I’m always hesitant to broadcast seeds directly into the garden because of the risk of poor germination rates. Granted, previous experience had me neglect seeds sown directly into the beds, which need the right temperature and moisture to thrive. Daytime highs are in the upper 60s while nighttime lows in the high 40s and low 50s. It’s still too cold for some delicate summer plants to tolerate, as some of the starts are beginning to show.
I hedge my bets wherever I can, sowing indoors those seeds that I trust will germinate successfully and can handle transplant.
Seeds I’ve sown and re-sown both inside and out:
Agastache rugosa, Korean Hyssop
Salvia coccinea, Scarlet Sage
Salvia farinacea, Sirius Blue Sage
Monarda citriodora, Lemon Bee Balm
Gomphrena haagena, Strawberry Fields
Tropaeolum minus Nasturtium Black Velvet (presoaked)
The last vegetable seeds I direct sowed beginning of March were the bok choy Tiny Hedou and Purple Lady, along with bunching onions Tokyo White. They are finally beginning to emerge. Meanwhile I’m giving the Thai Long Green Eggplant another try although I haven’t had any success with the last batch.
Finally got around to cleaning out the stock tank beds of dead plants and withering leaves/stems. It looks like some veggies are extending their stay.
Brussel sprouts, red russian kale, kohlrabi, some Parris cos and red lettuce are being joined by some broccoli specimens. The wasabi radish turned out inedible, soft and mushy after sitting out on the counter. I’m not sure if the remaining specimen is salvageable, but I will leave it in-bed for now.
I lopped decaying tops and removed decaying leaves/debris to give the new offshoots some space and light.
In addition, I installed seedlings in the vacant square foot spaces, mostly lettuce starts and 9 chinese broccoli seedlings. I had to throw out my spinach and bok choy seedlings due to heavy infestations of aphids.
Instead, I direct sowed all my bok choy seeds into the stock tanks, along with some Tokyo White bunching onion seeds. Let’s see how these do.
Next time, I may have to buy a bag of ladybugs and a fine mesh cloth to clean up my beds, as suggested by my instructor from StartOrganic class.
Another useful tidbit I learned from garden class: certified organic means no applications of fertilizer/compost within 90 days of harvest.
The hard pruning and clean up continues. I’m thinking of penning a series of “Will It Live” posts to focus on some of the plant specimens I’m hovering over.
All the tomatoes got potted last week and they are working on their indoor tan for now.
Finally cleaned out some of the trash from the stock tank beds to get a closer look at the veggies. Looks like kale, kohlrabi, wasabi radish and brussel sprouts are sticking around. They’ll need their tops lopped off however.
Weird and alien discovery. I just happened to find this yellow slime at the base of my Acoma crape myrtle…it looked like dog vomit. It hadn’t been there the previous weekend, so it must have popped up sometime later. Come to find out, it really is aptly called dog vomit slime mold, fuligo septica, a fungus that springs up from mulch.
There are still plenty of work to be done to clear the beds of storm debris and frost damaged plants. But the seed starting bug has already bitten me hard.
End of January, I had already started a batch of veggie soil blocks which include tomatoes, habaneros, bok choy, lettuces, spinach, bunching onions, and eggplant. I was lucky enough to source most of the seed from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, who had them in stock at the time.
I have perennial and annual flowers started in soil blocks as we end February in a flurry of garden prepping.
But of course, there are never enough seeds to start and plant.
I’m not the only one with a gardening bug. Seed companies and online plant purveyors have been hammered by the pandemic demand; most are advertising low inventories and out of stock items. My normal go-to vendors are struggling to keep up with the demand, I’m having a hard time filling out my wish list. Meanwhile, local nurseries are still recovering from the winter storm, so inventories might still be scarce as of this writing.
If I do find something I want, it’s usually through Amazon and I’m highly suspect of the quality. I’m still frustrated by the habanero pepper seeds I obtained through there; germination rates are very low, even after re-sow attempts as we are enter the 4th week since I planted them. I plan on moving them onto my growing stand with the powerful lights to see if that will spur them into germination.
As evidenced on my Instagram feed, my garden experienced the worst temperature extremes that Texas endured in the new year. We saw the lowest temperature I’ve ever witnessed in all the years I’ve lived in North Texas: -1F.
The historic winter storm knocked out power, water and cell data for 2 days. Our yard was buried in snow for at least 4 days. The community pond was completely frozen over.
The outdoor greenhouse tent could not sustain the plants housed within especially with no power to heat the space. Similarly, my garage was plunged in cold and darkness, freezing the most sensitive plants.
I’m still tallying the losses. The weekend following the storm, we set about to pruning the roses, and removed some dead branches and debris from the front yard. Most of the snow had begun to disappear by this time.
Frost hardiness for some plants seem hit or miss. I had put out some nasturtium seedlings earlier in the year; those were a loss. But I also planted out some romaine lettuce seedlings, and they seemed to have survived.
Needless to say, this means more seed starting and emptying pots to make way for new plants.
Looking ahead at the forecast, it seems that we will be seeing highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s beginning the second week of March. I’m already thinking about all the gardening tasks I have to do to prep the beds to receive new plants.