Jenni's Blog

A book?!?

on Wed, 03/14/2018

So just recently I had some folks here locally talk about how good I am at growing seedlings, how well I do with a little apartment garden, etc. Their thought was that I could write a book to help others be able to do the same. Funny thing is that while a blog came to mind, which is why I originally started this site, I hadn't thought of writing a book. Odd since I've looked so hard for such a book for myself and never found one.

They said that with the ability to be able to grow your own food becoming more of a necessity, this book could really help a lot of people - as well as the earth. So here I go. I've already worked out an outline and am writing the introductory chapter. But what I want to know is this - what do you wish was included in the book? What questions do you have? What do you wish you had known earlier? Feel free to post them as comments below. : )

No seedlings this year

on Wed, 03/14/2018

I've decided this year I've got to take some time off from growing seedlings. Our apartment has become pretty cramped with my workspace for my job and an extra family member, so there's just really not enough room for them. I'll grow some outside for myself, but no thousand seedlings for sale this year. 

Hopefully next year we'll be in a house and I can get back to growing.

In the meantime, I hope to write up more blogs on how to's, tips, etc. 

Specifics on varieties available

on Tue, 07/25/2017

A number of people have messaged asking for specifics regarding what varieties are available. So here's what I've got:

Tomatoes (most $2/each)

Beefsteak
Better Boy
Big Mama
Black Krim
Brandywine
Cherokee Purple
Delicious
Early Girl
Jubilee Golden
Large Red Cherry
Old German
Oregon Spring
Roma
Sungold

Beans: (3/$1)

Dragon Tongue
Pinto
Contender
Scarlet Runner
Roma II
Triomph de farcy
Blue Lake 274
Kitchen King

Squash (most $1 each, some large plants $2)

Zucchini
Crookneck
Acorn
Butternut
Spaghetti
And some "mystery" ones marked with a ? that are free

Eggplant (most $1 each)

Long slim
Garden blend

Sweet Peppers ($1 each, small ones 50 cents)

California Wonder
Sunbright yellow
Purple beauty
Marconi yellow
Big Dipper
Orange Sun
Crimson Select
Golden star
Jupiter green
Various mix packs

Hot peppers ($1 each, small ones 50 cents)

Cayenne Slim Red
Serrano
Jalapeno
Habanero
Masivo
Bulgarian carrot
Hungarian yellow wax

Pumpkins ($1 each)

Big Max
Lumina (white)
Small decorative
Baby Wrinkles
Mr. Wrinkles
Sugar 

Misc ($1 each)

Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Kale
Artichokes (only 2)
Strawberries (only 2)
Lettuce

Come pick up some plants!

on Wed, 07/19/2017

With the odd weather we've had this year, folks are running behind in getting their gardens together. Are you like that? Need more plants for your garden? We have hundreds of organically raised seedlings and plants ready to go in your garden. 

Plants were grown in organic soil and treated with organic food, like fish fertilizer. Most are in 4" pots, but some are in smaller peat pots or seedling cells.

So what's available?

We have a wide variety of plants, including:

Seedlings for sale

on Fri, 05/26/2017

Well, with the weather being so crazy this year, everything is running later than normal. I wasn't even able to do cucumbers this year because it was just too cold. Here's what is available thus far:

Peas: $1/plant

Sugar Snap - 7
Cascadia - 7
Dwarf Grey - 5
Burpeeana Early - 7
Oregon Sufar Pod - 3
Oregon II - 4
Oregon Giant - 3

Beans - $1/plant or $5 for a six pack

(most of these are still in the six pack seedling cells)
Dragon Tongue - 11
Black Turtle - 13
Pinto - 13
Mexican Red - 10
There are also a bunch of other beans that I haven't cataloged yet:
Scarlet runner
Provider
Kentucky Wonder
Blue Lake
Italian
French
... and more!

Cauliflower, Broccoli, Cabbage, Greens - $2/lg plant, $1/sm plant

Snowball Y Cauliflower - 6
Early Green Broccoli - 9
There are also a bunch of greens that I haven't cataloged yet:
Chinese Cabbage
Bok Choi
Blue Kale
Lacinato Kale
Lettuce

Eggplant - $2/plant

Early Long - 13
Garden Blend - 2

Squash & Zucchini - $2/plant

Dark Green Zucchini - 11
Straightneck Squash - 18
Black Beauty Zucchini - 8
Buttercup Squash - 5
Acorn Squash - 10
Spaghetti Squash - 2
Golden Zucchini - 8
Ford Hook Zucchini - 8
Waltham Butternut Squash - 9
Crookneck Squash - 3
We also had an entire tray of squash get knocked over and the tags fell out. So we have about 10 "mystery" squash plants. Most likely contenders - crookneck, sure thing zucchini, but could be some winter squash. These are $1/plant.

Pumpkins & Gourds - $2/plant

Jack o Lantern pumpkin - 6
Big Max pumpkin - 6
Lumina white pumpkin - 11
Small sugar pumpkin - 2
Baby Wrinkles  pumpkin - 6
Jack be little pumpkin - 8
Mr. Wrinkles pumpkin - 7
Mini pumpkins - 15
Early sweet sugar pumpkin - 4
Fancy gourd mix - 5

More eggplant, peppers (bell & hot), herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, etc is forthcoming. The items above are just those that are hardened off and ready to go. I have a greenhouse filled with plants that are hardening off and will be ready by the end of next week.

Seedling shelves

on Sat, 03/04/2017

This is the shelf I have. It's a Husky 5 shelf heavy duty shelving system. It can hold up to 1,000 lbs per shelf, so it's more than enough for some plants and lights. Once we get the shelves rearranged, there will be about 1.5' between each shelf, which is more than enough.

The only complaints I have about it are:

  • It's 48" wide, so it's 2" shy of being able to fit 5 trays on it. As such, I let the trays on each side stick over an inch
  • I wish it had one more shelf, as that would be perfect. I haven't been able to find a replacement or add-on shelf anywhere for it.

I wish I had seen this one when I bought mine, as I would have liked gotten it instead.

It's the same brand and same type of shelf. The only difference is that it is 60" wide instead of 48". That means you can fit 6 trays on each shelf.

Topic

New additions...

on Mon, 02/27/2017

Ordered several new seeds today, so soon I'll have some new items to add to the inventory. Also ordered two different kinds of strawberry roots, so I'll be able to sell strawberry plants this year as well. One I've grown before and it is VERY prolific - it was still growing strawberries when it snowed here in November. The other grows very large, tasty berries. I'm looking forward to trying that one out.

Click read more below to see photos and descriptions of the tomatoes, eggplant, strawberries, greens, and more that we'll be adding to the site.

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Added more lights

on Sun, 02/26/2017

Since it was time for the peas to start popping up, I needed to add lights to the third shelf where those plants are sitting. So on Friday I ran to Home Depot and picked up everything I needed to add two more lights to the shelf. I now have three shelves of plants with 2 lights on each. 

And it was a good thing, too, as by Saturday morning there were a whole bunch of peas that had popped up. Now they'll have the light that they need.

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What to do with old soil?

on Mon, 02/20/2017

A question I see a lot from people who container garden is what to do with the soil from last year that is in their containers. Do they get rid of it? Reuse it? What? It seems like every year once we get close to growing season that this question comes up.

There are a lot of options. If you have a compost pile, you can dump all of the old soil that doesn't have plants currently growing in it, bulbs that will come back each year, etc. This gives it a chance to be reinvigorated by the nutrients it picks up from your compost heap. But what if you don't have a compost heap?

How I hang my lights

on Fri, 02/03/2017

A friend asked me today how I attach my lights to my shelves where I grow my seedlings.

The shelves themselves aren't solid - they're a grid. So I bought some s-biners and chain. S-biners are similar to a s-hook, except that they have a closure that you can open by pushing, just like a carabiner. This means I don't have to worry about bumping a light or chain and the hook slipping, causing the light to fall.

Seeds updated and store open!

on Tue, 01/03/2017

I've updated the listing of seeds that are available thus far for this year. I will be purchasing more seeds soon, which means additional plants will be available. I also plan on buying at least one pack of strawberry bare roots, which means I'll have strawberry plants available this year as well.

I just updated the store, so you can also do pre-orders through there. So if you're interested in doing a pre-order, you can use the shop, comment on this post (or the seeds one) or contact me to put in an order. If you do a large order (50+ plants), then I will do a special price for you.

My seeds - updated February 13, 2017

on Tue, 01/03/2017

2016-01-22-16.07.jpgI've gone through and updated my list of seeds that I have as of now. I've also been going through seed catalogs to look at some ideas of new things I may be able to grow this year. I'll be adding to the list below as I purchase more seeds.

I will once again be taking pre-orders, as this will help me to better plan what to grow for myself as well as what to grow for others. I typically sell them for $2-3/plant, which covers the cost of the seeds, organic soil, pots, grow light, etc. and come in a pot that is approximately 3.5" x 3.5". Plants of this size are usually $4-5 at the store and are not grown organically.

If you're interesting in purchasing some seedlings, you can visit my online shop, comment below or you can use the contact page to get a hold of me. Seedlings are usually ready March-April, depending on the type. I'll be starting seedlings in mid-January and will be continually growing through March, as different types have different lengths of time it takes to grow the seeds. 

Click the "read more" link for a chart of what I have thus far. (02-13-17, 7 pm).

Topic

Setting up a garden when you're a renter

on Wed, 08/31/2016

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Well, recently we were told that we had to remove everything that wasn't physically on/attached to the patio - no plants out on the ground. When I pointed out that I had permission to do this and it was in the same place as always, I was told that they had never given permission, had never seen the garden, etc. Now this was the exact person who I had talked to about my garden multiple times and had approved it. They tried saying in past years they'd just seen the greenhouse. A greenhouse that I just bought and installed this year. After a little more poking, it was clear that they had visited the garden this year (since that's the only time I had a greenhouse) and had to have seen all the containers since those were already there.

After a little back and forth, I ripped up a good chunk of the garden and the rest seems to be ok for now. Didn't make me too happy to pull up all my pumpkins, most of my squash, much of my cucumbers, etc. - it was probably $100+ worth of plants. Needless to say, we'll be moving as soon as we can, as I am tired of this kind of thing.

So how can you help protect yourself?

Get it in writing

If they approve you having a garden, greenhouse, planters, etc., get it in writing. And get that again every time you sign your lease. Make sure that it states that this agreement supersedes anything in your lease, community rules, etc.

Have them visit

Set up your garden and then have them visit. Ask them if there are any issues with what you have, where it is at, etc. Then you can fix it before your plants get too established. My landlord couldn't seem to understand why it would be an issue moving a pot that is probably 20 gallons with a 7' tall tomato plant in it.

You might even want to document the visit, such as recording it. Just make sure what the laws are regarding recording other people.

Once they've ok'd it, take photos, print them, and have them sign off.

This should help protect you for at least the duration of your current lease if they try to change things midway like they did to us.

Powdery mildew

on Thu, 07/28/2016

Powdery mildew is a problem for me every year. I live in an apartment that runs their sprinklers several times throughout the night from about 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. Since these run at night when it's cool, it never fails that mildew starts to grow. Not to mention that it never fails that we get rainy days that are cool.

I've tried just about everything over the years. Several people mentioned Neem Oil, so I finally picked some up at the store recently when I found it on sale. I mixed up some and put it in a spray bottle and went to work. I gave everything that had mildew on them a good spraying and everything else that could get mildew got a light spray. And then I waited to see what happened.

A week later and there was maybe 30% the amount of mildew on the leaves as there had been previously. I was so excited, as some of the leaves were just completely white and fuzzy. I've got to do another spraying, as the bottle recommended every week until it's cleared up and every 14 days to help prevent mildew.

2016-07-25 12.01.55.jpg

Hopefully within a few weeks the plants will all nice and healthy again. Having this mildew on it makes it hard for the plant to photosynthesize, and it can die.

Updated seedlings for sale list

on Sat, 07/16/2016

I'm lowering the price of all my plants to $1/each, as I would like to get these on to new homes so that I can get my own garden organized.

I'm located in NE Gresham by the college. Cross-posted. Please bring a box or tray to carry your plants.
 
EGGPLANT:
(3) Asian Fingers (organic seeds, long slender eggplant that grows in groups like fingers, silky texture and mildly sweet)
(1) Black Beauty (open pollinated, most popular type of eggplant)
(8) Early Long Eggplant (heirloom, grows to about 9" in length)
(3) Pingtung Long Eggplant (heirloom, Asian variety, tender skin)
 
BELL PEPPERS:
(6) California Wonder Bell Peppers (heirloom, green variety)
(2) California Wonder Bell Peppers (heirloom, red variety)
(4) Big Dipper Bell Peppers (open pollinated; can turn red)
(7) Crimson Select Bell Peppers (hybrid)
(5) North Star Bell Peppers (hybrid; can turn red)
(2) Sunbright Bell Peppers (heirloom)
 
HOT PEPPERS:
(39) Jalapeno Hot Peppers
(3) Masivo Peppers (extra-large poblano/ancho)
(1) Habanero
 
TOMATOES:
(9) Roma Tomatoes
 
SQUASH & ZUCCHINI:
(4) Sure thing Zucchini (hybrid)
(5) Dark green Zucchini (heirloom, high producing)
(3) Fordhook Zucchini (heirloom, fast maturing, low maintenance)
(4) Golden Zucchini (heirloom)
(8) Acorn Squash (heirloom)
(6) Spaghetti Squash (heirloom)
(4) Butternut Squash (hybrid)
 
BEANS:
(2) Contender Beans (stringless, snap, high-yielding, bush, bush)
(4) Blue Lake Beans (heirloom, high-yielding, bush)
(2) Blue Lake Beans (heirloom, prolific, pole)
 
PUMPKINS:
(3) Small sugar pumpkins
(2) Mini mix
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Topic

Wilted seedlings

on Sat, 07/02/2016

Usually when I have to deal with wilted seedlings,it's outside. Maybe we had too hot of a day and they need extra water. Or I didn't harden them off long enough. But this year I'm having the issue indoors. We've been so hot indoors lately that they are acting like they're having issues from not being hardened off long enough. Problem is they're indoors. It's just too hot inside for them and I don't have ac in that part of the house, so there's not a lot I can do (only in the bedroom).

I'm considering moving the ones most affected (cucumbers and eggplant) into my bathroom in the evenings and giving them some cool off time.

2016-07-02 20.05.23.jpg

I'm looking forward to the day when I'm in a house that stays cooler or has something like a basement that stays cool. Then the poor plants won't have such a problem when the house is unusually hot. They were doing great until it got hot inside.

Aphids!

on Tue, 06/28/2016

I am so tired of aphids. First I had the usual ones on my chives. I bought ladybugs. Then we found them indoors on my seedlings. I tried organic insecticidal soap, but that only works if it touches the bugs and they were good at hiding. So then I moved them outside and bought more ladybugs. Then a few days later I find an infestation on my kale. This time it was a different kind of aphid - these looked like globs of ash. The kale had been fine just a few days earlier. I ended up having to pull up half of it to protect the rest.

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Then more seedlings inside got aphids. Then I found black ones on my beans.

I swear everywhere I turn I'm fighting aphids. And looking around town, it appears to be an issue many people are having. I'm noticing them on roses and such all over town.

Rain, rain, rain

on Fri, 06/17/2016

I haven't posted much lately because it's just been rainy, rainy, rainy. Lots of rain. Even some hail and thunderstorms. Thankfully the hail was smaller and my plants a good size, as early in the season that could have decimated the garden.

I'm noticing a lot of pale leaves and yellow leaves across plants. This is because when you get this amount of rain it washes much of the nutrients out of your garden, especially if you are container gardening. After you've had a lot of rain it is very important to make sure you feed your plants and make up for the nutrition they lost from all the rain. I'll do my usual weekly treatment, but will also likely do some fish fertilizer and Epsom salts to make up for what they lost.

Topic

So hot!

on Sat, 06/04/2016

It is so hot here this weekend. Normally in June this area of Oregon should average about 78° for the high. This weekend we're expected to hit 100°+. With it being so hot, you've got to be certain to take care of your plants so that they make it through such high temps. That is especially true if you go from lower temperatures to really high ones like we've done (we were in the 60s).

Topic

Tomatoes grow quickly

on Wed, 06/01/2016

Typically once planted in the ground or in a large pot, tomato plants will grow quickly. I usually see at least a foot's growth in the first few weeks, as well as a lot more branches.

If yours aren't growing very well, there are a few reasons this could be:

- It's too cold. Tomato plants are not fond of the cold and might not grow as well under those conditions.

- Not enough nutrients. Did you give the plant some kind of tomato food, fertilizer, etc when you planted it? Mine get a handful of long lasting granular fertilizer in the hole before I put in the plant.

- Using too much energy on buds/tomatoes. Did you pinch off any buds that popped up? It may seem crazy, but until your plant is a good size you should pinch off any buds that appear. This allows the plants to focus their energy on growing the plant instead of growing tomatoes. This will meant a healthier plant and more tomatoes later.

I planted my tomatoes in their pots on May 5th. I started growing them inside from seed at the beginning of March and then moved them outside a couple weeks before I planted them so they could harden off. 

Here's what they looked like the day I planted them:

tomatoes-planting-day-may05_0.jpg
(click for larger photo)

Here's a comparison of what they looked like on May 23 (when my husband helped me stake and mulch them) and today on June 1:

tomatoes-time01_0.jpg
(click for larger photo)

Topic

Planting tomatoes

on Sun, 05/29/2016

Planting tomatoes for the first time? Maybe been growing them for a while, but just been putting them into the ground without much thought to their roots? If so, did you know that tomatoes like to be planted nice and deep? Tomatoes are one of the plants that thrives on being transplanted because they love it when you bury their stem deep. I do this when I transplant the tomatoes from the seedling cells to the 4" pots and again when I plant them in my garden. This helps build a strong root system, which means better access to the water and nutrients in your soil.

All those little hairs and bumps that you see on a tomato plant can become roots if they get close to or touch the dirt. This is why sometimes when you buy a tomato plant you'll see roots right at the surface. This isn't a problem plant, it's one that is developing a better root system.

tomato-roots-sm.png planting-tomatoes-sm.png
Click on the photos for a larger version.

Garden is doing well

on Sun, 05/22/2016

The garden is doing pretty well. Planted more carrot seeds a little while back, as something happened and most did not germinate. It could be that the cats were in the planters again. Lots of little carrot plants popping up now.

The tomato plants are growing like crazy. I think they really like that new fertilizer I bought. Same with the squash.

I'm planning to post a bunch of pictures sometime soon. Things have just been hectic with work and I haven't gotten a chance to prep all the photos for posting on the web.

Hope your gardens are doing well!

Topic

Pollinating squash

on Mon, 05/09/2016

A lot of people are used to plants where the fruit doesn't grow until a flower has been pollinated. So when fruit shows up on a squash, pumpkin, or gourd plant, they assume it means the flower has been pollinated. When they don't see any fruit, they try pollinating the flowers themselves. The problem is that these kinds of plants don't work that way - they have male and female flowers. The male flowers go from the stem to flower, while female flowers have a fruit at the bottom.

Click any of the photos to see a larger version. Sorry about the quality - I didn't realize until I was all done with the photos that it was saving them as gifs instead of png.

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flowers-indentify02-small.gif flowers-indentify01-sm.gif

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Heirloom cucumbers now ready!

on Sat, 05/07/2016

Now that it's finally warmed up at night, my heirloom cucumbers are ready to go in your garden. They've been hardened off and have gigantic root systems (some already hanging out of the bottom of the 4" pots). Many already have blossoms.

All plants are grown organically by me and not treated with anything except Alaska Fish Fertilizer (organic, OMRI listed). Plants are in pots that are approximately 3.5"x3.5"x4" (often times called 4" starts). All have been hardened off and are ready for planting in the ground or in large pots.

Here's what I will have available starting this weekend:

Muncher Burpless - short and thick, can be pickled
Marketmore 76 - heavy, early, and long, can be pickled
Sumter - perfect for pickling
Spacemaster - compact, high yields; great for containers
Straight Eight - classic straight 8" cukes

Lemon cucumbers will be coming, they are just a little behind the others. If you want some of these and are certain you will pick them up, I will put a hold on them for you.

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Tomato Growth

on Fri, 05/06/2016

For those who are new to growing tomatoes from seed, it can be hard to know if your plants are growing on schedule as they should or whether they are behind. I've gone through my photos taken this year to give you an idea of over the course of a little over a month and a half about how your tomatoes should look. This covers from when I planted the seeds to when I moved them outside to harden off to when they were ready for sale/planting.

I keep my tomatoes inside in the warmth of the house until they are ready to be planted outside. At that point they go outside to be hardened off. Previously that meant outside in the sun for several hours and then back indoors at night. Now that I have a portable greenhouse, they go into there and I can close that up at night. Until they're ready for that, they stay indoors under the lights. Otherwise you can severely stunt their growth. They should not be moved back and forth from indoors to outdoors while they are small.

This should give you a better idea of how things should grow over that time. Next year I'll work on trying to take specific pictures of each seedling type daily so that we get a better idea of progression.

You can view the photos here in the gallery.

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Too much water

on Sun, 04/24/2016

Yesterday I was out working with my plants and noticed that the kale had an usually high number of dead leaves. That was odd since it had been doing so well.

A little while later I went to add a little volunteer kale start that had popped up in another planter. Went to dig a hole for it and found that under the mulch the soil was completely saturated with water. I guess somehow I missed that this planter didn't have any drain holes in it. Seems like this is becoming an issue more and more. It used to be that pots all came with drain holes. Then they came with weak spots where you were supposed to use a hammer or other tool to pop those circles out. Now it seems like most have no way for the water to drain out.

So how do you solve this issue, especially when the planter already has soil and plants in it? A drill. Just put a drill bit into your drill and put as many holes into the pot as you'd like.

For now the pot has three holes on the one end. Later I'll add more.

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Organizing Seeds

on Tue, 04/19/2016

Organizing your seeds can be a hard thing for some people. It's fine when you have a few packets, but what do you do when you have dozens? I wasn't sure, so I ended up diving them by type (tomato, squash, herbs, flowers, etc) and putting them in big envelopes. Inside each one is a ziplock for the open packets. I have the type written on the front of each envelope and I keep them in a container I bought at the dollar store. This makes it easy for me to flip through and find what I am looking for.

2016-02-21-09.40.png

I also found this interesting way of doing it on the Frugal Mama & The Sprout blog. It uses a binder and photo pages to organize everything. This allows you to also add layouts of where everything is planted and then have the photo pages after it to hold each of the packets of seeds. I'm thinking of trying this next year.

Seed-Notebook.jpg
Image courtesy of Frugal Mama & The Sprout

On the Montana Homesteader, they use an old photo album to hold everything together, including plans.

Organizing-Garden-Seeds-Montana-Homesteader.jpg

Reformation Acres has a whole bunch of ideas, including tic tac boxes and filing envelopes.

Thrifty Fun has even more ideas, including photo pocket pages and coupon organizers. 

Hot weather

on Mon, 04/18/2016

Many parts of the country are having abnormally high temperatures. That is definitely the case here where I live in Oregon. We're seeing temps in the mid to upper 80s and there's been some talk of us hitting 90 this month. For this part of Oregon, that is just crazy. We should be in the 60s and 70s right now.

For those of us who container garden, that means lots of watering. The plants haven't grown strong enough roots yet to be able to seek out all the water in the pot and the plants aren't strong enough yet to deal with this weather. That means a lot of wilting, shock, and possibly death. So how do you deal with this?

Go out first thing in the morning and give everyone a really good watering. Make sure not to miss anyone. Doing it early in the day before it gets too hot out decreases the amount of water lost due to evaporation and allows it to seep into the dirt.

Put mulch around your plants. Several of my pots have mulch all around the plants. Home Depot has been running a special lately on the weekends where big bags are only $2/each. I bought three, which appears to be way too much for my garden. Having never worked with mulch, I didn't realize that a little goes a long way. And be sure to have gloves as well, otherwise you will end up like me and be covered in slivers. I like working in the garden with my bare hands, but not with mulch! Adding mulch helps to keep moisture in your pots longer, which means they can better make it through these hot days.

Check on your plants during the day. If it's extremely hot outside, you may find some plants need a second watering. Just be careful, as you don't want to overwater and wash all your nutrients away. You can look at the soil and see how dry it looks, is it pulling away from the sides of the pot, etc.

Hopefully all of this will help you to protect your plants during these heat waves.

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Want to know when seedlings are available?

on Sat, 04/16/2016

Do you want to know when seedlings are available, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers? Sign up for our mailing list and we'll let you know. The list will only be used occasionally to let you know about new seedlings that have come available for sale or when we're having a special price on some of the seedlings. This is an easy way to stay updated on when plants are available.

Your friend the ladybug

on Tue, 04/12/2016

If you want to grow a garden that is free of chemicals, beneficial bugs are going to be a lifesaver for you. Without them, you'll end up with bugs all over your garden, killing plants, eating leaves, etc.

One of my favorites to use is the ladybug. They love aphids and can eat up a bunch of them. They'll also eat pollen as well, which means they may pollinate your plants. There's a good source of information about them here.

Ladybugs can be purchased at many feed stores, farm stores, etc. Here I've bought them at Coastal Farm & Ranch as well as Fred Meyer. They tend to come in a mesh bag or plastic cup. They tend to be in hibernation, but will wake up once they warm up. Don't be surprised if some are dead - that's normal. If a lot of them are dead, that's not, but don't be surprised if 10% or so are dead. That's why you get so many in the container.

Wait until it is almost dark and give your garden a good watering. The ladybugs are going to need a lot to drink once they get active. Then, just as it is getting dark, release your ladybugs. I tend to sprinkle them all over my garden so that I have good coverage. Ladybugs do not like to fly in the dark, which means they will stay in your garden. The longer you can get them to stay at the beginning, the more likely you are to keep some of them around.

When I came out the next morning, there were ladybugs everywhere. They were chasing bugs, eating pollen, and mating. I can only hope this means I'll find ladybug eggs later.

I also bought a little plastic house they had for ladybugs at the store. I am interested to see if this helps keep them around as well.

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Spending time outside

on Thu, 04/07/2016

We're having unusually nice and warm weather here in my part of Oregon (80s in early April!), which means I'm busy outside in the garden. I have to take it slow and only do things in short bursts (and wait for others to do the heavy stuff), but I am getting as much done as I can. Trying to clear out all the peas, beans, and greens so that tomatoes can begin moving out to the greenhouse. Some have grown significantly faster than others and are blocking the light. As such, I'd like to get the big ones moved outdoors and give more room for the little ones. Plus it's about time to transplant all the peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers into bigger pots. That means I need the space.

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Plants are doing well

on Fri, 04/01/2016

My outside plants are doing really well. Lots of flower buds everywhere, including on my beans. I probably need to see about setting up my trellis soon for the peas and beans.

Picked up a bunch of potting soil yesterday as well as some new containers. Looking forward to transplanting more veggies soon. I'm a little behind last year, as I already had squash in containers on March 21st. Hoping to do those in the next few days. I've had them all outside hardening off the last few days.

Bought Abby some new flowers to go along with the ones she already has. She always likes having a number of flowers and I like all the pollinators they attract to the garden. I picked up a few colors of mums as well as some red Asiatic Lilies. We really love those kind and have been trying to get them in various colors. Each year we've added on a new color. We now have pink, yellow, orange, and red. 

The snapdragons are doing really well, which makes me happy. I grew them all from seed last year and these are the ones that have returned for a second year. I also found a pansy in bloom, which is another flower I grew from seed last year.

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Carrots are sprouting

on Mon, 03/28/2016

I planted two large pots of carrots this year - one is the Short 'n Sweet variety, which is often times used for baby carrots. They grow shorter and sweeter than the average carrot variety. The other pot has heirloom rainbow carrots.

Last year I tried growing them, but we got a lot of rain shortly after I planted them. That caused the seeds to all run to the edge of the pots, which led to very few growing. This year the seeds were better established before we ended up with a bunch of rain.

Over the last week or so, little plants have slowly been emerging. I can't wait to have fresh carrots later this year.

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Transplanting tomatoes

on Sun, 03/27/2016

So it's that time again - time to move the tomato plants from the little seedling cells into seedling pots. I'm especially careful when doing this since I only minimally thin the tomatoes - I only remove the ones that are significantly smaller than the rest. For any of the other cells, I very carefully separate each tomato plant and transplant them each separately into larger pots. It's rare that I lose one when I do that, but it happens occasionally. I still end up with way more plants doing this than if I were to only select one per cell. But it also means that I end up with a lot of tomatoes - about 7 trays worth this time.

The key is being very, very careful with the roots. Massage the ball of dirt and roots gently and then carefully separate each tomato by holding the plant and gently wiggling it away from the others. Then you can plant each one of them. You might break a few plants when doing this, but once you get the hang of it you'll end up with more plants than if you saved one per cell.

Green beans!

on Sat, 03/26/2016

When I planted the Contender Beans, I knew that they were considered "early" beans. I didn't realize just how early they meant. They started growing beans while still in the house. So if you're looking for green beans that start growing very early, Contender is a very good choice. Just in the past two days I've already picked a few beans and they've just been growing in small seedling pots. Imagine what they'll do in big pots or in the ground.

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Growing tomatoes and peppers

on Wed, 03/23/2016

Tomatoes and peppers are hot weather plants. They really prefer it when the temperatures are warm. So that means if it's not warm where you're growing, it's going to take longer for them to germinate and grow. That means it is best to help them stay warm and their soil moist if you want them to do well.

These plants are some of the few that I do use the clear tray covers on when they are germinating. The lights above them help them to stay nice and warm inside the trays, which helps them to grow. But I've found that it is best if you do this with seedling trays that are not made of materials like peat or coconut, as those mold very quickly. I've never been successful with those kinds of pots under the clear covers. As long as they don't get over-watered, I've not had an issue with the traditional plastic seed cells and regular seedling soil. But if you're using other kinds of pots or material to grow the seeds in, you may run into issues.

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Bought a new greenhouse

on Sun, 03/20/2016

So the shelf greenhouse I originally bought had some issues, such as the zipper being broken. Then I found out some of the pieces that snap together had cracks in them. As such, I took it back to the store to exchange it. They were out of what I wanted, but offere me the larger greenhouse at a discount. I didn't think that was going to be an option, but my complex was pretty cool about it and said I could indeed have it. So now I have a nice walk-in greenhouse available on my patio.

Preparing for cold weather

on Sat, 03/19/2016

It happens to us all - you get nice weather for a while and you put your seedlings out. Then the worst news comes out - you're going to have a cold snap. How do you protect your plants?

There are a number of ways you can do this, including:

  • Bringing them indoors or under cover (like under a covered patio or carport)
  • Using a floating row cover
  • Using a portable greenhouse
  • Using hoops

So what should you choose? Below is some information on each option.

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Replaced the lights

on Mon, 03/14/2016

Well, I found that I really liked the other light I purchased better, so I packed up all the lights that I had purchased and returned them. When I bought them they weren't what I had wanted in the first place, and the way I had them hooked up made it difficult for me to water plants, move them around, etc. They'd said if they didn't work out I could bring them back within 30 days and that's exactly what I did. Now I have the new lights hooked up and I hope these are going to work better for me. It's much easier dealing with one light, two cords, and two chains on each shelf than two lights, two cords, and four chains. Ended up saving about $100 this way.

Bought a new light...

on Sun, 03/13/2016

So Friday I went out to buy a new set of lights for the third shelf since my eggplant had popped up and I didn't want it to get too "leggy". Went to my usual store and they only had one light (I needed two). They said they might have more in later in the day, but didn't know. Didn't even offer to put one aside or order one. I bought what they had and then ran around town trying to find another. No such luck.

So I went to Home Depot to see what they had. Couldn't find any 4' T5 lights that plug in, but did find some T8 ones. They were just under $18. Then a set of two daylight bulbs for the fixture was like $9. So for less than $27 I got a light that actually works better than the T5 ones I bought previously. They're brighter and are longer (even though all of them are supposed to be 4'). So I think I am going to see about taking these other ones back and replacing them. I haven't been entirely happy with them, but they were what I could find. For the $40+ I spent on each one, I would expect more.

How-to: So where do I start?

on Fri, 03/11/2016

IMG_0361.pngA lot of people want to grow their own vegetables, fruit, and herbs, but don't know where to start. It's taken me several years, but I've gotten pretty good at it. I continue to improve and learn from others and will be even better once I'm in a house where I can plant in the ground and have more room to work.

For the purpose of my blog, I'm talking about fruits and veggies in the culinary sense, not biologically. So cucumbers, squash, greens, peppers, etc = veggies. Tomatoes and strawberries = fruit.

I grow plenty of vegetables and some herbs, but very little fruit. That's because most fruits seem to grow on bushes, vines, or trees, and I can't have any of those in my container garden. But once I get into a house and have land, I am looking forward to growing a lot more fruit. When it comes to herbs, I just grow the things I use often, like basil, rosemary, cilantro, and chives. I also grow some mint to help attract pollinators and such.

Planted more seeds

on Thu, 03/10/2016

Well, with the exception of cucumbers I think I'm just about done planting seeds for this season. I've done a few batches of peppers, tomatoes, squash, and eggplant, which should be enough to meet my needs and have plenty left over to sell. Every year I am too early with my cucumbers, which means my first batch dies because it is too cold outside when I move them outdoors. So this year I am purposefully waiting a few extra weeks before I start the seeds. Since I don't have any room inside for them, I can't be tempted to start them yet. I have a bunch more peas, beans, greens, and herbs to move outside, and once I do that I'll have room for the cucumbers. 

Here's some photos of my tomatoes and squash:

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Did some outdoor gardening

on Sun, 03/06/2016

I've been wanting to do some outdoor gardening, but with my back injury it makes it difficult. Today I finally was able to make it out there and do some gardening. I put some of my window boxes back out into the yard, cleared out dead leaves, and planted a whole bunch of plants.

I now have peas, beans, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, spinach, kale, and bok choi growing outside in my garden.

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First seedlings are ready

on Wed, 03/02/2016

2016-03-02-06.58a.pngMy first batch of seedlings is ready for planting! I've got some that I've set aside for myself that I'll be planting in the next few days. I have the following available for sale:

  • Sugar Snap Peas (10)
  • Oregon Giant Peas (17)
  • Burpeeana Early (12)
  • Dwarf Grey Sugar Peas (10)
  • Cascadia Peas (6)
  • Sweet Basil (6)
  • Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans (12)
  • Contender Beans (5)
  • Blue Lake Bush Beans (11)
  • Little Gem Romaine Lettuce (~60)
  • Chinese Cabbage (12)
  • Buttercrunch Lettuce (16)
  • Baby Bok Choi (12)

Beans, herbs, and peas are in plastic pots that are approximately 3.25" square. Greens are in smaller peat pots that you'll plant directly into the ground, as they have smaller root systems that are easily hit by transplant shock.

Plants are grown organically here locally in Gresham by me. I grow seedlings for myself every year and sell the extras to help cover the costs of my garden. There will be more seedlings over the next few months. 

Plants can be picked up in NE Gresham near the college. I may be able to meet you elsewhere if you're buying multiple plants. Discount for orders of 12+ plants.

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Peas have moved outside

on Wed, 02/24/2016

IMG_0304.jpgSince the weather is getting nice outside, and my pea plants are getting big, it's time for them to go outside to get them hardened off. This will help them to get used to the cooler temperatures outside so that they are shocked by the colder dirt in the ground (or in the pots). They'll go outside for a part of the day each day until they're ready to be left outside entirely.

Thus far I have 55 plants outside. I'll be keeping some for myself, but the rest will be up for sale. Those are:

Sugar Snap: 10 plants 8 plants (2 ppu)

Oregon Giant (large podded snow pea w/ sweet peas): 17 plants

Burpeeana Early (3" pods with 8-10 sweet peas; prolific and early): 12 plants

Dwarf Grey Sugar (heirloom edible pod snow pea): 10 plants

Cascadia (sweet snap pea that grows on a short plant): 6 plants

These are $2/each and come in a ~3.25" pot.

How-to: How do I know when to plant?

on Mon, 02/22/2016

Here are some great resources for finding out when to plant things in Oregon. If you live in another state, do a Google search, as there are likely similar resources available for your state. For here I just Googled this: oregon vegetable planting calendar

Oregon gardening calendar

Oregon vegetable planting calendar

Here's the calendar for where I live (Zone 8)

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Did some outdoor planting

on Mon, 02/22/2016

2016-02-16-18.30.jpgI was able to do some outdoor planting today, as the weather was really nice today. We were supposed to have gotten heavy rain yesterday, but it never really came. As such, my planters were damp, but not soaked. That meant I could finally get my tulips and hyacinth in the ground. My husband is really bad about buying anything for me for holidays and such, so I picked up some plants at the store instead. 

Between the weather and my injury I haven't been able to work outside like I normally do. My poor daffodil pot had gotten knocked over, spilling most of the dirt. But sure enough it returned and I have a couple flowers on it, even though it's in maybe 3" of dirt. I added more to it today, so now it doesn't look quite so sad.

I also pulled two deep containers onto the patio, sprinkled carrot seeds (one a rainbow mix, the other some short 'n sweet), and covered them up with more soil. They're under the patio so I can better protect them from any hard rain or temps, but they can still get sun once they pop up.

Hoping to later this week go out and pull up any dead plants and start getting things organized for planting. Getting very excited about spring!

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