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Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Posted by okiedawn Z7 OK (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 29, 11 at 11:02

I was just wondering if anyone has started seeds indoors yet?

Keith, I know you usually start yours about now.....so have you done it yet?

I think I am about to start some today or tomorrow. I usually wait until Super Bowl Sunday, but our weather is staying warmer than average (except for the peiodic cold fronts that bring arctic cold and sleet/rain/snow) so I might actually be able to plant more or less on or near my average freeze date of March 27th this year.

Dawn


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I was just getting online to try to find out when we're supposed to start seeds indoors. Guess I need to gather all my supplies so I can get going on this!


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I plan to start tomatoes around Feb 17th, but I may start a few other things earlier.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I've started a few things so far but am trying to pace myself with others. So far I have little bity baby sprouts of several types of lettuce, a couple of spinach, several cabbage varieties and my first artichoke popped up today. I'm still watching for some asparagas to jump up and salute at me. I have just finished putting pepper seeds in soil yesterday. I'm still working on my final tomato variety list so those seeds will probably be started in the next few days.

Today, I'm starting some very special broccoli seeds along with an italian lettuce/endive/etc. mix I received in the seed swap from my "Fairy Godmother of Seeds" (you know who you are). I need to get some parsnips and beets in the cold frame very soon and will probably do some seed tape carrots a la seedmama method.

I'd like to start some peas inside but knowing how fast they grow and with the upcoming nasty weather, I'm not sure if I should move forward on those or wait a little longer. I know they'll have to go in the ground pretty quickly so maybe someone can give me guidance on that one. The peas are probably tougher than I think. I have to look at the OSU guidelines for limas since they are new to me this year as well.

So who's next..... I'm taking notes. :-)

Lynn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

ok, i'll confess... on 1/7/11, i bought lights and got a "set up" going. i started some lettuce seeds because the ones in the cold frame weren't growing fast enough for me... and i've been eating baby greens for the past 2 weeks :) i've started cilantro and dill and basil as well...as that's what i like in my salads.. the cilantro and dill are doing great, the basil, not so much, but i'm working on it.

i thought i would start some early so that if i were to do something wrong, i'd do it on something other than my maters and peppers and such...so far so good!

i don't have a heat mat yet, so that will have to happen before i start the warmer stuff. i also could only find the miracle grow "moisture control" potting mix in the stores, so that's what i'm using...i'm making myself water only every other day, as last year when i attempted this seed starting business, i think i over-watered....

not sure if you can have damping off with lettuce and such, but so far, i'm in the clear with that.

so, i'm off to a good start...hope this trend will continue!


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have to confess. I have about 20 tomatoes of different types about 2 weeks old now. Broccolli lettuce bell pepper jalapeno basil cilantro oregano about 1 week old. I'm holding off on the cukes beans and squash. Ill start more tomatoes in a few weeks for family

Mike


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Ok, does planting seeds in my mind count?? lol

I am going to keep an eye out for Carol's posts since we live close. Guess I'll be starting my tomato seeds about Feb 17th also. hehehe ........what else ya planting Carol??

Melissa


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I thought I'd start some tomato seeds on the 27th which was precisely 2 months before my average last frost date.

I got out all my junk, laid out all the tomato seed packets in nice, orderly rows, and starting making labels from cut-up mini blind slats. Once I had a big mess laid out everywhere, the fire pagers (of course) went off. I was hoping it was an itty-bitty fire and I could stay home and play in the dirt, but it wasn't. About 7 hours and two big wildfires later, I came home for the last time and put away all the seed-starting stuff for another day. Perhaps today or tomorrow will be that day.

It is so gorgeous outside (currently 76 degrees on the front porch thermometer in the shade) but RH is low and wind is low gusting to moderate, so it could be a bad afternoon here. I think if the pagers don't go off by 2 o'clock, I'll try the seed-starting thing again.

I'm hoping to get tomatoes and maybe peppers started today (having received some wonderful bell pepper seeds, among others, from my Seed Fairy Godmother in the swamp, and she knows who she is and I thank her and the others very much as well). If I manage to get that done, then maybe I can start some cool-season stuff tomorrow. I have oodles of all kinds of lettuce seeds to plant in my new cattle trough that Santa Tim bought me for Christmas, so I'm eager to get those seeds started. Let's see the pillbugs, sowbugs and other beasties find a way up into this cattle trough thing....it is elevated and has metal legs so I think we've maybe found a way to defeat the insects and also to keep the rabbits out of the lettuce.

I worked out in the yard for a while this morning and it is so nice out there, but I need to get these seeds started in case the nice warm weather holds. This January has been much warmer than last January at our house, and only a teeny bit cooler than Jan. 2009, which had some days in the 80s. (We've only reached 78 here this month. In 09 I think we had 82 or 83 a couple of times.)

Lynn, I never can decide when to start peas. Starting them indoors in plantable pots of any kind is so easy and they sprout quickly, but the trick is knowing what the soil and weather temps will do after you transplant them out.

OSU shows Feb. 10 - Mar. 15 as the recommended planting dates, so starting them inside now doesn't seem that much too early. I vary my outdoor transplanting date depending on what the air temps and soil temps are doing. I shoot for soil temps and air temps around 40-50 as long as there isn't any sort of bitter cold weather coming.

Peas are hardy and can take quite a bit of cold if properly hardened off and used to it, but I've seen them freeze upon occasion. Often, though, they just stall in the cold, or if they already have blossoms or pods when cold hits, the blossoms or pods might fall but then new ones will form.

Last year was so cold that I don't think I transplanted mine into the ground until early March, which is sort of late and then, of course, it snowed/sleeted lightly here in late March (on the first day of spring), but they were OK and didn't freeze. They did stall for a bit though.

Dody,

You don't "have to" have a heat mat. I started seeds for probably 15 or 20 years without one. They're nice to have, but certainly are not essential at all.

I am extra cautious on watering seedlings and don't water on a schedule but rather by whether or not the seed-starting mix looks dry or feels dry. If anything, I lean towards underwatering rather than overwatering although I don't let the seedlings get so dry that they wilt.

The only issue with starting early is what to do with tall plants once they outgrow the light shelves. Otherwise I'd probably start tomato and pepper plants in December just so I could enjoy watching them grow after everything has frozen/frosted outside.

You can have damping off with virtually anything, and damping off is a collection of several diseases that all kill the seedlings virtually the same way. I almost never lose anything to damping off, and I hope I didn't just jinx myself by saying that. I always have chamomile tea bags handy and at the first sign of any slight stem weakness that might indicate the beginning of damping off, I'll water with chamomile tea. As long as your room has good air flow (a ceiling fan is fine, or an oscillating table fan) and you aren't overwatering, damping off generally will be rare.

Mike, You're off to a good, if early, start. : ) I tend to think early is always better than late in our erratic climate.

If the weather stays warm, we all may get lucky and be able to plant outside really early like we could in the early 2000s when we were having those winters that they kept saying were "one of the warmest winters ever". I haven't had a nice warm "early planting" winter here since either 2005 or 2006, so I hope we have one this year.

I don't start any warm-season plants other than tomatoes or peppers inside until March. Beans, squash and cukes can be ready to go into the ground just a few days after seed is started indoors and if started too early they'll be big and wanting to go outside while soil temps are too cool for them. If transplanted into cool soil below the temps they need, they tend to stunt, stall or die.

If only the weather we have today could last. Next Tuesday or so, and maybe earlier if you're really far north, we'll be wishing to have this weather back!

The only downside to the occasional "hot" winter days in January and February is that stone fruit trees which already have received their required number of chilling hours will sort of over-react to a few warm days and start trying to bloom too early. That's a chronic problem here in southern OK where warm winter spells occur more often than not. I was outside earlier lecturing the plum and peach trees, whose buds are swelling and getting big and plump, and telling them to "stop that right now". It is a good thing really cool weather returns next week because I need for it so slow down the overly-eager fruit trees.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Melissa, I went to Johnny's Seed and used the calculator on the front page of his web site. According to MESONET figures our last freeze should be around April 6th. I think I used April 7th actually, I printed out the chart then just copied the vegetable portion and printed me a chart. I will go 'roughly' by that chart for starting transplants. As we get closer to the time to put them in the ground, I will look at several things, but mostly the weather 10 day forecast. A week on either side of optimum should be OK. Last year southern Oklahoma (even Dawn in Love County) got a late freeze that we didn't get. I could start a little earlier, but I don't like to carry them in and out so many times and when they are big they need that outdoor light during the day. I'm no expert.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn,

I was just wondering if anyone has started seeds indoors yet?
Keith, I know you usually start yours about now.....so have you done it yet?

Yes I've started but not planted. Yesterday I got all of the tomato and pepper seed started soaking in the weak tea and coffee filter system in a ziplock freezer bag in the refrigerator. 240 seed in all, 8 varieties of tomatoes and 6 varieties of peppers.

You know you really have the 'Addiction' when you wake up an hour before the alarm goes off on seed starting day and start doing prep work for starting before heading off for work. My new job is no more physical than any other job I've had, but after being unemployed for 12 months it's hard to get back in working shape for an old Fat Boy like me. A couple of nights this past week it was painful just sitting in the LaZBoy and watching the evening news.

I'm resting today and will plant the seeds tomorrow. I use the 5 oz. opaque plastic bathroom cups from WalMart with a cardboard divider that makes 2 cells out of each cup. After I plant the seeds, 2 per cell, I drizzle each cup with a little weak tea mix and seal the top with Press and Seal. I just put them on the removable seed starting shelves in the big east facing window in the kitchen with no extra lights or heat and leave them sealed until the seeds germinate and grow a little but not until they touch the press and seal. Then I remove the plastic and drill drainage holes in the bottoms and they go out under the big south facing 8 foot window in the garage, in the black trash bag lined cardboard cold frames with shredded leaves around them and bubble wrap over the top. Still with no extra heat unless temps are expected to be really low, then I just put a mechanic's drop light under them. The combo of black plastic lined boxes with the mulch and bubble wrap makes a wonderfully warm environment for small seedlings. You'd be surprised the difference in the temp when you take the bubble wrap off and reach inside to care for your lil hogs!

All in all, I'm a pretty happy Pig!

Keith


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Not yet. I usually start broccoli, peas, peppers and tomatoes on a heat tape warmed germination bench the middle of Feb. (Our average last frost is April 15.) Like Dawn, I'm always conflicted about peas. It only takes two weeks from soaking to transplanting and mine were several inches high on the first day of spring last year when they got covered in snow. They survived and went on to bear though. I will be calling Park's Monday and saying, "Get on the ball. I need my seeds," as I ordered both broccoli and super sugar snaps from them and don't have them yet.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have started "wintersow style" my broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, snapdragons, sweet pea (the flower). Other than that it is not time enough yet. I know onion seeds can be started so I may get those that I grow inside going.

I was wondering with all the good weather if we could get things going earlier.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

No seeds started but I did get my seed starting shelf ready to go today. I didn't have the light on in the room so you have to look close at the top, but there is a shelf up there in the dark that receives heat from the lights below and creates a nice place for germinating seed. I check them everyday and when I see the first sprout, they move down under the lights.

The shelf and lights are four feet long. I have three shelves of lights, a shelf above for germinating seeds, and one below for supplies. If I plant too many I will have to go buy two more lights and use the bottom shelf.

Down the back and sides I have used one small camping blanket to reflect light, and above I have used one over the top to create a germination chamber. I have a rather large fan on the floor to provide air movement later. All six lights are plugged into one surge protector so I can use one switch to control the lights. When I don't have a shelf in use, I just unplug the lights.

Here is a link that might be useful: Light Shelf


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Well, I got a set-back today. That Hill-Billy woman I am married to does not agree that a Garden Tub is the perfact place to start seeds and plants. All my crap was evicted to the shop.

I got a thermostat and rope light and will rig up a way to keep things warm and will be up and running in a week or two.

Larry


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Another day, another wildfire, so I didn't get to start seeds today either.

Keith, I wondered if the new job was intefering with your gardening schedule.

Dorothy, I cannot believe Park has not shipped your order yet! You ordered good and early and it doesn't seem to have helped.

I don't even think I'll try to do anything with seeds tomorrow. The fire risk will be only "high" but we've had a bad fire week all week here, so I'll wait and try to start seeds on whatever day the rain actually falls here.

I'm willing to bet going early rather than late this year will pay off, but with Oklahoma weather it always is a crapshoot anyway.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Larry, you poor thing. Of course, I say that as a wife who just evicted her own hubby's crap out of her way for seed starting.

Got an offer from Freecycle today for a big load of topsoil to start our raised beds. Yay! Okay, that has nothing to do with starting seeds indoors, not at this point anyway, but I had to share it anyway.

Seed starting indoors: As mentioned above, I evicted hubby's ever-spreading piles of crap off of one of my plant shelves (being a kind overlord, I let him keep the other one.... for now) and have most everything at the ready. Still need to put up the lights but I've still got plenty of time before I have to start most things. I'm going to try Carol's mylar trick this year so will need to dig one up.

Diane


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Diane - Yay for your score on the dirt!

Does anyone know how to read the mesonet to find the predicted last frost date? I cannot seem to figure the darn thing out!


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Diane,

That's a great score on the topsoil for your raised beds!

Ezzirah,

I normally use average last frost data from the Oklahoma Climatological Survey and have linked their website below. You can find the pages for individual counties under their public data, or can find the general maps that show various frost data showing different percentages, like 50%, 70%, etc.

On the linked page, click on "Normal and Extremes" to get to the next page, then click on the "First/Last Freeze Day" data. The Last Spring Freeze Date 50% is an area's last freeze date, but remember there's still a 50% chance of a freeze after that date. This is, after all, Oklahoma where we're (literally) burning one day and freezing the next.

For other helpful data, click on "County Climate Data" there on the same page as "Normal and Extremes". For each county, you can read a brief 1-page county climate summary for your county, or a more detailed climate summary that's several pages long. Both have lots of helpful info.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Oklahoma Climatalogical Survey


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Wow, thank you for that. I need to move everything a whole week earlier on the sowing calendar! wow...I wondered if I was behind everyone considering what people have been posting in relation to where they were v.s. where I am. The answer to that is yes, BOY! does that creep up fast! And here I thought I was going to be bored today! LOL :)

Thanks for the info!


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Diane, you must be married to one of my sons. My wife tells me I can drag in more crap than a stray dog, and if I was just half as good at finishing projects as I am at srarting them there would not be much to do around here.

I am going to Texarkana this week for a day or two, i will have to check on the seed supply betweem here and there.

Larry


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I just have ten chiltepin peppers going, under lights. But they are for someone else, who insisted that I start them in January. It'll be his problem keeping them healthy until warm weather.

I'll start sweet potatoes in February, even though it's rather early for that. We heat with wood, and in March, we often use so little, that we don't have enough real heat to get them going. I'll start some tomatoes in Feb as well.

George
Tahlequah, OK


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Ezzirah,

You're welcome.

Exactly when you start seeds is pretty flexible because most seedlings can be held inside 2 or 3 extra weeks if a severe cold spell hits around transplanting time. It is better to start early than late because you can hold bigger plants indoors or on a sheltered porch, but you can't really speed up the growth of plants started slightly late.

I've started tomato and pepper plants as early as about January 7th and as late as March 1st and had good results both times. Each year I was just tailoring my seed-starting dates to what that year's winter weather was doing and trying to figure out from the January weather if we'd have an earlier transplanting date or a later one. In 2000-2005, it was earlier transplanting dates but then later ones in 2006-2010. I think 2011 is up for grabs, but the weather trend seems to be towards warmer weather earlier this year.

Larry, We'll be waiting for the seed supply report. I hope you aren't going to be driving during the ice/sleet/snow storm!

George, I only have had to plant chiltepins twice here. They tend to reseed all over creation and that little run of reseeding plants usually lasts 5 or 6 years; and then I plant again and they reseed again for a few years. If the person you're starting them for has that kind of reseeding luck, you shouldn't have to start peppers for them again for a few years.

In Texas, where they have naturalized in many areas, we just called them bird peppers. If I call them bird peppers here in southern OK, no one knows what I'm talking about.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I am so far behind with taking cuttings.. I have just not been in the mood, but I did get a few things seeded. Mostly cold hardy herbs and a few cuttings going. I will probably start pepper and eggplant in a few days after this cold spell gets over with. I usually don't start tomatoes until mid February to Early March or they get to big.

George, I probably won't even think about starting sweet potatoes until Late March. I plan to bed out around 40 or 50 bushels this year.

g


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have sweet potatoes growing in plastic rain gutters that are across the kitchen window, its a west window and is too cold. Some of the potatoes Madge cooked had sprouts on them so I just placed the sprouted end in potting soil in the gutter, looks like I may get a few slips from them.

Larry


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

ezzirah - To find the frost and freeze dates on Mesonet. Looke above the map for the word "Climate", then choose Normals and Extremes.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I am not sure whether you folks consider salad greens as a indoor seed start. I have started follwing seed on 1/25, 6pm; viz Mesclun mix, salad green, lettuce, swisschard, mustard, spinach and cilantro. All most all germinated expect cilantro. I gently removed top soil to see whats going with cilantro seeds and surprised, indeed they have germinated, very long roots, but not any shoots. They may be waiting for some more time to show up.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Well, I was going to start the onion seeds I was going to grow inside this weekend and decided to wait to get ready for the winter storm fixing to sock me in for most of the week I fear. At least I will have something to do while the storm is going on. I am also thinking I am going to start my perennials at this time as well. (at least the ones I cannot wintersow)


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I've started a few tomato seeds.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have never grown onions from seed before, Ezz. How well do they do compared to the sets? What perennials can you not winter sow? I ask this, because most can be and I'm just curious.

I think this storm is going to be the perfect reason to stay inside and sow seeds. Othewise, I might not take the time to do it all at once, knowing me.

I plan to do some of the early spring veggie sowing, like lettuces, carrots, and broccoli possibly, and I want to get out today and throw some seeds out (no, still haven't done that) that can tolerate and do best with some cold stratification in the yard, like Cleomes, 4 o'clocks, Borage, etc.

According to the Oklahoma Climatological Map, do you guys usually use the 50% data shown, or greater %? I know its probably a big gamble either way, but I just wondered how many risk-takers there are here on the forum?

Susan


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I've done some winter sowing, started some violas a couple weeks ago that have already sprouted, & started a bunch of tomatoes yesterday. I had 15 4" pots, put several seeds into each one, & will only have room for about 8 or 9 plants total. I'm not sure, but I think I over did it. Oh well, the leftovers will have to find new homes. I'm sure my neighbors will love me handing out free tomato plants.


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Haiku

Refuse to read thread.
Deny urge to sow, hold firm.
Lose foothold. Sow seeds.

Seedmama


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Chandra, lovely salad bar. Makes me wish I'd planted some this year. I expected to keep the cold frame protected but a mouse had another idea. I did call Park's and was told that part of my order had been back ordered but before I even asked the woman said, "but we'll get all that is ready in the mail right now." So I hope my broccoli and pea seed is here in two weeks when I want to start it.

I think I will scratch my seed starting itch by soaking some mung beans to sprout.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Ha, Seedmama is funny!
Now I suppose all you SOONERS, are telling us that these are your EARLY plantings, and will come later with the real crop if you get a frost or freeze out.
Best of luck to you all!
Bill


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Bill, what you talkin' bout? Heehee.

Jlhart - I think "overdoing it" is our middle name here - everyone's middle name. I have never seen anyone post who thinks they have "underdone" it.

Susan


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RE: Rephrase

Let me rephrase. Those of us who think we have underdone the seed sowing, usually compensate by overdoing it. Been there, done that, expect to do it again.

Susan


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Good, I'm in great company then. My co-workers think I'm nuts, but if I get to bring fresh veggies in later on, they'll be changing their tune.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Who else starting tomatoes and peppers or any other transplantable vegetables this weekend? I am desperately waiting to start seeds indoor. But not want to risk precious seeds in hurry, waiting for the further instructions from Pro's.

Now know how important is ProMix, proved its potential capacity even with newbie. Every sown seeds germinated and seedling doing fantastic.

Thank you -Chandra


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Chandra, I started my first flat of tomato seeds earlier in the week, and this afternoon I'll start my second flat, which will have both peppers and tomatoes. I usually wait until Super Bowl Sunday to start them all, but have been stuck inside and so bored that I started them a bit early.

I am worried that if the cold, snowy weather persists for 2 or 3 weeks with recurring snowstorms that I won't have room for all the plants indoors on the light shelf after I pot them up from the starter flats to styrofoam cups, but I guess I'll worry about that if it is an issue when the time comes to pot up the seedlings.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I was thinking about getting some PVC and making a mini hoop house over one of my moms raised beds... if i did that this week then i would be able to put Lettuce spinach and brocilli and cabbage in it in a few weeks right? if i started the seeds inside now??

and could i transplant the plants into my own garden in a few months or should i just start more seeds later? next month we work the garden for the first time and i have seen a few really neat row covers that would be handy to protect from frost and keep them warm?

I have never done cold season crops before only summer crops. so when is the Date that i can safely start my tomatoes and things like that outside.

Last year a neighboring farmer took greenhouse plastic and wrapped it around his wire tomato cages and formed mini greenhouses around each one.. and he had AWESOME tomato plants and was getting a few tomatoes by memorial day...

any sugestions


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I'm growing indoor salad and herbs in my garage, but am waiting until mid Feb (I think that's right, have to go recheck the info Dawn posted) to start my tomatoes, peppers, beans, and peas. I will also be wintersowing the exact same veggies any day now (if my kids EVER go back to school), so it will be interesting to see which plants do better (wintersown vs started indoors).

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I started my tomatoes and peppers last Sunday. Over 250 seeds that will hopefully become 30 tomatoes and 12 peppers in the garden. Tomatoes: Superfantastic, Betterboy, 4th of July, Black Krim, Mortgage Lifter, Celebrity, Mule Team and Black Cherry. Peppers: Jalapeno, Jalapeno/Cayenne cross, Cayenne, College 64l, Anaheim and Poblano.

63 Soldiers now, 42 Big Hogs later!

Keith


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Krussow,

You can plant a lot of cool-season crops under plastic low tunnels, but they still will offer you only some protection from cold temps, and there is no guarantee the plants won't freeze. You have to be careful with low tunnels because our weather can swing back and forth from cold to hot in springtime. If you don't have your plastic tunnels vented (you could probably achieve this just by opening up each end so heat could escape on warm/hot days), the poor plants could roast on the occasional winter day when temps go abnormally high (last week....which now seems 100 years ago....we had temps in the 76-78 degree range for 2 or 3 days). You will need to remember to close up the ends of the low tunnels on cold nights to keep out the cold air.

If you put plants in the ground in one location now, I would not move them later on but would just start new plants for a different location. Sometimes the act of transplanting a cool-season crop from one spot in the garden to another will shock the plant and cause it to bolt (go to seed), ruining your chance of getting a harvestable crop.

Row covers can be helpful, but even the most heavy-duty frost blanket types only give you a maximum of 8 degrees protection. So, there again, if the weather stays about "average" those row covers offer good protection, but if temps drop abnormally low...like down into the single digits or lower, the row covers may not be able to keep the plants from freezing to death.

I've wrapped tomato cages with 4 mm plastic some years and it has both good points and bad points. It does create a greenhouse effect within the cage, so you can get faster growth and earlier bloom/fruit set. However, it can encourage disease because air flow to the plants is somewhat restricted. Also, when the wind blows your tomato plants, it causes them to form thicker, stockier stems which makes them more sturdy and strong. If the plastic-wrapped cages interferes with that wind movement, you may have taller plants but the stems won't be as strong and thick early in the season.

When I have wrapped cages it has been because the March or April winds were simply ferocious and were beating my plants to death.

If I were to wrap cages again, I think I'd prefer to wrap them with a floating row cover type material and not a plastic one. The floatingrfow cover material still allows some air flow while offering some protection from the elements.

I always get tomatoes by Memorial Day whether I wrap cages or not. I think the earliest I've gotten fruit from in-ground plants was around May 20th and that was from plants put into the ground near the end of the first week in March.

For the last 3 or 4 years, I've harvested the first tomatoes in late April, usually between the 27th and 30th, from plants I grow in large pots. I simply purchase good-sized transplants (usually they're in 5" plantable peat pots) in mid- thru late-February, plant them in large containers (but I remove and discard the plantable peat pot), and carry the pots outside onto the sunny patio on nice days and into the well-insulated garage at night. If the outside weather turns cold and yucky, I might have to leave the plants inside the garage for a couple of days. I don't like leaving them inside because once they are inside 2 or 3 days, they sunburn rather easily when put back outside. I usually put between 4 and 8 early tomato plants in pots. Having those few early plants and knowing I'll get early ripe fruit from them in April keeps me from jumping the gun and putting all my tomato plants into the ground when the soil is still too cold.

Cold soil is almost a bigger impediment to early planting than cold air temperatures. If the soil temperature is too low, the plants won't grow but will just sit there and be eaten by flea beetles while waiting for warmer soil temperatures. (That's why my pots sit on the patio, so they can soak up the heat from the sun beating down on the patio.)

Using a few plants in pots has helped me stretch my tomato season quite a bit. In 2010, I harvested the first tomato from a pot on either April 29th or 30th. I harvested the last green cherry tomatoes from the pots overwintering in the garage about 2 or 3 weeks ago, right before low temps of 8 degrees froze the plants in the garage, and those green tomatoes finished ripening indoors on the kitchen counter, and we ate them yesterday. So for 2010, we had fresh tomatoes from the end of April through early February, which I consider a nice long run. I still have frozen, canned and dehydrated tomatoes so we will be able to keep eating tomatoes from our garden until the next harvest begins, but the fresh ones now are all gone.

Jo, For most cool-season crops, OSU says Feb. 15th for the first planting date, so we're practically there.

Keith, I've never heard of a Jalapeno/Cayenne cross. Is that your own cross?

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn,
Keith, I've never heard of a Jalapeno/Cayenne cross. Is that your own cross?

You might remember last summer I started a thread titled Mystery Pepper. I bagged several of the blooms and was successful with one pepper that finally turned red just before Thanksgiving. We really loved the flavor as it is not as hot as either a Jalapeno or Cayenne. I hope the saved seed produces a pepper with the same characteristics.

I've linked the Mystery Pepper thread below...

Keith

Here is a link that might be useful: Mystery Pepper


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Keith,

Oh, I remembered that as soom as you mentioned it but, no, I didn't remember it until then. It will be interesting to see what you get.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I had forgotten it too, but enjoyed reading it then and again now. Keep us posted!

Seedmama


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn,

we get warmer up here a few weeks after you do i think.. lateral to ft smith is always about 5 degrees warmer than i am up here..

THANK YOU for all the great advice you offer!

A good friend of mine took old house windows the last few years and placed them on a slant over her tomato plants before she caged them.. she would put a row of straw bales on the north side of them and lean the windows on the south side... on cold nights she would place a bale on each end. basically same as the tunnel but with no plastic... i have some old glass windows out of a resturant that were left behind when i bought my farm that i have considered trying this with...

it is way windy on my place.. so i dont know how the plastic would hold up but i can get all the rolls of Black white and clear( cling wrap) plastic that i want as my husband works for Glad...

Have you/ or anyone else ever laid black plastic down over your ground or beds a few weeks prior to planting to heat up the ground temp and kill any pesky grass and weeds that survive the tilling? i have read about it and considered it this year sicne i have 2 giant rolls of it that i could use.. and last year the ground was actually cold pretty late in the year.. i know that a week or so of that should considerably heat my garden spot up..

Thank you again,

Kaity


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Katy,

You're welcome. I love how we all help each other here. It's like living in the best gardening neighborhood in the world, except we all don't actually live in one physical neighborhood.

I am in a unique geographic area. While my county theoretically has its last average frost on March 27th, I've learned (the hard way, of course) that our particular part of the county, which is close to the Red River and at a very low elevation, usually has its real, actual, last frost the first week in May....usually on May 2nd or 3rd, so while on paper I can plant earlier than most folks, in reality I can do so only if I can cover up the plants well enough to keep them from freezing. Every year it seems I plant later and later because it gets really old to have to cover up all those plants on even a few cold nights. Covering up 10 or 20 plants is bad enough, but I plant roughly 140-150 tomato plants every year, and that's too many to cover up. All of which is my way of explaining that your area may warm up about the same time mine does, or even earlier. Mine gets warm early, but it doesn't necessarily stay warm!

With the hay bales and windows, your friend was building a cold frame, a technique used for eons. There's no reason not to do something like that, as long as you can vent it on hot days so the plants don't roast.

Tilling causes weeds to sprout by exposing seeds to light, so the less you rototill the fewer weeds you'll have. Just a little food for thought there.....

You can use any kind of plastic you want. Black plastic will warm up the ground but not as much as clear plastic will. However, if you're recently rototilled or plowed, then black plastic is better because less light passes through and that means less weed seed will sprout. You will, however, get some weeds sprouting under black plastic. Clear plastic warms up the soil to a hotter temperature and does it more quickly, but it also lets more light through so more weeds sprout. I wouldn't use clear plastic if I was working with an area prone to weediness.

Two weeks of plastic on soil will warm it up about as much as possible. Leaving the plastic on longer won't warm the soil up any hotter under average conditions.

It is hard to warm up grade-level soil a great deal, but plastic will help a little. Raised beds warm up more quickly, so if you are wanting to plant heat-loving plants early, putting them in a raised bed puts them in slightly warmer soil too.

The downside to using plastic, if you're talking about solid plastic like, for example, black trash bags are made from, is that they prevent water from soaking into the ground. So, if you're planning on having the plastic on the ground throughout the growing season, you need to have either drip irrigation set up to water each plant through the opening in the plastic where each plant is planted, or have soaker hoses under the plastic.

Sometimes I use a fabric type mulch cloth around my tomato plants that looks sort of like felt....NOT the less expensive plastic type that has perforated holes to let the moisture through. Why? Because weeds come up through all those millions of perforations in the mulch cloth, rendering it useless. On top of the mulch cloth, I pile on the mulch as the soil and air temperatures rise. The mulch keeps weeds from sprouting under the mulch cloth by blocking all the light and also keeps the ground cooler and moist longer. Instead of cloth you can use cardboard or about 14-16 sheets of newspaper with the mulch of your choice (I like grass clippings, shredded/chopped up leaves and straw) piled on top. The cardboard and/or newspaper enrich the soil as they break down as does the mulching material on top of them. As a bonus, earthworms love cardboard and newspaper so they are attracted to those beds and help enrich them.

Even with good mulching and careful attention to weeding, I still get weeds. My garden is downhill from our neighbor's pasture, so not only do weed seeds blow in from the pasture, the wash in during a rainstorm. In April 2009, we have 12.89"of rain in one day here. Not only did my garden have water running through it, standing it it, etc., but soil and plant debris washed in from the pasture and even my mulched beds had 2-4" of soil on top of the mulch. It was an impossible mess and I'm still dealing with all the weed seeds that were in the soil that buried my garden in 2009.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn,

suprisingly last year weeds were not really a problem, CRAB GRASS was a whole new ball game. but i eventually Won that battle a little..

Last year i layed down newspapers and covered them in old hay( Literally 20 year old squarebales) and i put the HAY down heavy. it was GREAT no weeds or Crabgrass all year long.. a few would pop up here and there but they got pulled fast so it made it easy.. and kept the soil moist. and i have a ton of earthworms or did Moles invaded afer the garden shut down for the winter. hopefully i can steal some cardboard boxes from work this year

On the plastic i thought that i would lay it down over where i want to plant my squash and tomatoes things like that since i do them all on one side of the garden and the row crops on the other. then pull it up when i plant my 50 tomato plants and other things.. and just mulch around them. I have never used the fabric mulch cloth but i am thinking this year that i am going to try it... Im tempted to roundup my garden patch before i till this year and then spot roundup once things are growing just to defeat the crabgrass.. it just goes WILD weeds not so much Crabrass is a disease.

some how i got lucky and my garden is a little higher than my pasture. and thistles are the only weed that i really have a battle with fron the neighbors. I HATE THISTLES and am rarly found with out Grazon in hand during the spring and summer to get them before they get big at all..

Potatoes and crab grass(AGAIN) are going be my main battle this year hopefully instead of cut worms in my corn, and aphids on my young tomatoes(somehow i did not get 1 WORM on my tomatoes) and crabgrass.

My potatoes last year were not a success the ground got WAY too packed and they did not make since they could not grow. so i am going to have to make a seperate plan for them all together i am afraid.. my boss at the USDA said that he uses shredded paper around his potatoes and straw and then just a little dirt on top and keeps putting hay and shredded paper on there as the plant grows up. i saw pictures of his tater crop last year and WOW they looked easy to dig and they were NICE!

Thank you again for all your help Dawn...


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Katy,

Crabgrass is the devil, I agree, and joining it in the devil group are bermuda grass and Johnson grass. Lovegrass is sometimes a problem too, but not as much as the others are. Most of my weeds are grassy weeds and not many of them are broadleaf weeds. I have kept the broadleaf weeds out pretty well by using minimal tilling, minimal soil disturbance and tons of mulch. I avoid using chemicals as much as possible although once every 3 or 4 years I'll apply Round-up to the ground right outside of/alongside the garden fence to kill back the bermuda that relentlessly creeps through the fence.

If you are using Grazon or anything else that contains picloram or the newer herbicides clopyralid and aminopyralid, you should be aware of the compost contamination issues that have occurred since the early 2000s, with that handful of strongly persistent herbicides being the problem.

The first issue was with picloram residue contamination that found its way into commercial compost and community compost in a handful of states in the early 2000s. Any gardener who used that compost in their gardens lost most if not all their gardens and could not garden in that soil successfully for 3 or 4 years after that. The picloram residue had suvived the composting process.

After several years, everyone believed that the problem had been resolved because composting facilities knew not to use any raw materials that had been treated with picloram or the other herbicides. Anyone supplying certified organic compost or mulching materials had to test their materials to ensure herbicide residues were not found in them. Testing is expensive though, so most compost suppliers don't do it.

In about 2008, herbicide residue contamination occurred in Great Britain in animal manure, compost and certain mulching materials like hay and straw. This time the culprit was clopyralid and similar herbicide residue. Once again, people lost their gardens in that year and for several subsequent years unless they had all their soil removed to a certain depth and replaced. The following year, the same issues popped up here in the USA, first in the southeastern states and then in the western states.

I used to "accept" old, spoiled hay from my neighboring ranchers (and was thrilled to have it) and used it as mulch. Since the herbicide issues arose, I have become very, very picky and won't put any hay or straw or grass clippings or animal manure in my garden in any shape, form or fashion unless I am positive it has not been treated with a herbicide. This means I mostly have switched to using alfalfa hay (or my own grass clippings and chopped/shredded leaves) which costs more but which cannot have the problem herbicide residues on it because it is a legume and would die if sprayed with the problem herbicides.

So, if you're using Grazon, I wouldn't use any of the material that was sprayed with Grazon as mulch or in compost.

I'm not saying every time Grazon and other herbicides are used that you'll end up with contaminated plants in your compost pile or manure, but the problem is no one is sure how long it takes this stuff to break down and you can't know when/if your own material is contaminated until plants start dying.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Compost Contamination From Persistent Herbicides


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I only spray Grazon Directly on the thistle plants not in mass areas. i use it in a spot sprayer mainly. last year i did have my pasture sprayed because of brier bushes that have survived my persistend brushhogging but they were far from the garden spot.. I wish that the crab grass would migrate to along the road were weh bulldozed out a fence line but it seems persistant that my garden is its place..

the hay i feed my horses are not sprayed for weeds so i am happy to report they are organic basicly. and the guys dont even use comercial fertilizer and only use chicken litter..

last year i used rabbit manure around my tomato and squash and cuke plants... and a few rows of corn. but my sloil still testes extreemly low in nitrogen so this year i am going to fretilize with chicken litter from the neighbors houses. they are going to bring me over a tractor bucket load before we till and we are going to spread it over on the side where the corn will be and taper it off toward the beans and smaller plants.. since i can raid my own chicken pen for shovel fulls to put around plants individually,

I dont have a compost pile. we are a few miles from a mushroom farm so i can get LOADS of compost from them super cheap


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I wish I was near a mushroom farm. I am near a sand plant, but don't need any sand.

Right after we moved here, apparently the word got out that I was a serious gardener. Local, neighboring farmers started dropping by with thistle plants, asking me "is this the bad thistle we're supposed to get rid of?". I was a city girl before we moved here, so just told them that all thistles are bad! Then I went out to where thistles were growing and blooming like mad in our pasture behind the house where no one could see them, and cut and dried the flowers because I like the way they look. : )

I've never done anything to get rid of them here except keep them mowed down short so they don't set seed. We only have a couple of thistle plants pop up every year, though, because our property is mostly forested land.

I feed my soil by piling on mulch and letting it decompose right there in place. I also mulch the pathways to keep weeds out and then, in early spring before I plant, I stand in the pathways and shovel the decomposed mulch which by that point is compost, up and into the adjoining beds. It is so much easier to do that than to haul compost from a more remote pile. Over the years it is amazing how much of a difference manure and compost make. Of course, I have to quickly put down new mulch in the pathways or I'll have weeds sprouting.

This month, when I clean out the two chicken coops, the mix of bedding and manure is going into the lower part of the garden where I grow corn. That's the area that had the most topsoil wash in during the heavy rainfall of 2009 and I feel like (a) the topsoil that washed in is crappy and full of weed seeds and low in nutrition, and (b) the soil there is probably worse than the rest of our garden because it is grade level and not raised so it needs all the help it can get.

In general, my soil is fine now and doesn't need a lot of fertilizer added to it (it was not fine when we moved here in 1999 though), but building fertile soil is a never-ending task. Soils here hold a lot of P and K, so if anyone here in my area has to add anything, it usually is N. Slowly I'm turning red clay into brown soil, but it is a job that never ends. In ornamental beds where I haven't mulched as consistently or as heavily, the soil isn't nearly as good as it is in the veggie garden. Part of the problem in the ornamental beds is that when I let the chickens out to free-range, they dig and scratch in those beds and send the mulch flying every which way. It is hard to keep those beds mulched with chickens around. The chickens aren't allowed in the garden during the growing season because they can be so destructive, but they love roaming around in there digging and scratching for bugs in the winter.

I wonder if putting down corn gluten meal as a pre-emergent herbicide would work with crab grass? I haven't tried it, but one bonus of using corn gluten meal is that it adds a little nutrition to the soil as it decomposes. Of course, corn gluten meal used to be cheap until they started using corn to make bio-fuels and it isn't so cheap any more. I have used corn gluten meal in the lawn with great results, but haven't used it in the garden. I have lots of herbs and annual flowers scattered around the veggie garden that I want to reseed, so using even an organic pre-emergent like corn gluten meal wouldn't work in my case, but it probably would work if what you're wanting is something to keep the crabgrass out. Just remember though that you have to get that corn gluten meal on the ground before the crabgrass seeds germinate.

Around here, corn gluten meal is easy to find in feed stores, nurseries and even sometimes in the gardening section of big box stores. I don't know if that's true everywhere.

Here is a link that might be useful: Corn Gluten Meal Used As Organic Pre-Emergent


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Chicken litter is CRAZY in N so if you can get a truck load of it or turkey you should get tons of N into your soil and it will stay throughout the growing season.. another suggestion that you can do is after you are done with your garden for the year spread your chicken litter then compost over the top of it and it will break down and soak in for you all winter with the moisture.. and not be so strong on your baby plants... instead it will boost them for months.. Hmmmm i will have to research the corn gluten meal a little more against grass...

Suggestion on the litter though WEEDS LOVE IT... so if you are using it to build N and your topsoil on a weedy place you might have a stressful year pulling weeds... i do use 2-4D on weedy areas as it is not as strong as other chemicals and weeds tend to come up early before anything else so you can get a kill on them but that is on bermuda feilds not gardens with early crops..
for your little old farmers with thistle problems OSU has a beetle that will kill them and if they want rid of them they can call them and get some of the beetles..

Thistles here are a Big problem.. and a fight every year for every farmer they are a NO NO and will take over like crazy. and since my neighbor seems to refuse to spray till they have seeded they blow over on me.. main reason i hate them is i LOVE BEING BAREFOOTED and so do the kids and those stickers HURT!!!


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I only have a handful of chickens (6 in one coop, 7 in another) in each coop and we use the deep bedding/litter method, so there is relatively little N in comparison to the amount of litter. I've used it for about a dozen years with no problems, but I'm careful about when and where I apply it and about what I plant there afterward.

I'm in an area where it either rains not at all or very heavily. When you're in an area like that, heavy rainfall of 8 or 10 or 12" in one day will leach nutrients out of your soil like mad and it can seem like a never-ending battle to put nutrients back into the soil. Then you may wait a month or two before you get any substantial rainfall again. I've had to learn the meaning of the word patience here.

As much as I hate drought years, in many ways they're better for my garden because you don't have the leaching of nutrients and you don't have many humidity-related diseases.

In general, I don't have all that many weed problems because most of my beds have a heavy layer of mulch 2" to 4" deep on them, except in early spring when you want the soil bare or nearly bare so it will warm up more quickly. The problems with grass come later in the season like in late June when grass seed blows in and sprouts in the mulch (if I pull it out quickly, then it becomes a non-issue) or when bermuda grass creeps into the garden from outside of it, or the Johnson grass stolons creep in underground. I don't have many broadleaved weeds at all because I almost never rototill the soil, plant densely and the plants form their own living mulch and shade out anything trying to sprout in the mulch, and apply mulch almost weekly as the growing season goes on.

Last year I lost the war with the grass in September when 9" of rain fell, and 6" of that was from the remains of a tropical storm and fell in one day. It was muddy, humid and miserable, the grass grew and I ignored it because I was busy putting up what ultimately would be almost 600 jars of canned food and 2 freezers full. That's when I lost control of the grass....when harvesting and processing the harvest was taking all my time and I wasn't out there weeding whatever was sprouting daily. I also tend to lose control of the grassy weeds when I encounter a rattlesnake (the ones I see most often here are timber rattlers with their velvety black rattles, or pygmy rattlesnakes) or copperhead in the garden. I don't like snakes, and one will send me retreating to the house faster than the speed of sound. I then find excuses to avoid the garden for a few days, other than running out early in the morning to harvest. I wish I had a snake free garden, but since we are essentially gardening in a clearing in the woods, we never will be snake-free.

I am mostly organic, with the use of Round-Up maybe once every 3 or 4 years being the only exception to that. I We've owned this land since 1997 and have lived on it since 1999 and I think the only herbicide we've ever used here was Round-up, and not often. We've never used 2, 4-D and never will. I gardened chemically when I was in my 20s and didn't care for it and converted to organics and have gardened 99% organically ever since.

In our area, there used to be lots of farms and there used to be a very heavy reliance on chemicals and conventional agriculture. Now, most of the old farmers are dead and gone (which is sad, and I miss them and it is hard to think about how many of them who were here when we moved here are now gone) and most everyone who has bought or inherited their property has horses or cows, so now there is more ranching than farmer, other than hay or a little winter wheat being harvested as a crop to sell. There are a lot more people switching to organics, but a couple of ranchers near us still do at least one annual spraying of a broad-leaf herbicide to keep their pastures relatively weed-free. The biggest weeds here no longer are the thistles (because no one is plowing the soil and exposing the seeds to daylight, thereby inducing germination) but instead the main weeds are the cedar trees, which spring up and grow like mad in fallow farmland that has reverted to native grssland prairie type pastures. If the ranchers don't remove them while young, whether mechanically or by conducting prescribed burns annually in their pastures, the cedars become as thick as grass.

Ten years ago I noticed lots of thistles here but now I don't. I guess that's one benefit of the conversion from farming to ranching. I do miss the guys who used to sell melons right out of their front yard, or off a truck parked at an intersection, but those days are gone, and now I grow my own.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Right now I just started lettuce, spinach, parsley, wintersow style. I feel like I am so behind everyone!


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn.. Guineas eat snakes and will keep them ran of also with their consistant guard dog instincts... but im pretty sure a ratteler would overtake a guinea.. I HATE SNAKES.. last year i walked right over the top of a 6 ft black snake.. thinking it was a rope.. then knoticed its tail and called hubby out to bring me a shovel to kill my little snake.. only to find it was HUGE and headed towards my chicken pen..

its amazing the difference hundred miles south of there is in climate and pesky things in the garden!


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

We have had guineas most of the time we've lived here, but they like to free-range too much and go too far and the predators (coyotes, bobcats and other unmentionable beasts) wiped them out in 2009. It was a long, horrific year when over 130 small animals (cats, dogs, goats, chickens, guineas, etc.) on about a 2-mile stretch of our road were killed by multiple roaming predators. You have no idea what we went through here. Every time you spoke with a neighbor, someone else's pets or small farm animals had disappeared.

We decided we wouldn't replace the guineas for a couple of years so maybe the heavy population of predators would move on. We have had significantly worse predation the last 2 or 3 years....really, it has gotten worse every year since the Winstar Casino at Thackerville and surrounding businesses began pushing the wildlife out of that part of the river bottom land near them. Apparently the wildlife travels a few miles north and west to get away from the developed land that used to be their territory and they find us.

I really miss my guineas, but see bobcats and foxes on our property constantly--almost daily lately--so don't think we'll have guineas in 2011. Maybe by 2012. If anything, we have had more foxes and bobcats this entire last year than we had in 2009 when larger predators were more common.

Guineas reduced the snake population some, but not as much as I would like. We are just too close to the Red River and all the river bottom land....it sits to our immediate west and east, and a few miles south. With all the wildlife management areas along the river, and all the fallow farmland in the river bottoms area, we have an astounding amount of wildlife. I thought we had a lot of wildlife when we moved here, but we have more, more, more every year. It is to the point that I get really worried if one of the cats stays out too late in the evening because often, when that occurs, they never return.

The way my guineas handled snakes was to stand in a circle around them and squawk. The snakes eventually slithered away. I always heard guineas would kill snakes, but ours didn't as far as I know. We fight rat snakes and chicken snakes in the chicken coops constantly. I hate, hate, hate them. Last September a big old cottonmouth moved into the lily pond in the backyard and was eating all the frogs. He or she should have stayed down in one of the ponds or tanks elsewhere on the property because moving into the backyard pond got this snake killed. We ignore the snakes on most of the property because we know that without them we'd be overrun with rodents. However, if they venture into the area up close to the house, yard, garage, garden, potting shed or chicken coop area, we shoot them. They can have the 10 or 11 wooded acres to roam, but they have to steer clear of the 4 or so acres closest to the house. On those acres, the cats take care of the field mice, voles, moles, gophers, etc.

When we moved here, I knew there would be lots of challenges involved in living with wildlife, and there were. For a while, it seemed like the wildlife population wasn't bothering our pets much even though we had plenty of wildlife. Lately, though, that has really changed. Everyone on our road has tried to have ducks on their ponds, and ducks here will last only about 3 or 4 days before something gets them. You cannot let any cat stay outside after dark or the wild things get them. We had friends lose several barn cats and all their kittens to raccoons in just a couple of nights, even when they thought the animals were in a secure building that raccoons couldn't get into. It is quite vexing.

The best snake year we've had since moving here was when we had massive rainfall in spring and early summer 2007 and the Red River flooded like mad for weeks and weeks and weeks beginning in June. We didn't see snakes at all that I can remember for about a year, and I assume that's because many of them were caught by surprise by the flooding and drowned. It was wonderful.

Some of my friends here will just pick up a hoe and chop a venomous snake to death. They grew up here as "country girls" and think nothing of it. When I see a snake, the city girl in me just whips out her cell phone and calls someone to come shoot it. (Apparently, or at least in my case, you can take the girl out of the city, but you cannot take the city out of the girl.) I learned the hard way that if I take my eyes off the snake long enough to go inside and get a gun, it isn't going to be there when I get back outside. I am getting pretty good at running over them and chopping them up with the mulching mower though.

I actually love living surrounded by wildlife, but hate the few that are destructive and that kill our pets or that even have the potential to do so. I haven't even mentioned the most despicable pest.....skunks. We had one get into the chicken coop one afternoon a couple of months back and I learned it is really, really, really hard to get a skunk to leave a chicken coop if it has no desire to do so.

Here at our place, every day is an adventure. I always say that it is a regular zoo or circus here every day, but you never know in advance if you're going to have a zoo day or a circus day. On the other hand, life here is rarely dull.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn, I always thought how lucky you are (whoever living in woods), got plenty of opportunity to see wildlife just sitting in the backyard. I never thought about other side of the fun part. Nevertheless, you are living in heavenly land! I feel like tent camping in your backyard with camera. If happens to buy new home in future, I will definitely look for wooded country side neighborhood filled with wildlife... During our graduation times, we used trek a lot just to see wildlife in the jungle, often met with surprises and ran from the site for life... but it always thrill to see animals in the wild. I love to see creatures in the their own wild niche. I always feel sorry for zoo animals, its like poor creatures living in prison.

Lucky people enjoy wildlife in the backyard! -Chandra


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn trick to getting rid of snakes in your chicken coop... GOLF balls in your nests.. the snakes eat them and cant digest them obciously ans it kills them..


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Wow, Kaity! I love reading your posts! You are quite the gardener!

On the subject of chicken manure, I use it now instead of cow or horse manure - composted, that is. It is higher in phosphorous and potassium than cow or horse, too. A lady from Mississippi turned me on to it, and I have been using it for several years now. Of course, if I had rabbit manure, I'd use it before anything else, but I don't have access to it unfortunately.

As an urban gardener, though, I don't need as much as those of you with larger gardens either.

I just wish I could get ahold of some straw bales without weed seeds, LOL!

Susan


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Chandra, I used to love all the wildlife, but we've had so much trouble with predation the last 3 years that I don't love it nearly as much as I used to. Being so close to the river and having thousands of wild, unoccupied acres of land in its native state means there's no buffer between us and wildlife. I've seen wildlife here in my yard that I never expected to see in Oklahoma, much less in my yard or garden.

Kaity, We haven't used golf balls but we've used the artificial eggs that you put in a nest to encourage a wayward hen to lay the eggs in the nest and not someplace else. The "dummy" eggs disappeared one day and I knew that meant a snake likely had taken them. Three or four days later, the eggs showed up on the ground about 30 feet from the henhouse, lying near the driveway. We always assumed the snake regurgitated them. We washed them off and put them back into the nest.

We have a never-ending supply of snakes here. Four of our close neighbors have been bitten by venomous snakes since about 1997.....and we don't have that many neighbors. You can only see one house from our property and it is hundreds of yards away.

Several of our cats have been bitten by venomous snakes. Some survived and others didn't. One has survived twice, although the vet predicted she'd die after the second bite.

My big old dog, Duke, who weighs at least 140 lbs. and is a Rottweiler mix survived being struck in the face by a timber rattler. It happened while he and I were walking up the gravel driveway after going for a walk. He went into shock and I thought he was going to die, but I managed to save him. That has been 4 years ago and he still is scared of any black water hose he sees lying near the driveway. For a year, he wouldn't walk down the driveway, but would detour and make a big circle around the driveway.

I'm resigned to the fact we'll always have snakes here. I just try to avoid stepping on one of them or sticking my hand into an area where one is hanging out.

It is the same thing with all the other wild life. When feral pigs are in our creekbed wallowing around in the mud, I just stay indoors until they leave. When I find a bobcat sitting on the roof of the chicken coop or in my garden, I chase it off. (If DH is here, he shoots them.) If a hawk is sitting in the tree watching the chickens too closely, I make a lot of noise to encourage it to leave. I can't keep these animals away 24/7 but I can chase them off when they're in the yard at the same time I am.

We jokingly refer to our rural area as the "Oklahoma Outback". It isn't that it is so terribly remote, but just that the river, which is about 1/4 mile from our back property line, provides a wildlife corridor for all the wildlife to travel.

There's plenty of wildlife here that we enjoy, but also some we don't want around.

That's just how it goes.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn, The animals all think you have opened a wildlife refuge, or a singles bar with constantly free appetizers. I know you can shot those snakes. I could, and I would. I also would probably shot most anything that was a threat. Even the pioneers didn't let those dangerous ones stay around.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I could shoot them but I don't like shooting anything. I'd rather just chase it off. I have a really soft heart for wildlife, as you know from all my wildlife feeding activities.

I know I can and would shoot a human being who posed a threat to me because I would know that person had malice aforethought. Shooting an animal that's just trying to find food and survive, though? That's hard for me to do.

After having trouble with the water moccasins trying to move into the lily pond last year, I'm enjoying the lily pond less. I wish I could put netting or something over the top of the pond to keep the snakes out, but it would keep the frogs out too.

How's things up there? Are y'all freezing cold?

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn, Actually we are at 26 degrees and still have a lot of snow on the ground. The highest temp I noticed today was 32, so we aren't getting much melting. They are saying 13 for tonight with snow again tomorrow night. So far, we are not in the heavy snow forecast area and the forecast is 2-4 inches for us. Of course, that is a day away and we know how those things can change.

A few days when the sun was shining, the snow melted enough to pack down some, and to melt off streets and walkways that had already had part of the snow removed.

Al laughed last Friday when I came out of Walmart and told him we had more food at home than Walmart had. I haven't been back, but I am sure it will take them a few days to restock because they were really low. A neighbor called from there today to see if he needed to bring anything to us from there, but I told him that we were pretty well stocked.

I do feel sorry for the animals in this brutal weather though. I am amazed everyday when the chickens are still laying eggs. Al's step-grandmother (97 this week) always wants to know about the chickens, and she is amazed when we are still getting eggs. I got 9 eggs today from my 13 hens on a day that didn't get above freezing. They are truly the 'working girls'. They do spend a lot of time inside on these cold days tho......and the pen is awful. LOL


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have had something strange happen here. My wife had told me she could hear something under the house. It sound like it was hitting heavy metal.

We live in a double wide moble home, it has (4) 12" I beams under it that are 60 ft. long. My hearing is very poor so I never heard anything.

I had the skirting off in three places where I had been doing repair work before it turned so cold. I went out two days ago to check things around the house and found tracks in the snow leaving from a 2x2.5 ft hole I had left in the skirting so I could get under the house. I know it sounds crazy, but they look like deer tracks. The stride was too long and the prints too small for it to be anything else.

I asked in another post if dogs or cats stepped in their front tracks with their rear feet when they walked. I guess everyone thinks I am crazy, but it looks like a deer was sleeping under my house when the snow fell. The tracks lead from that hole straight to the deer crossing at the edge of my lawn.

I bet that is what DW heard under the house and why the skirting was pushed out.

I know knowone will believe this, but really I dont drink or smoke the funny stuff.

Larry

P.S. I closed the holes because I am afraid I will see pink elephants coming out of there next.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Wow, Larry, that's one crazy deer! I'm not anything near a deer expert but that still sounds like some strange behavior. Maybe his wife kicked him out of his house?

Carol, our girls are laying well, too. We only have six hens right now but they've been averaging four eggs a day through all of this below-freezing weather. We give them extra corn but, other than that, nothing special. No light, no heat, just the open-air coop, their regular feed, and the extra corn. Once the daylight gets longer and it warms up, I wouldn't be surprised if they started laying bacon to go with the eggs.

Diane


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Larry, maybe you had a wild boar?

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jo I have never seen a wild hog around here, there is a lot of woods and I have seen most other critters. I first thought it was just a dog, but those were not dog tracks, plus, a dog with that long of a stride would have made larger tracks.

My south garden (Close to where the tracks were) looks likes I am raising wild hogs. It has been covered in tracts all winter. I'm not sure that planting Elbon Rye was a good idea. There had been two deer killed almost in front of my house this winter, and a car wreck. The kid driving said he was dodging a deer and lost control and hit a tree in my son's yard.

Larry


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Carol and Diane,

Our chickens are laying well too and they do lay well most winters, which isn't exactly what all the books on poultry-raising tell you to expect. We have a broody hen setting on eggs now, but it seems kind of early for that behavior.

We give away lots of eggs to our friends because the hens produce many more than we can eat in any sort of timely manner. It isn't like we can save the eggs and let them pile up in the extra fridge and use them later, because there will be too many eggs later on as well.

Our Wal-Mart had trucks bring in food on Sunday and was in the process of re-stocking but had plenty of bare shelves. Hopefully in yesterday's better weather, lots of trucks arrived and they were able to restock the shelves for anyone who needs to stock up on more stuff.

At our Walmart, they have onions and cool-season crops outside in the garden center, where they were exposed to single-digit temperatures last week and will be exposed to them again with this next storm. I have no idea if any of the plants are still alive, and I sure wouldn't buy onions that had been exposed to as much cold as these have been. Lowe's and Home Depot moved all their cool-season transplants indoors or covered them up with frost blankets, but WM didn't.

Larry,

I have seen deer do strange things, so it wouldn't surprise me if that happened. Sometimes deer come and stand outside a window and look into the house. I know this happens because they leave behind their deer tracks. Our first couple of years here, the silly raccoons thought maybe we'd feed them, so they'd sit on patio furniture on our wraparound porch and knock on the windows to get our attention. I never fed them, though, because I don't want to encourage them to hang around. Raccoons are a huge problem here if you grow sweet corn.

For about our first 5 or 6 years here, an old doe who lived on our property would bring her newborn fawns to my garden every spring while they were still teeny-tiny. She'd leave the fawn on the edge of the woods, where there is about a 6' clearing between the edge of the woods and my garden fence. The doe and fawn would stand there staring at me until I spoke to the doe. I'd say "It's OK, mama, I'll look after your baby" and the doe would leave, but the fawn would stay. Maybe thirty minutes later, she'd come back and get the fawn. I never understood it, but I always felt like I was babysitting that fawn until mama returned. I marveled at the way she trusted me not to harm her babies. This same old mule-headed deer would stand on the edge of the woods and scream at me in cold weather if there wasn't any deer corn out in the feeding area. As soon as I put out the corn and went back inside, she and her fawns would come eat.

I don't know how to answer your question about dog or cat tracks. We have multiple dogs and cats so I never see a clean trail of pawprints left by only one animal and I've never studied them closely.

I think Jo might be onto something because feral hogs aren't shy about coming up close to a house. Usually, though, if you have one feral hog you have a lot of them. They can be very destructive too. I think it likely you had a feral pig or a deer seeking shelter from the cold, and who can blame them.

As for the pink elephant......I don't think they're native to this area, but that doesn't mean some people don't see them. : )

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Dawn, I love reading all your posts, especially motherly-interaction with wildlife, so touching. You are contributing to mother nature so much! Thank you-Chandra


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Chandra,

I love wildlife but I never planned to interact with them as much as I do. Sometimes those encounters can be dangerous.

I do love living here and I do love the wildlife, but some of the wildlife scares me.

That old mule-headed deer died in 2009 and I miss her, but several of her children and their children still live here. They have a place they regularly bed down at night and trails they use year-round. Most of her children don't have the mule-headed look, but at least one of her does does have that look, and she gives birth to twins about every other year just like her mother often did.

Before we moved here, I thought a deer was a deer was a deer and they all looked the same to me. After more than a decade here, I now know that if you see the same deer all the time, you learn the differences in their appearance and you recognize the regular ones. To a lesser extent that is true with coyotes too because their coats can vary quite a bit in appearance, so I recognize some of the coyotoes that frequent our property.

The wild animals that see me outside a lot get used to me the same way I get used to them and after they get used to you, they let themselves be seen out in the open a lot.

My all-time favorite wildlife that I've seen since moving here are the eagles. They often live along the river and sometimes one or even two of them together will fly over our property. That's pretty cool.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Larry, I found a website with photos of animal tracks that may help you to identify your "critter". Deer and wild boar are both cloven-hooved (hoofed?) animals as opposed to the rest of the mammals you would likely see around Oklahoma (toes are more distinguishable in their tracks).

Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: Deer and Similar Animal Tracks


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Susan, Thanks, It almost has to be deer tracks. I checked my gardening beds yeaterday and they are covered in deer tracts. It appears deer love Eldon Rye.

I may have to do container gardening this year and place the containers on top of the house to keep the deer out of them.

Larry


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Don't know if I'm a loud to do this but here goes. Is there anyone on here that lives near Shawnee or Meeker?? I have been trying to learn how to garden in OK with out to much success with different seeds. I have tried growing corn for a number of yr.s now to no avail. I need the secret for this achievement. Will the posts come up in my e-mail like Face book or do I have to show up here to get the answers I need?? Thank you.

William


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I started mine TODAY. I enlisted the kids to help. It was messy and there was a lot of fighting. Now they (the planted seeds, not the kids), are on top of my fridge in little dixie cups covered with plastic wrap.

I am worried that they will all die because I have never done this before.

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jo, They are easier to raise than kids, so I think you will be OK. They want to grow, so you are just helping them along. First rule for me is this: As soon as you can see a sprout, remove the cover and stick the plant's nose in the light. Not touching, but almost. Keep telling us what is happening and we will try to help.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

William, the posts can be made to show up in your email. When you post a message you can check the box to have that done. When you reply to someone's else post you won't see the other posts like facebook, but will have to log in here.

Concerning corn. Corn is a heavy feeder, needs a lot of nitrogen. We use chicken litter. Also needs consistent water at the roots, but too much rain on the silks can prevent pollination by washing off pollen. You also should plant in blocks of at least 4 (and 6-8 is even better) rows because that also aids in germination and ear fillout. For more specific advice give some more details about the type of failure you have


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sprouts!

Three days later, and my cucs and peas have already sprouted!!!

Photobucket

Now here come the questions.

My cucumber sprouts look white and fuzzy. Is that mold or are they supposed to look like that?

I have removed the cups with sprouts and placed them under a shoplight in my unheated garage. I have the light on chains and adjusted to about 1" away from the seedlings. Temps there don't go to freezing, but they get close.

My second option is a south facing window inside the house that gets fair sunlight (a row of evergreens planted 30 feet away prevents full sun on the south side of my house).

My third and final option is on a tall shelf in a heated mud room of my house. It gets decent natural light from large East facing windows and glass doors, and there is a shoplight over it too, but it is fixed to the ceiling so it would be about a foot away from the seedlings.

What is my best option, where would you put the seedlings?

Thanks!

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jo, Cukes are a summer crop and they grow fast so I really don't know what you are going to do with those. It sounds like you have planted several things with differing requirements. The peas will probably be OK in the cool garage, but other things might favor the mud room. depending on the individual crop.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I TOLD you I was gonna mess this up (laughing). Yes, I started ALL of my seeds. Oops. I planned on growing the cucs in Grow Bags or contaainers since I couldn't find a nematode resistant variety. They are a small bush type. Maybe I can keep them indoors in Grow bags until it warms uP?

I can always start a new batch in a few more weeks.

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have seedlings! I planted a bunch of tomatoes (15 different types oops!) a couple weeks ago, & when I checked on them last night I had about half that had sprouted. Plus I did a few different flowers, & some of them have sprouted. Now to just keep them alive until they can go outside.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jo, I wont be much help because I have started so few seeds inside, but every time I did if I did not have a sunny window I had to place the shop lights very close to the plants, like a max of 2" away.

I am facing some of the problems you are. I started to sprout pepper seeds on the 11th., some are sprouting now and I am not sure what to do with them. I was planning to fix a grow station in our bath room but DW said she almost fell over the junk I had in there so I moved most of it to the shop. It is just an unheated pole barn, most of it is a dirt floor and I dont have any way of heating the plants yet.

I am sure DW would let me move the stuff back in but I have already modified it to where it wont fit into the house.

I will get out this evening and try to rig up some kind if heat. I do have the thermostat and rope light fixed but no cabinet for the plants. I have not tested the rope lights to see if the 51 watt will heat a small cabinet in a cold ambient. I may have to hook up the shop lights through the thermostat also and use the heat from them.

Sorry I did not answer you question, I spent more time crying about my problem.

Maybe someone here can straighten us both out.

Larry


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I still need help

I hit upon a VERY temporary solution.

I piled a bunch of stuff up on the cabinets of my mudroom so the cups of seedlings are higher and closer to the light. Now they are in a heated room and in good light.
Photobucket

However, this will only work for a few days. Once the other forty or so cups start to sprout, I won't have room for them all unless I can rig a new system to raise the rest of them.

Will they die in the garage?

Don't we all deserve a nice greenhouse? ;) I wish we were all in the same town, then we could pool resources and start a big community greenhouse. I am such a hippie.

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jo, that is a nice idea about living in the same town, but we would be fighting over organic mater:)

Larry


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jo,

You already know it was way too early to start cucumber seed indoors, so we'll skip that and move on to what to do with them now.

The OSU-recommended date to transplant cucumbers into the garden is April 10th-30th. Keep in mind the April 10th date is recommended for folks in more southern and southeastern parts of the state and you're in the northeastern part of the state so most years you'd need to plant a week or so later than that.

Cukes sprout really fast, so I usually start seed about 3 or 3 1/2 weeks before I am planning to transplant them out. So, if I am shooting for an April 10th planting date, I might start mine around mid-March. Even if you were in southern OK, you'd be a month ahead of yourself right now with your current cucumber seedlings, if you know what I mean.

Trying to keep them inside from now until mid-April may not be practical. They will grow to an unmanageable size pretty fast if growing in indoor temperatures.

If you are growing bush cucumbers that will grow on in pots, you might be able to put them into their permanent pots in the next week or two, and carry them outside in the mornings after the temperatures rise above 50 or 55 and move them back inside at night before the temps drop into the mid-50s. This might work if our weather stays nice and warm without a lot of cold days between now and mid-April. How likely is that to happen? Probably not terribly likely.

You might be able to salvage your current seedlngs if you can protect them well enough outside. You have to consider two things: (a) their minimum air temperature needs to stay above 55 degrees, and (b) their soil temperature needs to stay above 60 degrees or they can stunt and stall. How could you meet those needs? If you can fill up your pots that you're going to grow the cukes in and then keep the pots somewhere so the soil doesn't cool down and is warm enough for them (check the soil temp with a standard kitchen thermometer), you might be able to keep the soil in the right range.

If you can keep the air warm enough around them, they might survive, thrive and produce. You could do this if you had a greenhouse, a tallish cold frame, or could build a low tunnel over them, using PVC 'hoops' and 4mm or 6mm clear plastic Eliot Coleman style (go to the website of Johnny's Selected Seeds and look at their low tunnels). Maybe you could figure out a way to line up all the pots and build a low tunnel over them. You could use conduit but that requires a conduit bender and while conduit would hold up better under snow, we're going to assume we've had all the snow we're going to get this year, so PVC is the best choice. For added protection if you cover the plants with a frost blanket type row cover underneath the clear plasic low tunnel on cold nights, they might stay warm enough. You also might be able to make a temporary somewhat tall cold frame by using rectangular hay bales as the 4 walls and laying an old door or window over the top. Be sure to remove the top once temps are warm at mid-morning so your seedlings don't roast.

In general, it is recommended that you not direct-seed cukes in a garden until your soil temperatures are at least 60 degrees. Right now, the three-day average soil temp for bare soil in Tulsa are not anywhere close to that. When I checked this morning, the 3-day average soil temp in our county was at 39 degrees and you know how far south I am.

Honestly, if the cucumbers were mine, I'd toss them in the trash and plant new seed around mid-March if the weather is looking good for moving them outside sometime after about April 10th - 17th. Cukes spout quickly and are so easy to grow that I don't think it is worth all the effort it would require to keep them alive and thriving right now. However, if you're determined to do it, I wish you luck.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

If the cucs die I'll be okay. I DO have a PVC frame system set up in two of my beds, so in a few weeks I will move them out there under plastic if they are still alive.

Photobucket

As a back up, I will start new seeds mid-march.

I am more worried about my pricier/more precious tomato, bean, pepper, and pea seeds, and keeping them alive. I hope I can!

The snow melted enough today for me to measure and graph my garden... (19 raised beds!). I am getting EXCITED for 2011!

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jung Seed sells those compact seed starting kits that are extra tall and only 9 inches across. . . Anyone ever try those? They're 2 for $27ish and hold 49 plants each. I'm really tempted to buy, but not sure I can wait much longer to start my seeds.

So glad to see cups and press-n-seal and other people's set-ups!!! Makes me feel better about my own.

On a side note - anyone have experience planting edamame or Little Gem romaine in Oklahoma? Never tried those two and might have to give it a shot this year.
Lanna


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have some heavy trays and domes that I got from Johnny's years ago and they are really nice but since then I have just bought the tray and dome cover at Atwoods for a couple of dollars. They are good for a couple of years, and very cheap.

Any Romaine that I have tried grows fine here in the Spring but our weather gets too hot for lettuce very quickly. Edamame, I haven't grown. I have a pack but have never had a desire to grow it.


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jo, With the tomato and pepper seedlings, they should be fine if you provide them with adequate light indoors or if you can carry the tomato plants outside during the day and inside at night. (Remember to harden them off to sunlight gradually!) Peas ought to be alright too since they can go into the ground in March, which isn't too far away. The beans will have similar issues to those you'll have with the cukes, and since beans grow so quickly, you may have a hard time holding them indoors until air and soil temps are warm enough for them.

Lanna, I haven't tried Jung's Compact Plant Trainers, which I assume are the ones you're referring to, because you don't need a germination dome that tall. It is recommended that you remove the germination dome as soon as your seeds sprout, so the tallness of it won't matter since it won't be in use. If you leave the germination dome on the flat for a longer period of time, your plants are at high risk of suffering from damping off or other diseases because the germination dome will keep them too humid and will prevent them from having good air circulation.

I've grown "Little Gem" here as a winter and spring crop and it has done just fine if you start it really early so you can harvest it before the temperatures crank up and get too high in May or early June. I haven't tried "Little Gem" as a fall crop because our fall weather often stays too hot for it for ages. For fall romaine, I normally plant "Winter Density" which not only thrives in cold weather but which also shows good tolerance of warm weather. A Romaine that lasts longer for me than "Little Gem" in spring is "Jericho".

Like Carol, I've never grown Edamame. I have a seed packet of it too but when I start planning the garden, something else always has priority and the Edamame gets left in the seed box.

Dawn


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soybeans

I have grown beer friend Edamame here for the past two years. I just plunk the seeds in the beds in the spring, and they have always done well.

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I grew edamame last year right next to the green beans. It grew well, but you need a lot more than I planted (20') for any real harvest. We probably got a total of 6-8 small bowls worth. I do I think I got it in a little late though, so I'm trying again this year.

Megan


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

That's what I was thinking on the Compact thingy - why so tall? I went ahead and bought a jiffy starter pack at wally world to go with my old, cracked ones:-)

We really like the lettuce wraps we've had at restaurants that have smaller lettuce leaves with chicken, etc. inside. That's the only reason I was thinking Little Gem. I've never been able to grow lettuce in our garden. Should I start it inside?

If I don't have grow lights, is it too early for me to start seeds indoors? Before, I'd just throw seeds in the flats and see what happened - now, I don't want to mess up my chances!

Thanks for all your help:-)


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

A tall germination dome could come in handy for someone who is raising flowers from stem or leaf cuttings, for example. Or, for someone who is experimenting on a small scale with grafting tomato plants onto a special rootstock, the tall germination dome might be usable in lieu of a germination chamber, although you'd have to cover up the dome to give the grafted seedlings darkness, I think.

I also think that people in some states that are much colder, generally, than ours (like Wisconsin, North Dakota or Alaska, for example) could find them useful. Suppose they are starting seeds in a basement or mudroom that's unheated or only minimally heated. Those folks might need to have their seeds on a heat mat and have the tall germination dome overnight to keep their seedlings from coming very close to freezing.

For simple seed-starting, though, the germination dome may be useful up until the time the seedlings pop up out of the ground because it holds heat and humidity inside but after that it can be a problem. Once the seedlings are up, the dome should be removed to facilitate good air flow and moderate humidity. With young seedlings, too much moisture, high humidity or poor air flow can lead to damping off, which is a group of fungal diseases of several kinds that wipe out seedlings.

I almost never use a germination dome at all. So far, I've started 72 varieties of tomatoes and about a dozen different lettuce packets (some are mixtures of up to 14 varieties in one seed packet), didn't use a germination dome or heat mat and everything has sprouted and is growing just fine. I rarely lose a single plant to damping off indoors and I start several thousand seedlings inside each year. So, I don't know that I even believe a germination dome is necessary 98% of the time when you're starting seeds indoors under lights or in a very sunny window.

You can start seeds indoors without a light if you have a really bright window with a southern exposure, but you may have problems with legginess.

You can start lettuce seed any time now that you want, indoors or out. I started my lettuce last week inside on the light shelf and am moving the seedlings out to the sunporch tomorrow. I intend to leave them there until temps drop into the mid-20s because temps those cold can freeze them back. If our 10-day forecast looks good next week, I may transplant the lettuce seedlings into their permanent home which is a large cattle feeding trough that allows me to raise them high enough off the ground that the rabbits can't eat them.

The OSU-recommended planting date for lettuce is Feb. 15th-Mar. 10th, so you can plant anytime in that time frame. We have to start lettuce early here in order for it to have time to produce a crop before the heat causes it to bolt.

I've linked the OSU Garden Planning Guide for you. It has recommended planting dates, and lots of other helpful info, but there's a few veggies that aren't on it.

The OSU-recommended time to plant lettuce seed is Feb. 15th thru March 10th, so go for it! I like starting lettuce indoors because it germinates more quickly in warmer temps, but then I move it outside as quickly as possible because, quite frankly, I need the seed-starting shelf for other things I'm planting. As soon as the lettuce goes out onto the back porch, I'll start peppers in the 'bare space' on the light shelf.

I've linked the OSU Garden Planning Guide for you. It gives recommended planting dates and other helpful info for many, though not all, vegetables.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Garden Planning Guide


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Well, that explains my lack of success with lettuce! Thanks!


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have great success with germination of all seeds I have sown couple of weeks ago without any dome or heating mat. i guess its about 90% seeds germinated. -Chandra


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fast

Yeah me too. I've never had seeds come up so fast. Less than a week and all of my cups are sprouting. I guess it's a combo of the soiless seed-starting mix, the heat from the top of the fridge, and the saran wrap that made them sprout so fast. Got all that great advice here!

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

My Lil Fat Boys got their first trip into the Great Outdoors yesterday to enjoy 6 hrs. of filtered sun and very light breeze while setting on the north side of the wooden fence between the house and garage. Most all now have their first set of true leaves and in another week I'll thin them to one plant per cell. Once the second set of true leaves develop I'll repot into larger cups. Tomorrow I'll begin alternating watering with Peter's Professional and just regular water. In a couple of weeks, when they are more 'Photogenic', I'll post a picture...

Keith


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Keith,

My plant babies....all 20 flats of them are outside for the fourth or fifth day today. I'm having to do a lot of creative placement to allow them to get the sunshine they crave without being beaten to death by the wind, which seems to be getting stronger as the day goes on.

Twenty flats sounds like more than it is because the tomatoes are in large cups and each tomato flat only holds 15 cups. I think the 20 breaks down to 8 tomato flats, 7 pea flats, 3 strawberry flats and 2 lettuce flats. I carry them back onto the sunporch after they've had enough wind and/or sun for the day, and lately they get their fill of wind before they've had enough sun, but they can get the sun on the sunporch without the wind.

Most of my tomato plants have 2 to 4 true leaves and a few are putting out their fifth leaf today. They seem to be growing more quickly than in previous years, probably because I moved them outside into very warm and very sunny weather while they still were pretty young. I guess they'll come inside tomorrow evening since our overnight low is supposed to dip into the 20s.

I'll put them in the dining room instead of carrying them back upstairs to the lightshelf, because the light shelf now is full of flats planted with various seeds of herbs, veggies and flowers....and even if the light shelf wasn't full, I wouldn't especially want to carry 20 flata up the stairs Monday night and back down the stairs Tuesday morning.

I'm ready for spring to get here so I can leave them out or, better yet, transplant them out.

This week, if the soil is dry enough (and I think it will be), I'll be planting potatoes and then the onions as soon as they arrive.

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I have planted 11 garlic bulbs and that it.

I made a pan to start seeds in and it seems to work fine. I also bought a heat mat because I thought I would be moving my operation out to the shop. I placed some seed in a flat and place it on the heat mat. This morning when I checked them they itseemed too hot. I placed a thermometer in the starting mix and it was 110 degrees. I may have killed all the seeds, but I wont try anything elsr till Wed. I will install a dimmer switch to drop the voltage and start again.

Larry


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I killed some seeds this year already with a too-hot aquarium heating mat. Seems I always need to learn things the hard way. Luckily there's plenty of extras.

Dale, OKC


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I just started my broccoli and mesclun mix today. I use those aluminum cake pans that have a clear plastic lid and are only $1 at the Dollar Store or they had them for $1 at Homeland last week. They make pretty nice little flats; I've used them before to sow seeds in. Just poke holes in the bottom for drainage. Tomorrow I will do other veggies. I want to do my peas, but am waiting until I get my soil mix on Wednesday and I'll feel more comfortable once I know I can transplant them when they're ready. Pea seeds germinate fast and the roots grow even faster it seems, so they won't be indoors too long. Temps are going to be erratic at best this week, what a typical Oklahoma roller coaster!

Susan


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I planted a 72 count flat of tomatoes and placed in a plastic bag. Planted 16 paper tubes of broccoli.
I have about 14 pepper plants up. I have sweet potatoes and onions growing in the kitchen window. I planted Chinese cabbage on the evening of the 17th, it was coming up on the morning of the 19th. I think I killed my cabbage and lettuce with a heat mat. I will try cabbage, lettuce and peas on Wed. or Thu. when I get back home.

I hope to hit the farmers co-op in Mena, DeQueen and Texarkana to see if they have that I cant live without. I will also have to stop at any nursery along the way.

Larry


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Larry,

You sound just like me. I have to look at every gardening-related thing in every store and always want to stop at nurseries and just "see what they have". Tim puts up with it, which is a good thing, because he's totally the opposite. He leaves the house with a list and he runs right down the list and does everything on it and is ready to head home and there I am saying "Well, let's stop here just to see what they have...." My "to do" list often includes just stopping and seeing what is in the stores. I don't have to go to the mall (and don't even like going there) but don't expect me to drive past a nursery without stopping!

Dawn


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

I spotted my first sprouts today. It looks like I've got about 15 little tomatoes and 1 pepper so far.

I started around 350 tomatoes and 266 peppers on Wednesday. They aren't all for us, some are for family and friends and a couple of after school programs. And I like to start extras in case some don't germinate at all. Last year, I had three or four varieties with zero germination (it was slightly older seed). Any leftovers I send with my partner to give out at work. His coworkers gladly took all of the extras we offered last year.

first tomato sprout


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Megan,

Congrats on the little sprouts!

My first pepper sprout was a "Biker Billy" jalapeno, and he beat every other pepper plant by two days. With a name like Biker Billy, you expect to be "first", I guess.

I grow hundreds more tomato plants than I need to grow as well, but never have any trouble giving away the extras. Some of them go to friends in her our neighborhood and others go to work so Tim can share them with his coworkers, but many of them make the trek to OKC in April for the Spring Fling.

I had potted up most of the tomatoes from my first round of seedstarting and those are the ones basking out in the sun today. Yesterday I potted up the rest from that round, and today I started seeds for the second round.

It always freaks out people who stop by the house for one reason or another in the early spring and see hundreds of cups of seedlings lined up on the patio, on tables, on the sunporch, etc. It is fun to have extras so I can say "would you like some plants?"

My poor little plants were shivering in the cold wind when the cold front came through at mid-morning but now that the front, the clouds and the heavy wind have passed, they're sunning themselves and enjoying a beautiful afternoon. Now, if only the soil temps and air temps will hurry up and get to the right level so we can plant them in the ground!

Dawn


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potting

Can I pot up into dixie cups with potting soil? I don't have enough big containers for everything I started.

THANKS!

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Jo,

Sure, you bet you can.

Just poke holes in the bottom for drainage.

Dawn


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pot dixie

YAY!

I think I might actually have some survivor seedlings this year.

So far so good, they are ALL alive.

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

My broccoli and mesclun seeds are all up! Woopee! Doesn't seem like it took very long, and I didn't even use bottom heat nor nuttin!

Susan


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Our tomato, eggplant and pepper seedlings seems to be doing good. However some of the tomato and pepper seeds not yet germinated, will wait few more days, but thinking to resow those not germinated. Tomorrow I will transplant those successful tiny plants into individual large pots/cut. I also thinking to plant few extra tomato plants directly into raised beds! Some milk jugs and frost blankets are ready just in case!

Tomato seedling (3 week old)

Pepper seedling (3 week old)

This is my first attempt to grow seedling at home, please let me know are they in right growth and in good health?

Thank you -Chandra


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

Chandra, Your plants look beautiful, but I think you would be wasting them to put them outside this early. Carol


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huge

Your 3 week old seedlings are HUGE compared to my 2 week ones.

Jo


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RE: Anyone Starting Seeds Indoors Yet?

My one week old plants can hide under one of his leaves, all up but Royal Hilbilly, and no sign they will ever come up. They were planted a week ago tonight so I am not ready to give up hope.

Larry


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