to the house, "Oooh, did you see the Asiatic lily?"  When we're in the kitchen, "Look at the blooms on the fothergilla."  And currently, "The hellebores - everyone!  Look at the hellebores!"  Can you really blame me though?

At the end of every winter, the hellebores get their simple tidying up... a few minutes per year of care, and...

...voila! Really.  I can't think of an easier, more gorgeous, carefree perennial.  Shade-loving, persistent even when occasionally snowed upon, and with a form that looks like a bouquet growing straight out of the ground.  And maybe also a bit because they herald spring, hellebores are probably my favorite perennials in my garden.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Seed Starting: multi-cell seed-starting kits versus individual pots

The first time I started seeds on my own, I bought a 60 cell seed starting kit complete with a styrofoam tray that floats in a bottom tray (so you can't over or under water), a clear "biodome" to provide a warmer and more humid environment, and moist little pre-fab plugs I was supposed to simply drop a seed into.  Easy as pie.

Ten days later, the tomatoes were 3 inches high and threatening to pop the biodome off, a few of the eggplant had just started to germinate, and there were no signs of life from any of the peppers.  With the variety of seeds at different stages - some requiring heat, some needing to be moved under the grow lights, and some nearly needing to be potted up already, a multi-cell seed starting kit for the backyard gardener is just not the best method for seed-starting.

Recently, I bought a few 10 cell kits thinking that I could simply put a single variety of seed in separate trays to avoid the problems I had with the 60 cell kit.  The idea of not worrying about watering and the ease of simply dropping a seed into a plug and then plopping that plug in the hole in the tray was so appealing.

The results? Tomatoes germinate reliably and quickly as usual.  Peppers were not reliable and as seen in the photo above, it was a great waste of valuable space under the lights to keep this whole tray with just a few seedlings going.  By the time I consolidated the seedlings that DID germinate by potting them up and labeling them, I could have just done it the right way from the beginning.  And the tomatoes that are looking great?  Well, they're quickly outgrowing the 3/4" plug and will need to be potted up.  The final word on these seed starting kits?  A waste of time and space.  What I would consider almost a gimmick - that I fell for again.

Today, I started a second batch of seedlings using the method that I've used for years prior to being hyponized by the apparent ease of the seed-starting kits.  I also potted up some plants have have outgrown their tiny plugs.  My hands get dirty.  It's a lenthier process.  I make a little bit of a mess on my kitchen table. I have to keep an eye on watering.  I had to go to my local coffee shop to steal my plant markers (and to pick up a latte because this seed-starting process takes more time and energy). But it's simple and effective.  I can recycle the medium-filled pots if seeds don't germinate.  I can move individual pots around that are ready to go under the lights or keep pots that haven't germinated together in a warm environment or on the heat mat.  My seedlings also have a longer period of time in these larger pots before they need to be potted up and most can go directly in the garden.  Am I the only gardener that continually needs to learn you shouldn't try to fix what ain't broke?

Related Posts with Thumbnails